Innovative pragmatism

John W Lewis's picture
Chat Date: 
Thu, Aug 25, 2016

Where does the innovation rubber meet the road? A recent article identifies an important aspect of innovation, based on the example of a significant move in decades of rivalry between ARM and Intel for chips for mobile systems. During this #innochat, let's discuss the contrast between hype and reality.

The selection of this topic was triggered by reading this article on ARM and Intel: "Among enterprise tech giants, pragmatic innovation takes over"
 which was shared by Kathleen Kruse (@kkruse) (a frequent innocat) and led to some #innochat discussion on August 22.


Pragmatic means that it works. In many fields, advantages are easier to find than disadvantages are to overcome. Sooner or later, the stuff that works is selected in preference to the stuff that does not work. It's were the rubber meets the road.

The article points out:

"A manufacturing collaboration between Intel and ARM would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Turns out a lot of unthinkable alliances are forming in enterprise tech. Welcome to the pragmatic innovation era."

As well as the Intel announcement about ARM, it lists several other examples of collaborations in the IT industry based on pragmatic considerations.

Premature enlightenment

In many fields, the bottleneck in the adoption of innovations is not in finding some things that might work, it is in selecting (from those things) the things that actually work. There is plenty of analysis of this phenomenon and the gap between the two has been made famous, for example, as Geoffrey Moore's "chasm" and Jackie Fenn's "trough of disillusionment".

Yet many discussions of innovation continue to express a hype-driven preference for glorifying innovation opportunities in preference to innovation realities. This premature enlightenment is based on misunderstanding of the adoption and diffusion processes by which innovations find their way into the mainstream.

The role of innovation in the development of effectiveness is becoming more generally recognised. Consequently, but as yet rather slowly, curiosity about the processes and mechanisms by which this occurs is leading to some interesting discussions. Let us have one of those!


Let's discuss this topic for an hour during #innochat on August 25th 2016 starting at 12 noon Eastern time.


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