Take a Step Back: The Bigger Picture of Innovation

Today I read an article that was detailing a recently developed algorithm. Real tech-lover stuff, right up my alley. But thinking about this astonishing algorithm and the seeming complexity behind the concept itself really gave some perspective on innovation.

Essentially, what this algorithm allows you to do is to remove reflections, glare, and most obstructions from a photograph. Directly from the article itself "The researchers’ algorithm requires a short, relatively static video taken of the subject, then uses edge detection to separate foreground (reflection) from background (desired subject) in a few frames. Not only can the researchers’ process recreate an almost crystal-clear, unobstructed image of the intended subject, they can also create a full image from the reflection."

As I watch the videos (astonishing really) that demonstrate this photographic phenomenon, I can't help to think of the basis of my awe. The inner workings of the camera, the camera phone that we incessantly use, and the infinite complexities that make up such a nowadays conceptually simplified device. The once inconceivable notion that a moment in time can be captured forever, the unimaginable transition from life to parchment, reality to posterity. The true, intrinsic essence of innovation is that no innovation stands alone. The awe that I might be enamored with today is only another drop into the fountain of genius with which we have been blessed. And as I freeze, delving into the intricacy that must compose an algorithm which almost magically removes the glare from a screen, I unsuspectingly glance past the density of inspired ingenuity packed into each and every compounding detail and addition to such a brilliant phenomenon.

As I now move to apply this newly discovered insight into my own craft, I must ask a few questions. Do we take for granted the fundamental principles of data management while enamored with contemporary innovation in the field? Are the latest and the greatest technologies in information systems and information management (analytics, security, storage, mobility) given their proper context, and placed within the broader body of innovative development, inside which they can only be appropriately understood? Or are we excitedly and hurriedly moving forward with the latest and the greatest, honed in on a stroke of the brush while failing to appreciate the entire portrait?

This paradigm of our unaware state with regard to the brilliance that governs our lives goes for any innovation or creation really. I thought I would share this one with you, as it truly placed me in a pensive state today regarding the components of inventiveness.

Rethink, Refine, and Resolve, my friends.