By Dana Stanley
This morning Imran Anwar of Microsoft helped set the stage for Day 2 at the Insight Innovation eXchange event in Philadelphia with a thoughtful analysis of disruptive innovation in the past, present and future.
Anwar has a long background promoting technology progress. He currently holds the impressive title of Director, Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing, Strategy Consulting & Services at Microsoft. As he was introduced to the crowd it was noted that Anwar is considered the “Father of the Internet” in Pakistan.
Anwar has tracked the priorities of enterprise CXOs and observed that they increasingly recognize the need for innovation.
He reviewed the evolution of technology analytics “power tools” – from mainframes in the ‘60s and ‘70s, to the PC and applications in the early ‘80s, to client/server in the mid-80’s, to the internet in the mid ‘90s, to cloud computing in the 2000s. As for the future, he listed a number of important tools, including smart phones, RFID, Square, social, mobile, XASH, micropayments, location and sentiment analysis.
Anwar said an age of disruption happens about every 10 years, but that what his happening now is particularly exciting – and scary. The pace, quality and range of innovation are exploding, and developments in industry X affect industry Y. The development of Gorilla Glass which is used in smartphones is an example of such cross-industry innovation.
He noted that in recent years there has been a “convergence of convergence” – that tools which facilitate convergence have themselves converged to form new tools. He gave as an example cloud computing, which resulted from the convergence of increased computing power, network bandwidth, cheap storage and virtualization.
Another factor in innovation that Anwar mentioned was what he called “Mobilization Globalization, Globalization Mobilization.” The internet is everywhere and is untethered due to the explosion in the number of mobile devices. He mentioned that in some parts of the world illiterate people are using mobile phones to send text messages, inventing codes for a number of things that are normally spoken.
To the common list of four megatrends – mobility, cloud, social and big data – Anwar added a fifth – micropayments, which he indicated will make it possible to monetize nearly anything.
He concluded by urging the attendees in the room to continue to aggressively push innovation forward.