For the past couple of months I've been heads down writing a ton of new code. The process is similar to the new technology invention process -- that is, spend some time identifying what is needed; spend some time creating a bunch of new stuff to fill the gaps; and finally spend some time going back through refactoring everything to simplify, improve, and generally Make It Not Suck. What some may forget is that innovation occurs in all three of these phases. True innovation is not always about who can come up with the new thing, but who can find ways of refactoring or improving some existing thing and reapplying it in some interesting new way. The Atom standard is an example of this. An XML syntax for content syndication and service APIs for content management are not new things, it was just about time some one got around to standardizing them. REST is another example. HTTP methods aren't exactly earth shattering but folks are reawakening to the simplicity and value of the approach and are learning to apply it in very interesting ways.
What is the next Big Thing? All the previous Big Things refactored, simplified and Generally Made Better.
Update: Case in point.
Thoughts on innovation
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