So here we are at day 1 back at university starting our third term for this Masters of Science degree – Applied Project Management. The Module is Managing Innovation and Change. The session started by having us think how nature copes with uncertainties; how technology is not the solution to everything, and how sometimes the simplest things are the best solution to address situations.

A community of elder people who live in Japan wanted to make sure they have a system to ensure they know everyone is safe. So what did they do? Technology is indeed not the answer to everything. Have you thought about installing sensors in their homes to ensure there is movement? Tech advanced but privacy invading one would say.

Knocking on the doors every day and getting to see if they are ok? Well, while that is driven by the notion of love and care, it still impacts the independence feeling of those individuals. Anyone of you with elderly parents of grandparents would have experienced that.

SO here is the deal – it is very simple. Every day at 7pm, each person puts a white flag out at their balcony or window. Everyone in the community sees the white flag out and knows that they are all safe. If one apartment had no white flags, then the entire community knows this person is not ok, and that is how they go and check on that person. A simple system yet ingenious!

So as you can see, innovation is the process of getting value out of an idea by doing something in a new way or doing something totally new. That is how one differentiates an innovative idea from an invention (the process of creation of an idea that is workable but with no value).

Nothing beats the power of “invention” than this person who decided his fish deserves a walk, you know, equality with those who walk their dogs!


Innovation, like everything else, is a process that can managed in a project approach and requires strong leadership skills.

3 thoughts on “Can Ideas Be Simple?

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