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Costing Cool Projects Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, December 7, 2010 8:10 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Costing Cool Projects






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Post #1031615
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2010 2:35 AM


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I completely agree with the study referenced that applying standard accounting rules and ROI calculations may mean the death of innovation. The reason we need innovation is because conventional ideas don't work (or will no longer work), and therefore, using conventional methods to quantify innovation will also not work.

Innovation is generally unplanned, cannot be mandated, and needs the support, inspiration and vision of leaders. To emphasize on this point, I would like to quote the following lines from Darwin's Origin of Species:


“From so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful, have been, and are being, evolved.”
~Charles Darwin, M.A. (The Origin of Species, 1859)


Similarly, when preparing a business case, it is essential to be simple - an idea (innovation) is just a seed. Once we get the time & resources, it is up to us to nurture it slowly and steadily into a plant, which will ultimately bear fruits (i.e. ROI)

The fact is that it can be done - RedGate has proved it (SQLSearch), Google has proved it (GMail) and so have others - there is no reason why we can't do it. The most important thing is the part about building the business case, as Steve so rightly mentioned, and having the leadership and vision to instill curiosity amongst all those who get involved.

References:
1. Source: National Public Radio
Program: Talk of the Nation: Science Friday
Date: Oct 25, 2008 (Talk with Judy Estrin, author of Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy)

2. The New York Times – May 24, 2009 – UNBOXED: Who says innovation belongs to the small?
(http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/business/24unboxed.html?th&emc=th)


(For those wondering about how I remembered the exact dates from 2 years ago - I had done a short self-study on the subject of Innovation, and these came right out of that bibliography!)


Thanks & Regards,
Nakul Vachhrajani.
http://beyondrelational.com/modules/2/blogs/77/nakuls-blog.aspx
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Post #1031713
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2010 3:47 AM
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"This approach seems to be one that could be useful in many BI type projects, and to a large extent, seems to be a good use of Powerpivot as a way to prototype projects"

Thank you Steve.

I can write many hundreds of sheets of paper how BI projects are developed.
The word prototype seems not to be invented.
I have been using PowerPivot for a while. Microsoft has don'e a good job but I miss some basics like an API compared to the main competitor QlikView. PowerPivot is however easy to implement, costfree and a part of Excel.

Regards
Gosta Munktell
Post #1031762
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2010 11:07 AM


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There do need to be risk-vs-reward analyses done.

The place I worked in the early naughts went out of business because an "innovative" new service line ended up sucking up all the revenue from the whole company, all the credit the company could get, all the credit the owners of the company could get, and never generating enough income to cover its own costs per unit-time. The company went from 12.5-million/year and growing, to bankrupt and shut down, in about 8 months, because the senior management got too enthusiastic about the new service line and never stopped to consider "hey, this doesn't seem to be doing what we want".

Innovative new securities (housing bubble), innovative new business models (Enron), et al, do need some restraints on them.

Keep in mind, in reference to the Darwin quote just referenced, most new species go extinct. Over 99% of all species this planet has ever seen are gone forever.

So, play the innovation game, but keep in mind the cost of failure and your willingness to deal with that.

It takes early adopters and inventors to make progress, but it also takes accountants and more cautious people to make sure that we don't lose important things. We need both.


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Post #1032052
Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2010 6:54 AM
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By their very nature and training accountants are taught to be very conservative and to focus only on what can be proven by the numbers which means they focus on the past more than on the future. Creative accountant is almost as much of an oxymoron as honest politician and just as rare. Creative accountants often find themselves in prison, too.

Accountants and innovators look at things from almost diametrically opposed views so the key is to have as much communication between these polar viewpoints for that each can understand the other’s perspective. All too often the innovators are so convinced that their great idea can’t miss that they blow off the financial analysis or provide false information.

The accountants are treated with even less respect than the bane of all developers, those scum known as project managers. ‘Real developers’ know that both are only there to slow progress. ‘Mature developers’ understand as GSquared says “We need both.”
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