Corporate Innovation: The master craftsman way

2020 will be considered as one of the landmarks in human history. Unlike other wars, this was a fight against the world’s common enemy, Covid-19. This is considered the longest and deadliest virus in the 21st century. In these times of grave uncertainties and challenges, survival is the key. This not only applies to people but for corporations. We need to understand that the way we conduct business operations will fundamentally change.   Steve Jobs once rightly quoted, saying, “Innovation is to see change as an opportunity- not a threat”. Those who innovate and adapt to the changing expectations of people will thrive, while others that cannot innovate will fall behind. 

Both corporations and craftsmen are alike in the respect that both manufacture products. The main difference is that for craftsmen, the product can be made with or without the intention of monetary profits. For master craftsmen to improve their ‘craft’ or ‘product’, they divide the need of the hour into two different ways: incremental and architectural. 

Incrementation Innovation

Incremental implies utilizing your existing skills to perfect your craft. Let us use sword making as an example. If the swordsmith sharpens the sword for multiple hours, its effectiveness will increase ‘incrementally’. In respect to a corporation, it is to focus on the current technologies and designs and to upgrade them. This not only adds more value to the customer but also solidifies the corporate’s position in the market. Zoom was launched in 2011. During that time, Skype was dominating the video conferencing market. During the pandemic, people could not meet in person, and the same went with employees of corporations. Zoom seized this opportunity and adapted its platform to make it very user-friendly. You could set up a meeting with utmost simplicity and minimum effort. Through constant improvement of their existing platform, Zoom was able to innovate and dominate the market.

Being a Craftsman (Architectural Innovation)

Meanwhile, the latter (architectural) is when the master craftsman dedicates his time to exploring new areas and trying new things to improve his craft. Instead of focusing on the existing skills and improving them, he goes out searching for new ones that can aid his growth. Using swords as an example again, the legendary sword from Japan, The Katana, usually used by a samurai, is known for its swift and precise slashes. In the 10th century, samurai used a single-edged longsword, and a swordsmith named Amakuni noticed that over half the swords of the samurai were broken after a battle. He wanted to create an indestructible sword, so after long hours of work he made the first single-edged longsword with a curvature. Instead of focusing on the sword fundamentals, like using a stronger metal or sharpening it for a longer period to improve the sword’s lifespan, he explored an uncharted area and decided to change the core structure of the sword. He invented a new type of sword through his innovative thinking. Now the spirit of the katana casts a long shadow over the culture and history of Japan. 

When it comes to corporations, it’s all about deploying domain expertise, harness emerging technologies, and breaking into new territories. With the right research, this can produce great results. As the virus started to spread in various parts of the nation and the world, a Gurugram-based bag manufacturer, Crea Worldwide took a huge risk. They are known for designing and producing accessories for multiple international brands across various industries. Crea realized that with the monumental flow of the virus, protection was needed to fight the virus. With this idea in mind, they switched to manufacturing PPE gear for people’s health and safety. The move to upend the whole operation was motivated by the thought to help frontline coronavirus workers. Before this change, they had all operations shut down. This innovation saved the business and had a positive impact on society.

The key point to note is that both types of innovation require thorough research for corporations.

Master craftsmen are world-renowned for their absolute mastery of the crafts they specialize in. It is believed that gaining mastery of that craft would mean spending at least 10,000 hours. It is to focus on the smallest details and improve them that makes a master craftsman. The same can be said about corporations. Improvement of the small details will drive innovation and will guide enterprises towards success.

Having a concentrated focus, identical to a master craftsman, on whatever you do will add more value. The effects may not be spontaneous but history shows that thinking like a master craftsman will certainly reap its rewards. We at T-Hub specialize in creating those craftsman experiences for corporations. If you would like to provide that skillset and mindset to your employees feel free to reach out to us,

– Preetham Nandigama, Business Development Associate, T-Hub

About the Author:

I am Preetham Nandigama and I work as a Business Development Associate in T-Hub. I’m 20 years old. I am a hardcore football fan, and love chess. Can’t cook but master of cleaning dishes. I specialize in data collection and analysis.