In this smartbits, Raja Nagendra Kumar outlines as to what it takes to innovate.
Innovation can be classified as fresh Innovation, which does not exist or you have to make it better than what it is now. In the context of clean code and technical debt, most of the Innovation can come from trying to make things better than what it is. A product can do billions of dollars of business. And if you are not innovating, we say few billions are actually hidden if you know how to innovate within what is existing, there are few more billions can get added because it could be that you may find new features, new way of doing it or you are able to run faster than the competition and acquiring more customers faster.
Any product, makes money by people adopting it and if you can reduce the customization time and improve adding more features, there are hundreds of features can come in and one of the techniques, I follow for this kind of innovation is to keep the code clean. Most of the time, because people are living with technical debt, patchwork, being inefficient, they are not able to see what can be done better. Most of the time, there is so much of code so much pressure. They are not able to see what can be innovated and if you start simplifying this baggage, automatically you will see tons of innovative patents that can come in from the same product.
Sun Microsystems had one of the best products to be sold as a hardware company. They tried to be like a software company, but most of the time, because they got lost on the fire the solution itself got lost somewhere. There could have been a better way of solving it. We could have improved adaptability and reduced support ticket. Later we refactored unit testing and eliminated technical debt. We were able to find a better solution and that was patented and it is a patent now.
That way most of the time, people living in a product world, if they know how to simplify or remove the technical debt and automatically it starts becoming simpler and then they will start questioning the solution. And this solution can give a lot more innovative ideas.