The Importance of Being Iterative


After the launch of Apple Music, you can’t ignore the facts in technology. Subscription services are the new norm. Silicon roundabout asked tech leaders whether it was about the end of ownership. Or could it just be about greater consumer choice and flexibility, the rise of the Netflix generation?

The business landscape looks very similar. Software as a service (SAAS) and the growth of cloud computing mean that subscription isn’t just for content, it’s also about the tools of business. These changes aren’t just superficial, they will change the way companies interact with tech permanently.

The new model

What varies here is that the way companies consume technology will now more closely mirror how technology is developed. In other words, it will be iterative. In effect, companies will have a greater ability to tap into one of the major powers at the heart of creativity.

It’s a well worn example, but Apple’s first computer didn’t invent the graphical user interface or mouse, that was done by a Xerox. The idea was taken by Steve Jobs and put to use on Lisa, a computer in 1983, and the Macintosh in 1984. Yet it was only with Windows 1.01, in 1985, that things really took off.

A fundamental part of creativity

The point here is that the companies push each other on, going through various iterations of similar technology to reach better forms.

In fact, this isn’t just an approach which has led to innovation in tech. Viral video Everything is a Remix highlights the way in which copying, iteration and collectivity are central to everything from music to art, literature and technology.

So iteration is essential for innovation and change. But what does it mean for your company?

Continuous change

To return to the beginning, technology is now being delivered for companies as a subscription service. The iterations which are delivering changes in the sector will be quickly available for users. Rather than being tied to hardware cycles, change will happen more rapidly.

This might seem problematic. Users will have to keep changing the way they work—isn’t this going to be inefficient for businesses? Yet there’s good reason not to fear the worst.

Iterative individuals

The gradual progress of iteration in tech will allow workers to change their habits progressively. Rather than being introduced to entirely new software periodically, change will evolve more naturally. Workers will move with technology.

It also means that working with the right technology is essential. Keeping at the cutting edge is going to become more important as the pace of change increases, and this is as important for workers as CTOs. The challenge we must all face is whether we can be iterative individuals.