Project Management

Macro vs. Micro Innovations

Al Taylor is an independent IT contractor in Ontario, Canada.

The value opportunities provided by innovation are significant. Using innovation, you can deliver value to your employer, your clients, your industry, your profession, your peers, your team and your projects. You can also deliver value to yourself and your career. We can easily agree, therefore, that innovation should be included in the myriad set of balls that we juggle as we make our way as PMs. Don’t blame me; I didn’t pick your career!

Innovation comes in many shapes and sizes and can be categorized in many ways. In this article, I suggest that one way to categorize it is to distinguish macro innovation from micro innovation. I also suggest that investing in both types of innovation will benefit the stakeholders involved in the value chains mentioned above.

How do we distinguish macro innovation from micro innovation? The categories can be up to you and will likely be largely influenced by your industry. I can offer up some suggestions:

  • If you are a PM in the construction industry, then a macro innovation could be figuring out to increase the square footage of living or working space; while a micro innovation could be figuring out how to transform sequential activities into parallel or semi-parallel activities.
  • If you are in the software industry, a macro innovation could be extending the capabilities of a programming language; while a micro …

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