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Integration & IT Modernization

APIs Can Support a Culture of Innovation

This is another in a series of exploratory questions that someone might ask when kick-starting an API strategy for your company.

How do APIs foster innovative development? Why would you want to foster innovative development?

Innovation. It’s a word that is bouncing about these days, but what does it mean in the context of API management? Well, you heard the one about a million monkeys typing will produce the complete works of Shakespeare? What if it’s a million really smart humans with a focus on creating something valuable with your API? Can you imagine what they might create? Thomas Friedman made a statement in his book The World is Flat that’s stuck with me since I first read it.

Only 30 years ago, if you had a choice of being born a B student in Boston or a genius in Bangalore or Beijing, you probably would have chosen Boston, because a genius in Beijing or Bangalore could not really take advantage of his or her talent. They could not plug and play globally. Not anymore. Not when the world is flat, and anyone with smarts, access to Google and a cheap wireless laptop can join the innovation fray.

The talented developers that you engage with the right public API strategy are global and exposing an API to people “out there” has incredible potential. You really don’t know what they’ll come up with. And it might be the next killer app (at least in your business domain) that catches on fire. Using APIs to extend your IT capabilities beyond the walls of your organization is one of the benefits of developing a solid API strategy.

But it doesn’t have to be “out there” either. Many people within IT are just itching to spread their wings. Sometimes the only thing holding them back is a company’s “structure”. I remember growing up and my grandfather loved to collect stuff. There was a barn full of it and from that stuff my friends and I created spacecraft to fly, dragons to slay, and all sorts of stories to while away the summer days. Adults aren’t so different. If you give them a the right playground and tell them it’s OK to “create” you will be amazed at what they come up with.


What are you doing in your company’s culture to create an environment where people feel free to innovate?



It’s a Flat World After All” by Thomas L. Friedman

Maker Culture from Wikipedia

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Ed Murphy

Ed is a solutions architect and leader for the Emerging Platform Systems group in the area of SOA and application/systems integration. In his career, Ed has been in involved in all facets of the project life cycle from analysis and assessment to execution on consulting engagements in several industries and on many technology platforms. As a leader, Ed enjoys providing guidance to clients and mentoring the technology leaders of the future. Ed is also co-lead of Perficient's API management practice where he uses his skills to discover opportunities to help clients by transforming their business for the digital age. Ed is based in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Contact Ed via e-mail.)

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