modular innovation

Quick-MI and the Redundancy of Interoperability

Today, Modular Innovation is a prevailing trend that can be described as products and platforms consisting of or facilitating Relationships. Understanding these relationships can begin with a closer look at Interoperability and the sub-category of Redundancy.

web[1] This article marks the start of a series of articles diving deeper into Modular Innovation (MI) and many of the characteristics and features increasingly central to today’s successful and emerging products.

To Recap

Today, Modular Innovation is a prevailing trend that can be described as products and platforms consisting of or facilitating Relationships (people-people, products-products, people-products), and through these Relationships …

  • Control of Experience (from creation to storage to interaction)
  • Ownership of Content (personal content, from comments to friend lists and more)

"Modular Innovation is Relationships. The more relationships, the stronger the relationships, in turn, the stronger and broader … a product’s acceptance, support, and success." (from Quick-MI. Quick Heuristics for Modular Innovation. 2008)


These relationships can be quantified, analyzed, built and expanded upon. Once quantified, products are better understood, and clearer courses are able to be set for improvement and solidification of the elements within products directly relevant to Modular Innovation, directly relevant to sustained success.

Quick-MI is the simplification of the quantification of the Modular Innovations, the products and platforms that make up Modular Innovation. The Quick-MI method, much like Quick-UX, is a great way to build a summary description with quantifiable and comparable metrics, representing the level of Modular Innovation present within a product.

The Quick-MI evaluates the degree to which a product successfully addresses the following 5 categories:

Once quantified, the variable values associated with each of the categories are summed to represent the Modular Innovation Index of a given item (product, platform, etc.).

The characteristics evaluated within each category constitute a minimal representative subset that accurately evaluates the Modular Innovation Index while adhering to the goals of a method that are (1) quantifiable, (2) comparable, and (3) quick.

More detailed and extensive heuristics are, of course, possible (I frequently evaluate along many more variables in my studies of Modular Innovation). Quick-MI allows you to dive into a product and quickly extract valuable, representative data points.

Interoperability & Redundancy

The variables that constitute the Interoperability category are:

  • Connectivity,
  • Redundancy, and
  • Legality.

For this series, we will be taking a close look at Interoperability (within the context of Modular Innovation) and specifically focus on the variable of Redundancy.

Redundancy is the ability, provided by the product, whereby external products are leveraged to provide replication of functionality and/or content. The many benefits of a product with strong Redundancy are:

  • saving time,
  • replicating data, and
  • ensuring continuity even when one or more of the products goes offline.

As more content is moving into the cloud and people are increasing their dependence on access to the information that is stored within web services, having Redundancy, a backup, an alternate storage, an alternate means of accessing the data, is critical to maintaining continuity and stability. Products that facilitate Redundancy empower their users, and demonstrate trust in, and service of, the consumer over antiquated concepts of protection and restriction, even of the content that that very user has created.

Redundancy can be found on the user-facing side or just under the surface, e.g. using multiple data clouds to store data. One such scenario could be, over the course of storing content, a product could choose to not just store the content locally, but to also, Redundantly, store that content within two additional data cloud products, Amazon’s S3 and Rackspace’s Cloud, retrieving that information from whichever service is immediately available, providing the user with a more reliable service.

The Redundancy variable is assigned the value of 0 or…

  • 0.5 if a single external product can be (or is being) used to replicate some of the primary functionality and/or content (e.g. status updates sent to both Twitter and Jaiku), or
  • 1 if multiple external products can be (or are being) used to replicate functionality and/or content throughout all the primary functionality and interaction points of the product (e.g. everything from status updates to pictures to messages to data storage).


Over the next several weeks I will be providing real-world examples of Redundancy values…

Comprehensive Redundancy (value 1) []
Partial Redundancy (value 0.5) [Picnik]
Non-existent Redundancy (value 0) [Backupify]

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring the Interoperability and Redundancy of Quick-MI, the quick and easy method of generating quantifiable and comparable metrics representing the understanding of the overall Modular Innovation of a product, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy, Discuss & Tweet!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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