modular innovation

Partial Picnik

Understanding online relationships can begin with a closer look at Modular Innovation & Redundancy. A good example of Partial Redundancy is Picnik.

web1_thumb25As 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.

Quick-MI provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s Modular Innovation (MI). Among the various components that define a product’s Interoperability, as well as Quick-MI’s, are Sharability, Flexibility, Portability, Convenience, and Interoperability.

In understanding the characteristic of Interoperability the sub-category, or variable, of Redundancy plays an instrumental role. Redundancy is …

  • the ability, provided by the product, whereby external products are leveraged to provide replication of functionality and/or content, and
  • one of the many characteristics and features of Modular Innovation increasingly central to today’s successful and emerging products.

Example: Partial Redundancy (value = 0.5)

Picnik is self-described…

"…photo editing awesomeness, online, in your browser. It’s the easiest way on the Web to fix underexposed photos, remove red-eye, or apply effects to your photos."

This product is an online web service that allows for the editing of photos, online images, and web screenshots — captured through Picnik’s various toolbars and plugins.


In addition to the ability to easily import content from a wide variety of sources, including Flickr, Picasa, local computer, MySpace, and Facebook…


… Picnik provides for Redundant storage and distribution of the user’s saved content, the ability to save being a primary feature of Picnik, earning it a Modular Innovation Interoperability Redundancy variable value of 0.5, Partial Redundancy.


While not every aspect of Picnik is Redundant, it does provide for the redundancy of storage as well as distributing the risk of loss of user content. You have the choice to store the images locally (within the product or on your computer) or through any of a variety of third party products.


With this level of Redundancy, should the Picnik service go down, either temporarily or permanently, or should one of the storage options falter, the content will still be accessible via one of the enabled third party providers.

For example, this captured screenshot…


… can be edited, saved, and then re-accessed by any of the user’s enabled storage methods …






Should Do

The Picnik product’s Redundancy can be improved by providing…

  • automatic saving and distribution — when a image is imported, updated, or captured, it should allow for the un-prompted, automatic saving to all connected storage locations
  • API(s) to allow other products to leverage part or all of the Picnik functionality — thereby enabling third parties to bolster the Redundancy of the product’s core and further extend it
  • options for editing of photos / images by other online editing tools within the Picnik environment
  • access for users to plugin additional editing options / features from other parties — encouraging Redundancy of functionality and content within, and facilitated by, the Picnik product / platform


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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