Reinventing the Wheel

As an engineer by training, I have got reuse drummed into my head. In the world of engineering, one is always discouraged from re-inventing the wheel as it is something that has already matured. The main argument for it is both technical and business.

From a technical view, a wheel is already a well established technology or what we term as mature technology. Its characteristics are well understood by everyone and its use is common place. From a business sense, re-inventing something that is already there will incur unnecessary costs and will blow up any business budget. There are rare exceptions when a wheel needs to be re-invented but those are rare by definition.

So, it comes as something really odd to me when I see an entire organisation that seems to be devoted to re-inventing the wheel and calling it our wheel. I blame this on the kampung mentality that encourages us to strive for being kampung champions. In the end, it is still only a wheel. It may be coloured red, white, blue and yellow, but it is still only a wheel.

If we wish to compete on a global stage, we would need to move fast – more so in the technology arena. That is why people rarely re-invent the wheel. The capital outflow cannot be justified. Unless of course, you are not in the business of making a profit of course.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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