My feeds

Monday, August 25, 2008

Article Published

Hi guys
Our article has been published on real, a weekely email newsletter on innovation read by managers & business professionals in top corporations around the world.
Link to the article is:

Keep reading & post your comments or articles


Monday, August 18, 2008

Solving Problems, Discovering & Selling Ideas Using Pictures

The Back Of the Napkin

Excellent book for learning how to Solve problems, discover & Sell Ideas using Pictures

They Say a Picture is worth Thousand words. After reading this book(The Back of the Napkin- by Dan Roam), I truly believe a picture is worth thousand words and should be extensively used in corporate boardrooms for explaining everything instead of those boring bulleted power point presentations.
The book gives a methodology regarding how we can solve problems, discover new ideas & sell these using just pictures.
To give you a Jist of the book, the book starts with describing four steps of visual thinking process which are LOOK, SEE, IMAGINE & SHOW.
LOOK means collecting & screening of Information, SEEING means analyzing the information, IMAGINING means imagining ways in which information/ideas to be shared can be, SHOW means displaying the information.
Inorder to analyze/solve the problem efficiently, The author has given Important tool- the 6W's of seeing which include Who/what, How much, Where, when, how & why. Using this tool one looks at any problem from WHO/WHAT, HOW, WHEN, HOW MUCH, WHERE & WHY angle and thus can solve any problem.The author has given examples of how to use this tool efficiently using pictures.
After look & see section, the next section is Imagine which includes one more tool, SQVID which stands for Simplicity, Quality, Visual, Individual & Delta. With the help of this tool one learns to imagine ways to represent ideas depending upon the Target audience he/she is dealing with. This tool works as a graphic equalizer to help visually displaying ideas based on TG which may be number crunchers MBA's or imaginative designers.
But whenever one is solving problem or giving Idea, how much detail pictures should be used and whether they should be give qualitative or quantitative information. Well Combining both tools mentioned above the author gives a codex which helps to know what kind of pictures to select and what is the nature of information to be shown using pictures (Simple/elaborate, Qualitative/Quantitative, Vision/Execution, etc)
In the last section, the author informs about selling ideas using pictures.
By solving real life business problem and dozens of example along with which pictures to be used, this is an excellent book for managers as well as designers who wants to Simplify the whole process of solving problems, discovering & selling Ideas using Pictures.

Till next time

Keep Imagining


image source:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Connect with people,Seek Insight, Always Innovate

Ok everybody,
I got this photo of a book cover published by Elephant Design. Interesting points mentioned there:

Connect with people
Seek insight
Always innovate

I guess these three lines sums it up all when one needs to innovate.

Connect with people: Business should connect with people. One of the ways to do that is Co-Creating. Manish made an Interesting point in the last article which mentions Co-Creation with customers. I guess companies connecting with people and involving them into the pdt./service developing processes have a distinct advantage of not only knowing what customers want but also generating sense of loyalty from customers and developing trust. Intangibles like Trust, Loyalty, admire, etc., are the only things left which are helping companies charge extra premium for their product/services without consumers sulking. Eg: Starbucks charges around $4 for a normal cup of coffee but consumers are mad about Starbucks cause it is able to connect with its consumers who ultimately turn into PR agents propoganding about brand.
Within Indian consumers how many companies/brands/products do we really connect with and are willing to pay extra for them. Are we extreme loyal to any company/brand/product.
I guess there is a huge opportunity for Indian companies to connect with people and create extraordinary products which consumers feel attached to.
The other thing is about CEO....i m not sure, but do we have CEO's connecting with people, like Richard Branson does.........I was watching Bosses day out and head of Dabur, Amit burman during the show hopped on to a bike as a pillion out of his luxury car & went to a distributor in a busy market area. I guess more CEO's needs to be willing to get his/her hands dirty and connect with real people.

SEEK INSIGHT: The other step in path to innovation is one's ability to Seek Insight. Companies, I guess are too much focused on quantitative studies but I guess there has to be an element of qualitative aspect involved. Studies like behavioral patterns, Influencers, psychological mindset, etc should be there. Seeking Insight as to what students expects from educational institutes, what do shopper's do when they enter mall(guys at Pantaloons have already cracked this and have created a business), why do we have a congestion on roads, etc. In today's scenario whichever company is able to get insight and convert it into business model creates a new market & expands.

Always Innovate : We cannot argue that companies cannot survive just by fixing what they have created but have to keep on creating something every now and then. Innovation is not easy but I guess the above points can ease the process & make it enjoyable too.

So till next time
Keep Innovating

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Outside Innovation - Best Mantra for Innovation

“Creating a customer” is the sole purpose of any business that exists globally. Customer and technology are evolving fast and companies are facing an environment of accelerated consolidation in current competitive landscape. Given, rising customer expectation, high pace of innovation, and emergence of new business models, main challenge for companies is strengthening their core business while rapidly scaling their new growth platforms, and developing new operational and organizational strengths for future success. The battle to stay alive in the attention of customers is becoming brutal with every passing day. In this process of evolution, companies need to assess what elements of their current offering need to strengthen and which need to depart. Their have been several ways but the latest addition to it is “Outside Innovation”; a book by Patricia Seybold, who defines outside Innovation as the process of co-designing with involvement of customer.

Though innovation has been always customer centric but today it is “Customer-Made” as well.

Today companies are leaving the whole idea of innovating there businesses to customer directly. Companies are looking forward to create Customer –centric culture that leads to Customer-Led innovation, Customer –Experience transformation and most importantly Customer prioritized Business/IT roadmaps, explains Patricia in her book. So, for instance the Harley Davidson example given below in an article on this blog is an example of Customer – Experience Transformation. The example shows how company is using customer liking of visiting museums to understand their liking and behaviour.

The Indian example of mobile banking is another good example where a bank is involving customer s in an area to define a new business road map for them. If the model of mobile banking tried by EKO India financial services succeeds with their smaller test group, they can then implement it nationally else drop it.

Retail industry is one of the booming industries in India and driving a lot on innovation driven by customer. Retail industry especially Pantaloon retail India Limited effectively benefits by understanding roles taken by customer. Pantaloon is testing a prototype of a convenience store called Big Bazaar Best Deals in Mumbai’s Kandivali suburb. If the pilot programme succeeds, it plans to open such stores nationwide. The store is based on customer insight that ‘people run for best deals’ available in stores. Thus the store will offer only best deals to the customers. If they effectively play around with five customer roles defined by Patricia Seybold in her book then the store can really succeed in very short span.

The idea is to engage so well with lead customers i.e. those who shop at the store that they become ‘Consultants’ to the store, ‘Guide’ people to benefit most from the store and thus act as ‘Contributor’ to sales and work as ‘Promoter’ of the store. Retailers have now started engaging with lead customers and they even reward them for providing these insights.

The diagram, by Patricia in her book, below defines exactly where to capture customer insights in the whole process of customer innovation.

The idea of Co-creation with customers has been very effectively used by internet websites and open source softwares. A classic example is Mozilla Fire fox which keeps updating their product with the help of plugins and add ons designed not only by customer feedback but designed by customer themselves.

There are many such success stories and the scope of creating such success stories is infinite; if Indian companies work with customers they can definitely succeed in this highly competitive environment with very dynamic Indian customer.