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Monday, September 29, 2008

YOUR VIEWS MATTER - But Mode to Express Them Also Matter

Alright everybody - this is a picture of a feedback collection box that I saw near Spencer's. We all have seen lots of similar boxes kept  at various places in offices, retail stores, colleges (ya mine had that!!)...

These could be of different names....Some call it Feedback boxes, Idea boxes, Suggestion boxes, etc, but the sole purpose of all these is to get a response from  people (consumer, employee, etc).

 OK we are in democratic country and everyone can  express & must express themselves.                  But I wonder how many of us really do give feedback or have dropped our suggestions, feedbacks, ideas in these boxes even if we want to.

mmm.... Why is it....time constraint???

I think the problem lies in the fact that the way in which feedback is obtained seems to cumbersome (considering there are other lazy people like me). I mean even If I have to give a feedback, i find it way to cumbersome to write & drop.

So (Mr. LAZy what do you suggest)

I guess there has to be a technique through which

 1. People are excited to give feedback

2. People are given Incentives for their feedback

3. Others can comment on their feedback & discuss


(let me scratch my head more...)

4. People can actually see how their feedback are being actually taken by companies & implemented 


Some of the Innovation in feedback channel that have clicked are Starbucks, IBM JAM’s.

I am not saying that websites are the only channel through which people like to give feedback but can we take the same convenience & fun of that channel & implement in normal real life scenario.

Consider this Everybody likes to be heard & often suggestions are free which you & your company can take & improve at the same time making the person who gave suggestions feel great thus improving morale, trust , loyalty!!.

 Till Next time

Take care

Express Yourself



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sub- Prime & Mortgage bonds: What went wrong with these Innovative Instruments ??

Bear sterns, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers &  AIG just being saved from going bankrupt.

Why is it so and why there is so much news about Sub Prime crisis for couple of months now.

Well to start with I decided to understand from the very basic of what is causing trouble to America & World’s financial sector.


Sub prime crisis is related to home loan default. Well to start with, let’s see how a person got a loan in America previously. As you can see from the diagram below, the Bank after doing Home & income check used to assign loan to borrower. The borrower used to repay in installments. The banks used to finance other lending through repayments & deposits they got from borrowers.


Now the problem with this model was that Loans were given to people who had relatively good credit record and strong documentation of Income. The other thing was that the banks were also not able to provide loans to new borrowers as they used deposits from its existing customers to give fresh loans.


So we had two problems

- Loan given to people with strong creditworthiness

- Limited amount to finance new loans


In-order to address these issues some concepts were introduced:

1. Sub- prime loans

2. Mortgage Bond


Sub prime lending: It refers to lending to borrowers with not too strong credit histories and documentation of Income. These were the borrowers who were shunned away from Prime lenders like government sponsored Freddie Mac.


Mortgage Bonds: Now mortgage bonds were used as an instrument to raise money from bond market which was used by banks to finance loans to new borrowers.


 So what do we have here

 1st,  the problem of giving loans to only selected borrowers (those with good creditworthiness) was dealt by sub prime lending. This opened up a whole new market and brought in new customer group (those with relatively low creditworthiness- People at Bottom of pyramid if we can say).

  2nd, Now In order to fund loans for these new borrowers,  the mortgage bonds were used.  

 It seems that the banking industry had innovated with these instruments and added new customers to its portfolio. 

 The wave of sub prime loans was so high that for many years cities like Cleveland was termed as Sub prime capital of America. By 2005 one in five mortgages were sub-prime. As a result housing prices across America increased rapidly.




The problem was increase in interest rates to be paid by borrowers on their loans taken.

According to the rule the new sub prime mortgages were fixed for 2 years and after that would become higher & dependent according to FED reserve rates.


The FED increased the interest rates(around 17 times) which raised the cost. As a result people were not able to pay which led to increase in foreclosures. There was a wave of repossessions by Banks acting on behalf of bond holders. This resulted in huge supply of houses due to which the housing prices dropped significantly.

As a result the related industries like White goods, Construction, etc saw a drop in demand. Overall which resulted in economy going into recession.


Now the Big question here is that no doubt Sub prime and mortgage bonds were innovative instruments which were successful in providing people who didn't had strong creditworthiness and stable income for a house, but is it because ecosystem in which they existed were not supporting them properly, led these innovative instruments of growth and prosperity  turn into instruments of destruction ??

 SO in short Is it that Innovation cannot happen as a standalone thing rather the ecosystem in which it happens should support it. 

You decide !!


Neeraj with Inputs from Rohan S.

(Image Source: BBC news,

Saturday, September 20, 2008

20 Irresistible Gadgets You would love to own


HI guys has a list of 20 irrestible Gadgets you would like to have.
From toaster printer(photo), Disc printer to Latte decorating machine. 

Check them at 

Imagination at its Best 



Monday, September 15, 2008

Post Its - Fundoo Stuff

FUNDOO STUFF- This is a new section where we will showcase video links, photos, etc regarding any creative stuff noticed .

hi there 
A colleague forwarded this video link of a Spectacular Sticky- Note Experiment. 
Check out what these guys have done with simple post its.

You Tube link

Hi defination Video on Vimeo



Innovative way to donate for a social cause

Hi Guys

A friend of mine suggested this great site
which is based on the concept of helping Victims of flood in Bihar. 

Now the site does not ask the user to donate money, Rather it has some questions which the user has to answer and for each correct answer a biscuit, candle or soap will be donated by partenering sponsor (godrej, Chevrolet,etc). 
The initiative is by Plan India- an organisation working 'With & for' children & communities.

Check out   for this unique concept. Ask people to be part of this social cause

For Information about Plan India



Friday, September 12, 2008

Context is Crucial

Ever wondered, why dish washers failed in India? And why top loading washing machines were suddenly popular in Punjab? The answer lies in the selection of context in either case. Dish washers don’t match Indian lifestyle. Middle class and lower middle class Indians will not like to spend on an expensive product which consumes lot of detergent and electricity.

Rich Indians can afford a home help who can do the cleaning for them. Thus the product doesn’t find a space in their life and hence failed. Where as use of washing machine to churn lassi and curd is an example of customer innovation where they discovered an equally appropriate context for the washing machine and hence triggered a new change. Now there are people in Punjab who sell the lassi making version of washing machine at a friction of its cost.

Introducing a product or service in an appropriate context is very crucial. Especially in India where there is so much diversity and change in customer behaviour moving from city to city one needs to set the context right. In the previous article where Neeraj is talking about free gifts being used to attract customers is another example of getting right context. There are few behavioural contexts around customer buying behaviour which have a direct impact on performance of a product or service in the market. Giving free gifts is capturing the human tendency to always look for an incentive whether it is ‘Sale’ or ‘Free gift’ or ‘20% extra’. But one has to be careful as the idea of ‘Free gift’ might entice a few customers and at the same time might put few others in doubt –“why are they giving a free gift? May be the product is not that good?” So a company needs to careful while contextualizing a particular target audience.
Few other phenomena are ‘Competition’, ‘Exclusivity’ or ‘Personalization’.

Onida TV’s marketing strategy capitalized on the feeling of competition in human beings; where as I-Pod succeeded because of exclusivity Inappropriate context is the reason why Kellogg’s breakfast products took more than a decade to find its way in to the Indian Kitchens and appropriate context helped Nokia mobile phone succeeded very rapidly. Another good example is of ‘Kaya’ chain of skin clinics which was not doing well when initially launched. The reason nehind their failure was that they started as a clinic for people with problem skin. If I will ask you how many around you have a problem skin or how many people consider they have a problem skin. Your answer will be 1 or 2 out of every hundred. Now when Kaya shifted there positioning from problem to “Enhanced skin”, that was when they succeeded and are now an asp rational experience amongst customers. With the idea of enhanced skin every person converted to their target audience where with problem skin it was merely 1-2 %. The reason why “Teach India” is successful because they Indianised “Teach for America” and same goes for ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ inspired from ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ But one should not forget the failure like ‘Kamjor kadi kaun’ inspired from ‘The Weakest Link’ and innumerable Bollywood films inspired from Hollywood movies.
All these examples show how versatile Indian market is and why lot of contextualization is required while making successful businesses in India. With booming economy the stage is all set for many companies to tap Indian potential but they need to understand the dynamic context of Indians and Indian mindset…

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Hi  Guys

Its been long since I have not posted anything. So what i was busy doing .Well just got my hands on SETH GODIN"S FREE PRIZE INSIDE.

To start with, this is based on Soft INNOVATION.


SOFT INNOVATION --- WHAT'S THAT (come on don’t throw another JARGON??)


Well if you look at Innovation people normally think innovation to be a process which includes huge planning, massive investment, huge R&D efforts to find that unique IDEA that your competitors cannot even dream of……………


Well One thing is that in this fast (& i really mean fast) changing world, do we the time to invest, if not billion but millions  into ideas, have years of R&D efforts & still not sure about the probability of getting success. Don’t get me wrong---- companies like heavy engineering, IT, etc employing great scientists & professionals do need that kind of effort for national prosperity but other companies specially those which are in service can they innovate FAST & with little money to spend.


WELL, they can do that by giving FREE PRIZES as mentioned by SETH GODIN in this book.

Free Prize according to book refers to thing which makes the product remarkable & induces the customers to buy your product. Why do you think calcium Sandoz comes in bottle that looks like dog, why do u think kellogs has choclate cornflakes in shapes of PLANET & STARS

or even better why do you think Mc.D happy meal offers toys. The reason is that these soft innovation make these products remarkable, they induce their Target customers to buy them and more importantly they make these products stand out from rest & create a buzz.

The book discusses that we should make efforts to make our products, services, our careers remarkable by offering many of these free prizes.

The book also has sections on how to SELL your Ideas & has tricks that can be used that can be used to sell the ideas. After all many people may have great ideas but normally when they tell these to their managers they are turned down and thus the whole creativity goes down the drain and the individual looses hope.

The book also has a motivational element to it by forcing the reader to take initiatives.


Book also give some Ideas on creating these free prizes.


Overall enjoyed reading this book. Teaches you a lot and takes a different perspective on Innovation which is worth noticing.


Till next time

Post in how you are making your Job, product, service or Yourself Remarkable



(image source: