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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Asking Why?

Hi guys    

Now one of the attributes noticed in Innovators seems be their ability to challenge the current mindsets to bring about a change. Their ability to question Why something exist or not exist helps them provide answers with new & better solutions.

I got this 4 page brochure of Lenovo ThinkPad describing the evolution of  Think pad over the years with one thing in common, the makers ability to ask WHY constantly inorder to come up with new solutions.

So the company asked:

1.    1.   Why Design a computer like a computer(bulky & boxy)? So engineers gave the solution in terms of a laptop being able to fit in office drawers.



2.    2.   Why Put a computer to sleep when the lights go off? And the solution that came was Thinklight--an LED on top of screen.

3.    3.  Why should the mouse stay away from the keyboard?? And the solution was the red button allowing users to move the cursor without removing fingers from keyboard.

4.    4.   Why should the keyboard shrink with the Monitor? And the solution was a butterfly keyboard split into two blocks that expanded into a comfortable full sized keyboard when laptop was opened.

5.   5.  Why should a notebook shed its features when it sheds its weight? The result is a thin laptop having all the necessary features.



So what’s the moral of story

Ask questions to create & change

Neeraj 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Solving Problems Visually

Hi Everybody 

Recently we mentioned about the book THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN (article below) which is based on the concept of using pictures to solve any type of problem.

If you look,it is easy to interpret & understand visuals as compared to reading. Think of it like this way, if you are able to present problems Visually, not only it helps in bringing clarity & deriving at possible solutions, but it also makes your audience understand & participate better. 

Now I got this video of the author of the book explaining how to solve problems using pictures while he was at Google. Have a look. The video is followed by another video showcasing reasons behind sub prime crisis using pictures. 

First video is about 55 mins and video after that is around  6 mins.


Have a look.









Neeraj  

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Money Kumar & the Monetary Policy


Hi Everybody 

It has been noted that studying subjects like Maths, Economics, etc is difficult. 
Sometimes it tends to becomes boring for students & difficult for teachers to teach such subjects.

Now how to make subjects like these interesting. 


Rajas, gave me this comics explaining concept of Monetary policy in a fun & simple way. 
The comics was published by RBI (in Nov 07) and educates the reader about interest rates, inflation, etc.

In one of the articles I wrote about 'ONCE UPON A SCHOOL' concept which  focused on user(student) needs and made school a fun & learning experience. 

Check out how RBI has explained concept of monetary policy in fun & simple way.


Link 

Thanks to Rajas


Neeraj 
Source: www.rbi.org.in/financialeducation/Basic.aspx






Friday, October 17, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?

SAT: 18 OCT

Hi Everybody

A friend of mine told me about the concept of WHERE THE HELL IS MATT.
Now what it is. 

Matt is a 32 year old guy from Connecticut who goes around the world dancing in his particular style with people joining him.
It goes like this Matt travels, dances badly, people joins, video is uploaded on You tube.The videos have become Internet Phenomenan with millions of Hits(over 30 million!!). Talk about brining people together, presenting in unique way, having fun at the same time travelling all around the globe. 

The main thing I noticed is that people no matter of which country wants to come along and be a part of something in which they feel togetherness and happiness. Big learning for brands/companies is that if they can  provide these basic traits to their customers, they can be most loved company. Any company able to do that. Eg: VIRGIN

Below are two videos 
1.The dancing Video

2.Matt explaining the concept(watch his presentation with lots of drawings
similar concept i disscussed recently of The back of Napkin book)













Site:
http://www.wherethehellismatt.com

Check it out & dance

Neeraj

Source: WherethehellisMatt.com, youtube.com

Green Businesses

Hi Everybody

Last Week i wrote about Shai Aggassi's effort to solve oil & energy problems through his electric car initiatives. Last issue of Time magazine came out with an article titled Heroes of Environment. The article focused on people(like Arnold Schwarzenegger44) who are making efforts to protect the environment by introducing new concepts, legislations, products, services, etc. 

Presently if we look at saving the environment is regarded as a social responsibility by many organizations and are included as part of their CSR(corporate Social responsibility) activity.

 Now it is an issue of debate whether organizations currently are genuinely interested in environment protection or  are forced to do so due to image building exercise for their enterprise.

The current IBM Global CEO study (check article on IBM report in this blog below) mentions that the enterprises of future will genuinely be interested in CSR projects rather being forced to do so.

But what about present scenario. Can Caring for environment make business sense to and provide good returns to environment, society, people and companies involved.

 

Well In this article I thought of compiling concepts which are trying to focus on preserving the environment while producing Green products/services at the same time are able to make business sense too.

So lets start of our engines!! (running on bio fuel)

 

1.       Ecover(Eco friendly washing powder) : Belgian Company Ecover is manufacturing environment friendly washing powder made of natural plant & minerals ingredients. The product also comes in a recyclable bags. Last year the company generated $15 mn in pre tax profit.

      

 

2.       Electric Sports Car!!!- Tesla Roadster, 2008 Tesla Motors electric sports car is already sold out (having price tag of $98000) & currently reservations are on 2009 model.



3. Bahrain World Trade Center : It is the world's first commercial building to incorporate large scale Wind Turbines. The Turbines generate approximately 11-15% of its energy needs.




4. Can companies be asked to pay for preservation of rainforest : Bharrat Jagdeo, president of Guyana is offering an innovative option to public & private organizations by offering countries entire rain forest as a commodity to be preserved against a fee. The organizations inturn would benefit from carbon credits obtained, ecotourism & pharmaceuticals discoveries which will provide them return on Investment. An Innovative Solution indeed.  

5. Velib : The widely reported Paris' famous bicycle renting scheme is one unique business model started by Jean francois & Jean-Charles Decaux. Launched in July 2007, today the bicycles have become a mainstream & green form of public transportation in Paris. More than 2,00,000 Parisians have taken one year subscription ($40) and in a poll in May, 94% of Velib users said they were satisfied with the service.

 

The examples listed above shows that being environmentally responsible can also makes business sense. I noted that concept of Design Thinking is playing its role here as consciously or unconsciously these companies are using its philosophy of being User focused and solving his/her problem while generating environment friendly concepts & thus trying make business sense also.

Like we have seen Companies doing their bit for the environment. On a personal level, can we do something. Manish send me this handout which talks about what each individual can do for the environment. Check it out.

 

 

 Go Green

 

Neeraj  

Source: Time magazine, Trendwatching, Corbis

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hate Something, Change Something

Hi guys

I got this Video of Honda.

Talks about One to Hate something inorder to change something. Now I was thinking, the same philosophy could be used for innovating.

I think hate inspires one to bring a change and thus Innovate. As given in the video the noise and pollution made by diesel engine was hated and this gave inspiration to bring a change. Similarly the noise of gensets was hated and may be that’s why we have today Zero noise making diesel gensets.

  

video

Take a look

Hate Something, Change Something.

 

Enjoy

Neeraj

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Communicating Using Visuals

Hi guys
It has been generally noticed that Communicating using visuals helps in easy and quick understanding. Visuals are quickly noticed and comprehended.
A friend of mine recommended this site which provides information regarding  which cocktail to drink depending upon one's preference. It lists out various drinks as well as type of glasses to be used alongwith recepies Visually. 






Check it out


enjoy

Neeraj
   

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What is Creativity??

Hi guys 

now What is Creativity???
got this video from you tube. Have a look Inorder to find out





Neeraj 

  

Secrets of Success

Hi Everybody,

I got this video from TED which talks about  8 secrets to success.
Have a look at it & keep beleiving.


 
video


Neeraj 




Monday, October 13, 2008

Are they examples of Cross Pollination??

Hi there 

Well, One of the elements of design thinking is Cross pollination, which aims at drawing connections between seemingly unrelated objects to create new. 
My brother recommended this site which contains objects created using different stuff. May be the objective was to solve/ ease customers problems or just to have fun and explore the possibilities of how totally different things can be used to create new stuff.


Have a look 




more at 


Enjoy 

Neeraj 

Do you know how to Change

In the last article I wrote about IBM's report on enterprise of future. One of the point that was mentioned is that Organizations of future will be more flexible & will be more adaptable to change frequently.

Now keeping this point in mind I wanted to know what percentage of companies presently are good at changing.

In a recent survey(July 2008) by Mckinsey Quarterly of executives around the world, only a third said  that their organizations succeeded in transformation activities!!

So what we are seeing is that Change is important FOR companies and ability to change as well as managing change will be important in the upcoming years.

  

But the question still remains: How to Change succuessfully.....

I got this book...Change Management by V.Nilakant & S. Ramnarayan.

The book highlights that Change is all about Altering the mindsets of people. 

The book provides a new model for organizational change & lists four tasks that are crucial for success of any change initiative.

   The four tasks of change as described by authors that companies can utilize to change effectively are:

1. Appreciating Change

2. Mobilizing support

3. Executing Change

4. Building Change Capability

 

Appreciating Change: This step  is useful for planning for change. It aims at understanding the present mindsets of people within the organization. Appreciating change involves making people(stakeholders) mentally ready to change. It involves describing why one needs to change, consequences of changing & not changing and what are the options one has for undertaking change in the organization.

 Very often it has been noticed that change efforts are not successfully carried out, one of the main problems noticed is that there is too much resistance within the organization. So therefore it is advisable that managers should understand the mindsets of employees and other stakeholders and make efforts to make them ready for change so that they will appreciate change.

 

Mobilizing Support: After the people are mentally ready for change/innovative programs, the next step is to mobilize support for change. It has been noticed that change efforts are not successful because people do not support the change efforts. It has been mentioned that in large organizations one can expect 20% of people enthusiastic about change, another 20% are opposed to change & rest are indifferent. Now in such a scenario what should managers do in order to gather support for change. The authors have listed some issues, lessons & techniques along with relevant case studies which managers can utilize for gathering support for change.

 

Executing Change : It is very important that resources are made available for change/implementation of Innovative programs within the organization. This step deals with creating & putting structures in place for change to happen. Even if the above mentioned tasks are carefully thought through, it has been mentioned that execution task can pose various hurdles in change efforts of the organization. The authors lists that managers need to decide the type of change they wish to bring into the organization which will lead to how the change is to be executed (style of change) and also whether to have a ready made change program or design their own.

 

Building Change Capability: It has been mentioned that in order to successfully implement change efforts, people needs to be infused with certain qualities which will improve their capability for changing the organization successfully. The authors have listed three qualities which are Self Efficacy (people having the confidence in their ability to achieve challenging goals), Focus (clarity of goals to be attained among people), & energy (employees should be energized & fueled by personal commitment to change).

 

In addition to phases mentioned above, the authors support the above mentioned points with the roles that senior management & leaders needs to play in each of the phase  while initiating & implementing change.

Overall though it is difficult to change but organizations today & in future will have no choice but to change rapidly & be successful in implementing innovative efforts or perish.


Neeraj

 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Enterprise of the Future


Hi Everybody

A friend of mine gave me the recent report published by IBM on  THE ENTERPRISE OF THE FUTURE. The report is based on the survey done by IBM with more than 1000 CEO's & public Sector leaders worldwide. The survey was conducted by IBM teams, having face to face & telephonic conversations on how they think the enterprise of future will be. Here's a brief summary of the report

The report highlights five major points that are traits of tomorrow’s enterprises:

1. Hungry for change

2. Innovative beyond customer's imagination

3. Globally Integrated

4. Disruptive by Nature

5. Genuine, not just Generous

 

1. Hungry for change: the report highlights that the enterprises will be changing rapidly. Ability to change as well as change management will be the two ideal traits of organizations. Market Factors, people skills & technology will be the key factors forcing organizations to change. Inorder to change, the companies need to accept change as a state of being, hire & reward innovators who will be change agents, transform change programs for key business outcomes & have to operate like a Venture Capitalist.

Example of ABB is given as a case study

 

2. Innovative beyond customer's Imagination: The ever increasing knowledgeable consumers can be seen as Threat and opportunity as well. Many CEO's consider it as an opportunity to serve these informed & collaborative customers. Outperforming Companies are investing more to serve these sophisticated consumers inorder to delight them. Companies are Innovating by making their offering more relevant to new markets, connecting their resources to customer & having deep relationship with them & using technology to anticipate change faster than competition.(eg: Virtual World to gain insight & faster feedback)

Example of Nintendo is given as a case study.

 

3. Globally Integrated: The enterprises in the Future will be Globally Integrated with each other. Companies are also changing their business designs to facilitate faster & more extensive collaboration. The report highlights that Global integration will also be through mergers & acquisitions.

Example of Li & Fung Limited is given as a case study.

 

4. Disruptive by Nature: Report mentions that most CEO's are embarking on extensive business model innovation. The Outperforming companies are going one step ahead and pursuing Disruptive business model innovations. The report mentions that CEO's are largely focussing on business/enterprise model innovation with next focus on revenue model innovation followed by multiple types & industry model innovation. The enterprise of future will think like an outsider and will challenge every assumption about its business model, It will draw breakthrough Ideas from other industries, empower entrepreneurs, experiment creatively in market & not just in lab and will manage today's business while experimenting with tomorrow’s model.

Example: The case study of Eli Lilly and Company is given

 

5. Genuine, not just Generous: Report mentions that CSR activities are taking considerable amount of CEO's time as they affect companies image at the same time impact today's eco friendly consumer's purchase decision. Report also highlights that companies are viewing CSR initiatives as an opportunity to differentiate their company from others. Companies are increasing their investments in CSR initiatives and will gradually involve NGO's & other groups. So instead of being forced to do CSR activities, companies will genuinely be interested in taking these projects which will make world a better place at the same time make business sense.

Example of Marks & Spencer is given as a case study.

 

The IBM report throws interesting points about describing how the enterprises of Future will be. As pointed out Innovation, User & Environment focused will be the key focus areas of Enterprises of Future. 

 

Think About it

Neeraj

Image Source: IBM.com

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Start Paying salary to your Boss!!!!


Just a thought came to my mind. Why the employer has to pay employee??

I mean can there be a model wherein instead of employer paying the employee, the employee pays to employer.

(Man this guy is totally nuts!!)

It works like this : The employer will be providing a pool of resources from which the employee will decide what to choose. If you look at it, this model can be a extension of present  focus of companies which are trying to infuse an element of entrepreneurability in employees and acting like resource providers.

The only difference is that instead of being paid by employer, the employee has to pay him (out of profit generated) for using resources.

(But we dont generate profit instantly???)

Well the intricacies of this model can be worked out but lets see what are the benefits.

  The benefit:

For Employer : Minimum wastage of Time & energy.

                             No need for HR function- only highly enthusiastic people will apply

                             Will act as resource provider

                            Will play a role of connecting other enthusiasts

              

For Employee: Chance to meet with other enthusiasts

                            No red tapism & bureaucracy

                            Fast learning

 

For Nation:  Productivity very high

                       Minimum Wastage

                       Innovative products & services generated

 

Think about it.

 

Neeraj 

image Source: (cartoonstock.com)


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Design Thinking- Solving today's biggest problem


Hi Everybody

The philosophy of Design Thinking involves focusing on User's problem & finding innovative answers to solve them.

Oil is one of the biggest problem that nations face today. Both its usage & limited availability create problems (Global warming & only reliable source for energy).

Siddharth (former Classmate) informed me about Betterplace.com- An Innovative venture that aims to reduce global dependency on Oil through creation of a transportation model that supports use of electric vehicles. Launched in October 1997, the Venture involves developing an Infrastructure which will support use of electric vehicles as a personal transportation alternative. A perfect example of design thinking, the venture's Objective is to reduce the global dependence on Oil and aims to replace Cars having Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) with battery powered Vehicles.

Battery Powered Vehicles : Can they run for more than 200 miles?

                                          Once I run out of battery than what?

                                          Aren't they expensive?

                                          Do they have enough power?   

Better Place will work like this: The consumer purchases an electric car that comes with a battery that can be replaced/swapped easily. In order to recharge, the consumer will go to any of the Recharge Stations where they can get the recharge (supplied by Electric Recharge Grid) or swap the battery with another one(the company owns the batteries). The business model is similar to that of wireless network operators in mobile phone business. The phone is being replaced by Electric Car, the recharge/battery is similar to the airtime you pay as per usage at the end of the month (you get a bill similar to the mobile bill) & Electric Recharge Grid is similar to network towers put in place to ensure connectivity at all times.,

But do we have people taking notice of this Venture and what's the benefit.

The company has tied up with Renault and two countries (ISRAEL & DENMARK) have partnered for this venture. Right now the company is developing infrastructure for Electric recharge grid in these countries.

The benefit:

For User: Cost of Car Usage goes down Significantly

For Government: Less Dependence on Oil hence significantly lower costs.

For Planet: Less Greenhouse gases & thus less global warming

 

Started by Shai Agassi (formerly President of Products & Technology group -SAP AG) this venture is a perfect example of solving problems and providing benefit to all (people, government, planet) with the help of Design Thinking. Better Place also sets an appropriate example for implementation as Shai also helped the Israeli government to set the regulations that enforce these changes. It is said that the policies and regulations were designed so well that most countries want to learn and emulate them.

For more Information on the Venture Check Out  http://www.betterplace.com/  & Shai Aggasi’s Blog  http://shaiagassi.typepad.com/ you can also search for videos on youtube.com

 

Siddharth & Neeraj

(Image Source: Betterplace.com )