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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Learning from being a DJ

Hi Everyone,

Just started a small course in learning how to be a DJ.

It’s been a while since I first started listening to Trance, house & other similar kind of music.

While playing at the class, a thought came to my mind……what can managers learn from a DJ?

Have made couple of observations on what we can learn from a DJ:

1. Always look from your audience perspective - Great DJs seem to be masters in knowing what kind of audience they are facing & what type of music they will prefer (although the audience may not be able to express what they want). Great DJs s seems to know that it may not be what they like but what music their audience prefers that matters. They always seem to think in terms of what their audience want & seem to use their talent to play accordingly. (Lesson to be learnt- Understand latent needs of your customer & mould your capabilities in offering the same).

2. Give your audience a reason- A reason to party, a reason to come together & meet friends, a reason to listen to good music & leave worries. (Lesson to be learnt- what reason you are giving your customer to pick your product/service)

3. Being a Performer- I have noticed that great DJ's don't just play music but they perform . Also, they seem to become part of their audience. (Lesson to be learnt- How can your Target audience may welcome you/your product to be a part of their lifestyle, what type of emotional elements you need to infuse in your brand/product/service to be welcomed by your target group into their lives).

4. Another point I have noticed is that after every event the audience feels ecstatic & also asks that the DJ should carry on playing for hours. (lesson to be learnt-How can your product/service generate that kind happiness among its Target Audience in a way that they ask more of your product/service. Imagine customer happiness leading to Pull sales which means no advertising effort required)

5. Having Followers & building a community- Great Dj’s have huge number of followers who many times promote their events, albums, etc. They set up platform where Fans form communities linking like minded people & giving them a purpose to enjoy & educate about great music. (Lesson to be learnt- Is your brand/product/service having followers who buy, adore & promote your brand/product/service without being asked for. Are you giving them a purpose that they can relate to & start a movement)

6. And just one more point -they always seems to experiment, Innovate & thus Create.

Think about it while enjoying some great music.



Photo Source: Taken by my friend Girish

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cross Pollinators

Hi everybody

One of the key skills of design thinkers is to Cross Pollinate/ draw insights from various disciplines & comeup with Innovative ideas. Ideo calls its people to be T shaped people, who enjoy a breadth of knowledge in many fields but also have depth in atleast one area of expertise. One of the benefits what I have felt working with these kind of people is that they seem to look at a problem from various perpectives at the same time draw insights from various unrelated fields. They think in metaphors & see relationships across disciplines.
Janine Benyus recently gave a talk at TED Global about Biomimicry in action by highlighting various examples about what we can learn from nature in solving design problems.

Have a look at this amazing talk.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hate Something...Think Different....Change something

Think Different- That's what all of them in the picture above did & were featured in the Apple's famous campaign. What difference does it make when you think different? I guess the only difference is that you will in your own way change the world by contributing something.

From Tata nano to the Supply chain model of Dabbawalla all of them have thought differently & thus are recognized globally.

But from where does the Inspiration to think differently comes from. I guess it comes from a Purpose & from where does the purpose comes from. Your purpose may come from when you Hate something so bad that it becomes your purpose to change something.

Have a look at the following ad of Honda talking about the same philosophy of Hating something & changing something.

Many companies are trying to make a change by thinking Different. D light is a solar powered lighting company that came out of Stanford D School. The company adopts design thinking philosophy & has the purpose of providing light for 100 million products by 2020. The company operates in India, China & East Africa.

Dr. Venkataswamy had a purpose to eliminate needless blindness & thus he set up Aravind which today is the largest & most productive eye care facility in the world. Have a look at his story. Also note how he drew example from Mc Donald's & wanted to set up franchisee based system for eye hospital (Cross Disciplinary learning- one of the key skills of a Design Thinker).

TV commercials by Idea Mobile (cellular service in India) also talks about thinking different & briniging a change. check out the following commercial highlighting the power of Mobile telephony to address the socially relevant theme of education in India & how we can teach more students with the same number of teachers available.

Recently Michael Pritchard gave a talk at TED GLOBAL about his Lifesaver filter which he created with a purpose of providing filthy water drinkable to everyone, anytime, anywhere. Have a look at his talk in which he highlight that by having a purpose & thinking different he was able to create lifesaver filter. Have a look.

So in short Hate something, have a Purpose, Think Different & Change something




Sunday, August 2, 2009

Empathy & being User Centric

Hi all

Below is a diagram featuring two kinds of business systems. Have a look and before reading any further determine which kind of system you prefer.

Ok... the first system starts from the User- his/her needs, desires, emotions, wants being converted into products/services& business created around it. In the second, the business assess its capability, produces something & then finds a way to fit into users life.

In the first system, the focus is always the User & the objective of business is to find his/her latent need which can be fulfilled. The approach of this kind of system is being EMPATHETIC. Each & every employee in this system is empathetic towards the needs & wants of user.

The second system starts with the focus on Business capabilities giving rise to products & then it start looking for a consumer. The approach followed here is to hard sell to POTENTIAL user.

The first one based on Empathetic approach leads to discovery of Insights which provide new Ideas leading to Products which users actually want & Love.

The second one demands higher marketing costs which inturn increases product/service costs being offered without the guarantee that user will buy it.

DUDE enough of Management Fundas....come to the point ...

Ok….Be EMPATHETIC & User Centric… because it provides ideas for Innovation leading to success & what user wants.

An Eg:

Below is a photo of a restaurant near my place which is operated by Multinational Company. Most of the Sundays are like this with people waiting outside. I myself waited once for One & half hours to get in. Many people do not wait & after some time leave & the staff seems to not care because the place is already full.

By being Empathetic towards these potential customers (they want to have food from this place & enjoy the evening)...the restaurant can sure think of ideas wherein these customers can also be served.

Consider this from a business point of view, each time a person leaves after waiting for sometime, there is loss of a Potential sale.

So what Ideas can we think of……..

-How about making the whole situation in a fun way.....Give free drinks to people waiting for more than 15 minutes. (Show that their time is also Important & we care)

-How about Introducing a Sunday only Meet the stranger concept wherein strangers share a table so that no seat remains empty, making a way to optimize space problem at the same time connect with total strangers. Add some Ice breaker concepts.

- Delete all the non value added activities from the system.....take orders from those while they are waiting to remove ordering time while the person is in. Fasten the bill & taking money process.

- Acknowledge each waiting customer & thank them that they have come to their place & are waiting. A simple & sincere thanks can go a long way ensuring loyalty from customers.

- Give discounts on takeaway on Sunday so that people order for take away’s & don’t have to come at the store itself.

That’s It……..come on…u can think of some more ideas.

I believe this is just a start… giving serious consideration to the needs of these people, I m sure we can think of Ideas which can serve the user’s purpose to have food & also serve Business purpose of not loosing any customer coming to the place.

Barry Schwartz gave a TED talk on Practical Wisdom highlighting how Hospital Janitors went out of their way , showed empathy towards patients & relatives to satisfy their unarticulated need. I think it all start & end by being Consumer Centric which I believe is the root of Innovation……have a look at the Inspiring Video.



Video Source: