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Sunday, June 28, 2009

What Should We Do Next?

Ok, Now…let me ask some questions

What's the future of your company? What's your next big Idea? What's the next big market/ customer group you are likely to have? What should you offer next? Where is next growth coming in from?

In short you must be asking the following question too

What should we do next?

Many companies are facing this problem. The question is not How to do it but What to do, what to make, what to offer to customer?

Consider one of the Hypothetical Situation:

You are running a Famous burger chain & have been enjoying growth for a couple of years. But as years go by you tend to notice that consumers are starting to get bored of the same menu at the same time competition has step in to the market.

Now you wish to counter competition at the same time increase your consumer base. You have the resources available but the problem is you are not able to decide


Many companies are resorting to design strategy in similar situations.

In a Short film created on Design Strategy, famous Design & Innovation consultancy Continuum explains the process of Design Strategy as a resonance of what is meaningful for customer & what is beneficial for your business. The video include the process which Design Studios follow inorder to decide What should the client do next? (Whether introduce new product, service, have new distribution network, etc)

Have a look at this video




Thursday, June 25, 2009

Self reliance is the key for brighter future

Neeraj has been doing really good work on this blog by posting lot of useful information and path breaking ideas.
So, thought to contribute to his efforts. I came across one great example of a simple design and its effectiveness. Working Villages International (WVI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building self-sufficient, environmentally sustainable villages all over the world. Based on Gandhian principles it works on strengthening rural people by making them self reliant by developing a sustainable local infrastructure utilizing on local resources.
Most amazing thing is that in current economic conditions when trillion of dollars are required to fill the development gap between Sub-Saharan Africa and rest of the world, WVI’s founder Alexander Petroff has provided a successful alternative to such an impossible scenario. This idea is based on concept of Swadeshi given by Mahatma Gandhi.

Their idea of Self Sufficiency takes actionable shape with 3 important things vis-à-vis: Selecting Appropriate Technology, Developing Local resources (Swadeshi) and Rotational planting and Composting.

The plan works in 5 stages:-

Stage one focuses on growing crops and building the infrastructure to support crop production and storage.

stage two, build up the manufacturing capacity to build the village itself.

Stage three is the production of all non-agricultural commodity infrastructures, such as looms, pottery kilns, paper pulpers, bakeries or any other necessary function of daily life.

stage four, people are trained in different trades. As they gain competence and expertise, WVI turns over ownership to the village and its inhabitants.

stage five, WVI remain in whatever advisory capacity the local villagers want, but without any ownership or employment function. The village will at this point be a fully functioning and independent eco-community, housing and employing thousands of people without ever requiring another dollar of foreign aid. (Source:

I personally feel that just to design or innovate something we are running after technological advancements but going ‘Back to roots’ is very essential in prevailing environmental conditions. The pace at which we are running nature is unbelievable and we need to go back to Vedic life style to preserve nature.
For more details you can visit

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What Makes Design Thinking Special?

How is Design Thinking different from process re-engineering or business consulting?

That was the question asked by a reader to Business Week's Bruce Nussbaum. Check out the response from Bruce as he answers the question highlighting the difference between the approach followed by major consultancies & that of design thinkers. As he points out, Design Thinking is about Creation of new (business models/products/ services based on user centricity, business objective & technology) & not about choosing among limited options available. Design Thinking is about reframing of problem & at the same time reinventing the wheel. Design thinking is about understanding the user, aligining his/her needs with the business viablity along with technological feasibility to come up with innovative solutions.

Check out the video


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Foster's Experience

Hi everybody

Every brand seeks to create Experiences that go beyond the mere functionality to connect at a deeper level with customer infusing all the necessary elements of Brand. The role of an Experience Architect(Ten Faces of Innovation)is important & crucial for designing for designing a well designed experience.

Recently I was invited for a Pool party organized by Foster's in Pune.

Now Foster's denote Australian & the communication features beaches & women. So with the Experience Architects at the job of infusing these elements, how was this pool party.

I decided to judge this experience using Doblin's Compelling Experience model. The model helps to envision & decide the experiences that the customer/participant must have. I have customized the model's elements according to Foster's party. Its element include:

1. Attraction: What experience we should have at the time inviting them for the party that will induce them to come.

2. Entry: What sort of experience we should have at the entry of the event.

3. Immersion: what are the experiences we can design using Brand elements to insure fully immersement of people at the party & ensuring its success

4. Exit: What should be leaving experience for the invites.

5. Extension: What happens after one has left the party- what can the invite pass on to others?

Entry : I'll start with the Entry phase. The experience for me started at the entry phase. Even before one could enter the party, Fosters had placed small surfboards along the way to the entry creating an impression of beach. At the entry the staff was also dressed in cool beach shirts.

Immersion: Being a pool party of Foster's the entire experience had to be designed integrating Foster's Brand. The people serving guests were wearing Foster's hat very similar to Cork hats highlighting Foster's been Australian. Australian Models dressed in beach wear highlighted the beach experience . With Barbeque serving entirely Non-Veg been grilled in front of guests creating an expression of been in the Outback of Australia. Blue been the Brand prominent color was to be seen entirely. Considering the hot weather & it being a pool party the Dj played mostly reggae & trance music (which I m not sure was Australian) And yes Fosters was been served throughout.

Exit: The Experience Architect could have paid a little more attention at the exit phase in terms of thinking how the exit experience of guests would be. As a chance to remember, guests could have been given a small souvenir (may be Their Polaroid snap of party, Foster's hat) which would have reminded them of this party even after considerable time.

Extension: One possible method of extending this experience could have been taking pictures of people at the party an uploading it on their site & with the possibility of people connecting with each other. For eg: People can chat/message each other those who came to party, connect with them , share opinions & memories of party, in the future may come together & organize their own get togethers. Through this the organizers get instant feedback on how their party was at the same time a chance to connect & expand their brand recognition & sales.

Overall its was a great experience. Cheers to the organizers for putting up this event.

Here are some of the Snaps of the party.



Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ideas for Change 2

Hi everyone

This is my second post in the series of Ideas for change. I am collecting Ideas that are solving environmental Issues, ideas aimed at helping people to be more efficient, more productive, solving their problems, etc.

Let's have a look at some of the Ideas

1. Better Place: Why Can't we have environmentally friendly at the same time efficient Transportation solution. Well Shai Agassi seems to be asking that question for a while & the answer is BETTER PLACE. Better Place is the world’s leading electric vehicle (EV) services provider, catalyzing the transition to sustainable transportation. Better Place aims to reduce global dependency on petroleum through the creation of a market-based transportation infrastructure that supports electric vehicles. Better Place is building first electric vehicle network & has operations in Israel, Denmark, Australia, U.S, Canada & Japan.

Shai Agassi spoke at TED this year about his grand vision. Have a look.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Haath mein Sehat (Health In Hands) Project: Moving on to Ideas which aim to improve lives of people. One Such Initiative is Haath mein Sehat (Health In Hands) Project (to which I was also a part of ) which aims to improve livelihoods of people living in slums of Mumbai through health education and developing efficient low-cost water treatment methods. HMS is an interdisciplinary, international collaboration between local organizations and institutions in Mumbai and students at the University of California, Berkeley. Have a look at the Project Video.

5. Aravind project : India’s Aravind Eye Care System is probably the world’s largest provider of eye care. From April 2006 to March 2007 Aravind served more than 2.3 million patients and performed more than 270,000 surgeries. Founded in 1976 by Dr. G. Venkataswamy, Aravind has as its mission nothing less than the eradication of needless blindness among India’s population, including the rural poor, through the effective delivery of superior ophthalmic care.

I’ll be posting some more ideas & projects in the coming period.




Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ideas for Change

Hi everyone

With Population levels continuously rising in our Cities, there is sense of worry & urgency shown by world leaders to reduce its harmful effects on the planet.

Bill Clinton & Al Gore have already initiated projects & are also making people aware of these effects.

Have a look at Bill Clinton’s Climate Initiative Video 

Here is Al Gore’s Presentation from TED 2009.

 So, apart from these, which Ideas/initiatives are being thought which will help generate awareness & avoid these effects. I think the problem here is not only to care about environment but to show care about humans & society at large which will bring a social mindset to create a change. So apart from collecting ideas that are aimed at solving environmental issues, I decided to collect ideas aimed at helping people. Be it helping them to be more efficient, more productive, solving their problems, etc. 

My next post will comprise some of the ideas so collected. I’ll call it Ideas for change.

Also, this is the 100th post of our blog & as they say it all started with An Idea