Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Profitability through Innovation

'Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity'-
Michael Porter , Harvard Business School.

Companies which are innovation stars, do better in the market place. This has been proved by research,which also shows a clear link between better innovation practices, employee involvement and customer satisfaction. A higher market share in the hallmark of an innovative company.While everyone knows that more innovative companies are more profitable, why do more companies not embrace the roadmap to innovation? The answer is simple. Innovation does not happen by wishful thinking. Commitment,resources and a whole new mindset is required, long term to create the culture of innovation. Top management buy-in involvement of the whole organisation in planning , a system to sift through suggestions, tame wild ideas and a system to reward innovators, do play a role. Only the best companies manage to do all this.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Innovation censor board
Each of us have a strict censor board sitting in our minds. Whenever an unusual idea pops up, the censor board sits up in horror and supresses it before it can throw us open to ridicule. The censorboard protects us against laughter and contempt . As a result, only two hundred year old , run of the mill ideas pass through this formidable filter. Consider all these statements that were considered nonsense.
  • A person can communicate with 173 countries simultaneously at the click of a button.
  • Men can fly like birds.
  • Photographs can be instantly printed.
  • Marriages can be fixed on the Internet.

“There is no likelihood that man can ever tap the power of the Atom” said Robert Millikan, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1923.Often nonsense, a silly question, playing the fool ,can all lead to breakthrough ideas. A wild idea tamed , can be a brilliant innovation.


The importance of nonsense can hardly be overstated. The more clearly we experience something as ‘nonsense’ , the more clearly we are experiencing the boundaries of our own self-imposed congnitive structures.
‘Nonsense’ is that which does not fit into the pre arranged patterns we have superimposed on reality.Nonsense is nonsense only when we have not yet formed the point of view from which it makes sense.

The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An overview of the New Physics

Friday, April 9, 2010

The British council Chennai is organizing a 3 hour Seminar around the nuts and bolts of Innovate! for college students on July 23rd 2010. While most corporate leaders exhort companies to innovate , no one seems to spell out exactly how to innovate. The Innovate! workshop will give participants formulae on how exactly to innovate. This will be followed by an essay competition on the innovation principles learnt. This is the Age of Innovation.With one third of Indians under 15years of age , it is critical to hand over the tools of mindspower innovation to the youth. The book presents several of these thinking tools. The UN forecasts that India’s working age population will grow by around 240 milllion people by the year 2030. Let us build the competitive advantage as individuals by leveraging the mind computer which has the capacity to store the equivalent of 7550 volumes of Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Taming a new idea

Innovation is about new ideas. Creative ideas may be new but they need to be tamed to work in the corporate world.Take a wild idea like zero cost. Start the process of taming it by enclosing it in a sanctuary where it cannot be attacked but only developed. Suspend judgement,postpone reaction,extend effort. Get your team to start thinking about impossible goals and making them possible bit by bit to the extent possible.Challenge them to turn every cost centre into a profit centre. Walmart turned inventory into a profit centre by getting its suppliers to deliver on the shop shelf 40 minutes before it was sold and paying them after 6weeks. With a single stroke they could eliminate warehousing,logistics and even stacking on the shelf. Remember the laboratory of the mind can test a hundred alternative futures at very low cost.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I am happy to announce the launch of my fourth book: ‘Innovate! 90 days to business transformation’. It is a Penguin publication which will be released on May 27th 2010.
Innovate! is about turning bright ideas into action.
‘Practise the steps outlined in Innovate! for 90 days and become an innovation star.’
Constant and consistent innovation is the only sure-fire way to profitability Innovate! 90 Days to transform your business is the answer allowing you to build a culture of innovation —which embraces everyone from the doorman to the chairman.
A daily implementation schedule will give you step-by-step ideas for yourself, your team, your department, and your organization. Start today and see the difference you can make.
This 90-day plan will help you:
Create a climate which empowers everyone in the company to achieve their full potential
Launch an initiative which will invigorate the whole organization.
Build young, proactive, commando teams, or innovation spirals, designed to think outside the box.
Inspire team leaders to transform their departments and the organisation through their youthful, proactive ideas
Develop a daily plan to institutionalize innovation and establish long-term culture change.
A highly practical, do-it-yourself toolkit to ensure innovation becomes part of your organization. Innovate! should be required reading for everyone in your organization.. Be inspired – Innovate!
This is a scientific new book on Creativity and Innovation in India’s large companies. Based on meticulous research it arrives at principles that help you gain competitive advantage through innovation. It provides practical ideas invaluable to a corporate warrior.
"A brilliant book! The 90 steps, over 90 days provides a perfect bridge between theory and execution. A must read for practioners of change management". K. V. Kamath, Chairman, ICICI Bank Ltd.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Transformation through innovation

Transformation is what happens to a drop of water when it is touched by the magic of sunlight. It is what happens when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Or when a tiny seed becomes a mighty banyan tree. Yet a butterfly is not an improved caterpillar, or a rainbow an improved drop of water. A tree surely bears little resemblance to a seed. Innovation can be the secret ingredient that transforms your company.