Monday, December 29, 2014

Create Incubators for Innovation


Mr. Harsh Mariwala, chairman, Marico Industries, believes his corporate social responsibility is spreading the message of innovation as the practice of innovation can build the Nation. He believes that innovation flourishes in an open, empowering culture, a prototyping culture. ‘We give a new business idea to a team and empower them to implement it. We then remove the escape button’. Like the Greek leader who burnt all the boats and bridges once his army was on enemy territory. The commando force was infused with a do or die attitude; there was no way back -- the only way was forward to victory. ‘The idea is first incubated in an Incubation cell. They report directly to me for 2 years. It is dismantled once their role is completed. Today, for example, the Kaya Skin Clinic is a flourishing new business. Each of my product teams identifies their innovation agenda as part of strategic planning.’ ‘We are driven by our concern for the environment, and preventive natural good health. To us a customer is a person with constantly rising aspirations. Our suppliers are our partners in business.’ ‘“We believe in orbit shifting innovation. To be acceptable, innovation should translate into cash flow. We have experienced that in our company.’

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Management systems and implementation : Steering Committee


Create a steering committee to lead and co-ordinate the Innovation Initiative. The Chief Innovation Officer is usually the chief executive. He is supported by the Innovation Champion and at least two members of top management. This committee will conduct monthly reviews. They will ensure smooth process flow while inspiring the teams to deliver results. The duties of the Innovation Champion will be as follows. • Ensuring that innovation spirals meet regularly. • Organizing training of the trainers and others on an ongoing basis. • Regular follow up to ensure that tasks agreed are carried out. • Facilitating collection of monthly reports and preparing a consolidated report. • He will handhold teams, encourage and promote innovation across the company. The steering committee meets once a month to review and take corrective action. Footfall in the working areas and daily workplace meetings can encourage greater commitment and engagement. The launch should keep the whole organization informed and excited about the plan. The floor should be kept open for those who would like to participate. All teams can meet to gather forces for implementation. The management of innovation depends on the structure created to institutionalize it. Sustained innovation should be recognized as a critical element in organizational structure. Large companies have now finally begun to recognize this. They should ensure that support is provided for innovative projects with potential.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

6M Positives and Negatives


The 6M is a template and a blueprint to think ideas through. It can be used with every tool and helps teams to separate the positive from the negative. Each of the six key elements of a business can be analysed, identifying the feelings of all stakeholders. For example, invite all employees to write on post-it slips what the pluses and the minuses in the company are as per the table given below 6M Positive (+) Negative (–) Men Materials Machines Methods Markets Money Do not be afraid to ask questions even if it makes you look ignorant—nobody is expected to know everything. John Adams wrote about the greatest “quantity” of human happiness. The special challenge will be to give people innovative thinking tools to create communities.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Innovation Bytes


The metamorphosis model of organizational development describes the organizational life cycle of companies which passes through cycles of growth and decline: Emergence – Growth –Decline – Death The first phase is often entrepreneurial and innovative with a sudden burst of energy capturing a new space in the market. This creative phase is terminated in a leadership crisis. It was Schumpeter who said, ‘It is rare for anyone always to remain an entrepreneur throughout the decades of his active life.’ This cycle then progresses from entrepreneurship to an organization that becomes slow and complacent. By focusing on innovation, you may rescue an organization in the declining phase of the organizational life cycle. Re-innovation or renovation becomes important when an old, traditional company goes into decline. It provides the inflection necessary to leap frog over the down hill phase. Every organization has to prepare for the abandonment of everything it does - Peter Drucker

Monday, December 22, 2014

Innovation in Indian Management


Indian management is often conservative and insists that people work nine to five and stick to the knitting. Few companies have what IBM called ‘wild ducks.’ Conformity has been a central value of Indian life. All wild ducks are tamed to conform long before they reach the workplace. Innovation comes from people. Technology is only a tool that may enhance it. People and their invisible minds are key. Thinking tools are a mechanism to teach creativity. This requires exploding myths about obedience and stereotypes about ‘good’ managers who do not rock the boat by asking inconvenient questions. It also involves promoting, nurturing leadership styles. Just as the quality movement in Japan started in society and slowly built up into a tidal wave overwhelming industry, the innovation movement too needs to start with a change in social values. Innovation is a customer based and employee respecting philosophy that has benefited many modern organizations. It is also a tool that can shape organization culture into a happier, more humane, friendly place. An Innovation Star sustains and nurtures innovation spirals and the innovation process that is critical for success.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Consistent Innovation


Be sure that you have put in place a sustainable model for consistent Innovation. Once the returns from innovation start to pour in, the organization should focus on maximizing the returns through routine implementation. Harvesting is a mechanical and essential process. Use an Innovation Center to provide the foundation for a long-term initiative. Large, tradition bound, successful organizations, tend to prefer the stability that formalized procedures provide. Even though most companies accept the idea of innovation being important for success, most are not committed enough to practice it on a long-term basis. This book provides the underlying processes required to make it work on a sustainable consistent basis and demystifies the process for use across the organization. Management is bottom-line driven. Usually extremely result oriented in the short term and often losing faith in concepts very quickly. Innovation is a concept that requires a long-term buy-in and takes time to be fully ingrained in the organizational culture. Consistent, long-term commitment and long-term implementation is key to making the climate of innovation a way of life. The benefits of an innovation intervention in very early phases are intangible. Long term top management participation and commitment is key to success. A critical mass of participants in a company practicing Innovation Tools (IT) is essential to demonstrate financial and process quality impact. Innovation practices, besides leading to continuous improvement, also result in quantum shifts in the business, leading to unprecedented profits. But patience and the Bhagavad-Gita principle of ‘Do your work without expecting results,’ are required. Organizational variables like quality of work life, teamwork, tolerance for new and disruptive ideas and unimpeded communication are required to make innovation initiatives work. Deploying the time, budgets and people required to make these initiatives work, requires management buy-in. Innovation champions are critical to carry through long-term initiatives.

Innovation Mela


Innovation Melas celebrate the spirit of innovation. The most innovative new ideas are studied and applauded. In short it is a day to enjoy, inspire and celebrate corporate innovation and honour the imagination. It is a great way to provide a holistic view of events, while celebrating innovation publicly. Inviting a customer to provide his point of view could create a special wave of excitement. It is a banquet for the imagination: well loved, proven ideas rub shoulders with exotic new imports. Half completed projects call for volunteers. Implemented ideas are paraded and honoured. Case studies in the market are presented, competitions and quizzes stimulate participation. Problem owners call for consultants to tame their problem projects. Everyone rolls up their sleeves to tame wild ideas. Top management provides recognition rewards and support. The most interesting wild new idea, which does not, at the moment, seem implementable, is chosen for taming. This is a mega event which involves the whole company. It is a chance to showcase the best ideas, while reviewing and revisiting all the thinking tools. The innovation Oscars and the Innovation Hall of Fame can flow out of this event. Let your people look at this note and reflect on the ideas presented.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Course Correction


No innovative idea can be perfect when it is conceived. It has to be refined and perfected on the run. The only certainty in this endeavour is uncertainty. More than 80% of germinal, out of the box, ventures start off by following the wrong strategy. Like a kite adjusting to gusty winds, adjustments have to be made, based on customer feedback. Some companies spend so much time working on the ‘perfect’ product in their laboratories that all their funding runs out. Others find that the ‘perfect’ moment for the launch never comes. e-bay started with almost nothing. As Mag Whitman, CEO, e-bay put it: ‘Its better to put something out there, and see the reaction and fix it on the fly…….we are better off spending six days in the lab, putting it out there, getting feedback and then evolving it…….’ Ideas shaped in the market, in response to changing customer aspirations and fashions are very difficult to copy because of their dynamic changing character. The best time to do this is of course when everything is going really well. Organizational energy is high and innovation is like a kite we fly just because we are in high spirits and want to know if we can be even better than the best.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Feedback Systems


Make sure that a log book is maintained by every innovation spiral. Weekly meeting minutes can ensure a smooth flow of information. Regular reports from each spiral ensure that the activities planned are moving smoothly. Monthly reviews can help in providing valuable feedback and opportunities for expanding participation. They also ensure top managements’ attention to projects. Formal feedback should be provided to problem owners, who bear the brunt of implementation in unfamiliar territory. Rewards should be an integral part of the system. Innovation should be part of the individual’s measurable job description, not just something he does if he feels like it. * Have a talk on innovation by a Company CEO who has practiced it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Execute, communicate and train


Implement like an Innovation Star. This is the day to make a final presentation to all the teams in the presence of top management. Get feedback from all stakeholders and respond to concerns. It is a good idea to leave the plan to be studied by all participants. Each can peacefully reflect on it, internalize it. This is the time to get the resource budget cleared. All participants and stakeholders must now receive a clear communication on what to expect. Here it is important to note the process-- communication has to be long term, continuous and consistent. Human resources professionals and problem owners must ensure that the necessary training modules are implemented and their efficacy measured. Management systems implementation should now kick in. The management information system to ensure clear measurement of action should be available to all players. The website and other internet support systems should be properly administered by a webmaster to ensure the seamless flow of information where possible. A regularly produced e-bulletin would help. Knowledge, information and wisdom are important. ‘Know How’ is essential, but ‘do how’ is just as important. Teams by now have dived into the messy business of how to implement what they have chosen as solutions. They have created plans and strategies and worked co-operatively and negotiated the best route to take. Action now becomes the priority.

Review the outcome


During implementation review the outcome. Be aware of the end before you take the first step. Unify your teams by hitching them to the ultimate goal. Top management should inspire and empower the teams to action. A team bonding exercise getting everyone to see a bird’s eye view of the exercise is critical. Review the Resource for every team. Consolidate the reviews if the resources being used are adequate. Study the impact on the expected outcome. Ensure that the process is moving towards the final outcome: reducing costs, increasing revenues, improving customer satisfaction and ensuring greater employee participation.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Organizational Culture


Organizational Culture has the great Emphasis on Innovation. Without the oxygen of support and applause, ideas often die in infancy. The creativity improvement program can be the foundation that enables all other company programs to be effective. There are a number of steps to ensure that the program encourages innovation.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Necessity is the mother of innovation


A small bank, which did not have the funds to pay for expensive real estate, came up with the idea of using other people’s premises: schools, petrol pumps and super-markets. Then they moved seamlessly into a growth path, starting thousands of ATMs and mobile banks. Today, they are one of the largest banks in India. More recently, many banks have introduced the concept of 24-hour direct banking with business being carried out by anonymous people at the end of a telephone. This is neutralizing the competitive advantage, which established banks enjoyed by virtue of functioning from prime sites in Mumbai.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Drivers of Innovation


Leadership and consumer relevance are the top drivers of innovation. There are two essential ingredients for successful innovation: Leadership and Consumer Relevance. Innovative processes do not begin in the R&D laboratory. They are initiated with a mandate from the highest level of the corporation. Identifying the consumer’s needs is an equally integral part of the innovation process. Ensuring employee participation in planning and a complete buy-in into innovative strategy is critical. At Unilever, top management strongly believes that innovation has to be closely linked to the business strategy.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Appreciation for diversity


Innovation is more likely to occur in a melting pot of exotic diversity. Homogenous groups are less likely to spark off innovative ideas. Corporations that celebrate diversity and respect it are more likely to create a stable of innovators. Using an inexperienced outsider or a naïve resource can create major breakthroughs in traditional industries. In some cases, companies that network with competitors have benefited more in terms of innovation.

Everyday Happiness Mantras


Dear Friends, I am happy to inform you that my new book, "Everyday Happiness Mantras" published by Rupa Publications will be released on 20th December 2014

Constructive performance feedback


Productivity depends on performance feedback, as does innovation. 360-degree feedback provides young innovators the opportunity to give their bosses clear feedback on a less than conducive environment. A system to clearly map individual competencies and provide consistent, timely feedback, can result in providing appropriate training when required. The immigrants of diverse races who moved to the USA, created a dynamic flow of new ideas and thus helped in forming a leading economy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Driving creativity in star performance


The way a company treats its top performers provides role models for all others. If such fast track performers are innovative, then others will see creativity and innovation as the path to success. If most star performers are cautious and rule bound, the clear message would be, “Be careful and just follow rules if you want to move up. Creativity does not pay”.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Exploring New Alternatives


Many management teams are involved in fire fighting and solving urgent matters that have developed into critical situations. Time needs to be set apart to study alternative solutions for the problems that lie under the surface of a running organization. ‘Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke,’ say the Americans, meaning, do not change something that is working well. This is disastrous advice in the present context of rapid change. Status quo is the gateway to overnight obsolescence. Innovation should be planned when things are going well. When things are going badly, when survival itself is an issue, no one has the time or energy to look for alternatives.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Energy and resources spent on creativity


Creativity needs time and energy. The 6Ms (Men, Materials. Machines, Methods, Markets and Money) should be made available to the initiative over the long-term. Sustained innovation requires that resources are set apart for practice of the innovation process. Innovation spirals should meet. A manager comments: “I m not sure I want my people to be more creative; they have trouble getting their work done on time and within the budget as it is.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The process of managing innovation ties in closely with organizational freedom


Managing innovation is not an oxymoron. Highly innovative companies manage the actual process of generating, developing and implementing innovative ideas better than their competitors do. This process involves a lot of deliberate duplication and redundancy in order to foster knowledge sharing and communication. There are a million garage start-ups in IT. In rural India, cowshed innovation is common. But in every case, it has blossomed in an atmosphere of organizational freedom. Microsoft says that their only factory asset is the human imagination.

The Six Rules for Innovation


Rule 1: Thinking is something that can be learnt Rule2: Thinking is a progression, a process Rule3: Listen to others Rule 4: Involve everyday Rule 5: Invest and understand Rule 6: Patience is key

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Factors that Drive Innovation


An over-emphasis on doing things right the first time inhibits innovation. • The way creative individuals are treated has a major impact on organizational innovation. Organizations must reward successes produced by innovations and keep encouraging people in the face of so-called failures. Rewards nurture creativity through affirming its value to the organization. While most Aspirants and Non-Starters had no reward for individual creativity, all Stars did. • Turf protection and barriers between different functional areas are major obstacles to innovation. Encouraging cultural, racial and gender diversity helps reduce these barriers. • Non-Starters choose to spend most of their time on making small improvements to existing products, while devoting very little attention to new product development. They need to focus more on breakthroughs and radical changes. • All employees should be involved in innovation by learning the tools of creativity and providing a positive, enabling field. Stars make use of a strategic planning approach that involves the whole team in not just executing strategies, but actually planning them. This approach creates buy-in from team members. • Top management should drive the process by providing a personal example. Management needs to talk less about innovation and do more on the ground. • Most Stars have an idea generation process, but not all of them use it. This shows that having information is different from using it. People may know a process theoretically; organizations alone can ensure that it is used. Top management commitment is critical to universal understanding and sharing of thinking tools. • Time and resources need to be allocated for learning innovation tools and processes. Stars studied more books on innovation than Aspirants or Non-Starters. Additionally, Stars attended more training programs on innovation. • Stars spend much less time in meetings. Additionally, the productivity of meetings for Stars was higher.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Idea generation


Stars make extensive use of brainstorming to generate ideas. Idea generation is most productive when it is used to tackle a specific business problem. The rules for a successful idea generation are: suspend judgment, postpone reaction and extend effort. In addition to brainstorming, Stars make use of many other tools for the generation of ideas.

Factors That Differentiate Stars


Stars were very positive about their company and its future. They believed that the quality of their products was higher, and that their market share was increasing. Employee satisfaction levels were high because people were committed and engaged. Some of the other factors that differentiated Stars from Aspirants and Non-Starters were: • Stars had a greater belief in the need for creativity in the organization. • Innovation was clearly mentioned in their mission statement. • They systematically measured customer satisfaction, and used this information to make course corrections. • They spoke directly to their customers. • New ideas were often obtained through market research. • They made use of outside consultants. • They used cutting-edge technologies to impact bottom lines. • They were able to ensure that different departments worked together. • They excelled in environmental scouting for ideas. • They had a shared process of idea generation.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Innovation Stars


Employees at a number of India’s top companies responded to a survey that gauged the innovativeness of their organizations. Based upon the responses to the survey, companies were classified as Innovation Stars, Aspirants and Non-starters. Innovation Stars were found to be more profitable, to have more satisfied employees and to have much lower employee turnover. Innovation Stars: These companies excel in all areas, tangible and intangible. Such companies are characterized by high profits, superior quality of products and services, high levels of creativity, brilliant marketing practices, strong brand equity and image, wide market presence and low employee turnover. The Star is an extremely innovative company, which has succeeded in maximizing innovation in all areas of its operations. The climate of such a company is extremely nurturing and rewards creativity while being supportive of experimentation. People working there are excited about going to work; they are thrilled about their company’s future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Actions that Encourage a Culture of Innovation


• Doing things right • Doing the right things • Do away with unnecessary tasks • Improve existing tasks • Replicating best practices • Doing things not done by others • Breakthrough ideas must be welcomed • Appropriately disseminating knowledge and information • Encouraging cross-functional team work • Rewarding and recognizing efficiency • Providing constructive performance feedback • Appreciating gender, race and diversity • Investing in new technologies • Communicating directly and consistently with customers • Rewarding risk taking • Investing a lot of energy on creativity

Monday, October 20, 2014

Creative Problem Solving


Study all the problems identified in the problem bank together. And then ensure that each one is turned into a problem statement in the form of a question. Identifying and formulating the problem is the most difficult part of creative problem solving. Very often we state symptoms of the problems and end up wasting scarce resources chasing the illusionary ‘golden deer of the epics’. Management then becomes so emotionally committed to the wrong path that we can end up moving faster and faster along the wrong road. It is like a man who drills an oil well, in a bad spot. More and more money is spent with no resulting strike. But those involved, refuse to fill up the unproductive well and move on to a new location. They continue throwing good money after bad, because they do not want to admit that a mistake had been made initially. Problem as first stated: How to improve the brakes supplied to the car maker? Creative analysis: Why do we want to improve the brakes? Answer: To stop cars at a shorter distance Creative Analysis: How else can we stop a car at a shorter distance? Why do we want to stop the car at a shorter distance? Answer: To increase safety of occupants of the car. Restatement of problem: How might we improve safety in a car’s stopping system? Result: This is much broader than the original challenge and opens a wider door to novel ideas. At one of my early creativity laboratories for mothers, twenty-two years ago, one of the participants said, ‘My problem is how I get my son to eat eggs for breakfast.’ A rigorous analysis of the problem uncovered the real quandary, ’How do I get my son to eat a nutritious breakfast?’ The restatement of the problem enabled the mother to give the child a variety of foods ranging from cheese and idlis, to cutlets and samosas, instead of forcing the child to eat the hated eggs. Redefining the problem statement is the challenging part of the process, as all of us who have struggled with the task of arriving at a hypothesis know. Stating and understanding the problem correctly is the key to the Innovation Initiative.

Review the outcome


During implementation review the outcome. Be aware of the end before you take the first step. Unify your teams by hitching them to the ultimate goal. Top management should inspire and empower the teams to action. A team bonding exercise getting everyone to see a bird’s eye view of the exercise is critical. Review the Resource for every team. Consolidate the reviews if the resources being used are adequate. Study the impact on the expected outcome. Ensure that the process is moving towards the final outcome: reducing costs, increasing revenues, improving customer satisfaction and ensuring greater employee participation.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Implement with action teams


The problem owners should review activities of the action team members and plan how to gradually involve all members of the unit in the plan. Each of the team members now have a chance to understand what the endeavour will involve. Informal sessions to discuss the plan and to become comfortable with it must be planned including a grand launch to win buy-in from stakeholders. Help each team member to be comfortable with their activities. Hand hold and enhance links between different departments. Studies show that turf protection prevents efficient implementation. Team members become too involved in playing politics instead of playing to win for the company. Organizational energy should be carefully focused on the task

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A winning model


Deccan Airlines created a disruption in the Airlines market. They created flights to smaller destinations not previously served like Vijayawada. The customer received low fares and at the same time lost: Free food and drinks Tolerance for more baggage Premium seats Convenient timing of flights The Winning Model was a result of: Fewer aircrafts, faster turnaround times, arriving early mornings and late nights when airports were less utilized by the premium airlines. It became profitable for the airlines and cheaper for the customers

Action plan to create Innovative culture


* Look at several alternatives, a hundred futures, before deciding on the best one for the moment. Remember the market place will be the best place for complete refinement of your product. * Start small. Keep over heads low. Be lean and learn. Don’t spend money on swanky offices, first- class travel, hotels and the Mercedes Benz. * Pursue areas with high entry level barriers, which competitors avoid like the plague. Test market in a small way. Experience the results; look into the customer’s eyes. Don’t just keep talking and making presentations. Review, tweak and go back to the market. Course correct, move. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. There is no guarantee of success. * Nothing is an instant success. Every successful product is the result of a hundred corrections in response to customer reactions, changing aspirations. There is no time, when you can rest on your laurels because you are so perfect. * Let your solutions be bold, what no one has done before. Don’t take shelter in incrementalism.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nurture the culture of Innovation


Companywide innovation is not about nurturing solitary genius in sterile laboratories but requires the bubbling enthusiasm of innovation spirals. The Innovation champion and all problem owners must consistently ensure the use of the tools and track the Innovation spiral meetings. To internalize innovation tools, use them. Teach them to others. The new IT is Innovation Tools. Install them in every members mind’s computer. Present the tools with examples. Encourage questions. Teach the tools to your friends and your family. This is the best way to make it a part of your everyday life. While the process is now in place, providing daily stimulus is the problem owner’s job. This can be done by asking the team a provocative question everyday. The questions could be • What are the non-value adding activities in your daily work? • How can we help to eliminate this? • How can we do this faster? • How to improve the productivity of this team?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Slimmer than the best – the competitive edge


‘It cannot be done!’ said the Swiss watch makers. In the watch industry, the Swiss are the ultimate court of appeal. The way the Titan Edge, the world’s slimmest water resistant watch was produced, is a lesson in persistent and patient problem solving and innovation. It was an example of an Indian company’s refusal to give up. It all began in 1994. Mr. Xerxes Desai, then Managing director of Titan said, ‘Create a 3.5mm, water resistant watch – a watch as slim as a credit card. It took the Titan team four years and when they started in 1994 they were just a decade old… What were the challenges? To instill self confidence in the team. Ensure buy-in from key people. The engineering challenge. When everyone heard that the Swiss could not-do it, the virus of self doubt was rampant. This was overcome by the infectious confidence of top management. Watch manufacturers in the past had been copy-cats. Since the 1950’s Indian companies had never manufactured a watch all by themselves. Titan attempted this from 1992. The Edge was an answer to the reigning lifestyle mantra, verbalized by a famous Hollywood queen who said ‘You cannot be too rich or too thin!’ It was a close collaboration between manufacturing, technology and research. Marketing took three years to embrace it. Between movements, cases and assembly, the challenge was to create a delicate watch, which was tough enough for the challenges of daily wear. They needed a slimmer battery with a longer battery life and less power consumption. The war had to be carried to the supplier’s tables and this meant a global search. The solution was a silicon chip which was developed to extend the battery life. Part of the manufacturing was out-sourced to Switzerland. All the tools required for the assembly were supplied by Titan! Even the glass had to be of .03mm thickness or as thick as three sheets of paper – a 75% reduction in thickness. It is one of India’s major product innovation, putting us on the world map!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Switch on the analytical mind


An ounce of action is worth tonnes of e-mail, paper and speeches. Implementation is the key to innovation.The ‘reality test’ should now be ruthlessly applied. Once implementation starts, every move costs money. This is the last step in the innovation process and all ideas should be carefully studied. Implementing creative ideas and turning them into innovations is a special challenge. It is a process that requires a clear road map and the organizational will to stick to the path. This is where many organizations fail. Every team should have its own time bound plan, which is understood by the whole group.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Choosing the Appropriate Solution


The team can spend adequate time choosing the correct solution. Here, all ideas are ruthlessly critiqued. Logic is mercilessly applied. After this process, the idea is going to leave the safe, sterile laboratory of the mind and start acting in the company. Every action will need an investment of resources of all kinds. This is the time to go into detail. Weed out unworkable ideas; make sure what the company can do. Now the dream castles need to have strong foundations under them. Outcomes should be carefully studied. This is the time for a clear understanding of the cost benefit analysis by all. There is still time to course correct. Make sure that top management publicly lends support to every aspect of resource allocation and rewards participants on achieving innovation targets.

Innovation Bytes


Product innovation is not the most important type of innovation, though it is considered the most common type of innovation in Indian companies. Marketing innovation can affect the brand image of the whole product category. Coffee Day and Barista cafés have redefined the coffee break. ‘So much can happen over coffee’ says one of the advertisements. The success of these cafés has been good for coffee distributors all over India and has given coffee a new brand image. Time-sharing of holiday cottages created a whole new market for affordable holidays. Tractor companies are trying the same concept, where a group of farmers own a tractor together.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Parameter of Importance


Different parameters find different levels of priority depending on the situation at hand. Let us consider the example of the budget as a parameter and its priority level in different cases. For a company where liquidity is low, cash flow would be the most important concern. For a company facing a crisis, time may be of the essence and big budgets would be tolerated in view of the emergency situation. • While identifying solutions, ensure that there are a wide variety of options to choose from. There is then a greater possibility that the final option chosen ensures optimal results. This systematic process ensures that the option chosen produces the best results. • Analysis is the stage just prior to implementation. Therefore, detailed analysis forms the root to strong implementation.

Define goals and impact.


Revisit your goals and reconsider the impact of each solution the goals on the company. In view of the thinking process and ideas generated, it may be necessary to reconsider and restate the goals. Impact of the ideas can be measured against the 6M framework. Or it could be measured merely against the bottom line. Critical to the goals are the 6M resources required to implement the idea. Identify the key parameters by which the outcomes will be measured. These parameters may be then prioritized. Ensure that all the ideas generated are displayed, presented and reflected upon. Put posters with all ideas around your Innovation Centre. Members of all teams can be invited to study them and add their suggestions. This is the time for debate and discussions.

Friday, September 26, 2014

THE CREATIVE FLASH


Picasso is said to have seen the handlebars of a bicycle and created the thoroughly modern ‘Bull’ from the handlebars. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s fantastic, vivid poem, Kubla Khan, was written after a fevered dream. Whether it is Archimedes discovering the laws of displacement and screaming his `Eureka’ moment through the streets of Syracuse or Madam Curie discovering the iridescent gleam of radium in her cluttered garret laboratory, the moment seems to be a flash of inspiration. The idea of evolution floated into Darwin’s mind as he read the essay on the Malthusian nightmare of overpopulation and overcrowding. But luck of course favours the prepared mind. Of course Newton and his apple or any of the others would never have reached that moment of seeming serendipity, if they had not preceded it by long hours of toil. A total obsession and long years of preparation and effort seem to stand silently behind that limelight moment of sheer magical discovery.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Incubation: Process and Benefits


 During idea generation, a list of alternative solutions are generated, seeds are sown.  During incubation the seeds are allowed to sprout, to grow unobstructed.  During analysis the plants are pruned and weeds are removed, till only the usable alternatives remain.  Implementation involves choosing the final solution, planning, developing a detailed roadmap, communicating it to the teams and finally acting on the blueprint.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Total Immersion in ideas


Following total immersion in the ideas collected, the past, present and future possibilities come next. This is time for quiet reflection, allowing the mind to absorb all that has happened. Incubation is the period when the ideas are handed over to the vast computer which is the sub-conscious. It is a secret computer into which everything one has ever thought or felt or experienced or smelt or touched, flows. Many inventions are the result of a flash of inspiration, happening during incubation. Whether it was Newton or James Watts inventing his steam engine, while watching the steam puffing out of a teapot on the stove, the moment of illumination happened during a silent gap in the storm of thoughts. Incubation is critical. Spend years working and thinking. Then switch off and let go. Hand over the problem to the subconscious, so that the universe may step in. A total change of scene can aid incubation. A participant once recalled how after months of searching a moped launch, the team went to a movie about high fashion in Paris. He experienced an Aha! moment right there. The moped had so far been sold as a poor man’s scooter: in dingy dealer outlets. Presented in a lovely, stylish ambience, the whole brand was changed to express a style statement with romantic overtones. The moped suddenly became a fashion accessory. The best ideas are stimulated during incubation

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review the outcome


During implementation review the outcome. Be aware of the end before you take the first step. Unify your teams by hitching them to the ultimate goal. Top management should inspire and empower the teams to action. A team bonding exercise getting everyone to see a bird’s eye view of the exercise is critical. Review the Resource for every team. Consolidate the reviews if the resources being used are adequate. Study the impact on the expected outcome. Ensure that the process is moving towards the final outcome: reducing costs, increasing revenues, improving customer satisfaction and ensuring greater employee participation.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Using Checklists to Develop Ideas


Checklists help to generate ideas in a systematic way. Once a problem is identified, teams can use checklists to explore all areas and issues that are associated with the problem. They help the team think and are often in the form of questions. Many of the mapping tools, like 6 M, are just like check-lists encouraging you to be systematic in your approach. The simplest tools include checklists like Kipling’s famous ‘5 good serving men’ - the questions which, why, where, when, how and who. Thinkers from Plato onwards have developed hundreds of thinking tools which are as easy to learn as the three Rs (reading, writing, arithmetic).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sanctuary 3


Sanctuary 3 is a tool to generate alternativeness. When a system is working well, as a matter of routine this can be used to encourage you to think of alternative ways of doing it better. This is an important and interesting tool to prevent stagnation. Imagine a Company caught by high cost during a downturn. Now develop five ways to reduce costs. For example: Ask people to work for three days a week. Encourage people to take an unpaid subbatical. Encourage working from home or telecommunicating. Get customers to sell to other customers for a small fee. Get vendors to deliver materials and parts on the assembly line.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sanctuary 2


Sanctuary 2 is very similar to attribute matching by putting together dissimilar ideas and expert solutions from different fields. Example: Look at the attributes of say a motor car to get some fresh ideas on education. This allows for a whole group of new creative ideas. The attributes of a motor car and how it could apply to education are: • It moves – The Syllabus could move with changing times (say every 5 years) • It should be regularly filled with petrol – Teachers could receive regular training inputs every year at a retreat. • Different energy sources are now available i.e. petrol and electricity – Arrange for regular inputs from alternative sources, maybe ideas from people in government or agriculture, or nuclear physics. • It can carry people – Parents alumni and public could be involved in an advisory capacity. • Enclosed space -- Put different types of people together in close proximity and enable them to share ideas in a time bubble away from others. • It provides a good view of the country - Teachers and Parents must have a good view of the latest techniques in other countries. Eg. Tie-up with a school from UK. • It has four wheels – Inputs could be regularly collected and activities should be planned for the 4 stake holders : parents, teachers, old students and existing students.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sanctuary 1


Sanctuary 1 is used to protect an impossible idea from immediate destruction. The plan is to protect the idea. For example: Problem: Parking on a busy road is a problem due to overcrowding and lack of adequate parking space. Wild Idea: Drivers with license plates ending with odd and even numbers should be encouraged to drive only on alternate days. This can lead to the idea that each car would receive special facilities only on certain days of the week. This would encourage pooling and a shift of leisure time activities to times when the congestion is less. By placing a fence around an idea and allowing it to develop without immediate attack, even though it might seem an impossible solution at first, it allows everyone to think around the subject and discover ways to make it work.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Action plan to create Innovative culture


* Look at several alternatives, a hundred futures, before deciding on the best one for the moment. Remember the market place will be the best place for complete refinement of your product. * Start small. Keep over heads low. Be lean and learn. Don’t spend money on swanky offices, first- class travel, hotels and the Mercedes Benz. * Pursue areas with high entry level barriers, which competitors avoid like the plague. Test market in a small way. Experience the results; look into the customer’s eyes. Don’t just keep talking and making presentations. Review, tweak and go back to the market. Course correct, move. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. There is no guarantee of success. * Nothing is an instant success. Every successful product is the result of a hundred corrections in response to customer reactions, changing aspirations. There is no time, when you can rest on your laurels because you are so perfect. * Let your solutions be bold, what no one has done before. Don’t take shelter in incrementalism.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Be a Warrior


Turning ordinary men into matchless warriors full of the enthusiasm to win, can definitely improve performance. Gandhiji did just that using his magic mantras to infuse courage into the freedom struggle : Do or Die, Quit India, Vande Matharam. Among the nava rasas, chivalry is key to the life of a warrior: a corporate warrior is no different and needs real courage. Wonder is developed from courage. The rapture of courage is produced by means of energy, perseverance, optimism, presence of mind and kindness. Courage and bravery are definitely feel-good emotions. Courage is represented on the stage by firmness, patience, heroism, pride, zeal, valor and wit. Bravery fills you with enthusiasm, energy and spontaneity. Bravery is not just bravery in war. It is the small, everyday acts of courage that each of us is called upon to manifest in the face of obstacles. The ability to sacrifice, which is the core of emotional intelligence, is a part of the Veera Rasa. The ability to persist in the face of difficulties is a part of this. To meet the jealousy and pettiness of the world with gentleness, humor and fearlessness, is part of it. Brilliance and elegance belong to the true warrior who aligns himself with the powerful forces of goodness. ‘Josh,’ wakefulness, energy and boundless enthusiasm are an expression of this energy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A winning model


Deccan Airlines created a disruption in the Airlines market. They created flights to smaller destinations not previously served like Vijayawada. The customer received low fares and at the same time lost: Free food and drinks Tolerance for more baggage Premium seats Convenient timing of flights The Winning Model was a result of: Fewer aircrafts, faster turnaround times, arriving early mornings and late nights when airports were less utilized by the premium airlines. It became profitable for the airlines and cheaper for the customers

1. Action plan to create Innovative culture


* Look at several alternatives, a hundred futures, before deciding on the best one for the moment. Remember the market place will be the best place for complete refinement of your product. * Start small. Keep over heads low. Be lean and learn. Don’t spend money on swanky offices, first- class travel, hotels and the Mercedes Benz. * Pursue areas with high entry level barriers, which competitors avoid like the plague. Test market in a small way. Experience the results; look into the customer’s eyes. Don’t just keep talking and making presentations. Review, tweak and go back to the market. Course correct, move. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. There is no guarantee of success. * Nothing is an instant success. Every successful product is the result of a hundred corrections in response to customer reactions, changing aspirations. There is no time, when you can rest on your laurels because you are so perfect. * Let your solutions be bold, what no one has done before. Don’t take shelter in incrementalism.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Slimmer than the best – the competitive edge


‘It cannot be done!’ said the Swiss watch makers. In the watch industry, the Swiss are the ultimate court of appeal. The way the Titan Edge, the world’s slimmest water resistant watch was produced, is a lesson in persistent and patient problem solving and innovation. It was an example of an Indian company’s refusal to give up. It all began in 1994. Mr. Xerxes Desai, then Managing director of Titan said, ‘Create a 3.5mm, water resistant watch – a watch as slim as a credit card. It took the Titan team four years and when they started in 1994 they were just a decade old… What were the challenges? To instill self confidence in the team. Ensure buy-in from key people. The engineering challenge. When everyone heard that the Swiss could not-do it, the virus of self doubt was rampant. This was overcome by the infectious confidence of top management. Watch manufacturers in the past had been copy-cats. Since the 1950’s Indian companies had never manufactured a watch all by themselves. Titan attempted this from 1992. The Edge was an answer to the reigning lifestyle mantra, verbalized by a famous Hollywood queen who said ‘You cannot be too rich or too thin!’ It was a close collaboration between manufacturing, technology and research. Marketing took three years to embrace it. Between movements, cases and assembly, the challenge was to create a delicate watch, which was tough enough for the challenges of daily wear. They needed a slimmer battery with a longer battery life and less power consumption. The war had to be carried to the supplier’s tables and this meant a global search. The solution was a silicon chip which was developed to extend the battery life. Part of the manufacturing was out-sourced to Switzerland. All the tools required for the assembly were supplied by Titan! Even the glass had to be of .03mm thickness or as thick as three sheets of paper – a 75% reduction in thickness. It is one of India’s major product innovation, putting us on the world map!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Innovation Sutra at Mysore


Invitation to the Book launch of 'Innovation Sutra' at Mysore on 14th September 2014 at 6.00pm. Please come with your family and friends.

Innovation Sutra at Bangalore


Invitation to the Book launch of 'Innovation Sutra' at Bangalore on 13th September 2014 at 6.00pm. Please come with your family and friends.

Switch on the analytical mind


An ounce of action is worth tonnes of e-mail, paper and speeches. Implementation is the key to innovation.The ‘reality test’ should now be ruthlessly applied. Once implementation starts, every move costs money. This is the last step in the innovation process and all ideas should be carefully studied. Implementing creative ideas and turning them into innovations is a special challenge. It is a process that requires a clear road map and the organizational will to stick to the path. This is where many organizations fail. Every team should have its own time bound plan, which is understood by the whole group.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Innovation Bytes


Product innovation is not the most important type of innovation, though it is considered the most common type of innovation in Indian companies. Marketing innovation can affect the brand image of the whole product category. Coffee Day and Barista cafés have redefined the coffee break. ‘So much can happen over coffee’ says one of the advertisements. The success of these cafés has been good for coffee distributors all over India and has given coffee a new brand image. Time-sharing of holiday cottages created a whole new market for affordable holidays. Tractor companies are trying the same concept, where a group of farmers own a tractor together.

Choosing the correct solution


The team can spend adequate time choosing the correct solution. Here, all ideas are ruthlessly critiqued. Logic is mercilessly applied. After this process, the idea is going to leave the safe, sterile laboratory of the mind and start acting in the company. Every action will need an investment of resources of all kinds. This is the time to go into detail. Weed out unworkable ideas; make sure what the company can do. Now the dream castles need to have strong foundations under them. Outcomes should be carefully studied. This is the time for a clear understanding of the cost benefit analysis by all. There is still time to course correct. Make sure that top management publicly lends support to every aspect of resource allocation and rewards participants on achieving innovation targets.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Define goals and impact


Revisit your goals and reconsider the impact of each solution the goals on the company. In view of the thinking process and ideas generated, it may be necessary to reconsider and restate the goals. Impact of the ideas can be measured against the 6M framework. Or it could be measured merely against the bottom line. Critical to the goals are the 6M resources required to implement the idea. Identify the key parameters by which the outcomes will be measured. These parameters may be then prioritized. Ensure that all the ideas generated are displayed, presented and reflected upon. Put posters with all ideas around your Innovation Centre. Members of all teams can be invited to study them and add their suggestions. This is the time for debate and discussions.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Article in Business India - August 2014


Define goals and impact


Revisit your goals and reconsider the impact of each solution the goals on the company. In view of the thinking process and ideas generated, it may be necessary to reconsider and restate the goals. Impact of the ideas can be measured against the 6M framework. Or it could be measured merely against the bottom line. Critical to the goals are the 6M resources required to implement the idea. Identify the key parameters by which the outcomes will be measured. These parameters may be then prioritized. Ensure that all the ideas generated are displayed, presented and reflected upon. Put posters with all ideas around your Innovation Centre. Members of all teams can be invited to study them and add their suggestions. This is the time for debate and discussions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Implement with action teams


The problem owners should review activities of the action team members and plan how to gradually involve all members of the unit in the plan. Each of the team members now have a chance to understand what the endeavour will involve. Informal sessions to discuss the plan and to become comfortable with it must be planned including a grand launch to win buy-in from stakeholders. Help each team member to be comfortable with their activities. Hand hold and enhance links between different departments. Studies show that turf protection prevents efficient implementation. Team members become too involved in playing politics instead of playing to win for the company. Organizational energy should be carefully focused on the task

Monday, August 25, 2014

Innovation Sutra at Mumbai


Dr. Rekha Shetty's eighth book was launched at World Trade Center, Center 1 Building, WTC complex, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai along with the Bombay Management Association on Tuesday, 12th August 2014 at 6.30pm. Here is the photo of the launch: Caption - From L-R: Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Centre (WTC) & President, All India Association of Industries (AIAI), Ms. Rupa Naik, Director-Projects, Mrs. Rekha Shetty, Managing Director, Farstar Distribution Network Ltd, Mr. Y.R. Warerkar, Executive Director, MVIRDC WTC, Mr. V. Sarangapani, Executive Director, Bombay Management Association during the book launch of Mrs. Shetty’s `Innovation Sutra’ jointly organized by MVIRDC WTC and AIAI.

Innovation Sutra at Pune


Dr. Rekha Shetty's eighth book, "Innovation Sutra" was launched at Landmark SGS Mall, Shop no.1, Ground floor, No 231 Moledina Road,pune Camp, Pune-411001 on Friday, 8th August 2014 at 6.00pm. Here are the photos of the launch:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Innovation Sutra at Mangalore


Dr. Rekha Shetty's eighth book, "Innovation Sutra" is launched at Sapna Store, Hampankatta, Mangalore on Friday, 4th July 2014 at 5.30pm. Here are the photos of the launch

Innovation Sutra at Chennai


Dr. Rekha Shetty's eighth book, "Innovation Sutra" was launched at P S Dakshinamurthi Auditorium, P S Senior Secondary School, R K Mutt Road, Mylapore, Chennai-4 on Wednesday, 16th July 2014 at 6.00pm. Here are the photos enclosed

Friday, August 22, 2014

Analysis : the gateway to solutions


In the creative thinking process, incubation is followed by ‘Analysis.’ During the process of analysis, apply left-brain thinking – logical, statistical and mathematical. Solutions have to be carefully discussed and the optimum one chosen. The solutions are analyzed against the parameters chosen by the problem owner. Some prevalent parameters are: • Time • Budget • Convenience • Human resources • Goodwill and impact on staff motivation levels • Aesthetics • Saving lives • Political capital

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Total Immersion in ideas


Following total immersion in the ideas collected, the past, present and future possibilities come next. This is time for quiet reflection, allowing the mind to absorb all that has happened. Incubation is the period when the ideas are handed over to the vast computer which is the sub-conscious. It is a secret computer into which everything one has ever thought or felt or experienced or smelt or touched, flows. Many inventions are the result of a flash of inspiration, happening during incubation. Whether it was Newton or James Watts inventing his steam engine, while watching the steam puffing out of a teapot on the stove, the moment of illumination happened during a silent gap in the storm of thoughts. Incubation is critical. Spend years working and thinking. Then switch off and let go. Hand over the problem to the subconscious, so that the universe may step in. A total change of scene can aid incubation. A participant once recalled how after months of searching a moped launch, the team went to a movie about high fashion in Paris. He experienced an Aha! moment right there. The moped had so far been sold as a poor man’s scooter: in dingy dealer outlets. Presented in a lovely, stylish ambience, the whole brand was changed to express a style statement with romantic overtones. The moped suddenly became a fashion accessory. The best ideas are stimulated during incubation

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Incubation: Process and Benefits


 During idea generation, a list of alternative solutions are generated, seeds are sown.  During incubation the seeds are allowed to sprout, to grow unobstructed.  During analysis the plants are pruned and weeds are removed, till only the usable alternatives remain.  Implementation involves choosing the final solution, planning, developing a detailed roadmap, communicating it to the teams and finally acting on the blueprint.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Incubation


After idea generation, the next step in the thinking process is incubation. An incubator is a machine or an environment which helps nacent organisms to grow and develop in a protected environment. Delicate seeds are germinated and incubated in a farm house. Ideas are helped to grow during incubation. A premature baby is provided a womb like atmosphere in a hospital incubator. Incubation is what a mother hen does with own egg. She sits on it and provides a warm supportive climate and allows nature to take its own course. It is the calm before the storm of analysis and action. It is interesting to note how one shifts gear between the left and right brain during the process of innovation. When involved in problem statement one uses the logical left brain. There is a dramatic shift to the right brain during idea generation. During incubation you need to let go and allow both sides to operate naturally without any effort. Rather like a kite being carried by the wind, the string in the hands of a dreamer. The capacity to shift gears smoothly between the left and right brain is required. The image of the creative, impractical dreamer is only a myth. The innovative thinker is a man of action, both sides of the brain, synchronized into one whole. Again, during analysis, one switches on the keen left brain, processing all the ideas through logic, statistics and number crunching. What is clear is that an innovator has to be equally facile in using both sides of the brain. The left brain which is logical, mathematical and statistical and the right brain which is poetic, holistic and creative, are both required during the process of innovation.

Leadership


Continuous innovation in a large successful company is uniquely difficult because at the heart of innovation lies the paradox of destruction. Leaders who foster a culture of innovation have 3 key attributes :- 1) The first attribute is the willingness to destroy what exists. It is important to show some insensitivity to your past in order to show proper respect for the future. 2) The second attribute of great leaders of innovation is a powerful sense of purpose. Corporate renewal through innovation is a long cycle process. It cannot flourish in a 'Flavour of the Month' environment. Consistency of direction and purpose is important. 3) The third attribute of great leaders of innovation is personal involvement in sustaining a stretching but supportive innovation culture. High performance innovation companies continuously enhance their gene pool. They suck in ideas and reach out for help wherever they can. 'Not invented here' is the enemy of innovation. Only the ignorant believe they have the right answer. The best companies look outside for help - at customers, suppliers and specialist 'Hot Shop' start ups.

Creativity And Creation


Creation is defined in the dictionary as 'to bring into being or form out of nothing'. Plato focused on the mystery of creativity when he said "A poet is holy and never able to compose, until he has become inspired and is beside himself, and reason is no longer in him....for not by art does he alter these but by power divine". Arthen Koestler goes into the realm of logic when he speaks of the 'bisociation of matrices'. "We cannot wait for great visions from great people, for they are in short supply...It is up to us to light our own small fires in the darkness". Each person in an organization has ideas. Depending on the nature of the climate or field in the company, the ideas flourish and bloom or fade and die. Without the oxygen of support and applause, ideas frequently die early. Creativity is a context specific subjective judgement of the novelty and value of an outcome of individuals or collective behaviour.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Outstanding Leadership


I believe that while creativity is something that is intrinsic to all humans and can be triggered off in a variety of ways, innovation requires that companies consciously create conditions where strategic and organisational issues are creatively resolved through the involvement of people. In my opinion, there are three essential conditions that can stimulate innovation in organisations. They are: a) A culture that empowers people. b) Recognition for innovative thinking. c) Prevalence of outstanding leadership. Too often, however, companies are unable to elicit the involvement of their people because there has been no conscious effort to share the 'larger picture' with everybody. Commitment, which most industrial leaders claim is lacking amongst today's employees, is directly related to the extent of sharing information and to the extent of trust that is created thereby. A formal system of recognition and public encouragement for innovative thinking, goes a long way in communicating what the company expects from its members. Organisations that demonstrate high levels of innovation are those that share belief that things can always be made better than they are today. Normally in organisations, services and in production, the person who is not that creative but is a team man is a better person than the other. Of course if you have a very creative person who is also a team man, you get the best of both the worlds! To us, innovation is at the heart of what it takes corporations to create and sustain leadership. It has far more to do with continually challenging the status - quo and pushing for corporate self renewal, than it has to do with creativity and ingenuity.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Idea Generation - Extended effort


Very often we tend to use the first idea that emerges particularly if it is a good idea. That is why the enemy of a better idea is often a good idea. Very often, you develop a single minded infatuation with your idea, thus shutting the door to other ideas. Extended effort involves spending a lot of time or simply generating a number of options. You could give your group a target - go on generating multiple options till you reach 100. Focus should be on idea fluency. The internal 'Censor Board' takes a vacation. All ideas are simply recorded in an atmosphere of nurturing and appreciation.

The Negative Field


If some people in the group feel excluded they cannot contribute good ideas. They may even change the nature of a positive field by their unhappiness. Just as a drop of cyanide can poison a clear pool of water, so too the unhappiness of a single person can poison the field in a home or a company. They give off toxic waves of hostility, and they can turn a flourishing field into a desert. A negative field is toxic with distrust. In the negative field, individuals are afraid to think differently; new ideas wither before they are formulated. In such a field, only the most obvious ideas, which appear practical and sensible alone, will be shared. All, but the oldest ideas will be rejected. They are probably centuries old. All, but the most obvious ideas will be rejected. A child who is never praised or complimented turns into an insecure adult with little self esteem and he does not want to say or do anything that others will laugh at. So afraid does he become of hostility that continued exposure to this type of negative field can cause many health problems . It is necessary at all times to make sure that the creation of a negative field is carefully avoided. Dealing with anger RED LIGHT 1. Stop, calm down and think before you act. YELLOW LIGHT 2. State the problem and how you feel. 3. Set a positive goal. 4. Think of lots of solutions 5. Think ahead to consequences GREEN LIGHT 6. Go ahead and try the best plan.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Prana and the positive field


An innovation initiative works better in a positive field. So first install the positive field.Prana is the life force that flows in all living things. When the life force leaves the body, the body dies. Kirlian photography has captured pictures of the pranic aura. When Prana is in full flow, the person is full of vitality, energy and enthusiasm. Prana is nurtured by freshly cooked, healthy food. It is fed by breathing pure fresh air. Pranayama is very pro-prana. Moderate exercise and yogic exercise develop the life force. Meditation and a calm attitude cause prana to flow through all our activities smoothly. Getting too hungry or eating too much, consuming stale food, exercising till you are ready to drop dead, constant arguments, over-working, getting emotionally upset and breathing polluted air, all interfere with the smooth flow of prana. Moderation is the norm. Prana enhances the positive field and the vital life force flows freely through it. It creates a powerful positive field – a field of all possibilities, where any seed of an idea will develop rapidly.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happiness and the Positive Field


An old Indian prayer says ”Let all Beings be happy”; not just friends and family, but all men; not just men but the wider world of all beings. When the great musician Tansen sang, it is said that deers wandered into the palace to listen. The great scientist JC Bose wrote decades ago, about the response of plants to kindness. There is a Tibetan concept of ‘drala’ by which any space can be made sacred. All religions sanctify space by holy water, prayer, dress and conduct. Hindus draw sacred symbols on the earth with rice flour or chalk (kolam) and a particular space can be set apart for the Gods and prayer. A sacred space is defined by the rules of conduct laid down for those who enter, as in a room, a church, a temple, the parliament. Very few misbehave in such places ;at least they are not supposed to. They are rarely able to cast away the weight of laws and customs built up over centuries around such places. Some religions lay down rules of cleanliness and dress to enter such places, which include a purificatory bath. A person who maintains such dignity and decorum, in such a place, may be totally different in a bar or when he is at a party. I think the analogy of a TV monitor would describe this phenomenon better. Depending on which button you press, you get a different image. So too depending on the place, a different person emerges. Some place access the Highest and Noblest Self while others access the Beast, the Meanest This is true about people in different interactions. Some people create a field which accesses the best in us, while others access the worst. If you learn the secret of positive fields, you can improve your Happiness Quotient. You can also get the best out of others.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stillness


The best attitude for learning, is being relaxed but alert;like a flower open to the morning sun. The best attitude for thinking also is the same; like a cat in the sun; completely relaxed so that even its paws are limp ,but at the first sign of a mouse, it springs into action, all muscle and lightning speed. Yoga, meditation or any other form of stillness will ensure that you are in an ideal state for thinking fluently.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Clouds


A shaded garden is an ideal place to watch clouds from. Clouds are surprisingly strong willed. Even the softest and fluffiest of them has character. They sail where they please and care not a hoot for boundaries.The whole sky is theirs to rove. And no one can shoot them down as they would a plane which encroaches on alien airspace. They are truly citizens of the world. Clouds are whimsical things. If the mood overtakes them, they change into fantastic shapes , like eccentric geniuses, without any concern for time or place. Clouds absorb the beauty of their surroundings. There are flame tinted clouds which worship the sun, or the flash of silver sunbeams reflected by the darkest rain cloud, or wispy clouds which trap the moon beams as they sail across the placid face of the moon. For effortless enhancement, a cloud wins hands down. Clouds know the freedom of the skies.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Care More Give More


Interview of Dr. Rekha Shetty Published in Body and Beyond Magazine

Free Fall


The capacity to let go ,is rare. Most humans seek security. But to stand still, is to risk even more. It is to risk being overtaken by change. It is to risk being “dragged, an unwilling victim, to be sacrificed at the altar of technology”. Free fall is like bungee jumping. You let go without knowing definitely ,what will happen. Creative ideas are a kind of free fall. You generate ideas that have never been suggested or heard before. You risk the contempt of your peers, their jeers and laughter. There is an old story about Christopher Columbus, the man who discovered America. When he returned, his friends said, “Anyone could have done it. You just kept sailing west till you found America. We too could have done it”. Columbus brought out an egg and said, “Make it stand up straight”. No one could do it. They said, “It can’t be done”. Columbus tapped the egg lightly on the table, so that it cracked slightly, to form a stable surface and then made it stand. Everyone said, “That is cheating. You can’t break the egg”. Columbus said, “Who said you can’t break the egg? You are imagining limitations and boundaries that are not there. Then you are saying it can’t be done. That is why you could not have discovered America”.

The Power of Beauty


Look into the purple heart of an amethyst. Register the colour in your heart and illumine every part of yourself with that colour. Beauty has the power to open the secret doors of the human personality. You become relaxed, alert, comforted and nurtured. Your mind becomes fluid and flowing. All that is harsh and dissonant melts away. Thoughts bloom like flowers on a tender branch. Immersing yourself in the grand silences of nature can help you to start the process of becoming more interestingly ‘YOU’. The ‘YOU’ God created. The ‘YOU’ who can become self actualized and peaceful.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Experiential Attribute Matching


Take an apple.Hold it in your hand . Experience it fully. Touch it, feel it, see it, hear it and taste it. Apply the experience that you have about it, to the problem at hand. This method was used by a leading financial institution to solve their HR problem of how to attract and retain talent. Seeing the apple, the sense of sight, made one from the group, think of the color of passion. This was used to come up with the idea that individuals who are passionate enough about an idea to take the initiative and risk, should be rewarded. The sight of a rotten apple gave rise to the idea that negative elements should be identified and isolated. The red and yellow colours of an apple reminded people about the sun and they said that HR Polices should be like the rising sun. Touching the apple reminded them of the womb and they felt that HR should be as safe as the womb. The smoothness of the apple led them to say that career progressions should be smooth with no awkward bumps. “Soft issues should be handled with a kind grandmother’s touch” said someone who remembered his first apple. The smell of the apple drew attention to the need for a friendly, pleasant atmosphere. The sounds while eating an apple made people feel the HR policy should be crisp. The place of work should be quiet, with pleasant sounds. The taste of the apple led to the idea that HR policies should be easy to digest and understand. You can use any word as a key to enter the domain of a problem in attribute matching. A metaphor enables you to study a problem by importing ideas from a totally different field ,for example, the field of war, the field of films or sports, etc. Networking with people from a different field can help in the development of innovative ideas. For example, a moped manufacturer was inspired by a high fashion saloon in Paris to bring style into his otherwise drab retail outlet. From being a poor man’s scooter, the moped became a romantic vehicle for two. The great Russian eye surgeon, Federov introduced ideas from a factory assembly line into eye surgery. A circular table manned by 4 surgeons enabled the patient to be moved from one surgeon to the other, to complete the surgery in record time. Strict quality control was maintained by live video recordings which were monitored and carefully critiqued every evening.

The Buddha as a CEO


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sstOgYIZ2Rc&feature=em-share_video_user&hd=1

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Using Life To Develop Creative Ideas


Life provides rich material to develop creative ideas. There is a story in the Bhagavatham about how Uddhava asks Krishna the question - "Who is a teacher?" Krishna says, "Look at the sky. Far far away, you can see an eagle swift, strong and free. In a single instant, it can swoop down to earth and capture its prey. As far as vision and speed is concerned, that eagle is your guru. See the lion in the forest. See how majestic is his gait. As far as grace is concerned, that lion is your guru. Watch the sinuous serpent. He is not anxious about his prey. He waits and watches. That serpent will teach you confidence... All of life is designed to teach you. Those who love you, teach you something. Those who hate you, teach you more!" So sorrow and pain are sent into our lives for a reason, so that we can empathize with others. Life is the ultimate text book. Graduating from the university of life is the final goal.

Friday, July 11, 2014

INNOVATION - THE PATH TO SUCCESS


The World’s most successful companies have made innovation their mantra. A record of sorts was created when IBM listed 9th on the Fortune 500 list mentioned Innovation 45 times in its annual report. Hyundai had an annual theme - Innovation for Humanity. “Endless in Innovation” is their goal. Transformation is what happens to a drop of water when touched by the magic of sunlight. It becomes rainbow. It is what happens to a seed when it starts the journey to become a mighty banyan tree. The banyan tree is not an improved seed, just as a butterfly is not an improved caterpillar or a rainbow an improved drop of water….. By definition, innovation takes interesting ideas and transforms them into usable solutions to business problems. The Goldman Sachs latest report on India describes India as a potentially “bigger growth story than China over the long run”. CIA’s report on the year 2020 confirms that two countries will lead the nations of the world – The Indian elephant and the Chinese dragon. Most successful Indian companies believe that creativity and innovation provide the competitive edge required for growth and profitability. However , very few have clear policies and initiatives to make it happen. Understanding and harnessing innovation can be a challenge. This blog seeks to validate the strong link between certain innovative practices and bottom-line profit performance, product quality and employee satisfaction. It also seeks to identify the factors that differentiate a highly innovative company from others.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Driving creativity in star performance


The way a company treats its top performers provides role models for all others. If such fast track performers are innovative, then others will see creativity and innovation as the path to success. If most star performers are cautious and rule bound, the clear message would be, “Be careful and just follow rules if you want to move up. Creativity does not pay”.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Reality of Life


We have so much waiting for us. Each of us comes into the world with a need to learn many things. Life is the ultimate classroom. Each of us has different problems to solve, tests to pass. Events will swirl around us uncontrolled, regardless. Our response is something we can control. Choose to say beautiful words, to hear lovely words. Banish harsh, angry and foul language from the inner spaces of your heart. Perhaps you could set a song for the day in my mind. Those who met us would see the sparkle of that song in our eyes and feel the rhythm of its harmony in my limbs. Why should we allow foul language into our mind?

Innovation Sutra


http://www.mangaloretoday.com/main/Mangalore-origin-Author-launches-8-th-Book-Innovation-Sutra-July-4.html

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Explore Opposites


I watched 'Coco' a movie about the great fashion designer Coco Chanel. When the whole world of glamorous women wore jewels and silks and colours to fussy excess, she created the little black dress - a total minimalist contrast to the current trend. A way of dressing that said clearly - "Less is more!" Perhaps the total lack of resources she experienced in her childhood in an orphanage, made her use adversity to make a style statement, where she used to telling effect what little she had. Innovation is often born of adversity. That is why India with over 250 million middle class people, has the opportunity to create minimalist, inexpensive designs for the world. Innovation is about doing things differently. The surfire method is to think about the exact opposite of what everyone is doing. As VP Marketing, Apollo Hospitals group,I noticed that hospitals used to be a place for the sick. We turned it upside down and made Apollo a place for wellness with a multitude of check-ups. People worldwide who were well came to remain well, making it a household brand. "If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." - Albert Einstein

Revisit the Problem Bank


"Instead of pouring knowledge into people's heads, we need to help them grind a new set of eyeglasses so that we can see the world in a new way." - J. S. Brown Give the team a chance to look at the problem together, so that their minds are expanded to achieve a holistic view. This map of problems will enable everyone to have a unified view of the geography of the problem. Encourage people to keep refining the problem and adding more sub problems. Remember, when the problem map is clear, the optimum path through the thickets and mountains becomes easy and clear. Maintain the growing problem bank on the intranet. Replace problems which are solved with new problems. This exercise enhances collaboration. It reduces needless conflict and eliminates turf protection.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Being Proactive


“Seize the moment. Think of all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart” – Elma Bloombeck Seize the moment. Act now when the opportunity is walking past your door. It may never knock. Go out, grab it by the collar and bring it in. No one likes change except a wet baby who needs its nappy changed. Write down your wishes. Track your impossible dreams. Capture them, lasso them, as they speed away like runaway horses. For as Walt Disney said – “If you can dream it, you can do it!” Dr. Edwin Land, Founder of Polaroid Corporation made a killing with instant pictures when he made his little daughter’s wish come true. She wanted to see her birthday pictures immediately, before they were developed. Ask all your team members to write down their wishes. The impossible wishes are the most precious – the highway to the path of innovation. Imagine Sam Walton who made inventory a profit centre, instead of a cost centre. Fred Smith, a senior in college, wrote a term paper where parcels worldwide could be delivered overnight. Many years as a pilot flying missions in Vietnam, he refined the idea. When he returned, he created Federal Express. It is rumored that the legendary Dhirubhai got Boeing to cut open the hull of an aircraft to transport a huge machine, which was needed to reach India before major taxes came into effect. Let ideas appear and be recorded. Leave them alone to germinate and grow in people’s minds. No criticism during idea generation. For “Analysis kills spontaneity. The grain once ground into flour, springs and germinates no more.” Henrie Fredric Ammiel.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PROBLEM ANALYSIS


Let all members of the team analyze and discuss the problem. Break up the problem and analyze it in all its parts. Study the past, present and future of the problem as team members perceive it. Let everyone have a chance to imprint their personal view point of the problem. Certainly a person on the assembly line will see the problem in a way totally different from the CEO. The problem of the mouse is different from the solutions seen by the housewife. When everyone understands the problem together, they become committed to finding a solution common to all. When the biggest cruise ship in history, 'The Titanic' sprang a leak, the first person to notice it is supposed to have said "The problem is on the other side of the ship!" The whole ship sank anyway. Problem analysis by the whole team, ensures that people take a holistic view without turf protection.

Friday, June 27, 2014

A GREAT TIME TO BE INDIAN


A few years ago top notch American Research Company came up with the finding that the next global economic powers will be the Indian Elephant and the Chinese Dragon. Energize your team with patriotism. Let them not forget that in the 1770's we had 25% of the world trade. We plummeted to 0.5 per cent of world trade and now we are slowly climbing to 1.2 per cent. We need to conquer the world market with huge blow back innovations like sachet shampoos, the Nano, $20 cataract surgeries or a computer with 3 mice. India is the largest laboratory for bottom of the pyramid innovations for the poor. Most countries cannot come up with such reverse innovations, created by the poor but used by the rich. This is because each of these innovations are good for a sustainable Earth. Our planet is being threatened by the greedy energy guzzling lifestyle of affluent nations. Our innovations, driven by economic necessity may really help us save planet earth.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

PONDER ON PROBLEMS


It is important to involve everyone in identifying problems in the system. Give everyone a chance and encourage them to throw light on problems. Once main points are identified, it becomes easy to deal with them. The problem finding exercise will be facilitated by using the 6 M’s – Men, materials, machineries, methods, markets and money. Sometimes people state the symptoms and not the problems. For instance, consider the question, ‘How to build a better mouse trap’. How much better it would be to ask, ' How to keep mice out of my space?'. This could throw open the field to gas, poison or improving hygiene. The first question would ensure that the person is obsessed with architecture of mouse traps. Scarce resources could be spent on mouse traps which would not really get rid of mice. Get everyone to ask the right questions and identify the core problems together. Identifying and formulating the problem is the most difficult part of creative problem solving. Very often we state symptoms of the problems and end up wasting scare resources chasing the illusionary "golden deear of the epics".Management then becomes so emotinaonally commited to the wrong path, that we can end up moving faster and faster along the wrong road. It is like a man who drills an oil well, in a bad spot. More and more money is spent with no resulting strike. But those involved, refuse to fill up the unproductive well and move on to a new location. They continue throwing good money after bad, because they do not want to admit that a mistake had been made initailly.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

DO NOT BE A SPECTATOR BE A PARTICIPANT


King Janaka tilled the soil with his own hands and he was also the greatest knowers of Truth of his time. Digging with his own hands he found the greatest gift of his life from the Earth Mother, his beautiful daughter, Sita. The CEO and his top team should be closely involved in the innovation initiative. There is no use asking the rank and file to use innovation thinking tools, when the CEO does not bother to learn them or recognise them when they are used. Thinking tools are effective only if they are regularly used and become a natural way of being. Participation by top management is critical in an innovation initiative. Swami Vivekananda said "It will not do to merely listen to great principles. you must apply them in the practical field , turn them in to constant practice". Finally lead from the front. People do not see what you say but what you do. "The wind of grace of the Lord is blowing on forever and ever, do you spread your sail" Swami Vivekananda. Get down ,lead from the front,participate.

Monday, June 23, 2014

CREATE A JOYOUS TEAM SPIRIT


“The world is just a gymnasium in which we play; our life is an eternal holiday’ -Swami Vivekananda First install the positive field in your company, where everybody is full of a joyous, ‘Can do’ spirit.This is the ‘field’ in which creativity and innovation works best. Playfulness enhances great ideas. The environment of creativity is a supportive and nurturing environment,where everyone feels free to play, to be intuitive and bold. It is the environment that encourages people to be creative, be silly even, to take risks, and to think outside the box. There is around every organization, a field, which is positive or negative. This field begins within the individual. Each person has within him a field that is positive or negative. The development of an inner field, a mindspace that is positive, is key to creativity. Continuously developing and pouring in positive emotions creates a positive field within which, a person interacts with others who bring in their own fields. Those who operate in positive fields suffused with love, compassion, laughter, courage and wonder, are likely to be more creative while supporting others to be at their innovative best. In order to present this concept more clearly. I have used the ancient Indian concept of the Navarasas – the nine emotions. Learning to enhance the positive field and reducing the effect of the negative field is an important part of creativity and innovation. Thinking out of the box is possible only in a positive field. The positive field is sustained by certain tools and behaviour: verbal, tonal and non- verbal. It is a win-win field. Within such a field, all who operate together are enabled and nurtured. “ The essence of creativity is a willingness to play the fool, to toy with the absurd,only later submitting the stream of ideas to harsh critical judgement. The application of the imagination to the future therefore requires an environment in which to safely reflect, in which novel juxtapositions of ideas can be freely expressed before being critically sifted. We need sanctuaries for the social imagination.” - Alvin Toffler

Thursday, June 19, 2014

DO or DIE!


‘There is no harm building dream castles in the air. Now just put foundations under them’ said a philosopher. Not only is there no harm in dreaming, it is a critical element in creating the reality you want. In the era of silent movies, Harry M.Warner, Warner Brothers said ”Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” Dream the impossible dream and make sure your whole team dreams the same clear dream. Gandhiji said “Poorna Swaraj!” or Total Freedom! The minds of 350 million Indians were focused on that magic word , Freedom! He burnt all the bridges with the implementation mantra ‘Do or Die’. If you want your company to pursue stretch goals you need to do this two step maneuver: 1. Create a unified dream 2. Act to finish. Ideas are easier. Implementation is the killer!

DESIGN Your FUTURES


You see things: and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were: and say ‘Why not?’ - George Bernard Shaw in Back to Methuselah Companies need to innovatively design their future when they are doing well. Learning enactly how to get ideas,develop them and implement them as innovations requires discipline and direction. The journey can lead you to new strategies, new products or even new ways of working and managing .Practising the step by step tools, that lead to innovation, for 90 days can ultimately lead you to the reinvention of your entire organization. Whether it was an IAS Officer like SR Rao who transformed plague ridden Surat into one of the healthiest cities in the world or the Tata’s making Nano the world’s most inexpensive car, everything starts with a dream goal, an impossible vision which, ignites the imagination. ‘The journey of a thousand leagues starts with a single step’ says a Chinese proverb. The journey to transformation starts with your decision to chase a stretch goal,to reach for the distant star!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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. Stress The Killer: Beware The twenty-first century will be the century of the Mind. The Mind is man's last unconquered frontier. The Upanishads describe it as fast, fickle and uncontrollable, like a dozen swift horses travelling at breakneck speed. Mankind is paying a steep price for failing to learn more about the Mind before embarking on the race for success in the new millennium. Stress is the price we pay for success. Stress stalks the precarious climb up the corporate ladder.