* Entrepreneurship needs innovation. It is creativity that will fuel this emerging revolution. Over 18% of India’s workforce is into entrepreneurship. Compare this with the 10.2% in USA. India has moved from being a brand that stands for imitation to a name in innovation.
* India has filed 4,000 patents in five years. Over 100 top MNCs in India and Indian research labs are fuelling the innovator’s dream. Multinationals have even tried to patent basmati rice and 2000 year old ayurvedic drugs, while we keep dreaming of our glorious tradition. We need to wake up.
* India’s youth want the world and they want it now! 54% of India’s population is now under 25. The ‘core competence of India’ is her brilliant young people. Our intellectual capital or MindsPower is our Unique Selling Proposition (USP), provided we put it to productive use.
* Labor is a far more important factor of growth than Capital.
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:
d) Human resources
e) Goodwill and impact on staff motivation levels
g) Saving lives
h) Political capital
Learning to create a positive field is an important part of the climate of wellbeing. The positive field is created by tools and behaviours that may be verbal, tonal and non-verbal.
Ø A common prayer or mantra.
Ø A mental process which draws a magic circle around all those who are participating.
Ø A common exercise, a common company song, common goals.
Ø A handshake, a friendly look, an encouraging word.
Ø Thinking, believing and acting in a positive manner.
Ø Laughter, commonly shared jokes.
Ø Meditation, practiced regularly, helps develop the capacity to be analytical, positive and disciplined, and eliminate negative fields.
Ø Affirmations, the most important constituent of the positive field. It is a verbal, tonal or non-verbal act of appreciation.
The energy field around a person is most affected by positive, soul-level motives or ‘sankalpa’. If the gut-level motives are positive, the mere lack of skill in verbal, tonal and non–verbal transmissions can be overcome.
The ‘reality test’ should now be ruthlessly applied. Once implementation starts, every move costs money. This is the last step in the thinking 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. An ounce of action is worth tonnes of e-mail, paper and speeches. Implementation is the key to innovation.
During the process of analysis, logical, statistical and mathematical solutions have to be carefully discussed and the optimum one chosen. Some prevalent parameters are:
d) Human resources
e) Goodwill and impact on staff motivation levels
g) Saving lives
h) Political capital
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.
Idea generation is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to drive innovation. In order to be successful, the idea generation program must be clear and consistent, reaching down to all levels of the organization. However, not following through on an idea generation program dooms it to failure, as can be seen in suggestion boxes that are never opened and exit interviews that are not analyzed. Successful idea generation programs are long-term and transparent. Good ideas are immediately and publicly rewarded. These programs have a greater chance of success when creativity tools are taught in advance.
Create problem banks around initial problem statements. The problem bank should be a constantly growing database of emerging problems, developed by stakeholders. The problem banks should reflect the possibility of improvement and innovation, even in processes that seem to be working perfectly well. Anyone in the organization should be able to work on these problems and solve them. In a good, dynamic organization, there should be at least a few problems, which remain unsolved and need outside help. The time to identify problems is when things are going well. The organization then has the resources and energy to find hidden problems.
The first step in developing an environment that nurtures creativity is to separate idea generation from analysis. Most business sessions do not yield too many breakthrough ideas because managers are too busy shooting down each other’s ideas. Such meetings produce boring, safe and often useless suggestions.
Today is the age of knowledge. Innovation can take companies forward at the speed of thought. The list below outlines the process:
• Identifying and Creating a Problem Bank
• Idea Generation
• Analysis : the gateway to solutions
• Implementation: The Final Stage of the Process
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.
The Five Stress-Triggering Emotions
Any of the big five emotions—Kama, Kroda, Madha, Lobha, Matsarya (lust, anger, arrogance, greed, jealousy) respectively can flood the body with the chemicals of stress. Stress is destructive. Stress is ageing. Stress is a killer.
MindsPower process focuses on stimulating fresh thinking in managers and leaders with the goal of bringing new power and perspectives to their organizations. In strategic planning assignments, the client’s own planning team works out the plan, knowing that the important thing about a strategic plan is not the paper it is printed on, but the process it creates within an organization.
The process facilitates culture change, whether the transformation is being driven by shifting paradigms in the market or by internal events like mergers or acquisitions. Many companies use the process to create profitable new products and processes, often drawing on MindsPower’s unique research process for tapping the creativity of customers. Product development assignments not only assist with the birth of new ideas, but stay with the company all the way to the market.
Companies use the process to create or revitalize quality improvement programs. Another important area of work is corporate transformation, by developing high-performing managers and teams and promoting cross functional teamwork. This often involves mounting an Innovative Teamwork Program, which enables people to invent better ways of working and performing together. MindsPower programs are often tailored to the specific needs of each company.
If you learn the secret of positive fields or mindspace, you can improve your Happiness Quotient. You can also get the best out of others. Making members of your team wholehearted participants rather than indifferent spectators, is the key to organizational success.
Wholeheartedness is a state of full presence. This state involves complete enjoyment of a task. Participation, with full commitment of body and mind, is irresistible. I become wholehearted when I give all of myself to an interaction or task. These interactions create a field, which allows me to be wholeheartedly present in the moment, without defensiveness. The most fundamental characteristics of a positive field are that it quells anxiety and produces feelings of acceptance and a feeling of being affirmed. It is like walking into a room full of people who love and accept you, unconditionally. It is a feeling of being meaningful and safe – this frees up energy for connecting.
Decide to approach all events, all people, and all things with affection, reverence and ‘Sraddha.’ This reverence is due to all, because of the divine spark that dwells in everyone whether he is a legend or a failure. Sometimes it is obvious. It is the silent flame of consciousness that reaches out to you from a flowering creeper or a healthy pet. Sometimes this life force has lost its vitality and is dimmed by dirt, lethargy and lack of care. Clean the glass of your Life’s lamp. Make the light shine through.
When you consider yourself sacred, you will treat yourself well. You will wear clean, fresh clothes, ironed and starched, mended if torn, but clean and fresh. You will smile at yourself, encourage yourself. Just as you put on clean fresh clothes, you will also clean up the mental space or field around you. Sweep out all ill-will, anger, fear and anxiety. Let there be the fragrance of incense, divinity of prayer and mantra, the smiles of loved ones, laughter and joy, the smell and taste of good, nutritious food. It is as important to clean the field around you, as it is to have a bath. Sweep out the sad baggage of the past. Take into that field only what is bright and elevating, fine and happy.
Validation by the self and others, particularly ‘significant’ others, is essential for the creation of a positive field. Everyone needs to be validated. People who retire from busy lives, feel the lack of validation strongly in their now empty lives, which they had not planned for. A plan that provides validation for one’s existence is critical to wholeness.
My relationship with myself is critical. How do I talk to myself? Holding, sustaining environments, nurturing and supporting fields, foster happiness. Building competence with coaching is an option. However, when one converts one’s management style from self-punisher and merciless critic to a loving coach, one creates an ever-present holding environment that nurtures one’s continuing movement towards growth and creativity.
The value system of a company can provide the environment for creativity. People can do their best if their work is good for the employees, customers, and the country. “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 judgment. 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
During meditative practices, the chemicals of peace and tranquility like serotonins and endorphins flow into the blood. Breathing, heart rate and pulse rate stabilize. The mind is able to function calmly and freely. An alert and relaxed attitude is required for the teamwork involved in building ideas and analyzing them. Self-awareness of your state of mind can help you get the most out of life and help others to do the same.
Emotions and the way you deal with them, create the positive field. The Mind is a field, which is filled with positive and negative emotions. The nava rasas can be your guide to understanding the nine emotions. The nava rasas are a 2000 year old Indian concept on emotions. The nine emotions have been built into a system of dance called Natya Shastra by Sage Bharata. Rasa means rapture or relish and 37 chapters of the Natya Shastra are devoted to eight of them, as Bharatha does not consider ‘Shantha’ or peace a major rasa. Bharata’s Natya Shastra even described each rasa with a different color.
The positive emotions create a positive field, which fills your blood with the chemicals of happiness and well-being, which are conducive to the building or rebuilding of a healthy body and mind. The negative emotions create a negative field, which fills your blood with the chemicals of unrest and unhappiness. It is important to have a closer look at the nine rasas.
The individuals in the team have a fixed amount of potential energy.
Each individual uses as much of his energy as is necessary to ensure his emotional survival.
He tries hard to avoid getting hurt and to lick his wounds or takes revenge if he is hurt.
Only the balance of energy is available to devote to the task.
Energy available to the group dramatically improves as the team climate improves.
More energy is put into achieving goals.
Less is spent on safeguarding emotional well-being.
You achieve a team atmosphere where colleagues are a pleasure to work with, the boss is a good guy, there is excitement in the air and laughter too; and success is within hand’s reach.
The positive field is the foundation of highly productive and innovative teams.
For the lush growth of creative ideas, it is necessary to create a space which is very supportive of wild ideas. Let us build a sanctuary for wild ideas. Just as a game sanctuary protects wild animals, let us place wild ideas in a protected area where they can wander around in peace.
The group is not to stop till they have 100 ideas. No one is allowed to shoot down any idea however irrelevant; only building is allowed. Ping-Pong and springboards are allowed. Impossible ideas in a sanctuary are allowed to grow unmolested. No one is allowed to attack them, only grow and develop them.
As C.K. Prahlad put it, every company has before it a 100 alternative futures. Every person has before him a 100 alternative futures; creativity enables you to explore these alternatives in your mind.
These explorations cost nothing. They could save you millions.
To be open and vulnerable even to ideas that seem threatening is the key to creativity. Convert yourself into a total listening self; your determination to support another’s idea will create a field that can yield richly creative ideas. No part of your self should be involved in finding fault, creating obstacles, or developing reasons why the idea will not work. Your mind should flow with the others, lend your heartfelt imagination and support the other’s idea. Use verbal cues to create a positive, listening, supportive field: avoid words that can poison the field and turn it negative; words that prevent the bubbling up of new ideas are strictly prohibited.
Dr. Rekha Shetty is Managing Director of Farstar Distribution Network, a unique consultancy company devoted exclusively to innovation and creativity under the brand name Mindspower.She is an author, an entrepreneur and an original thinker. Her long term Innovation Initiative, using 47 thinking tools helps in a steep increase in profits, reduction in costs, while improving customer satisfaction levels and employee participation levels. She is a consultant to ICICI Bank, Ashok Leyland Ltd., Hyundai Motors Ltd., TVS Group, TI Group, Durgapur Steel Plant, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and other blue chip companies.
In her very first assignment in United India Insurance, she developed a nationally acclaimed advertising campaign. During the last seventeen years, she has specialized in the field of Creativity in Management and developed her own management brand, Mindspower. She was one of Asia’s first women District Governors for Rotary International and was awarded Rotary’s highest Award – Service above Self.
Her fourth book “Innovate! 90 Days to Transform your Business” is under print and will be released by Penguin during May 2010.