Monday, April 28, 2014


Play Devil’s Advocate. As a discipline, think of the exact opposite of the view you have been holding. If you’ve been saying ’Yes’ get the motivation for ‘No’. If you are an optimist, as a discipline work out the motivations of the pessimist. Most of us tend to see situations through the flawed windows of our own nature. We are optimistic or pessimistic and do not really participate with others in understanding all aspects and connotations of a problem. The Six thinking hats can help a group or even a person to study all aspects of a problem. Here are the hats and what they stands for. Each of us wear each hat in turn or persuade other to wear them. I’d like to state here, that while thinking one should remove all barriers and obstacles. Thinking is the easiest way of testing a solution. Thinking through all possibilities can prevent major financial distress. But most people are as careful and timid with their thinking as they are with their actions, thus losing the possibility of nurturing creative ideas. People feel busy and productive, leaping into activity. One can happily be busy doing work which may be non productive. In my view thinking should be the major activity of managers. The rules of action has been already codified by Edward De Bono as ‘Physical nature of shoes’. Creativity helps us to find alternative to successful activities. But progress lies in constantly striving through innovation to delight the customer.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Building relationships, lifetime relationships if possible, through good communications provides the right environment for creativity. Reducing conflict improves creativity. Innovators are good negotiators because of their ability to invent a variety of alternative ways of handling the problem. Conflict is reduced by the ability to invent variety of alternative ways of handling the problem. A good tool to reduce conflict is Edward De Bono’s ADI. Take any conflict situation and do a ADI which is mapping the situation. A Areas of Agreement D Areas of Disagreement I Areas of Irrelevance It is often found that the two parties agree on 95% of the points. All heated arguments and conflict may be about 3% of the points while 2% may be irrelevant. Creativity helps teams to cope with change. They are able to use change not as a threat but as an opportunity and a challenge to improve their problem solving abilities.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


PO3 is a tool to generate alternatives. When a system is working well, as a matter of routine, PO3 should be used to encourage thinking of 10 alternate ways of doing it better. This is an important and interesting tool to prevent stagnation.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


PO2 is very similar to attribute matching. They help us to put together dissimilar ideas and expert solutions from different fields. Example: If you would like to get fresh ideas on education compare it to a motor car. The attributes of a motor car are, 1. It moves 2. It should be regularly filled with fuel 3. It can carry people 4. It provides a good view of the country 5. It has four wheels Aplying some of the ideas to education will ensure that we get a whole group of creative ideas like educational programme should put different types of people together in close proximity (as in a motor car) and enable them to share ideas in a time bubble away from others. Education should provide regular inputs from an outside source (like fuel).

Thursday, April 17, 2014


PO is a tool perfected by Edward De Bono and is a word used to protect delicate new ideas from destruction. PO1 PO1 is used to protect an impossible idea from immediate destruction. The tool used here to protect the idea is intermediate impossible. Example: Parking on Mount Road becomes a problem due to over crowding and lack of adequate parking space. You can use an intermediate impossible here: Drivers should be encouraged to park only on weekends. This can lead to the idea to provide parking spots for car on different days of the week. So each car would receive special facilities only on certain days of the week. This would encourage car pooling and a shift of leisure time activities to times when the congestion is less. The intermediate impossible helps to put a fence around an idea which is impossible, thus allowing it to develop without immediate attack.

Differentiation of Stars from Seekers

Stars, on the whole, are very positive about their company and its future. They believe that the quality of their products is higher, and that their market share was increasing. Employee satisfaction levels were high, possibly, because people were committed and engaged. Stars had a greater belief in the need for creativity in the organization. Innovation was clearly mentioned in their mission statement. They had systematic customer satisfaction measures and use the information to make course corrections. New ideas are often obtained through market research. They make use of outside consultants. They use cutting edge technologies to impact bottom lines. They are able to ensure that different departments use their ability to come together. They excel in environment scouting for ideas. They have a shared process of idea generation, which however, could be used better.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Outward Bound Type Programmes

These programmes employ an exotic location and new situations to stimulate creativity. It is common to develop a positive climate through teamwork concepts learnt on location. The use of physical adventure is particularly attractive to desk bound executives with their notoriously sedentary life styles. Building trust and breaking down communication barriers can often result in heightened creativity, growing out of the environment or positive field in which innovation thrives. Music has the power to purify the emotional field like nothing else. Pranayama helps you sing without losing your breath. The mindspace becomes sweetly harmonious and no harsh words can be spoken there. Here is a quote from Rabinranath Tagore’s Geetanjali: “I touch with the edge of the far-reaching wings of my song, thy feet which I could never aspire to reach”. Every day we should choose the sounds that allowed into our field. Perhaps we could set a song for the day in our mind. Those who met us would see the sparkle of that song in my eyes and feel the rhythm of its harmony in our, limbs. Why should we allow foul language into our mind? ‘Shabdh or sound is Vani Saraswathi, the Goddess of Learning. Words are sacred to her. Choose to say beautiful words, to hear lovely words. Banish harsh, angry and foul language from the inner spaces of your heart. A sure happiness killer is stress, hence beware of it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Market Research

Market research enables the company to understand a marketing problem better. The value of the results depends upon on 5 steps: Problem definition, Research design, Field work, Data analysis, Report presentation and implementation. New product ideas are likely to emerge from the market place during research. This is because changing fashions and improved communication networks are creating new aspirations among costumers. This information has to be solicited. It will not flow or be recognized in the hustle and bustle of chasing bottom lines curing routine every day business operations.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The 6M Map for Problem Analysis

Every problem can be analyzed by looking at the 6 Ms – Men, Materials, Machines, Methods, Markets and Money. Get the team to study all six aspects of the problem, past, present and future. The 6M Map provide an elegant format to help understand the underlying structure of your company. It enables you to dissect all parts of your organizational anatomy. Each of the 6Ms should be thoroughly studied for problems. . It is important to involve everyone in identifying the real problem. What is a problem for the worker need not seem like a problem for the manager. The following example will help you in better understanding Mr. Ramesh, former HR director of Hyundai, once recounted the case of an absentee worker. He was constantly absent because of backache. Everyone thought he was malingering until it was found that he was shorter than the other workers, and was straining his back by stretching it. Increasing the height of the platform on which he stood solved the problem and eliminated his absenteeism.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Problem Analysis

Innovation is to analyse your problem in depth and make sure that everyone understands all aspects of the problem. Answer these questions together. Record all points using a poster and post-it slips. What is the present situation? Why has the problem arisen? Why should it be solved? Why is it a problem for me personally? What thoughts have I already had, or what efforts have I made to solve the problem? Why are these thoughts or efforts insufficient or unavoidable? What kind of action can I initiate towards solving this problem? What would the ‘ideal’ solution be? If you can able to answer the above questions, it will guide you to not only to find out the right solution but helps you to find new resolutions.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Revisit the Problem Bank

The lack of collaboration between departments stifles innovation.What can you do differently in your organization? Revisit the problem bank which you have created and include the following problems along with the existing ones 1. Problems which can be prevented with condition monitoring 2. Problems which may arise when there is a change in any of the 6M areas. Get your team to review all the problems in the problem bank. A good company maintains a problem bank on its intranet to solicit comments from its work force. As the problems keep getting solved, they can be replaced with new, unsolved problems.

Impact Analysis

It is now time to prioritize problems to be solved. Make sure no time is wasted on non-critical problems. Team members can critique and analyze each problem ruthlessly. Put them up on white boards in your innovation centre so that people live amidst them, feeling free to add their thoughts. Task for the day Choose problems which are high-value, big-ticket items for the company. The four key issues which you like to consider are: increasing revenues, reducing costs, improving customer satisfaction and improving employee participation. Analyze each of the problem using the format given below: Impact Analysis – Outcome Time Increasing revenues Reducingcosts Improving customer satisfaction Increasing employee participation 1 Month 3 Months 6 Months 1 year Have a long term goal and stick to it through difficult times.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sub-problem Statements

Each problem can be broken up into sub-problems. A problem is like a jigsaw puzzle, made up of many pieces which are its sub-problems. Create small teams around each sub-problem. Allow each team to work using thinking tools. Create a problem statement and sub-problem statement as per the following format and work on it with your organizational problems: Problem Statement Problem : How to…………. Serial No Sub – Problem People to be involved Budgets Outcomes Teamwork drives innovation. Challenge each other when working together.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sub-problem Statements

Each problem can be broken up into sub-problems. A problem is like a jigsaw puzzle, made up of many pieces which are its sub-problems. Create small teams around each sub-problem. Allow each team to work using thinking tools. Create a problem statement and sub-problem statement as per the following format and work on it with your organizational problems: Problem Statement Problem : How to…………. Serial No Sub – Problem People to be involved Budgets Outcomes Teamwork drives innovation. Challenge each other when working together.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Management Systems and Implementation – the Steering Committee

Create a steering committee to lead and coordinate the innovation initiative. The chief innovation officer is usually the chief executive. He is supported by the innovation champions and at least two members of the top management. This committee should conduct weekly 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 the innovation spirals meet regularly, • Organizing the training of the trainers and others on an ongoing basis. • Regularly following up to ensure that the tasks agreed to are carried out. • Facilitating collection of monthly reports and preparing a consolidated report. • Handholding teams, encouraging and promoting innovation across the company. The steering committee meets once a month to review and take corrective action. The floor should be kept open for those who would like to participate. All teams can meet to gather forces for implementation. They should ensure that support is provided for innovative projects with potential.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Attribute Matching

Attribute Matching is a simple method which breaks down stereotypes which are very common among many of us. Procedure for use: 1. Come up with a procedure or process that is totally different from the process or product to be improved. 2. List attributes of the new product or process. 3. Apply each attribute to the product or process being considered and arrive at alternative solutions. The Five Senses and Happiness 1. The smell of incense and home-food cooking. 2. The taste of love and attention. 3. The look of a newly swept yard with a kolam (design on the ground which is created with rice flour) 4. The touch of freshly washed and ironed bed sheets. 5. The sound of contentment after a good meal.