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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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?
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
"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.
“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.
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.
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.