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.