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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Creative Vs Methodological problem solving

There is a considerable debate and explanation of whether there can be a process for creative problem solving in contrast to methodological problem solving - Many believe creative problem solving is too creative to be reduced to a process. TRIZ enthusiasts differ here of course!

The new study provides an interesting verification of the difference between creative thinking and methodological problem solving. The Right brain is active more for creative thinking and also the diffused visual attention rather than the focussed attention on visual triggers. Very interesting indeed - if you are a good traffic navigator - and knows how to find a place in a crowded city you may be more methodical, while if you work on diffused visual inputs to imbibe a geography and use these for constructing or imagining your world - you may be more of a creative thinker.

The study however discovers another point - before the ideation process - what was the state of your mind - whether it was more right brained excited or left brain excited will impact how you solve the problem.

Well this confirms to a large extent the psychological inertia of core competence - we have been solving problems in a particular way through out our life - we will use the same thinking whatever be the problem. The engineering mind - always will reduce the problem into smaller more manageable problems while an artist will always try to construct patterns from observation.

Before the actual problem solving, I have found in my workshops as well, we need to prime the minds of the particpants into different methods by playing games or solving problems by different methods. Then the output of the workshop increases - better quantity and quality.

Am I an Office Clown?

This is a very nice question to ask? Am I an office clown - The article tells that office clown behaviour springs from a sense of insecurity and a craving for attention. The office clowns are liked by people but they reduce the productivity of the organization as they create non-seriousness about everything.

There are other forms that this insecurity gets reflected in the behaviour of the people - one they eat up the available bandwidth by talking endlessly about "I" "Me" or "I" disguised as "We" - the disguise cant hold on for long - everyone sees it is "I". "I" of the insecure person is very dangerous especially if the person is the boss -

Further our education system - trains us to speak more - group discussions - be there to expres your point of view - I am yet to find a teaching and training school that teaches "How to listen attentively, with empathy and with active triggers". Having had the good fortune to work with some great men in my professional life - I can vouch for the remarkable ability these people have to listen. This is an ability that makes them great - active listening - even clowns can transform themselves into active listening if use there humour as active triggers to extend the speakers talk or topic...This is not a difficult task for clowns if communicated properly - yet the insecurities need to be taken care of - then there is a behaviour that is naturally creative - Was Richard Feynman - the Nobel prize winning physicist - a clown? The creative clown needs to be distinguished from the pure attention seeking clown.

How to be a creative clown if you really are a clown - with disciplined listenin g capability - will make you achieve more? Are all the insecure clowns listening -

Resilience Thinking

I have been advocating three different dimensions of thinking to be combined together to solve global problems - systems thinking, inventive/design thinking and Lean thinking - in contrast to the analogical thinking that we are used to.

The speech quoted in the blog here calls it Resilience Thinking

1. The first principle of resilience thinking is systems thinking
2. Resilience thinking means abandoning command-and-control approaches.
3. The heart of resilience is diversity.
4. Sustainability means staying in the game for the long haul.

We know some other keys to resilience.

• Build community and social capital. Resilience resides in enduring relationships and networks that hold cultural memory the same way seeds regenerate a forest after a fire.
• Empower local communities to solve their own problems. Governance usually works best when it's closest to the ground and includes all stakeholders across all levels.
• Beware of systems being too tightly connected, because one shock to the system can cause them all to crash at the same time.
• And above all--learn, experiment and innovate.

This is an execellent way to build an enterprise in the new world as well - one can ask Toyota Motors - again!

Re-imagine the world is the call in the article - a very nice speech indeed by the founder of Bioneers - Kenny Ausubel

Monday, October 29, 2007

Globalization - A New whipping topic?

Enterprises are facing major risk of globalization - a new study by IBM and Wharton business school says here.



Is the globalization a new whipping boy? After the political connotations of Globalization avataar's outsourcing and offshoring are being protested against, it is now the turn of technolgists as well. They obviously want to give technology solutions - forming an integarted financial organization will help the globalizing organization, as per the IBM study.

I believe it is much more than technology - what is needed is an approach thats is less control more creation, less management more on-its-own, less of post facto data analysis, more of empiricism and experimentation - less of hierarchies more of networks, less of pyramidal thinking more of all-inclusive thinking... Its a tough ask for people who are tuned to last century work ethics - dear Control freaks - wake up - world is self-organizing!


Product-Service Systems Call for Papers

Following is a call for papers in two journals of Product-Service Systems (PSS) - This is not a trivialized topic - I think it is of critical importance to Indian companies especially service companies to explore how product complexities will impact the service industry. This is especially true in the light of the article in Indian Express

=====================================================

Special Issues on:

PRODUCT-SERVICE SYSTEMS

Journal of Engineering Design and Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management

Call for Papers
=====================================================

Scope and Overview

Most western manufacturing companies are shifting their focus of business strategy towards selling services or functionality instead of products. The product-service system (PSS) strategy has a great impact on customers, product life cycle and company strategy. The design of PSS is a complex problem, and must meet the challenges of the changing financial and resource models that align with PSS strategy. A better understanding of knowledge resources is needed in order to meet these challenges. The changes required in digital product life cycle systems that PSS brings need to be investigated. In order to encourage in-depth discussion, two special issues will be organised for Journal of Engineering Design and Int. Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management.

Focus for the Special Issues:

1. Journal of Engineering Design (http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/tf/09544828.html)

- PSS design methodologies
- PSS Requirements Engineering and Management
- Product, Service and PSS knowledge representation
- Service knowledge capture and reuse in PSS design
- PSS information and knowledge management
- Digital product life cycle systems for PSS
- Cost modelling at the conceptual PSS development stage
- PSS life cycle management
- PSS design: challenges and reflections
- Review of PSS design approaches
- PSS evaluation techniques
- Impact of in-service and disposal issues on design
- Impact of informated product in use on design

2.Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management (http://www.emeraldinsight.com/info/journals/jmtm/jmtm.jsp)

- PSS: Issues and Challenges
- Technical PSS
- Intelligent PSS
- Information and Knowledge Management in PSS
- PSS: Business Requirements and Techniques
- Organisational Complexity in the PSS model
- Critical Success Factors of Implementing PSS (PSS DNA)
- Implementation Approaches of PSS
- Cost Models of PSS
- Service and Supporting Network in the PSS environment
- PSS: State-of-the-art
- PSS in the Business-to-Business Industry
- PSS in the Business-to-Customer Industry
- Case Studies


Important Dates:

NOW: Please submit one page including: Title, name(s) and affiliations(s) of authors, an abstract of no more than 250 words, a set of relevant keywords and completely cited references. Also, include a cover sheet containing name, address, telephone numbers, FAX and e-mail address of the person to whom correspondence regarding the paper should be addressed. Please use the following in the subject line:

Journal of Engineering Design: JED-PSS
Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management: JMTM-PSS

Full Paper submissions due: 15th December, 2007

Notification of acceptance: 30th March 2008

Publication due: late 2008 or early 2009


Submit the abstract and paper to:

Professor Rajkumar Roy
Email: r.roy@cranfield.ac.uk

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Guest Editors:

Professor Rajkumar Roy
Dr. Essam Shehab
David Baxter

Decision Engineering Centre,
Building 50, Cranfield University,
Cranfield, Bedford, MK43 OAL,
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1234 750111 Ext. 5662
Fax: +44 (0)1234 754605
Contact Email: r.roy@cranfield.ac.uk

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Toyota Again - Design Philosophy

One cannot avoid mentioning Toyota. It keeps on coming, cropping up at all those place and thoughtspaces that are happening.

I was looking at my Internet Explorere favourites and found the following - Toyota Design

They call it the J-factor (The Japanese Factor) balancing extremes and working on AND as a operating word. The Toyota Design Philosophy is one of merging two extremes...

(a) VIBRANT CLARITY
(b) SEAMLESS ANTICIPATION
(c) INTRIGUING ELEGANCE
(d) INCISIVE SIMPLICITY
(e) LEADING-EDGE FINESSE
(f) PERFECT-IMBALANCE
(g) FREEFORM GEOMETRICS
(h) INTEGRATED COMPONENT ARCHITECTURE

Well, well there! I can feel some you shouting TRIZ - This is TRIZ - Contradictions and how do we eliminate contradictions. Even if Toyota doesnt have TRIZ as the basis, the discovery of these design principles through decades of product design and how close to TRIZ these are indicates a verification of TRIZ per se. That it is indeed elimination of contradictions that create mind-blowing inventions and designs.

However Toyota has articulated in a much more sexy manner than the way TRIZ is presented!

Innovation Tips and Dead Paradigms

How different are the tips given at the Economist Innovation Awards - by the speakers from major companies - Industry Experts have spoken about -

(1) Open Attitude
(2) Innovation @ the speed of people's life
(3) The Key to finding new ideas is to remain "Indifferent" from where they came from
(4) Let go of Engineering Control

They are all the new principles of success in the Globalizing Innovation Complexity (GIX) that we are seeing expanding rapidly

Further, Customer service has changed to customer engagement - its dialogue with the customer to work with him in his context to solve problems. The practical steps in the blogpost here are very interesting indeed.

Finally, the death of hierarchy which I predicted in my book Strategic Decision Making is becoming a need in all enterprises... Its the death of the Organization charts. Enterprises need to be flattened otherwise they are in for death sentence!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Start of the death of the IT captives Centers in India

The inhouse offshoring trend - the so called captive IT and back end office units of the western companies have started the downhill trend. With the news of the first captive BPO being closed - unceremoneously as we are told here

What is this trend really! Why this is happening - as mentioned in the news item Forrester reports 60% of captives having issues.

The issue in my opinion is not captives alone - it is the parent organization that doesnt have the patience and focus to minimize the inefficiencies in the way the system is built. Inhouse offshoring as a model could have become a fantastic capability if the parent organization gives autonomy and Profit and Loss responsibility to the captive. If it is pure cost center than anyway it will always remain like that - and the tentative ways in which companies try to execute captive centers will face more failures than success.

It is a long term commitment to create a global organization that will build companies that last - else we are seeing the death of more companies!

Monday, October 22, 2007

2 years and 100th Post

This is my 100th post to this blog. It started in 2005, 23rd October to be precise - with the following post

Innovation Crafting Successful exploitation of (New) ideas is innovation. One need to orchestrate or craft Innovation in a group such as a commercial organization. This is an open forum for Innovation and how to Craft it in the organizations.

I am not sure how much I have kept it to the initial post and initial theme. However, sub-consciously I think I tried to keep it as is articulated above. The Blog may not have become an open forum for Innovation, however, I have found nice open friends through this journey. They are also in their professional and personal life are pondering about these questions - in their own particular and obviously peculiar ways - just like I do -:).


In 2005, I posted only 5 posts and in 2006 only 6. It so happened that I forgot my password to the Blog after initial 2005 postings and I also believe I was plain lazy and indisciplined in not regularly posting to the blog. Sometimes in late 2006, I met a young software quality assurance (SQA) expert in my previous organization, who was interested in the fact that I maintain a blog of my own. However, it was he who was having a much active blog and definitely more creative blog - His name is shambu nashipudi and he maintains a Blog which has a flavour and pizzaz that is missing in my blog anyway. It is called
I & My Alter-ego.......
..just the guy-next-door who is passionate about living !!!


Shambu showed me how to use the Blogspot with more dexterity. Also since Blogspot was acquired by google, my gmail account became a hook onto the Blog.

Through exploration of the Innovation space especially TRIZ which I am trying to grapple with for last 5 years or so, I came into contact with an extremely passionate TRIZNIK named Prakash. He is the person who has bought all TRIZ books or atleast is trying to buy. I have a feeling his passion for TRIZ is much more than his passion for other things - such as Shambu mentions in his blog :). However, Prakash has been an fantastic collaborator - in at least thinking together. His Blog TRIZIT is a manifestation of his passion for TRIZ. As like all of us, he is also puzzled and is grappling with why TRIZ hasnt become the technique of the world - where the world uses and expands it as a de facto method of inventing something new.

Prakash introduced me to Prashant Joglekar, through emails - another TRIZ enthusiast. Initially, I was skeptical about one more - so called Nawab's of TRIZ that India has produced for last 3-4 years, the self-professed TRIZ experts. However, Prashant proved to be different. An extremely passionate, knowledgable and action oriented person. I met him first time about a month back in Mumbai - I must say he is brilliant. He also started a Blog of his own and he makes it a point that with every new entry to his post - all his readers should read - by sending an email notice of new postings on his blog. Keep it up Prashant, we need more people like you - His blog is Prashantinnofuture.

Last year we received an email asking from details about Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and how it can be applied to software estimation - from Pankaj Bhawnani. This was in response to one of our papers published in Global Software Development Scenarios conference held in Brazil. We could not do much together with him, yet we connected together. His pasion is software project management and he started his blog at Art and Science of Software Project Management . He told me that he is writing a Book on the same topic, I wish him to finish off asap, so that we get to read it. I havent met Pankaj, but I am sure we will connect very well - its amazing how much we can see each other through our blogs.

Suresh my ex-colleague and a very good friend has only one post on his Blog - yet it is a start. He must be in the same mode that I was in 2005 and 2006 when I posted a total of 11 posts. Is he a reluctant blogger - thats what it looks - may be it all depends upon the specific environment that one is in - however I am sure, Suresh's Blog is an experience about to happen for all his readers including me who would like to know whats going on - he call his weblogs as ALOCHAN. I think the second post is about to happen and once it is done with - we will have more of Suresh.

Above all the person whom I can claim to be close to ideal is Karthik - I have kept his mention at the last as I think he sums it all - not necessarily in his blog which also has the problem of less frequency of posts, but more from the point of view of how many ideas can happen - Karthik in my interactions with him is multiple ideas happening together - may be this creates a delay in articulation - yet at the end his thoughts expressed in his writings are very new - which is not a small achievement by any means. He Blogs at Kartzpot although it will help me more if there are more posts on his blog. Above all Karthik, keep your originality intact.

In effect, if I read all the blogs - Karthik, Suresh, Pankaj, Prashant, Prakash and Shambu, I can say we are in for a enthralling spiral of weblogs that will definitely create a future that we all subscribe to -

This is my 100th post - and I wish to thank all of you for your influence, help and direction in taking my thinking to levels that would have been impossible without such interactions - Thanks a lot Karthik, Prakash, Prashant, Suresh, Pankaj and Shambu. I am aiming to finish the next 100 posts in half the time :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Billion $ Long Term IT Contracts

The 1.2 Billion $ contract won by TCS indicates the shape of things that we will be seeing from now onwards. For those who view this at the lower end of the Value Spiral, please read the details -

"In addition, the scope of the partnership includes setting up an innovation centre for next generation businesses in information and media. The centre will, however, cater to customers other than Neilsen as well."

This is where the value co-creationization trend of the new world starts. We will see more of these I am sure. Last year I was in a call with a US business school professor - the so called expert in Outsourcing and offshoring IT, I asked him how Indian IT firms can get into large 100M - 1000M $ Long term deals? His answer was there are not many such deals and anyway they would prefer only Near-site vendors - well Dear Professor, the world is changing in a big way - and its not about US alone by the way!

Innovation @ Economist

Many have seen the Economist report on Innovation, I am sure.

I read it with an interest to gain some insight. Besides stating the obvious - that Open Innovation is the new thing and India China are the new Innovation Tsunamis that America should be aware of (As is US has the sole monopoly on Innovation, and if anyone else Innovates, it is a threat to US) - nothing of really deep insight emerged from the set of articles.

Am I reading too many of these surveys, reports etc, or there remains this fuzziness in the Innovation Landscape that insights are impossible to emerge - That remains a point to ponder for me.

Well so be it - One point in the set of articles in Economist though is that "Innovation requires freedom - and Mass Innovation requires mass freedom" - Globalizing Innovation will require globalizing freedom. If freedom can be globalized, Innovation will be globalized and in fact fuel globalization to ward of the complexity.

This is happening anyway, whether any existing powerful nations or corporations are threatened or not - GIX is here and happening rapidly...

Non-Linear Business Models

The article referred here is about why ICICI is saying buy HCL Tech stocks. Whether you buy or not, I have no guideline for the reader. However one very interesting shift is the statement below

iv) innovative pricing models such as outcome-based, output-based and device-based pricing to provide non-linearity to the business models,

How do we provide Non-linearity to our business model. Is there a way to get out of business model which is based on number of billable resources - meaning people.

Taking a page out of Black Swan by Nissam Nicholas Taleb - how do we move from Mediocristan to Extremistan - At Least someone in IT industry is thinking and executing rather than providing lip service alone!

Writing Skills

I have been asking many of my colleagues - past, present and even future, why don't you write your ideas? Answers - We believe in action; We have never done that; I don't believe in write concept papers; That's the work of theoreticians; I don't have time; I have been in delivery so much and I haven't seen the need to write anything; Go take a walk; The higher you are in your organization, more likely you will write less.

Well, conceptualizing without articulation is a colossal waste of your mind. Further we are not teaching our kids also the writing skills - not the way to write - but coneptual articulation of thoughts.

PEM - a company in Singapore has come out with a software for kids to write creatively. I think it is more needed by the corporate world - especially the Top level managers of IT companies.

Institutionalizing Curiosity - Toyota Again

I have been avoiding posting Toyota for a month now. But its amazing how many people keep on discovering the company. I remember late 1990s when the flavour of the world was General Electric and its mercurial CEO - Jack Weltch. Yet Toyota has been the company that has created a long term systemtic effect in the world through an almost trivial set of common sensical principles. They seem trivial when one articulates - almost simplistic - yet they have proven to be profound and extremely difficult to imbibe - especially by the westernized Harvard influenced management thinking.

It is about people. And now comes a new book and its articulation as Institutionalizing Curiosity. The article ends with "These companies pioneered new products, discovered new markets, and created innovative approaches at a much faster rate than their competitors. They went ashore, and reaped the benefits of doing so." - Well its How fast you Innovate? The GIX Bang is about speed!

Revisiting Globalization

The recent policy articulation by European Union to embrace globalization need to be juxtapositioned with what is happening to Globalization forces in US and other parts.

In Washington there was an anti-globalization protest and it turned violent. I remember in early 1990s US was telling India to open up its economy else.... Now who is closing the economy and more importantly WHY?

A perspective comes in the Seoul times titled Globalization of Hunger - we produce enough food to feed twice the world population and yet 854 Million people are chronically hungry.

Can the forces shaping globalization make it happen - the harmonious distribution of FOOD. Can technology help? More than technology, I think it is the people's will to act in this arena that may help.

16th October was the The World Food Day. People need to come to streets to fight against the unequal distribution of food in the world and take it politicians and policy makers rather than talking about anti-globalization.

Make Globalization of Food to happen - to meet the globalization of hunger. How can we Innovate in this? Are there contradictions (the TRIZ experts) or is there a Supply Chain Management (SCM) issues or can we create continuous improvement by eliminating waste (The Lean Experts) or can we implement the process controls to ensure equal distribution of food (the six sigma experts) - Why we dont apply these to world problems? May something to think about..... Wishes for the World Food Day!

I wrote a small poem about a decade back

Hunger

The morning Sun like a baked circular chapatti
Sky like a blue pan
Everyday ask me
What is hunger?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Do we have enough ideas?

It seems many Innovation Consulting firms goes to enterprises telling that you have enough ideas in your organization it is only a question of taking the few right ideas and working on them in a structured fashion to make it successful.

Obviously this is exactly what some of the top managers also want - they can work (their teams actually) on the selected ideas for 2 years, while the consulting firm facilitate the idea journey and also charging the relevant(HEAVY) fees to create Quantum Changes in the organization.

I personally believe it is really about three main metrics - Number of ideas, number of minds that are ideating for the enterprise and the average life span of an idea in the enterprise. In terms of number of minds - the maximum is to let all the minds - working for and with your enterprise in the ideation mode. That seems to be the advise to South Africa as well in the newsitem here.

Ideas Die First - then the Enterprises, of course

EMPOWERING IDEAS TOGETHER - The Mantra for the Enterprises

Power is the ability to change. When ideas are empowered, organizations succeed and grow. This is the only blueprint for success in a future characterized by increasing Globalization and hence increasing Complexity. Survival and success in such a dynamic world depends solely on continuous learning and innovation.
Modern businesses are not designed for continuous Innovation. How does one inculcate continuous innovation in large organizations? It is time to really understand and leverage each and every human mind that works in and with our organization – minds of our employees, our customers, our suppliers, our complementary partners and even our competitors. We should engage with the minds so that ideas thrive as long as we can make them live. I believe that ideas die first, and then, of course the enterprises. Empowering ideas should be our mantra and our life long quest.

Enterprises as social networking sites

Enterprises as social networking sites may be the future as per the Prof from Harvard

We have seen lot of Enterprise architecture talks - future plans... the future of Enterprise is really Facebook, Blogs and Wikis!

And you know what, it makes more sense as we know Man is a Social Animal. And presumably enterprises are actually made of human beings not machines which some of last millennium thinkers propagate. A human system needs social interaction infrastructure.

Is this the beginning of the death of large monolithic costly ERP systems and Enterprise Architectures that all the big companies are betting on!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Unknown Silent Heroes - Why we worship Crisis Managers

In his absolutely fascinating new book "Black Swan" the author Nassim Nicholas Taleb of "Fooled by Randomness" fame describes a Thought experiment (for those who want to know what is a thought experiment please click) asking us to go back to September 10, 2001.

Assume someone enacts a law to impose a continuously locked bullet proof cockpits in all aeroplanes. 9/11 would not have happened, however, the guy who came out with this scheme would have been most likely asked to leave the office and would have been severely criticised for wasting taxpayers money.

However it would have made 9/11 an unknown failure.

Is there a genetic defect in all of us that we want to be crisis mode, we want crisis managers instead of crisis avoiders. In fact, the crisis avoiders are considered risk avoiders hence boring guys. We love crisis managers - may be this is the reason we let crisis happen and then manage.

However, Nassim says in fact we are not aware of the uncertain events which are the main reasons we get shocks of our lives when a fundamentally different event - the black swan - emerges and we falter. May be he has a point saying," may be our minds were not made to think and introspect" - "we have a wrong user's manual"? Wow!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Forgetfulness, Tinkering and Increasing Noise - A sure shot strategy for Innovation

The new way for evolutinary innovation is following - in fact thats how our brain also functions (as per recent evidence)

1. FORGETFULNESS - I keep on quoting this from Khalil Gibran "Remembrance is a form of meeting and forgetfulness is a form of freedom" - well the article in New Scientist suggests that our mind becomes free for new things by using forgetfulness as a tool

2. CREATE MORE NOISE - I also keep on quoting from Hofstadter's Metamagical Themas - we need to explore non-sensible to create something new. Well the new theory suggests thats exactly how brain learns by creating more noise. We can observe this - people who goes to variety of expriences, travel a lot - either physically or mentally (for example voracious readers) have larger experince base to learn and hence create more.

3. TINKERING - Hostadter says "Creativity is a variation on a basic theme" - nothing but tinkering from existing concepts, processes and changing few knobs and seeing what happens and then doing some more - suddenly a new things emerges - this I call the continuous experimentation. Well the Kaizens are also considered tinkering.

So the Innovators of the world - Forget repeated similar experiences, create more dissimilar experiences - noise, and tinker continuously with whatever you are doing - This is recipe for continuous innovation.

Evolutionary Approach to Innovation

The forthcoming paper in IBM Systems Journal titled A Model for CIO led innovation brings to the forefront the people centric model of leveraging all minds in the enterprise for innovation. This is what Toyota has been practicing however not necessarily through collaborative technologies as IBM model has played out but through non-automated people based processes that focus on problem solving by the people who are facing it - then the Kaizen sessions in a way are real collaborative problem solving methods.

Similary in the product design methods - for example Toyota's Set-based Concurrent Engineering is nothing but an evolutionary approach to product design.

The Elegant Solution by Mathew May also points to the evolutionary approach to product design.

How ever as I explained in my paper in TRIZCON the evolutinary approach still miss out on how to solve problem and defining problem comprehensively where in TRIZ is fantastic - in fact I am yet to find a more powerful approach then TRIZ. Henc my proposal is for a combination of TRIZ with evolutionary approach (set-based concurrent engineering).

Friday, October 05, 2007

Integrated Innovation Framework - Process to Systems Thinking

The process focus of 1990's has been so ingrained in the enterprises that we need hardwired processes for everything - even for creativity and Innovation. People want to nail down the steps for innovation into concrete steps to be followed religiously so that later on they can measure the process effectiveness and keep checks on the people.

I believe process is anti-innovation per se. Having said that definitely we need a framework for Innovation in the enterprises. The article "Creative Spark" also refers to the integrated innovation framework.

Taking a step further, I think - the approach to Innovation should be a Systems Approach and not a linear process. Even the framework for Innovation should look at holistic picture. Innovation need an end-to-end Systems Approach and as such will need techniques, tools, methods, methoddologies that highlight and surface the interconnectedness rather than focusing on one stream of work - say a process. As we know, Enterprises is a mesh of multiple processes entangled in a Living system like an organism which evolves, reacts to environment, feels, thinks and acts just like a living organism.

Organization structure, Strategy, Environment, processes, people, the socio-political structure of the organization need to be DESIGNED in such a way that Innovation emerges as a way of life -

Is this asking for too much?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Key Frameworks for Enterprises

Do you think “Decision Making” is your and your Team’s Strength?
Do you think “Problem Solving” and “Innovation” is your and your Team’s Strength?
Do you Manage Crisis all the times in all the projects or most of the times? Or do you avoid Crisis?
Do you and your Team always know the Value you are delivering to your Customer?
Are you able to accurately measure and reflect yours and your teams Productivity?

Most of us will have difficulty in answering these questions towards positive side - At best we may say "May be". I believe entrprises need SYSTEMS not Processes for all these to be answered "Yes Definitely". So what do we really need - 4 Key Frameworks

1. Customer Value Framework

2. Decision Engineering Framework

3. Innovation Crafting Framework

4. Knowledge Worker Productivity Framework

The Knowledge worker productivity framework is must. This is looking at the knowledge work as a means of creating the new enterprise rather than it being reduced to a factory of mass production.

Globalizing World

Some years back I characterized the features of the Globalizing world as follows

•Global Real-time Awareness – As it is happening everyone is knowing it
•Large monolithic structures to small, distributed well-connected organizations –Collabtetion – Collaboration+Competition
•Hierarchies – Hierarchical Networks – Networked Hierarchies - Networks
•Power shifts to Knowledge Based Real-time Actors
•Time, Trade, Space, Geography, Cultural, Language, Social Shackles Demolished
•Survival of the Agile – Decision Making and Action at Electronic Speed
•Everyone has the wherewithal to continuously Re-invent oneself

Monday, October 01, 2007

Downsizing and Creativity

The threat of loss of jobs impacts creativity adversely.

Why downsizing? Actually any other threat affects creativity adversely. This is where the so called monotonous jobs where the repeatibililty of the process is rewarded and any deviation is punished are affecting the creativity.

If you ask the software developers continuously threatened with consequences of schedule deviation and effort deviation, they will be impacted and minds will start going downhill. have we all seen this - the big IT majors in India may have killed the creativity of the software developers by importing processes that were designed to produce predictable results by machines. The variation reduction mechanisms especially enforced by manufacturing guys on the software development teams are having an adverse impact now, when it is the need - a really urgent need - to increase variation rather than reduce variance.

Further, the variation reduction methods anyway created very less value for even the manufacturing organizations - even there the organizations that focussed on people and their minds are winning - (Toyota Motors)...

Enable human minds to be focussed - in solving problems - thats the only way!

Organization Charts - The Blame Game

It is very interesting to read Mary Poppendieck article.

She proclaims the purpose of creating organization charts was

"The purpose of the organizational chart is to sufficiently specify those duties so that management can quickly assign blame, should another accident occur".

Finding someone to blame is first step to solving the problem as of this approach. As soon as you have been assigned a place in the organization chart, your neck is always under the chopper, as the very reason you have been assigned a place is to blame you if something goes off. That is the reason for organizational politics, ego-centric behaviour and passing the buck so that one can say it is not my work.

Deming talked about the alternate approach - Japan pioneered it and results are there to be seen. In this system, changing the way we work should be the responsibility of top management - not creating blame games in the system.

Interestingly in the article the author claims we should trade process with system. System is a set of interacting elements to achieve a specific function. This focusses on the process interactions and end-to-end flow of work rather than putting the blame on the last actor in the work-stream!

Toyota has pioneered it and so does others in Japan. Living System as a metaphor for organizations is more appropriate. You need system so that people express themselves and learn in the experiences that can not be pre-designed anyway!

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