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Friday, December 21, 2007

James Todhunter, Crowd Innovation

A very interesting discussion started by James Todhunter at realinnovation on Crowd Innovation has resulted in different reactions.

And James put all the specific comments and his reactions on his blog as well here.

I dont want to re-post the whole discussion here. Just to high light some key points

1. Original Post of James (my summarization!)

Crowdsourcing popularity will be short lived as there is lack of credible evidence to support its productivity. History teaches us that the wisdom of the crown is a fiction and that the intelligence of the mob regresses to the mean. The best achievements in sustainable innovation are seen in those organizations that understand that the quest for innovation can not be divorced from internal expertise. This is not to say that external knowledge and contribution is not of value. In fact, the integration of external concept sources is vital to breaking free of natural inertial forces that develop within organizations. But this integration must be done in a rational manner guided by the in depth understanding of the enterprises capabilities, objectives, and the needs of the client.

2. Ellen Domb's Comments (she says watch and wait - giving 180 days for the buzz to buzz off may be :))
Crowdsourcing will have its niche of usefulness, especially in development of consumer products, where people who participate in influencing a product development are also likely to help with the word-of-mouth advertising.
Let's check again in 6 months and see if the buzz has gone out of this.

3. My comments I reproduce verbatim
The world is changing fundamentally. I really dont know how would one attribute the success of Open Source Movement - the self-organizing capability of crowds driven by selfish goals - yet working towards creating something that is not done by any top-down plan per se - is sweeping the existing command control structures - developed in the last millennium in ways that are unprecedented. Starfishes are the future organization structures not the spiders (to quote the current book of the same name) - I believe hierarchies had their day - it is the melting structures towards loosely coupled networks that are going to play bigger role then they had - the age of Co-Creation is here - in a disruptive way - in my opinion. Hence having a very strong negation of anything different is not really going to help enterprises to thrive - Choice of one path is oh -so last century :) - New millennium speaks for embracing all and leaving none!

4. spacecadette says there is merit especially in reducing cost

5. Anil Rathi proposes a designer crowd sourcing approach - which his company is practicing for example.

"On the other hand, a well designed, structured "crowdcasting" activity with carefully framed questions which channels ideas from targeted audiences will have a better chance of producing "refined" ideas.In summary, the more open-ended your crowd-xing activity is, the more open-ended "raw" ideas you'll receive. But, if you want to create a repeatable process for leveraging the crowd and increase the chances for more refined insights...the key is focus, structure and design of these activities"

James must have liked these different responses as he posted all these and his reactions to our reactions to Crowd Innovation. He says,

"The crowd may be able to provide grist for the mill, but there is a lot of work required to refine that raw material and derive something of value. There are better, faster ways to get there." - My comments Obviously there are multiple ways to do everything - which is better which is not is so context and people dependent that one cant say this one is better in all scenarios - Optimization theory works specific to context of the problem - never generic

But I don’t see sufficient examples to support crowdsourcing for innovation as an effective path for sustainable innovation practice. To meet this metric, we will need to see real evidence that the successes are more than mere chance would produce. Co-creation should definitely be leveraged, but in so doing companies can achieve strong, reliable results by managing their networks for greater relevance and alignment.

My comments " I searched my blog for co-creation and following posts have surfaced - may be interesting to see what are these examples

Obviously - we are through this process of eliminating many of the methods (including open source software development - from where it all started - the kids showed the way - anyway) - reaching to a very narrow definition of crowd sourcing - which will go to dumb mob - creating lot of noise no value -

Well James - it is your choice to reduce it to what ever suits - but one trend is clear - Social computing, web 2.0 and enterprise 2.0 and other new ways of collaborative technologies are making co-creation and crowd sourcing a reality - Innovation is the emergence of new or different from the interactions that are enabled - it is not a mob frenzy that we are talking about - we need to be inclusive!

It is not Flat? Is it?

“Please watch out, we are coming,” said Ram Ramakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer for India’s Bajaj Electricals. “If you want hands and feet, go to China. But if you want hands and feet that have a brain, then come to India,” Ramakrishan said in reference to his country’s high percentage of engineers and doctors.

What a statement? It is an amazing statement. Why are you supplying to anyone, if you have brains - why not utilize brains to create value where you are - rather than supplying it!

Indians and India need to grow bigger in their dreams, aims and execution. Why should we be supplier of hands and feet with brains? Why shouldn't we use the brain to make other economies supply to us? The shift is needed fundamentally - India need to be in a position of consumer of labour and supplier of intellectual leadership!

Utilize the strength that we have. Dream to make dreams happen - as Kalam said - Small aim is a crime!

Knowledge Quantized

Many years ago, light was quantized - from the wave nature to the particle nature - the experiments of de Broglie and Einstein's photo-electric effect showed the dual nature of light.

Google is doing the same to the concept of knowledge - it can be quantized. Knowledge's unit is knol - new unit discovered and produced by google - it is an attempt to monetize the wikipedia as well -

Here is an example of a Knol - an article on Insomnia People are already calling this the web 3.0 component

Is this the competition to wikipedia - wikipedia says it may be :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Predicting 2008 BlackSwans

OK Let me try to get the Black Swans from Google (2008 Black Swans)

1. Predictions for 2008: A massive data meltdown (Text below taken from the link)
Remember the panic when the first computer worm hit? We're going to have a crisis like that next year when we get the first data center meltdown, predicted Subodh Bapat, a vice president in the eco-computing team at Sun Microsystems.
"You'll see a massive failure in a year," Bapat said at a dinner with reporters on Monday. "We are going to see a data center failure of that scale."

2. Ten Threats predicted here (What an interesting Imagination - Unfortunately from my vantage point it is just one scenario!!!)
  • Facebook widgets will be used to distribute malware.
  • In 2008 we will see the first attempts to exploit Open Social tools to hack social networks.
  • I predict that 2008 will be the year that SFDM applications will be exploited for nefarious purposes.
  • 2008 will see a continuance of China’s attacks on Western governments and industry.
  • I predict that Russia will continue to use their newfound ability to use cyber extortionists’ tools to impose their political will on break away states.
  • More companies and individuals will find themselves the targets of hackers in 2008.
  • Financial markets will be disrupted by increasingly elaborate schemes: pump and dump combined with DDoS for instance.
  • In 2008 we will learn just what the Storm Trojan is meant to do.
  • Terrorist organizations bring out DDoS as a weapon against e-commerce and media sites that choose to display images of Mohamed.
  • Game console exploits will be transmitted over the Internet, the Wii in particular.
3. Seven Predictions
  • Linux on the desktop will get some more good breaks, but the “Year of Linux” is still a long way off.
  • Watch out Mac users, hackers are after you!
  • No matter how cool you think your current iPhone is, iPhone 2.0 will make you hate it.
  • Expect DRM to have a tighter stranglehold over your digital life.
  • The “we’re waiting for Vista SP1” excuse will be replaced by “we’re waiting for Windows 7.”
  • AMD will spend another year playing catch-up with Intel.
  • You think spam’s bad now? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Will search some more.... Is there a Black Swan?

Trends of predicting New year trends

December is really a prediction time! A big time prediction month!

Lets start with McKinsey Eight business technology trends to watch

Managing Relationships

1. Distributed Co-Creation: Why do all of us want to coin a new term for the same trend? May be the way to articulate and show the "I" of the writer!
2. Consumers as Innovators: Am really not sure this one and the first one are really different!
3. Tapping into the world of Talent: Really McKinsey, this should not be a trend to watch. All of us are engaged in it.
4. Extracting more value from interactions: Model is to design experiences for value interactions, I am not able to see the unique insight in this trend

Managing Capital and Assets
5. Expanding the frontiers of Automation: This is so obvious that it is not even funny :)
6. Unbundling Production from Delivery: This is anyway the modularization of enterprise trend

Leveraging Information in New Ways
7. Putting More Science into Management: I really cant understand this, Management is dead - it is creation - dont try to manage - if possible for God's sake Join in as participant!!!!
8. Making Businesses from Information: Well, so far what is happening in this century?

After BusinessWeek's prediction the Mckinsey's prediction further fails to ignite anything really!

Lets see What are Gartner's Predictions

Green IT; Unified Communications; BPM; Metadata Management; Virtulization 2.0; Mashup and Composite Apps; Web Platform and WOA; Computing Fabric; Real World Web; Social Software .....

Where is the BLACK SWAN in all these predictions? Is there a lurking BlackSwan in 2008. May be its a good idea to play out Black Swans for 2008!!!

Innovation 2008

The Businessweek Innovation Predictions 2008 is remarkable in the fact that there actually are no predictions at all. This is a great time to be creating the next generation innovations. What the author says, "The only truly predictable thing about the coming year is that it's sure to be full of surprises. But some innovations will be ways of dealing with just that fact..." By Bruce Nussbaum

1. McKinsey Buys Ideo : I have a feeling Ideo may like to buy Mckinsey :)
2. Management to Design : There are already interplays - Old Management theory classes are well just classes
3. Creative Growth : I dont buy Consultants changing the enterprise!
4. Innovation Policy as Politics : Dont really understand what policies have to do with Innovation
5. Failure of $100 Laptop : Well talk to Simputer guys in India!
6. SuperCities Study: It makes sense - why is this an Innovation Prediction?
7. FlyWifi: Is anyway there? Is there any disruptive thought here?
8. UnFriend way of Social Networking: Well it is the speicfic choice of people?
9. Mobile Explosion : Whats New?
10. Kindle : The Amazon e-book - (well I have a feeling its next avataar will catch fire (Prediction 2011))
11. Identity and Experience : I feel no one will replace - but its the mesh up of experience, identity and attention that will drive the new economy - it is the interplay of me with my experiences
12. Longevity Vs Sustainability : well really - what is this prediction?
13. Customers Replaces Competitors : Well Blue Ocean Strategy authors may be happy with this?
14. On demand web based tool kits for enterprises: A very generic prediction

Well here we are? What are we predicting - why are we really predicting - get inside the frenzy - not watch it by prediting what and where it will go?

Please get in... Its the major shift!

Enterprises Chopped and Broken

The biggest change is the way enterprises are forced to change. The old structures are falling like dry leaves every where. The new structures are making life hot for command and control, military style stove-pipes, top-down metric driven, The Boss-Centric, the un-cluttered linear order flow enterprises.

Well, what are these new structures? Look at the most secret enterprise, the most controlled, the most non-marketed organization - lets take one - the Defence Intelligence Agency (The DIA). Look at what is happening inside it - what is happening you may ask - the DNA is changing - in fundamental ways - have you heard of open-source spying? Obviously not - last year's New York times article explained how the D.I.A. is forced to mend its ways - by exploring, experimenting and taking into account the - oh so kids stuffy - structures. The article is defintely a strong warning to last millennium enterprises - please understand you have to be the change that your kids are creating for you. This article has opened a major pandora box - oh really!

I remember a famous saying from Khalil Gibran," Your heart cant be open unless it is broken". The Open Enterprises if they really need to become open, they need to be broken - make structures fluid, fast-action, on-the ground decision makers, make flat structures, create just-in time solutions, join in the creative frenzy with their co-creators that is their clients - some talk about crowd sourcing -

I think the Open Enterprises may be what we should be really talking about!

ChangeThis - Seduced by Success

The Changethis manifesto titled Seduced by Success is very interesting. Robert J. Herbold has studied 44 successful companies and came out with principles that keep the successful companies retain their success in a changing world.

On top of the 44 companies comes two of my personal favourites - Toyota and Proctor and Gamble (P&G). The reasons articulated by Herbold for their success are as reproduced below

"Look at how Toyota has prospered for 30 years with its culture of continuous improvement. Look at how Procter & gamble continually thrives with its constant focus on finding unarticulated consumer needs. "

Well - is there anything more to say - Yes the manifesto articulates 9 seduction traps and solutions to them as well: (I am reproducing below)


For each of the 9 traps, there are various actions that can help avoid these problems. Below, for each of these traps, we outline one of these approaches:

1 ~ Business Model: Avoid committees and consensus in developing big, distinctive business
model advantages. Individuals have big, distinctive ideas; committees and consensus turn big,
distinctive ideas into mundane ideas.

2 ~ Product: Pick your top performers, charge them to get your products out in front of important technology, industry, and customer trends, and then get out of their way.

3 ~ Branding: Always be fresh and relevant, but most of all, always be distinctive.

4 ~ Processes: Continually demand new approaches to “proven” processes, and for each process there should be a czar that is personally accountable to make sure their process is always super lean and industry leading.

5 ~ Agility: The key to speed and agility is leadership. Be sure you have strong, action-oriented leaders in the key jobs.

6 ~ People: You need a top notch performance appraisal system to spot the stars and confront
the bottom 5–7%, and you need a “key people development program” to continually stretch and
grow the future leaders of the company.

7 ~ Culture: The focus should be on excellence in continually finding and solving problems
and jumping on opportunities, not on basking in prior glory.

8 ~ Turf Wars and Fiefdoms: Break up the fiefdoms by re-organizing around your key
initiatives for improvement.

9 ~ Communications: Every employee should always know where the organization is going
and how it is doing.
--------------------------- The author has a book on the same subject as well

I personally like the 9th point and the strategy - let every employee know where we are going and how we are going there!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Innovation and Humour

The question on LinkedIn that I asked was

Innovators need humour - is there a strong correlation?

How much is humour relevant to inventors, innovators and creativity? It is becoming clear that ability to create humour is the extremely difficult part and in fact a very creative act of human mind. Is it essential for Innovation....?

Amazing answers from amazing people below (Thank You All)

Good Answers (2)

Anshuman Singh
IT Consultant managing IT Delivery and Experience Design

Humour is the essentially ability to see/show an alternate perspective to a situation at hand OR to improvise in a situation (Tom & Jerry?). My favuorite example is an old comic strip by Glasbergen: The Technical Support on phone is suggesting - when everything fails, try falling in love - it makes you feel better. So while you may not need to be humourous to be an innovator - chances are that if you are creative/innovator you would be humourous. It should not be confused with making others laugh, which would be 'stand-up comedy' and almost a performing art. Edward de Bono says, Humour is by far the most significant behaviour of the human mind. You may find this surprising. If humour is so significant, why has it been so neglected by traditional philosophers, psychologists and information scientists? Humour tells us more about how the brain works as mind, than does any other behaviour of the mind - including reason. It indicates that our traditional thinking methods, and our thinking about these methods, have been based on the wrong model of information system. It tells us something about perception which we have traditionally neglected in favour of logic. It tells us directly about the possibility of changes in perception. It shows us that these changes can be followed by instant changes in emotion - something that can never be achieved by logic. <>

Costas Papaikonomou
Insight-Led Innovation

Hi Navneet, Humour is extremely powerful in any creative process, as it disturbs implicit assumptions and thus opens views to new approaches. Is the glass half full or half empty? Neither, it's just twice the size it should be.

Jason Schutte
Director of Promotions at WCCX

I wouldn't say that humor is essential for innovation, but rather a byproduct of the creative mind. The ability to see humor in a given situation is not something everyone is born with. I think the correlation is one of necessity, people who feel the drive to innovate and move forward need humor as a release from stress and pressure. Many creative people tend to develop a feeling of being "boxed in" and I think humor is a way of dealing with that uncomfortable feeling.
Tom Field
Editorial Director at

Well, humor generally is a sign of intelligence, and I'd argue that intelligence plays a strong role in innovation. best, Tom

Soledad Quiroz
Graduate Student at Michigan State University

Like Jason I would correlate humor with creativity, the ability to look at something from a very different point of view, which is essential for innovation. Soledad

Hari Panicker
Banking Consultant at Emirates Bank

Humour is not much relevant for the reference class. However, if they have the flavour, can produce outstanding humour. When one is working on a serious innovation she/he may not even sense humour.

Chandra Garre
Sr Software Design Engineer at Expedia Inc

One thing is sure, when there is too much of innovation, it would lead to the person snapping off at some point or the other, then you will find a lot of unnecessary sense of humor. Humor (to some extent) usually indicates a good state of mind as long as the subject is a sane person. When a person is happy, it indicates that the person is happy doing the current work which means that since the person is happy there is a high potential of innovation. too much of innovation is bad, too much of humor is also bad.

Amit Mittal
DGM - BPO Marketing at IBM Business Process Outsourcing WW

It is a mild excuse for sarcasm as well and is used to communicate disagreement with the expressed point of view. Just something to assuage the feelings of the audience and many times the inventor himself as he tries to purge his disappointments while tracing the collective wisdom aligning to the new idea. I believe, entirely optional as most people end up using it in bad forms and end up with avoidable conclusions. only exceptional maturity can actually understand most good points of expressed humor.
Clarification added 3 months ago:
It is a mild excuse for sarcasm as well and is used to communicate disagreement with the expressed point of view. Humor is just something to assuage the feelings of the audience and many times the inventor himself. The inventor tries to purge his disappointments while tracing the collective wisdom aligning to the new idea. I believe, humor is entirely optional as most people end up using it in bad forms because of the sarcasm inside and end up with avoidable conclusions with the audience. Only exceptional maturity can actually understand most good points of expressed humor. Good humorat the right time therefore outlines the maturity of the group and somehow underlines the greatness of the idea.

Cheri Baker
Organizational Development Consultant

Humor and Innovation have a big thing in common. Both rely on the ability to connect two or more formerly unconnected things with a result that pleases. That being said, there are humorists who are not creative, and creative types that aren't very funny. So I wouldn't say it is essential. That being said, anyone who is innovative is likely to encounter a lot of rejection in life and a lot of failure. A good sense of humor is likely to keep them going when things get tough!

Dimitri Flores
IT Planning and Innovation Manager

Humor provokes laugh. Laugh gets more oxygen to the brain. Then the person thinks better and gets the innovation done. :)

Are Managers Anti-Innovation?

Three months back I asked the following question at LinkedIn -

Managers are anti-innovation?

Does the increasing number of choices, especially in a scenario where number of ideas are generated in the ideation or creative solution to specific problems, make the decision maker which typically is a Manager, insecure? This is so, as the manager has been given more options to choose from and more options for analysis, and as we know from our experience, increasing number of alternatives make the task of choosing one alternative exceedingly difficult. If yes, in effect Managers do not want Innovation actually...? Would like to have your thoughts comments or inputs

Answers below from different people - Fantastic

Good Answers (2)

Andrew Meyer
Owner, Capability Alignment Professionals

Let me put a slightly different twist on the question. As Warren Buffett has long said, "It is far better for one's reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally." There is a lot of truth to this. No one was ever fired for buying IBM and (to continue stealing from Warren Buffett) while lemmings as a whole may have a bad reputation, no individual lemming has ever been singled out and uncriticized. While many people may claim that "leaders innovate" or don't fear innovation, that doesn't really make sense. Companies and the individuals in them, succeed because they understand the way the company operates and they operate that way successfully. If you make incremental improvements to that process, that is a conventional innovation. Managers are not likely to resist it. As Niccolo Machiavelli said 500 year ago: "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order to things." That is still true today. People who benefit under the current way things are done, will fight tooth and nail to prevent the change from taking occurring. People who will benefit under the new system, will not know how they will really benefit, so their support will be, at best, lukewarm. Innovation is risky for managers for good reasons.
Messages from Andrew Meyer (1):

Peter Wilbur
Site Manager at Perot Systems/NAH and Owner, Wilbur Enterprises

Managers, like many other folks, do not like change. Leaders bring change. If you are only a manager, you do not want something to change. This just means you have more to manage. This is why the manager is insecure or indecisive -- trending on unfamiliar territory and no guidance is available. A leader, on the other hand, will introduce change and look for ways to get outside the box and improve the process. Leaders prefer innovation. They do not fear it, but instead demand it.
Messages from Peter Wilbur (1):

Jason Schutte
Director of Promotions at WCCX

Navneet, I don't believe this is the case. I think it depends on the person in the position to make the decision and the quality of people researching the various solutions available. Any manager is only going to be as effective as the people who work for them, it's a manager's job to clearly define what they are looking for and choose based on organizational need. Innovation is a funny thing. I would say that conservative is much more along the line of what you are talking about. Most managers are very unlikely to rock the boat with a solution that is revolutionary, because they do not want to be the person who attempts a radical approach which fails. If you are looking for innovators you need to go higher on the totem pole to people who are paid to be innovators. Managers are simply managers, and typically will work with known and trusted quantities, because that is the basis of their job and job security.
Messages from Jason Schutte (1):

Tom Field
Editorial Director at

Well, some managers are groomed to conduct "safe" business, and innovation isn't always safe. This may be the big disconnect. It isn't that managers are anti-innovation; it's that they're anti-risk. best, Tom
Messages from Tom Field (1):

Hari Panicker
Banking Consultant at Emirates Bank

Encouraging innovation is something a Manager can not do away with ! If a person does not understand this ...... well need to check his job description before passing a comment.
Messages from Hari Panicker (1):

Varun Verma
Lead Software Development Engineer at Citrix Systems

I don't think one can make such a blanket statement that managers are anti-innovation. If a manager takes the approach that he is going to stifle innovation so that he has less options to choose from, well, then God save his team and his organization. I would argue that managers should in fact encourage innovation so that they have some new and different options as well when considering solutions to a problem. Choosing which option to go with should also be based on a risk/rewards ratio among other things.
Messages from Varun Verma (1):

Piyush Bhatnagar
Technology Management Executive, CISSP, PMP

Navneet, I dont think this is a YES or NO answer and as usual there are a lots of shades of Gray. The role of the manager is to get the work done while maximizing the productivity, meeting delivery deadlines and minimizing the risks. Most managers have to walk a tight rope and the risk and impact of falling can be disastrous for the organization. Although there is always a scope of innovation in each project. the degree of innovation in any project is also quite varied. Each situation is different and needs to be seen in the right context. The amount of innovation needed in a R&D organization is usually very high, while in an organization, delivering a specific solution, to meet specific specification , the scope to innovate will be less comparitively. Similarly, in R&D organizations you will find more managers that encourage innovation is higher as compared the other places. In addition, you also have to look the cost of innovating and depending on the organization/project may decide that the rewards are not worth the risk. So it will be unfair to say that managers are anti-innovation. They are just getting the tasks done and the amount of risk-aversiveness is dependenent on the amount of innovation necessary to get the work done.
Messages from Piyush Bhatnagar (1):
{By the way Piyush is my M.Sc ClassMate and we worked in the same lab in India as our first job - Many years ago :)}

Wolfgang Brait
VP, Head Latin America, Novartis Oncology

Navneet, the only thing that keeps your business successful in the long term is permanent improvement. This is simply founded in the fact that any successful business by its pure existence will attract competition. Competition will - what else - compete by trying to make something better than the current owner of the business does. And this means they will innovate. Consequently, there is a need to permanently innovate to be able to improve the current quality, reach, efficacy and whatever else is important in your specific business. A manager that is an obstacle to innovation is an obstacle to the survival of the company. The art though is to decide which of the 'new things' add value to the business and which dont. And that's where you will have the conflicts arising in a productive environment. If however the controversy is about what adds more value, than you have a constructive exchange and competition of ideas which in itself drives innovation again.
Messages from Wolfgang Brait (1):
RE: Managers are anti-innovation?

John Sharkey
Interim Manager / Management Consultant / Contact Centre Expert / Change Manager

In my view the culture and organisational drivers are more important than the manager. But, the most important factor is the culture driven by the board or VP. For example if the culture is one that rigidly adheres to a quality accreditation then innovation will take longer as it has to be proven better than the accredited processes. However, if the culture is one of fast change and a champion challenger approach is the norm then the manager is likely to be more receptive to innovation. Also if the VP / Board recognises that innovation may occasionally not produce perfect results but they also recognise the intention and innovation then more will be attempted. Conversely if every variation is critically assessed, reviewed and peer groups assessed against the absolute results over a short period, then what incentive does the manager have to innovate. The biggest influences are culture and the measurements used within the organisation. Talented managers who want to further their careers will deliver the results that are tangibly rewarded and valued.
Messages from John Sharkey (1):

Stuart Ali
Scientist, Manager, Entrepreneur

Interesting question. Couple of thoughts. One could ask whether there are any managers that truly are anti-innovation; perhaps the manifestation is related to risk aversion - especially when confronted with options, ideas and people. Second, I think it is important to consider the origins of innovation. Is it really about good ideas and evaluation/execution of options. Or is it more deep seated in organisational culture? What drives innovation in the first place? How is it directed to add value? How is change perceived? What processes share the employee and notions of sustainable competitive advantage? Therefore, one could question wether it is insecurity of individual managers that stifle innovation, or whether the issue is more deep-seated.
Messages from Stuart Ali (1):

El Nino Invest

its always interesting to discuss wide terms and concepts. What if there is a manager for bringing innovation? I assume along the organization´s chain of command the manager with least height will cover the basics. they are probably very creative in their daily work but usually the terms and condition for their work is over viewed by even more creative individuals. The problem managers get into is usually that they get really good at executing and start to like doing the same old thing, hence hate changes and never stop checking out the rest of the world. Also with a narrow measurement system managers can get blinded which means that the performance mgmt systems can dictate the level of innovation allowed.
Messages from A R (1):

Sahil G
Sterling Supply Chain Consultant at Infosys Technologies Limited
Navneet, What a specific manager does, I think, is a specific case. But in general, I don't think that managers should or would avoid innovation. By suppressing innovation in his team, a manager will never be able to find an idea which can result in better and quicker solutions. The responsibility of a manager is to facilitate the execution of the project in the best interest of the company that he is working for. He should and must (depending on availability of time ofcourse) take inputs and suggestions from all the team members and then weigh their pros and cons and eventually chose 1 or more options. Yes, it can be a daunting task sometimes, but thats part of the job. The benefits of innovations definitely outweigh the effort required for analyzing various options / innovations. You being a consultant, I am sure, don't want managers to run away from innovative ideas :)
Messages from Sahil G (1):


Many thanks to all respondents - Just posting on the blog to keep the questions alive - and discussion Ongoing - it is important to keep the questions alive I think :)

Lean Product Development

Incidently this is my 150th post to the Blog - last 100 posts have happened so fast that I myself am amazed - I went by the Lean principle of on an average 1 post a day - May be I am keeping my sanity intact through blogging

On Linkedin (, I asked the following question:

Has anyone explored Lean (Toyota) Product Development methodologies, especially the so called Set-Based concurrent engineering (SBCE). Kindly share your expriences if you have?

The answers that I received I am just reproducing as is - for public at large

I implemented Lean Product Development (including SBCE) for one of HP's major businesses. I now help other companies use Lean PD to shorten time to market, lower product cost and increase R & D productivity. I just wrote an article for the Product Development Management Association that surveys the landscape of differing approaches to lean product development, and I will co-chair a conference for the Lean Enterprise Institute in 2008 that will be devoted to the topic. I have linked to the article and to my own website. Feel free to browse the resources there, including a reading list of books and articles, a number of knowledge briefs that I have written, and my blog, Product Development Field Notes. I've blogged several times about SBCE specifically.
Messages from Katherine Radeka (1):
When working at Lithonia Lighting, I spearheaded an effort to implement Lean Product Development, but found the existing methodologies to be too feature/benefit and cost driven for what we wanted to accomplish. We built a ground-up system called Lean PDS based loosely on our previous tollgate driven system, and infused with principles of Kaizen, rapid data gathering, customer involvement, and structured brainstorming. The resulting process was a significant improvement over the previous system, but as in all things Lean, it was just the first step towards perfection. Contact me privately if you would like to have the contact information of someone at Lithonia who might be able to offer you more detail or up-to-date information.

Messages from Paul Pickard (2):


Bruce Orcutt suggests this expert on this topic:
Lee Shaeffer
I participated in a Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) event with a speaker named Lee Shaeffer. Lee is an expert in Lean and could be a good resource for information and feedback. He is LinkedIn. Good luck.
Messages from Bruce Orcutt (1):

Sunday, December 09, 2007

IPv6 - the Tipping Point Year

This is a news item I just cant afford to miss.

2008 is being proclaimed as the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) tipping point year. The author proclaims,

"IPv6 is finally breaking out of its cocoon of R&E networks; Government funded experiments, IPv6 Fora and Summits, some early adopters in the ISP community and is now on its way to become main stream. What changed in 2007 is the awakening and acceptance that we are really running out of IPv4 addresses and that further procrastination might be risky and detrimental after all. Like often in a timeline of events, change accumulated to create a discontinuity, resulting from the confluence of changing values for economical, technical and political variables. Needless to say, the moment of inertia to overcome with the present size and economical weight of a maturing internet was and remains considerable. "

I get a feeling of deja vu. I wrote an article in 2002 which was published by a magazine Voice and Data - the article was - IPv6 - Eight Driving Trends. I wrote,

"The existing Internet infrastructure is getting saturated with extreme demands on its capabilities. NGII will need major overhaul of the existing Internet Protocol called IPv4. IPv6 will enhance the IP address space from the present 32 bits to a mind-boggling 128 bits.

Although the economic factors of overhauling the existing Ipv4-based Internet Infrastructure will delay the wide spread deployment of IPv6, eventually IPv6 will prevail.
IPv6 simplifies many operations done by the existing IP in patched up or afterthought implementations. Also, some of the capabilities of IPv6 are simply not there in IPv4.

Japan, East Asia and Europe are three geographic areas that have already started investing heavily in IPv6. Japan has stressed the need for a IPv6 Internet infrastructure by 2005 AD. India and China are also catching up. However, in the US, the v4 to v6 conversion has yet to pick up. Hence, the spread of IPv6 has started from Asia, moving towards Europe, and will eventually take over the US."

A version of the artcile was translated and published in Chinese version as well @ (Taiwan's IPv6 Forum site).

It is indeed the new era of 128 bit IP addresses, when all of us can own our own 100 IP addresses without having any Network Address Translations (NATs) in between. How will it help? It will give us an unbelievable access to each one of us - peer to peer will become a true reality and the world will be so location independent that Globalization that we have seen today will look like a cluster of different villages separted by Sahara deserts.

It is the new future that we will witness Now!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


The annual TRIZ conference (TRIZCON 2008) in US organized by Altshuller Institute is slated to be held during April 2008.

I attended last year's TRIZCON 2007

It was an interesting collection of TRIZNiks and the TRIZ enthusiasts. There seems to be perception that TRIZ methodology is very complex - and requires different type of mindset. Well, if one do not want to pursue something (beacuse of reasons of its origin, marketing etc) - no one can do anything anyway.

Similarly, there are multiple types of people who claim different proficiency levels in following the classic TRIZ versus the new ways etc - then they get into this way or the so called his master's voice etc - well for all people - my suggestion is to experiment before commenting - if it works or whetever element works, please use it, imbibe it, explore it and develop it.

Above all - do visit TRIZCON 2008!

How to Innovate

Prakash refers on his blog to the article in business week - on common mistakes. James Tohunter referring to the same article - points out a fundamental gap - saying companies dont really know how to Innovate. Reading this three posts I have put my comments at Prakash's Blog as (Look at how minds combine together - to have a dialogue - I really am impressed with the power of blogging, sharing and making thoughts open)

Referring to the same article James Todhunter on his blog ( says Many compnies dont know "how to innovate". It is interesting in the light of the discussion he points to five pillars of innovation as - Culture, People, Process, Communication and Organization. I have another question now - on whether these pillars are anyway pillars for functioning of any enterprise. So the question that he poses continues to remain as is - hence these pillars and these mistakes need to give a or several methods of how to innovate - In the light of our ongoing discussion on how to innovate - I think these may be just the starting points, if I may say so!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bizarre Patents Calenders

Ron Simmer, the Patex CEO, publishes a Bizarre Patents Calender every year. I have received one for last 5 years that he has been publishing - the 2008 Bizarre Patent Calender, one can download from the site . In fact all calenders starting from 2004 are there at the site.

Some of the patents are absolutely amazing - look at which dimensions Human mind can go to. Consider for example the following one (More than 100 years old) - this has been liked by my ex-Boss and I just reproduce his comments without his permission:

My vote goes to … NOV08
I liked the illustration where the individual seems to be reinforcing “Aa Bail Mujhe Mar”. The kicker was not only the fact he turns on the apparatus himself but the blindfold may enhance his visualization J

“Aa Bail Mujhe Mar” Means "Inviting the Bull to hit you"!!

Initiation Device
US654611 July 31, 1900

Inventors: Edmund de Moulin and Ulysses S. de Moulin
First ever spanking machine! This invention relates to devices employed in initiating applicants for membership in secret organizations, and it has for its object to provide a device in the nature of a spanking machine, the construction being such that the applicant will be struck with a paddle and at the same time will be given an electric shock, the mechanism being thrown into operation by the applicant himself.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sciences of the Artificial

The Sciences of the Artificial by Herbert A. Simon the Nobel Laureate, has been with me since October 2006. It was very strongly recommended to me by Neeraj Sangal, the founder and CEO of Lattix.

I read some portion of the book sometime back and now have started reading it with much clear intensity. I am already cursing myself on the delay in reading this book. It is an absolute gem. Look at what Simon says in the preface, " Goal of science is to make the woderful and complex understandable and simple - but not less wonderful."

“…artificiality is interesting principally when it concerns complex systems that live in complex environments. The topics of artificiality and complexity are inextricably interwoven…”.

The last chapter - The Architecture of Complexity - Hierarchic Systems is interesting as I can see the genesis of Design Structure Matrix theory built up.

Do get the book in your library! Strongly recommend!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Google Results- How to Innovate

I did google "How to Innovate" and got 1.4 Million Hits. Will show some of the links below.... Looks like every one thinks a particular way is how to Innovate - as I am sure 1.4 million are not referring to same method. Really! How many different ways exist to Innovate is the question? Infinite some says, TRIZ guys says we know 40 Inventive Principles - but frankly how many different ways may not be known - but may be at the higher level - there is just one way - Obviously we dont know!

Some interesting hits below by the way:

How to Innovate Successfully
How to Innovate Faster than Anyone Else
Design Thinking - Talent Hunt Business Week
How to Innovate on Time by failures
Innovate on Purpose
How to Innovate by solving problems

Ok ... I am sure you were not thinking I will sift through all 1.4 Million hits and choose the real diamonds for you....

I suggest you can do this anyway!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dark Side and Limits of Globalization

Some months back I read a book called World on Fire . Amy Chuha describes " that globalization has created a volatile concoction of free markets and democracy that has incited economic devastation, ethnic hatred and genocidal violence throughout the developing world."

This is really the pther side - the connected in the globalizing world becomes haves and stronger haves, leaving the unconnected as have-nots. This is potentially a dangerous disparity that can kill the very roots of globalization.

Now comes the book by Pankaj Ghemawat - Borders and cultures still matter greatly. This is the identity that individuals and individual communities want to protect at huge costs. There in lie the nemesis of standardization through technology enabled globalization.

How globalized are less developed cities? The article on Iran highlights the issues. It says " Poverty essentially has three closely interrelated aspects: "poverty of money", "poverty of access" and "poverty of power." -

Another interesting article on Dark side of Globalization says "
The State Department estimates the global value of trafficked labor to be $9.5 billion. That includes children in servitude in factories in India or Latinos working in slave-like conditions on farms in Florida. Estimates are that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year."

Well 20,000 per year is not trafficking in my opinion. The way populations move en-masse in the so called non-developed economies in such poor and mal-nourished conditions that all globalization and its related development - technology, business, money etc - remains a small story.

We need to globalize to remove hunger - not to aggravate it.

The Next Chinese Outsourcing Wave - Drug Development

The News article caught my eyes. The next wave of oursourcing is drug development.

Are there such easily decipherable boundaries that we can call next wave etc. How does media create this reports? Some weeks back we looked at Butler services and tutor services outsourced to India - some media story teller prclaiming next waves.

When do we really start calling some trend as a wave? When do we really look at a discontinuity from the ongoing trends - is it evolutionary or step-jump? Are there really ways to forecast? Are there really trends?

Altshuller the creator of TRIZ found some trends in system evolution - the technological systems evolution. Are there trends everywhere? If yes than what are Black Swans - the phenomenon described by NNT in this book as well as his previous book - Fooled by Randomness.

How do we really understand trends - I have no answer?

Vedic Inventive Principles

Karthik's article on The Vedic Inventive Principles which he has been carrying out research for last almost a year has been published at the innovationtools. One can download the artilce as pdf from there.

I have experimented with some of these principles in the Innovation workshops, and found to be very productive. These are used as triggers for making people come out of psychological inertia. Further some of Karthik's explanations as described in his paper have been quite effective.

This has led us to explore other sources of higher inventive principles. Of course the initial trigger was the TRIZ 40 Inventive Principles. As part of larger sources of higher order principles we are carrying out research on other sources besides ancient texts which Karthik has been researching. Other sources may be nature - natural evolution, complexity theory, complex systems, heuristic optimization rechniques - Genetic Algorithms, Simulated Annealing, Ant Colony Algorithms, etc. It will be great if more people join in this research to explore and come out with a higher order set of Inventive principles.

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