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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

HOW TO INVENT - A UNIQUE WORKSHOP AT CHANDIGARH 4th JULY 2011

First things first

1. EVERY ONE CAN BE AN INVENTOR!!
2. THERE ARE STRUCTURED METHODS TO INVENT
3. EVEN IF YOU ARE ALREADY AN INVENTOR - THESE METHODS CAN HELP YOU MAKE STRONG INVENTIONS

CRAFITTI CONSULTING along with Talwar and Talwar Consultants offer a unique Workshop on 4th of July 2011 at Chandigarh, India.

HOW TO BUILD STRONG INVENTIONS instead of just hoping for serendipitous random ideas to fructify requires a fundamental shift in thinking. This needs aids, techniques and methodologies that are helping many to Invent.

We offer these methods as a strong How to Invent workshop in India.

To Register, please send an email to info@crafitti.com

Please look at more details at HOW TO INVENT WORKSHOP!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Idea Evaluation

Three high level parameters help if one has to evaluate ideas.

The method that I have been following has the following three key parameters

1. Customer Value - To know more one can read HERE

2. Business Potential

3. Readiness and Feasibility

Now the trick is to carry out a pairwise comparison using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)

The Output given below - gives on the x-axis - relative score for Enterprise Readiness and Feasibility of the idea and y-axis gives a relative score of Customer Value. The size of the bubble gives the relative score for Business Potential.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Meaning - The Next Killer App

The Rand Corporation described a new methodology called Expert Lens

that analyzes expert opinion - combining delphi method and crowdsourcing.

Have a look HERE.

I think this is the search for a killer app in "Meaning" - after email, after social networking - what next!

Meaning will see more and more apps!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What is your vertical? Crafitti's Vertical

I was asked again.

What is Crafitti's vertical? Please visit http://www.crafitti.com

Well, I am afraid it has to be OTHERS or ALL!

As we are an Innovation Research and Consulting firm - and our existing clients include.

1. A consumer care company (one of the big Indian companies)
2. A Motorbike manufacturer in India ( one of the top 5)
3. A Consumer Electronics Giant ( one of the top 5 in the world)
4. Many Software Services Companies
5. An SME in Engineering products (mining equipment)
6. Intellectual Property firms (patent analytics, patent lawyers)
7. One of the top three Oil (petrol) firms in India
8. Many Start-ups
9. One of the World's top 3 Data/Information companies of the world

and so on ...

We also have the India's first online patent analysis product using our own propriety algorithm called SocialCitnet http://www.socialcitnet.com

Hope it make sense - unfortunately we cant be bucketed in any vertical and may be an horizontal called "Innovation"

Looks like Crafitti's very existence as a Horizontal on Innovation in Business, Science and Technology - is a change that the world has not seen!

Hence very existence of Crafitti is an Innovation!

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

I keep on going back to our initial conversation in 2008 with a set of evaluators - when we told them we are an innovation research and consulting firm

They said are you McKinsey of the world, Google of the world or the Infosys of the world. My answer then was - may be we are all of them and none of them at the same time - but definitely we are the "Crafitti" of the world!

the answer STANDS today as well! We empower ideas together!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

India's Next Freedom Struggle - How to get freedom from rigidity

We need to start the Next Freedom Struggle - To make India Innovative - !

My working definition of Innovation is - successful creation of change by (new) ideas. Emphasis is on "successful" "creation" "change" and finally this has to happen through application of ideas - these ideas may or may not be "inventions" in the sense for example patent law/act describes it.

"Ideas" are those thoughts that become the genesis of change - these may be serendipitous or may be orchestrated. Since the genesis of change and in turn innovation (successful change creation) lies in ideas - it is must to enable ourselves with ability to generate ideas through thinking - may be systematically or may be through random triggers to the mind - Both are fine - but we need new type of thinking.

A new integrated thinking where three new thinking dimensions become important - "value
Linkthinking" - which has also been termed lean thinking, inventive thinking and finally holistic thinking or systems thinking. These three combined with existing analytical and logical thinking - is the framework that we call LIST (Lean Inventive Systems Thinking) - and our company CRAFITTI CONSULTING offers this an integrated approach for making your organization and in turn your country innovative.

Cricket and Life - WicketKeeping Rules

I played Cricket - reaching up to club level - in 1980s and 1990s. I developed naturally into a wicketkeeper, as I think the most involved position in the field is that of a wicket keeper. Having participated in many interesting tournaments (local in Delhi) and also being part of my organization's national team, it was but natural to develop wicket keeping skills as part of practice etc. Part of the reason for being a wicketkeeper may be a book that I read by Bob Taylor, England's Wicket keeper on Art of Keeping Wickets.

3 rules while keeping wickets - that I learned during my more than a decade of wicket keeping -
(a) never get up before the ball hits pitch
(b) always join the gloved hands by keeping the little finger of your right hand on the little finger of your left hand
(c) most likely the snick will come to u in the first ball of the start of the match and after any break!
There are very interesting life lessons in this as well - ! Do you get it?
MY LESSONS
(a) Decision making based on facts - delay decision as late as you can (Toyota's principle as well)
(b) A catch vs a drop depends upon how closely you work as a team - two hands need to be joined - there should not be any gap

(c) Complete continuous concentration on what you are doing - a small nap and opportunity escapes!


~~ These are my lessons ~~

Can you write your own lessons
?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Explore Innovation Potential in Software - My Interview

I was interviewed by Murali of Hindu Businessline. The topic was "Explore Innovation Potential in Software". The interview has been published at the newspaper site. You can read it HERE

One more version of the interview (more complete) was published in The Hindu. One can access that version HERE

The complete Q&A I am also including below (the unedited interview :))

Innovation potential in software


1) First, what is software innovation? And, why is it important?

Answer:

Before getting to “software innovation”, it is important to revisit what is software. Software has been defined as instructions and data structures (computer programs) that when executed on a machine provides desired function and performance along with documents that describe the operation and use of programs. The essence of software entity has been described by Brooks in his classic The Mythical Man-Month, as complexity, conformity, changeability and invisibility that makes it inherently difficult to build. Further, unlike hardware, software doesn’t “wear-out”, rather it evolves by addition of new functionality.

Now, let us look at software innovation. To me a very useful definition of innovation is successful creation of change by (new) ideas. Combining the above, software innovation has to be successful creation of change by new ideas in developing computer instructions, data structures and associated documents. This should include how to develop software, how to evaluate software and also what software to develop to achieve desired functionality and performance to meet a need or set of needs. I call this the software innovation triangle – the two “how’s” and one “what” of software innovation.

Coming to the importance of software innovation, software has transformed our world in multiple ways than many of us would even comprehend. In my book, Strategic Decision Making – Applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process, I described technology to be the most important factor defining the structure of current and future world, besides the factors such as power systems, geo-political systems, social systems, economic systems and forms of organization. Starting from our mobile phone or rather mobile device – it is the inherent software based changes that are giving us a new functionality every day!

2) How are large tech enterprises approaching software innovation?

Answer:

I mentioned three key parts of software innovation triangle – creating successful change in “how to develop software”, “how to evaluate software” and most important “what software to develop”. The large tech organizations are grappling with how to use software to solve client problems, provide new ways of achieving key functions, faster, better and cheaper. In this regard, the relevant infrastructure needs to be developed. The inherent software in infrastructure (IT or non IT) need to be a creator of change. Third, managing the inherent information complexity that has been enmeshed in the large organizations need to be either untangled or made useful. All these require software innovation. The product development companies – protect the “What software to be developed” part of software innovation triangle. They define, describe, contextualize, get Intellectual Property Rights and then get to the development part. In the “how to develop software” – they look for in-house software development structures, outsource to another organization or look for open source development. Finally, in the third part – “how to evaluate software” – which also includes software testing, measurement, metrics, reliability and other quality metrics, they look for in house or third party software evaluation. In all the three, they would like to look at software innovation per se. The large IT development companies are looking at “how to develop software” and “how to evaluate software”. Specifically, Indian IT companies are focused predominantly on how part of software innovation triangle. Indian It companies need to focus on “what” part of the software innovation triangle, as it not only has more value but it is that leg that one can protect by ways of IP rights as well.

3) Do you see software innovation happening in smaller enterprises, too? Any examples.

Answer

Historically large enterprises have innovation-inertia. The next software changes – be it something that SAP, Dell, Amazon, Wikipedia and Google did in 1990s, or Skype, Facebook and Twitter did in last decade, will most likely be created by smaller enterprises. What these companies did was the “what” part, hence their valuation and value created by them was much more than say companies that were focusing on “How” parts of software innovation triangle. Indian IT services companies have been predominantly focused on “How” part of software innovation triangle. Even large technology companies, although they themselves want to create the “what” part of software innovation, they want their partners – whom they outsource the software development – to focus on “how” parts of software innovation. Obviously, it is in their interest to keep the software development partners to continue to be in “how” part of software innovation triangle. Software development companies need to figure out “how” to do “what” part of software innovation.

4) What do you see as the major challenges faced by software innovation?

Answer

Scale is the first challenge. We are making big systems and these large systems are evolving into humungous systems. The methods, principles, capabilities one uses to make systems at a particular scale are found insufficient when the scale increases and complexity explodes. The glue that is making systems huge and evolving into higher and bigger forms is software. The increasing demands on “what” of software innovation at large scale need new “hows” of software innovation. Scale – requires multiple changes in the way human-machine interaction evolves, decentralized ways to implement network forms instead of hierarchical forms of system organization, ways in which design is becoming central to creating meaning, top down engineering is replaced by computational emergence based on mechanism design, and adaptable and robust system infrastructure and system quality for the uncertain future. Since software is the glue, “what” software to build to solve world problems pertaining to sustainability, harmonizing global economic imbalances, creating a connected future for the globe and minimizing terrorism causes and impacts, are the key challenges.


5) Any suggestions on the policies and framework that can promote software innovation?

Answer

Surprisingly, despite 150 years old proposal by Darwin’s, “Evolution” as a model of reality is a recent phenomenon. The technical systems, just like living beings, also evolve was discovered by a Soviet Engineer, Altshuller, in 1946, after studying scores of patents in multiple domains. He used this study to propose a Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (acronym TRIZ in Russian). TRIZ identifies discrete technological stages on lines of evolution. TRIZ evolution lines based on system laws can be very nicely used to generate next generation concepts. As mentioned software systems also evolve, a software innovation framework need to have TRIZ, definitely. Second component is Lean thinking coming from actual practice by Toyota motors. However, Lean considered by many as waste reduction (and mapped to people reduction in many IT companies), is not what I propose. It is Value Maximization view of Lean that I would like to consider. Finally, systems thinking - which includes scenario planning, thought experiments and understanding the new sciences of complex adaptive systems and network centric organizations – including social networks, is the third component. This combined framework I call the Lean Inventive Systems Thinking (LIST). However, LIST by no means eliminates the analytical and logical thinking that have stood the test of time. In effect LIST integrates Lean Thinking, Inventive Thinking and Systems thinking, together with analytical and logical thinking for software innovation challenges. LIST as the five dimensional thinking framework has great potential.

6) Other points of interest.

Answer

I think time has come for Indian IT companies to start defining the “what” part of software innovation triangle. This is a challenge as the existing IT companies have been winning by continuing to be in the “how” part of software innovation. Now we need to move towards the “what” part and one solution that I can see and offer is Lean Inventive Systems Thinking (LIST) – a potent framework combining analytical and logical thinking with three different forms of thinking to own the future.

Friday, June 17, 2011

MEANING is the Next Killer App


The Question crops up every time! What is the Next Killer App?

We saw Email, Searching (Google), User generated information consolidation (wikipedia) in 1990s - Email the killer app.

In 2002 I wrote a paper and developed a framework on identifying killer apps. In fact, the Killer Sure Score (KISS) of a proposed application was described in my book - Strategic Decision Making - Applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process as well. Despite researching, social networks, buddy finders, - I missed out including Social Networks as a Killer App - one must say, Social Networking has become a killer app with the combination of microblogging (read Twitter).

Is there a new Killer App - in this new decade - I think - it is "Meaning" - MEANING IS THE NEW KILLER APP.

"Meaning" is as varying as human minds - when every one is searching for meaning, everyone also wants to tell one's meaning of the world as well. The trends of attention economy, ubiquitous access, continuous redefinition of well-established values and norms - will lead to "defining your own meaning and telling to the world that this is what I mean" ~ the contours are already there, by the way!

We are hearing, Semantic Web for last 9-10 years or so. I think, Semantic Web has to be redefined to create the Killer App. The "Meaning" Killer App can be independent, it can be overlaying on social networking, overlaying on search engines, overlaying on emails - However, "meaning" is the next Killer app -!

Hope you wont ask "What Do I Mean?"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Software Innovation Triangle - 1 What and 2 Hows

Software has been defined as instructions and data structures (computer programs) that when executed on a machine provides desired function and performance along with documents that describe the operation and use of programs.

To me a very useful definition of innovation is successful creation of change by (new) ideas. Combining the above, software innovation has to be successful creation of change by new ideas in developing computer instructions, data structures and associated documents. This should include how to develop software, how to evaluate software and also what software to develop to achieve desired functionality and performance to meet a need or set of n
eeds. I call this the software innovation triangle – the two “how’s” and one “what” of software innovation.


The large IT development companies are looking at “how to develop software” and “how to evaluate software”. Specifically, Indian IT companies are focused predominantly on how part of software innovation triangle. Indian IT companies need to focus on “what” part of the software innovation triangle, as it not only has more value but it is that leg that one can protect by ways of IP rights as well.

HOW TO MAKE TRANSITION TO "WHAT" PART OF SOFTWARE INNOVATION TRIANGLE? ~ A Basic Question!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Emergence of Strategic Collaboration - A Thought Experiment

Crafitti TIPS -003-Emergence of Strategic Collaboration

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Strategic Innovation and Productivity Management

Strategic Innovation and Productivity Management –
Capabilities needed by every company/group/team



1. Work Flow Maximization - so that there are no delays - Value Flows through the streams; When value flow is maximized, inefficiencies of the stream are minimized. (Please see value, value stream and flow below)

2. Future Road Mapping for the group - in terms technology and products that may become useful - **how do we roadmap future to discover products/tech direction the company need to go to?**

The functions performed by the customer remain constant – however solutions change. Also meaning of products or services can be changed. When we say road-mapping – we look at all the functions that the customer performs and looks at the existing methods of performing that function. Simultaneously we track new technologies through for example continuous patents tracking and products tracking to look at what is coming up. Roadmapping exercises typically look at new ways that are emerging so that the company doesn’t suddenly get the surprises that future typically throws up.

3. Productivity Improvement - briefly - what are obstacles to productivity and what tools we are talking of improving it. Are there ways to measure productivity or its improvement?

The Output/Input definition of productivity is Industrial era definition, the new products, new output are knowledge and information products hence they require understanding of knowledge work productivity.
http://innovationcrafting.blogspot.com/2008/03/knowledge-worker-productivity.html

There are two main metrics which I define as Cacophony and other Process productivity defined by Putnam. Cacophony should be minimized and process productivity should be maximized for end-customer delight. But for each context we need to define specific metrics to measure output of each value stream including knowledge components of the value streams. This requires a deeper look at the work that happens – which is increasingly knowledge, problem-solving and solution implementation work that doesn’t come under the industrial Era organizations definitions.

4. Maximize synergy with other groups in your Company

In a large company many groups work together to create end-customer value through multiple value streams. During the evolution of companies – organic or through M&A, these value streams get entangled with each other to create Spaghetti’s that are extremely difficult to untangle. Through a process of looking at Dependencies and Value streams interaction, one can map the spaghetti and bring to the fore the deceleration that complex spaghetti creates, which leads to minimum synergy and value degradation. Synergy Maximization through the process of untangling value streams is needed in large organizations on a more systematic and scientific footing. This requires comprehensive and strategic focus.

5. Complexity reduction - Entropy Minimization - **what is entropy - chaos?**
Entropy is a term from Information theory and physics which provides a measure of disorder in the system. Complexity means merging of two or more entities in a manner that individual element are not trivially visible. In the organizations that we have created we have increased complexity to generate more and better functions – however we also have increased entropy without being aware of it. This leads to stress on the system that leads to chaos. Chaos is a situation where it is difficult to predict what will happen from a set of given initial conditions.

Some terms:
1. Value: "value," "customer value" and "customer value proposition" tend to be overused, as companies and customers incorrectly assume that the terms are easily understood by one and all. In fact, value may be the least understood concept in business parlance. Value is “Function performed by the system”. Then there are many attributes of the function – timeliness/cost etc. Our problem lies in forgetting about the function and focusing on some attribute of the function or system as a quality parameter and trying to optimize it. This leads to sub-optimal results. http://www.realinnovation.com/content/c081103a.asp

2. Value Streams: An organization creates value for the end-customer for letting him/her perform some function through various steps performed by various actors within the organization. These actors have various skill levels and specific awareness of the work that they perform, but they typically do not have end-to-end understanding. Because of this and many other reasons they actually may be adding wasteful steps in the process or creating delays without being aware of end customer value. This leads to inefficiencies that are hidden from each actor. Someone needs to follow the value streams to create an end-to-end awareness of end customer value. Once this awareness is created all actors/participants become aware of what is adding waste in creating end customer value. Wasteful steps, also called Non-Value Adding (NVA), can be such that one cannot avoid, however, the time spent on those NVA steps can be minimized. The second type of NVA steps are those which can be totally avoided. These steps need to be deleted from the streams. The method requires continuous awareness of what is happening at each step and how each step actually is impacting the end customer value. This leads to continuous problem awareness and problem-solving as a way of doing work – cutting across silos, political equations and beyond limited vision of people’s immediate scope of work. Work actually becomes FUN!

3. Flow: When value flows through the value streams to reach the customer in the time, effort and quality needed by spending only the steps that are needed, then flow is achieved. This is like flow of water in a stream.

Crafitti TIP - What is your Innovation Quotient?

Crafitti TIPS -002 - Your Innovation Quotient

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