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Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

They all have small feet!

How else could they get into other people’s shoes 🙂

In his article ‘Empathy Is The Key To Innovation’ Baruch Sachs assertively identifies a key ingredient for innovation:

“…Every great innovation has come from a place of empathy. This makes great sense because innovation is so often borne out of someone’s frustration with the current way or state of things. For example, Steve Jobs was frustrated that he could not carry his library of music around in his pocket. He thought others might share his frustration. His answer? The iPod.

Ride-sharing services were borne out of people’s frustration with the overall taxi experience. All of the innovations that Uber, Lyft, and others have created through their technology and services have come from a place of empathy. These are just two examples showing how empathy has driven tremendous innovations that have shaped the lives of millions of people…”

And yet “… Empathy is the single most-overlooked ingredient of innovation. This is a huge problem because empathy is a critical ingredient of ensuring successful innovation…”

Design thinking and other methodologies by themselves will not take the org far in innovation in absence of empathy.

So you know now who is the most likely to drive innovation in your org.

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Image from cio.com

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Like the doctor here.

When outside, I keep my eyes peeled looking for people doing things differently.

Apologies for the quality of the pics – this is as best as I could manage.

We all have heard of the anecdote how a consultant solved the problem of office goers waiting restlessly in the morning hours before a busy bank of lifts in a high-rise building. He got mirrors fixed outside the doors in the lobby and presto! The irritation abated. People liked to look at themselves in those mirrors while killing time.

Likewise:

The map you see here is pasted on full-height glass panels in the office of a Architects/Consultants firm. With employees of this firm more likely to be out in the field for good part of the day, it would not be uncommon for visitors having to wait out in their office.  And while waiting, the map segments on the panels, large unlike a mobile screen, clear and easy on the eyes, are actually interesting to look at and visually explore and discover even for the blase, making the wait a little more bearable.

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A few days ago, returned to Mumbai. As the Indigo aircraft came to a halt at the gate for passengers to get off, an announcement was made requesting the deplaning passengers to pull down the window-shades before they leave  and open the air-vents overhead to full blast.

Very thoughtful of them to keep the aircraft insides as comfortable as possible and ready for the incoming passengers.

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Source: Image from livemint.com

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Vide விஷ்வாமித்திரர்

Drawing water using manual pumps (If the clip doesn’t show, go here):

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Leaving aside the party politics for the moment, it’s still an amazing case of innovative problem solving and communication the corporate’s would do well to look at its merit.

ToiletThis is election time in India with parties engaged in a fierce fight over voters’ mind-share.

The above is a message in this tussle coming from Prime-Minister Modi’s party BJP.

On the left is a panel depicting the state-of-affairs under the rule of the Congress Party that held sway for most years since independence, dominated by the Nehru family. It shows a man relieving himself publicly under a sign-board admonishing Don’t commit nuisance here‘. On the right is a panel intended to show the transformation achieved over last 55 months of BJP’s  rule. Here the sign points the offender-to-be to Use the toilet 50 feet away from the spot!

The difference in the approaches of problem-solving and its communication is so stark and brilliant!

Of course, it’s another matter to independently check on what the ground reality is.. Though the official claim is: 1.31 crores of public facilities were constructed in the state of Tamil Nadu during those 55 months of their rule under the Swatch Bharat campaign.

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businessesgrow.com competition-cartoon

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Source: Mark Schaefer’s blog at businessesgrow.com

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And it’s unbelievably cheap too while yielding immense safety benefits!

From an article (and clips) here by Christoph Roser, brought up by Gopalakrishna Sunderrajan:

Look at this short clip (49 secs):

What is the train driver pointing at and what is he saying?

The technique of ‘Point and Call‘ is practiced by the Japanese railway companies from around 1900, and it is now widespread throughout Japan. And to a little extent, however not with the same rigor, outside of railways too.

With Japanese railroads, anything that has to be looked at is usually confirmed using point and call. First and foremost, this is for observing railroad signals that indicate whether the train is allowed to proceed, whether there are speed restrictions, or whether the train needs to stop. For example, when a speed limit starts in 500 meters, the train driver points at the sign and says, “Limit 75 Distance 500.

The technique is also used to verify the timetable. At every stop, the driver points to the corresponding line in the timetable to verify the target arrival and departure times. For example, when leaving the station, the driver points at the timetable and says, “Three o’ clock 12 minutes 15 seconds depart Shibuya station.

While the train stops, the speed is verified by pointing at the speedometer. Platform attendants and conductors also point along the platform to check if the train is clear, often also pointing at additional surveillance monitors for this purpose. For example, the conductor points at the doors after closing and states, “Good Closure,” then points at the monitors and states, “Good monitors for departure.

Pointing and Calling combines looking at something, pointing at it, calling out the observation, and listening to your own voice, giving co-action and co-reaction among the operator’s brain, eyes, hands, mouth, and ears. Not only looking but also pointing and sometimes stating the observation avoids sloppiness and helps keep focus and attention. For simple tasks (and most of these tasks are reasonably simple), this technique reduces errors by almost 85%. Some companies use only pointing, or only calling, but the technique is most effective when combined.

Here’s another clip on the subject (3.55 mins):

The article appeared in the beginning of 2014. Surprisingly for some reason this easy-to-implement innovative practice does not seem to have caught on yet outside of Japan.

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We all know about one of the most-talked-about routes to take to innovation: ‘value disruption’.

For example:

1 Who Killed The Business

(from Who Killed The Business?)

But “it’s not always an easy situation to deal with, simply because it often creates discomfort and pain.  This usually results in a sense of uncertainty and instability, which we, as people, are neurologically wired to react to and move away from.”

Janet Sernack puts her finger on two important attributes that enhances the ability to disruptingly innovate. While the basic idea may not be new, its articulation certainly is, giving us a handle for building these up – some food for performance coaches’ thoughts and action:

It’s all about ‘gumption and grit.

Gumption is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “the ability to decide what is the best thing to do in a particular situation, and to do it with energy and determination.”  

 And grit in the context of behavior is defined as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, adapted (by Angela Duckworth, in her TED talk) to include “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” 

 Sernack explains:

This requires people to let go of being “nice” worrying about being politically correct, to develop innovation and collaboration, by being intentionally and safely contrary, provocative and disruptive involving:

  • Gumption; deeply cleansing people’s minds, to let go of old fixed, conventional and avoidance mindsets, risk adversity, fear of failure, complacency and other normal & habitual resistance factors to change they might have, without making them “wrong.”
  • Grit; passionately persevering being contrary, provocative and safely disruptive to achieve innovation goals and outcomes.

necessary to survive, achieve and thrive in VUCA times (situations or environments that engender high levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity).

She goes on to combine these two into a single skill-set ‘being provocatively competent’ and identifies its key characteristics in her post here.

 

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