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Showing posts with the label Innovation

My First Knol

When Google Knol first came, it was considered a competitor to Wikipedia - but looking at it now, Knol has evolved into its own type. With facilities like Citation and 'Collect this Knol', Knol has become a tool for people to write articles similar to research papers. Knols may as well be called 'informal' research papers or research papers in draft. I wrote my first Knol a couple of days back on the subject of ' Classification of tweets '. An excerpt below: It should be practically possible to build a web application / extension to twitter which will tentatively classify tweets and display them to users in say a newspaper like layout. Thereafter it should also allow users to suggest changes to the classification if they think this is not a correct classification. Read More

What's wrong with innovation programs?

Whether its TCS, Infosys or IBM - companies have at different times set up innovation cells and programs to encourage innovation. However, hardly any new innovations come out of such programs - leave alone transformational ones. The reason for failure of these programs - started with the most well meaning intentions - is highlighted in a talk by Google's CIO Douglas Merrill on Innovation at Google (video below). The video is not about these companies, or a criticism of innovation management practices. It simply is about defining innovation and then describing how innovation is managed at Google. The key highlight is towards the middle of the video when Douglas explains that innovation at Google is primarily chaotic. There are no committees to assess projects, no formal budgets, no approvals nothing! Here's what they do (PS: this is not a quote from the video): Google simply lets its engineers spend 20% time on their projects - thereafter it monitors these projects based on

Death of the PIN Code

I was reading this GigaOm piece on augmented reality when I realized that we may be very near towards making the Zipcode (or Pincode as we know it in India) completely redundant in the next 10-15 years. The article talks about how location aware application - Layar delivers ATM locations, restaurant information and available jobs on the phone’s screen as users point the camera at their surroundings. This innovation is a combination of 3 technologies coming together - GPS (location awareness), persistent connection (ability to extract information on the move) and image recognition (point the camera and the phone knows where you are). The latter is probably a complicated and expensive technology to build everywhere, but the former two are now almost ubiquitous. As I have written earlier , mapping services are improving every day in India - already maps to smallest detail are available for most Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities in India. With ISRO's project Bhuvan , imaging information shoul

Nano se Naina ladaike!

I had visited Chroma in Pheonix Mills Lower Parel a couple of days back - the Nano was on display there. I clicked a few snaps with the little celebrity :-)  Here are some of them. [Just in case the snaps interest you  - today is the last date to book the Nano]

When I say 'Innovation' - I mean this! ... contd.

Continuing my previous   post I encoutered another example of "innovation"  ... Like IKEA , a giant Swedish furniture-maker, Kunskapsskolan gets its customers to do much of the work themselves. The vital tool, though, is not an Allen key but the Kunskapsporten ("Knowledge Portal"), a website containing the entire syllabus. Youngsters spend 15 minutes each week with a tutor, reviewing the past week's progress and agreeing on goals and a timetable for the next one. This will include classes and lectures, but also a great deal of independent or small-group study. The Kunskapsporten allows each student to work at his own level, and spend less or more time on each subject, depending on his strengths and weakness. Each subject is divided into 35 steps. Students who reach step 25 graduate with a pass; those who make it to step 30 or 35 gain, respectively, a merit or distinction. Again like IKEA , no money is wasted on fancy surroundings. Kunskapsskolan Enskede,

When I say 'Innovation' - I mean this!

Continued from: Wasn't Entreprenueship About Innovation After Mohammad Yunus received his Nobel for microcredit - so many people have thought of starting up a micro-finance institution - its a simple idea, with minimal risk (if you know how to manage money) and what's more it in line with social justice. But as I have discussed with some of you - no point entering a field unless you can bring in some innovation to it - could be technology, process or scale. And boy! there could not be a better example than this to illustrate my point ... Kiva! Source: Kiva: Improving People's Lives Like a social networking site, Kiva posts profiles of potential borrowers. Lenders then peruse the profiles and make loans to people whom they find appealing. Once a lender makes a loan, Kiva sends the money to a microfinance institution, or MFI, in the borrower's home country. The MFI disburses the funds and works with the borrower to ensure timely repayment. In the language of the ba

Wasn't entreprenueship about Innovation?

Given the economically charged environment in India - lots of people are planning to start new ventures or planning to get involved with startups - and everyone from your uncle to your cousin's friend's elder brother has an idea! And with orkut/facebook/ linkedIn - it is so much more easy to link to other people who have similar ideas and hatch business plans. However, while the story might start there, it doesn't quite end, so many 'in-progress' ventures never make it to fruition and of those which do, few survive. Why? My personal answer is - we are all too fixated with making money and too less with making a difference. Daman [fictional] works for a bank as a financial consultant, he interacts with clients day in day out and sees how he is solving their problems using a bit of Google and a bit of Bloomberg. And the next thing he realises is that, he doesn't need his company - why not join hands with his Jijaji who runs a software company, get the software w

The Seed of Innovation

Steve Jobbs remarks in the The Seed of Apple's Innovation : "I get asked a lot why Apple's customers are so loyal. It's not because they belong to the Church of Mac! That's ridiculous. It's because when you buy our products, and three months later you get stuck on something, you quickly figure out [how to get past it]. And you think, 'Wow, someone over there at Apple actually thought of this!' And then three months later you try to do something you hadn't tried before, and it works, and you think 'Hey, they thought of that, too.' And then six months later it happens again. There's almost no product in the world that you have that experience with, but you have it with a Mac. And you have it with an iPod." I would say the same for Google and Microsoft. As much as we may ridicule these companies for being (or trying to become) monopolies - the truth is we all use their products because they come up with stuff that works!! There isn&

A drop in the ocean

"Nikhil is a sanskrit term meaning 'complete' and hence the name of this blog... ....it has nothing to do with my self-perception...nobody can be complete..and definitely not me..." I wrote this text exactly 2 years ago as the first few words on this blog. And the next two years were quite action-packed - Summers, MastishK, Prerana, Ethics Committee, Placements, KPMG, Travelogues .... this blog revolved around all this. I have meanwhile changed a lot - my lifestyle, beliefs, language ... and I have added a lot many friends along the way - Good friends? No. Great friends. Looking back, one realizes how much education and companionship can change the course of one's life. While MBA taught me how to think big - it was friends who helped me cement the belief. It was like curing a cement plaster - the end result has been that my growth path has changed. When I started this blog, I had a plan to start-up an enterprize immediately after my MBA - however small it migh

Innovation = Invention + Insight (Part II)

Prologue: Starting a series post is a risky business – if you do not get time to post the sequel fast enough, the original post conveys an incomplete meaning and starts receiving unfavorable comments. That is what happened to my previous post. Anyway – better late than never – here is the second and concluding part of Innovation = ...... As I argued in the previous post, without innovation, it is not possible to reach the echelons of global trade and difficult to oust competition. Going further, not just international competition, even domestic trade and indigenous industry is unlikely to prosper without innovation. Any new innovation, fuels a chain of many other parallel mini-innovations to be done around the central theme. For example, the 1-lakh-small-car by Tata Motors requires new initiatives in each of its ancillaries – from upholstery makers to tire makers. On the other hand, how much internal business does an Oracle implementation in the U.S. generate back home in India? One

Innovation = Invention + Insight

Eavesdropping is crime, especially in corporate circles. I had no intention of committing this crime, but I could not ‘unlisten’ the very excited and loud description of a to-be-given presentation that this individual was narrating on the phone. “I will talk about the market scenario, then about emerging India, then how we are globalizing our business model and ……” Of late, I have got tired of the incessant chant in politico-industrial circles – knowledge superpower India, emerging India, global positioning etc. Some have already placed India on the highest pedestal in the IT industry while others are modest enough to just lay claims over the top position by 2010/2020. While it is true that, Indian companies with their Global Delivery Model, low-cost-highly-educated workforce and strong process orientation, are sure taking on the IBMs and Accentures of the world right from the front – but they are far from snatching the turf from these global majors. More so India poses no threat to A