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Is there anybody who doesn’t know the word Innovation? Who doesn’t talk about Innovation? People say we have to be Innovative, but I ask what it takes to be Innovative? When do you call a company or a person Innovative?
In simple words, Innovation is the process of creating effective solutions, processes and products that improve business. Being Innovative also means adapting to the even changing business environment.
New technology, new regulations and policies, environmental changes, shareholder expectations, financial market pulse are some of the key factors that keep the business environment dynamic.
The variables that define the business environment are like dots on a canvas. And Innovation is the portrait that you make connecting the dots.
So when you wish your workforce to be Innovative, you have to give them a  canvas with enough dots.
But everybody has their own perspective and so can make their own personas looking at the dots. Hence along with the canvas with the dots, we have to give them the starting point too. The starting point will sync everybody's focus.
The common approach is to write long emails, held webinars. People are bored of this.

An Innovative approach for Innovation fostering is to use the power of quiz. 

The aim of this Quiz will not be to check knowledge but to send  triggers in people's mind

Why Quiz?

how quiz helps to connect dotsPeople tend to remember things when it is said in a context. During the context, people are paying their full attention to the topic being discussed. The questions that are generic enough; that are strong enough, so that people to go back and read the answers, sets the context. Now people have seen the dots of the canvas and the starting point. It just a matter of time before they complete the canvas. Experts state the following are key benefits of quizzes
  • Quizzes improve or expanding one’s knowledge of things, either general or in specific area
  • Quizzes are designed to promote, a fun way to study and in the process help improve one’s general knowledge
  • Quiz competitions enable students to think from different angles or simply ‘to think out of the box’
Research shows that the students who had taken the practice quizzes performed better than those who just studied; their scores were three times higher.
So I say, to foster Innovation, be innovative in your approach. Go Quizzing guys...
Eager to know your ideas about this benefits of quizzing. Feel free to use the comments section for sharing your views




Whatsapp as CRM

My wife runs a small garment business from home. Every week a new parcel lands in my home. The supplier is 800 km away from my place and he doesn't have a website to look at.So out of curiosity, I asked how does she select the designs and order them. Her answer laid the foundation of this post. Shrugging her shoulders, she answered me in one word "Whatsapp".


The supplier Whatsapp’s her the pictures of the latest designs. She confirms her selection through Whatsapp and bang, in a couple of days, the fashion is in my home.


For me, Whatsapp was an IM until I heard this. It was an app for time pass. To share jokes and funny pics, that’s it. Nothing more than that.

Intrigued by this, I spend some time finding cases of Whatsapp being more than IM. And I found many other fascinating stories.

I recently tied up with a financial advisor.in the first meeting, he talked everything and also if I use Whatsapp. Now he sends me market updates, performance reports and tips using Whatsapp

Recently we had used Whatsapp for event management spanned across different locations. The organizers of the event had to start the event at the same time. To ensure security, we password protected the event details. The challenge was to send the password to everybody at the same time.The event was being held outdoors and so email was out of the question. And SMS has no delivery guarantee.Whatsapp came to rescue again.

Sadly, but Whatsapp has been used to starts riots too.

These are all applications derived by the users. They are not publicized by Whatsapp. 

The power of Simplicity

The intriguing question is what makes Whatsapp adapt so easily to the needs of it users. A tool which is not at all serious thing for me is a business driver for another person. Whatsapp is nothing more than a message sharing tool and that’s it. It doesn’t have any complex features. And this simplicity of Whatsapp makes it so easily adaptable. This interaction forces us to think about the power of simplicity.

Simple here is not plain, boring and timid. Rather simple here is empowering, enabling. It is simple for the user to leverage it and not necessarily simple to develop it. 

A simple product or service lets users derive their own applications and usage. The simplicity of the product allows the users to become innovators. They define their own use cases. Technically, it is crowd-sourcing of features/services. 

And this makes it more powerful and difficult to beat kind of a beast.

For SME, their only priority is growing the business. They don't care about the tool or the core purpose of the tool. If it helps them in their business, great. They will embrace it.

Because people are inventing the usage, it is difficult for users to move them away from the platform and that makes it challenging for competition to break through. . A team in a corporate office cannot match the collective ideas generated by millions of users.

The stats about Whatsapp usage resonate the power of simplicity very well..

Whatsapp has 700 million active users, it handles 30 bn message/day compared to 20bs SMS/day served by all telcos put together.

Have you used Whatsapp for more than IM? Please share your story. Do you agree that simplicity is the most powerful thing? Use comments section to voice your opinion.


I have a 4 year old son and his passion is vehicles. Cars, trains, tractors, bike, bus drive him crazy. He can play all day long with them. Here's a view of his garage. His favorite is Nano.1

When I am playing with my kiddo, I try to intermix gyan with fun. I try to introduce  concepts like Fuel, Braking, Money etc. When I am driving and stop at a Fuel station, I explain him the need of Fuel. He then imitates that while playing at home. I pay bill and talk to him about the significance of money and how money is earned.

And my idea for creative printables is

I wanted to teach my kid to Tell Time. I thought why not leverage his passion for cars? That would make it easier and fun for him to tell time.

I decided to make a paper clock. Each hour letter was accompanied by a colorful picture of a vehicle that my son understands. I created the basic template in MS Power point. Google helped me finding the colorful pictures. Following is the template that I created.

clip_image001

But my kiddo was going to play w

 

How But my kiddo was going to play with the clock in real world. And so it was important that the colors that are so gorgeous in PPT are equally fantastic in the real world. HP printer came to my aid here. I got the clock printed on a Photo paper.

The only task left was before I can start teaching my kiddo was to add the Long Hand and Short hand. Heres a look at the final product. WP_20150110_15_35_58_Pro

How the Clock helped?

My idea was to teach him time telling by taking the car as the cue. So say if I want to teach him 12. I said when both the long and short hand meet on Rocket, its 12. I wanted him to look at the watch and know that its time to sleep. I told him that when the Long Hand is on Rocket and the short hand is on Airplane, its time for you to sleep.

Fun things you can do with your printer

The journey so far has been fun. There is no debate on the point that without a color printer, I would have never imagined creating such a clock. The entire clock creation process was a time well spent with my son. He thoroughly enjoyed the process. He is still learning to see time. My journey is still on.  I have to teach him the concept of Half and Quarter. So I am sure, I will have a version 2 of this clock.

During the making of the clock, I realized that What you can with a color printer at home is limitless.

Do feel free download and customize the image if you think its funny and interesting. Do drop me an email I am happy to share the PPT template too.

P.S : This project was created to participate in the "Fun things you can do with your printer" contest listed here

For me, Reading is a cherished hobby and thanks to apps like Feedly and Pocket, reading is pure fun.  The apps are so intuitively designed that reading anywhere on any device is hassle free.

But you know, we are living in a super hyper world. If you take 1 minute to read an article, there have been 347 new added in that time. By the time you have looked and shared a photo, 20k new have been added on Tumblr. Check out this infographic to know more about what happens in 1 minute in the #WorldOfInternet. How do you then manage your reading list in such a situation?

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Feedly and Pocket again come to our rescue. They let you save articles for a later read. You could scan the interesting stuff at one time and then read them lying in your couch when you want to . You could also share articles that amused you. Personally, I use IFTTT in conjunction with Feedly and Pocket to share some of the stuff that I read.

The problem statement

The one reason for me to share stuff on social media is to establish myself in the social media ecosystem. To build my repute in the #WorldOfInternet.

In this endeavor, I save a lot of stuff in my #ReadForLater list and also share them with others. I use Feedly to manage my RSS subscriptions and I have set a rule that every item that I "Save for Later" should be shared on my Twitter account. The rule engine is from IFTTT. At times I do share things only for re-tweets and likes. I do not really want to save it for later reading. I realized I need some kind of a automated rule to take care of this. Else my #ReadForLater list will become trash in a few days time. In the next few lines, I talk about the solution that I implemented to ensure my #ReadForLater list is clean and my repute is getting better.

The solution

The building blocks of the solutions have always been available. I just needed to stitch them together. The IFTTT rule engine is there, Feedly supports tags. So to keep my #ReadForLater list tidy, all I need is a new tag and a new rule based on the tag.

I added that tag #ShareToOthers to my Feedly tags list. I then use IFTTT to create a rule such that anything with the #ShareToOthers tag gets shared on my social media. You could also use the IFTTT recipe i created. Following is the link 

https://ifttt.com/recipes/235235-use-tag-to-keep-readforlater-clean

This way I keep #ReadForLater list is less cluttered. I am able to differentiate easily between articles of my personal interests and articles for my social repute.

Infographic source : http://blog.qmee.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Qmee-Online-In-60-Seconds2.png

Do let me know if it helped. Also share your methods to keep your reading list clean and tidy.

Happy New Year 2015 !!!

I read this piece of news about Facebook conducting experiment to on people without their knowledge and consent.

The experiment was to validate a theory about Human psychology that says "people feel bad when they see others are happy and vice-versa"

In simple words the theory says that if you see your friend's awesome Holiday pictures, you will feel bad that are you not having the fun your friend is having.

Similarly, if you read about something bad, you would be happy and thankful that it didn’t happen to you.

You are not doing these things consciously. It is happening in the background and so nothing to feel bad about it.

My research on this issue

I have saved the stories based on which I wrote this post in Storify. It is an interesting read for a lazy afternoon. Do go through it. You will find answers to key questions like

Why we get addicted to Facebook?

Why is it so difficult to avoid Facebook?

Key take-ways from the research

At first, I just read the news as another piece of social media flake and forgot it...but thinking about the psychological theory, I thought of checking it on myself. I went through my Facebook time and tried to note the emotions that I experienced. I realized the theory is true…

I researched more to find out the cases and stories about the impact of social Media. And to my wonder, I found millions of stories of people feeling unhappy, people comparing themselves to others and more. And all this because of your favorite Facebook.

The other psychological impact of Facebook I came to know is called as "Instant Gratification". As soon as something happens, you want to let the world know about it through Facebook. You long for comments and likes. Over the period of time, this becomes an addiction. You feel bad if there are not enough comments and likes on your status, photos etc. This is instant gratification. Longing for instant happiness, instant validation, instant feedback.

Is Facebook Ruining Our Lives? – An infographic by the team at Who Is Hosting This.com

 

So the first and only point is , stop using Facebook…

How will this impact your life?

In one word, you will be more happy.

  • Yeah, you will not have to check your phone regularly.
  • Because your happiness is not dependent on others validation, You will have less worry. You would be more happy and so live longer.

I know I have posted this on Facebook, I am trying guys…

 

The 2 contradicting lessons

A most common lesson people give while talking about Innovation is

"Fail fast and move on"

On the other hand, Guru's  also advocate that say

"You need to have perseverance and girt to continue doing what you believe in"

To me, these are 2 contradicting thoughts. Isn't it?

When you are working on something new, there are no ready to use references. Hence the probability of failure is pretty high.
When you are spending time in being innovative, there will be people who laugh at you and say you have lost it.
When you are burning midnight oil to create something path-breaking, there will be people who say you are a waste.

The opportunities to get de-motivated, the tendency to quit, the urge to be part of the crowd is as big as Himalayas. 

If one believes in his dreams and continues working on it, and at the end doesn't achieve something. People say he didn't fail fast and didn't move on. He continued working on something that was not possible.

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Alternatively, Say everybody preached you to quit but you continued doing what you believe in. And at last achieved something , people say he had the perseverance and grit needed to create big things.

My Takeaway...You need some salt

My whole point is that people are making opinions at the end of the journey of making.
How in this world will the traveller going on an unknown path know what is there at the end. He just has a few clues about what to expect during the journey and at the end.
My takeaway from this observation is that the leadership lessons have to be considered  with a pinch of salt. They are not absolute truths. They are reviews created to justify the journey as a success or failure. Its important to understand that context of the lesson, lest there is a risk of it being harmful. It could have a negative impact on your growth.

Do you agree with my observation and take away? I am waiting for your views on this...

Happy Weekend...

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