Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Innovation is the Elephant Story

Most of my posts are someway or other linked to Innovation. I keep on emphasizing on this one word time and again. So what is innovation? Is it some rocket science? Has innovative idea to be big and large?

I believe No. Innovation is all about giving things your own touch such that it makes it more useful, becomes more apt to the expectations of audience, such that the gap between what is available and what can be made available is bridged. To concretize that innovation is not about size, keep reading this article based on the real story and I have been a witness of it.

John is a 7th Grade student in one of the English schools. Since last year, he has started participating in Elocution/speeches competition.

Today is children's day and he is planning to speak about it. Others have been speaking about Jawaharlal Nehru’s love and fondness for children and that's why children's day in India is celebrated on Nehru’s birthday i.e Nov14 in his honour.

John doesn’t want to repeat what 10 other people have said like a recorded tape. So he is thinking of adding something new, something which the judges have not heard from any of the participants, something that should make the other students drop their jaws and say we didn’t knew this.

That’s when he came to about a gesture shown by Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru towards Japan. The children of Japan had requested for Elephants to India. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru known fondly as "Chacha" readily agreed and elephants were transported to Japan's Ueno Zoo. Read the full story of elephants here.

That’s it John added this point to his talk and you guessed it right, he won the First prize. I hope I have succeeded in relating the gist of the story with the birth of this post.

So the mantra is, Innovation is all going that extra mile to ensure the gap between what is expected and what is available is minimal. Its all about questing this one question to oneself blogged about in this article "Have you made to shout Wow".

Happy Innovating guys...

P.S : Story is real but not the name John

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Knowledge Management : Concept Mapping

In the first article of this series, I talked about Knowledge management using Online Bookmarks Manager. In this post, will go one step further and talk about managing knowledge acquired from reading the articles, books and any other such stuff.

Imagine you have read an interesting book and want to have a kind of notes for reference so that you don’t have to run through the book again and again. Go for Concept Mapping tools like Cmap Tools.

You have to make a Presentation which has a limit on the number of slides. You have to convey a concept or a product which is expected to take more than half of the slides quota. What you would do. Go for Concept Mapping tools like Cmap Tools.

What is Concept Mapping?
Concept mapping is all about capturing concepts into a simple drawing consisting of simple shapes and emoticons. The usage of such drawings are infinite. Students could use Concept Mapping drawings for study. Concept maps can also be used in presentations, documents to convey complex concepts in the form of visualizing appealing drawings. I would call this a lossless compression technique for knowledge.

Such tools are not freely available...
Yes most of the time. But this tool called Cmap tools has been developed at IHMC and is freely available.

Free tools have limited features...
Not in the case of Cmap tools. It’s a full featured download. Probably Cmap tools one of the very few Concept Mapping tools freely available as it has been developed by an institute and not for commercial purpose. At least I don’t find any link related to commercials on the Cmap Tools site. Pondering over the drawing will set the context regarding the capabilities of the tools. In fact the drawing is a kind of reference guide to the tool. According to the site,

CmapTools program empowers users to construct, navigate, share and criticize knowledge models represented as concept maps. It allows users to, among many other features, construct their Cmaps in their personal computer, share them on servers (CmapServers) anywhere on the Internet, link their Cmaps to other Cmaps on servers, automatically create web pages of their concept maps on servers, edit their maps synchronously (at the same time) with other users on the Internet, and search the web for information relevant to a concept map.

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I have been using this tool for quite sometime and found it very interesting and useful. I have found another site where concept maps developed in Cmap tools are posted. Check it out at www.bssarena.com

The best Features
I personally feel the feature of the tool to share the concept maps is awesome. It is very well in sync with the hot trend of Social innovation.
So what are you waiting for…download it here

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Knowledge Management : Bookmarks Manager

Ideas, concepts, techniques have been at the core of Human evolution. New concepts are born, existing ideas are carried forward, Existing techniques are optimized, if needed old ideas are dumped. The transformation and translations of ideas, concepts, techniques is Evolution. This evolution has been in the top gear since the last decade or so. Thanks to the Internet. Everybody has access to everything and we all are living in the Knowledge Era. The increase in the bytes of information available and fast paced evolution is making it a hell of a job to be in sync in what's happening around.
The extract of this post is to explore if we can use Technology to help us keep going in this marathon of Information age, to manage the knowledge and leverage its benefits as and when needed.
The answer is Yes.
The typical method of reading to which we are all used to is to read through the stuff(I mean books, article) and make notes of important points for references and easy recall. But as I said, there is so much to read, so much to learn to keep going that the old technique becomes difficult to follow. Some kind of optimization is needed to ensure the learning happens, recalling the concepts is easier and references to actual content is seamless. Lets explore the options guys
For online articles
You Google for a keyword and there you go, you have hundreds and millions to results. Many of them are interesting and serve the purpose of the search. One would like to save the link of the article and refer as and when needed. I can do this on the desktop/laptop, but can I have the access to all the link from anywhere, any system, any time. Of course I can. There are many sites offering free bookmarks managing tool. You could install their toolbar and bookmark pages as you surf. You have the option of adding notes to the bookmarks for obvious reasons.
I personally use the Google Bookmarks Manager .
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The other very known service is from Delicious
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You want more… Just Google for Bookmarks Manager and you get products as many as hair on your head.
How it works
Its pretty simple to manage bookmarks or favourites online
  • Register with the Service provider. For Google, you can use the Gmail account User ID and password
  • Most of the sites known sites this days have the option of sharing the link using Delicious, Google, Technorati etc.
  • Click on the service you are registered and that’s it. You are done.
I personally use the Toolbar from Google as it makes it easier to add bookmarks and offers many other features like Search, Email Alerts, Page translate, Page rank etc.

P.S: In the next article, we will look at concept mapping tool. The series would be concluded with an article on Mind Mapping tools.