Tagged: innovation

Get more Creative

bulb-on-the-ceiling-1495500-1280x960In an era where things change by the second, it is necessary that we prepare our minds to ideate instantly and also productively. The time spent in bringing an idea to reality is getting shorter every day, and this means that one has to always be wearing their creative thinking caps, which will help them get more creative in their thought process. This will help them come up with better and more effective ways to plan and implement their ideas. Creativity is essential to the success of any person or company, large or small. But how do you get more creative? How do you keep innovation coming, and new ideas flowing, especially when you feel like your day-to-day tasks have gotten you into a rut?

Becoming creative is a gradual process, and you can get better at it with practice and patients. Here are a few tips to follow that can gradually make you more creative in your approach to your ideas:

Ask questions and suggestions from everyone

We are living in an age of concepts and ideas so it is always important to keep an open mind to people and their thoughts. No matter how big or small a company might be, every individual in your company is adding some form of value and therefore has a mind of their own. Every individual thinks differently. People with different backgrounds, personalities, and interests bring different contributions when discussing new ideas. Also, the more questions we ask, the greater the chances of coming up with something new or connecting two things that hadn’t been connected before. It is important to inculcate a culture of creative thinking, because if each and every mind in your organization is thinking, then there is a better chance for you to get that unique idea or solution that you were looking for.

Get uncomfortable

Yes, that is correct! We are so caught up and relaxed with our daily routines that our mind has stopped thinking and being inquisitive. When you feel uncomfortable or are in an uncomfortable situation, your mind and body has to react differently than it normally does. Your mind goes into a rapid thinking mode and starts searching for answers or solutions. This can bring new ideas not only to your inception or business, but to your life as well. Such uncomfortable stations helps your brain dig into new topic and become more inquisitive and this can eventually help you to take a dive in a new direction to find new ideas. An example of an uncomfortable situation is to try to learn a skill that you hate i.e. something that you think you could never learn or master.

Stop multitasking

Multitasking reduces efficiency and the quality of work, also recent research shows it actually lowers your IQ. So when you have to get something done, just focus on the task at hand for best results. Also, one needs to keep in mind that a human brain can only focus and concentrate for 90-120 minutes at a time, before it needs a break. So you might be doing a lot of things at the same time, and without breaks, but not quiet effectively. Focusing on one task or job in hand can help you improve your concentration and focus, and eventually take less time to complete. Also, coming back to a job after a quick break can help you fresh up your mind to look at things with a different perspective, and hence give your better ideas and solutions.

What is your competitive advantage?

Competative advantageIf you think you are the only one selling a certain kind of product or offering a niche services, then think again! If you look around you would see that there are many entrepreneurs and business owners that are constantly trying to do things differently, or trying to solve a problem in the most innovative ways. So how does one get an edge over their competitors in the market? Though you might be offering the same product or service, but how can you stand apart in the competition and also get noticed?

With the changing global economy, finding your businesses’ competitive advantage has become the most critical aspect and to add to that, the way you market that advantage will eventually play a key role in how you succeed in the market place. In simple terms, competitive advantage is something that occurs when a business develops certain attribute or characteristic that allows it to stand out and outperform its competitors. This unique advantage could be things like access to specific resources, skilled manpower a specific business model and/or technology. All of this could help in creating a unique product or service or even act as a competitive aid in the overall business process (for example, better identification and understanding of customers).

While identifying your advantage, try to divide your competitive strategy into three broad categories:

– Expertise: If you are a specialist in your field and think that you are offering a cutting-edge product or service, then expertise is something you would need to focus on while marketing your competitive advantage. Also, if you or your business has been involved in one industry for a number of years, you can add that to your competitive advantage.

– Business Process: If you feel you manage your business better than your competition then that is something you could show as your competitive advantage. Focus on your results based and customer centric approach by including testimonials and case studies in your marketing material. While marketing your business process you would need to always keep in mind that your high quality staff is the most critical piece to the success of your business.

– Relationships: If you spend the time making your customers feel special and understood, then focusing on your customer relationships might be the way to go. Though there are potential risks involved in this option because you would need to dedicate time and energy to these relationships and that may mean you can only take on a select number of customers at a time. However, it helps if you are able to build a good ongoing business relationship with your customers and market that advantage at the right time.

As an entrepreneur it is important to analyze your business and find that unique aspect that will make your product or service stands out from your competitors. It is important to always focus on one area or aspect and market it as your competitive advantage, rather than focusing on multiple advantages and marketing them all together. It is always advisable to start small and slowly penetrate the market with your uniqueness that would eventually offer you a long lasting competitive advantage.

Working towards a global business model

Global business modelIn the age of globalization it is becoming important every day to describe the rational of your organization and its objective. Defining a clear cut business model is the first step towards drafting a business strategy. The global marketplace is changing and so it’s essential for us to analyze our business models and change it according to the market trend.

Rapid technological changes, a dynamic marketplace, challenging customers, increasing global competition, and pressure from investors are just a few factors that govern the current world economy. Global financial markets and an open trading system require organizations to deliver and serve their clients more quickly in efficiency, profitability, cost effective pricing, quality, and innovation.

The key is not just to focus on saving costs but to deliver standardize and end-to-end services to your clients. Adding value is the second most important factors for business growth and sustainability. Positioning a global business model means development of a globally unified environment, optimizing skills globally to create an assortment of business and skills to better strive, and better serve the growing needs of customers worldwide.

Flexibility in workforce is the third most important measure that needs to be considered. Being able to position the best talent and most suitable resources wherever they are required, is the key. Ongoing economic instability means businesses must abide growing and contracting faster than before, organically and through mergers and acquisitions. Hence a multi-functional shared service provides much-needed flexibility to be able sustain in the current global market place.

Last but not the least technological innovation is by far the most essential part of a global business model. Businesses that envision a global presence should never stop innovating and offering value through technology. Digitization is just one of the few examples of global innovation.

Most importantly, expect the unexpected and adapt flexibility!

Changing the Way we read

SummlyPicture this: An 18 year old boy busy working on a Mac machine in his bedroom in the London district of Wimbledon. All he does is write computer code and read on topics related to natural language processing. Soon this boy is seen selling apps to Yahoo Inc.

This is not a clip from a teen movie but a realty! Meet the 18-year-old WSJ. Magazine Technology Innovator of 2013 who became an overnight millionaire by inventing an app that may revolutionize how we read “on the go”

Nick D’Aloisio has changed the Way We Read: Earlier this year, this 18-year-old London schoolboy had sold a piece of software to Yahoo! for $30 million. The app called Summly, compresses long pieces of text into a few representative sentences. In a world where people generally read when on the go, this kind of an app, that delivers brief, accurate summaries, has practically changed the way we read.

The history of Summly can be traced back to 2011, when at the age 15; D’Aloisio managed to close a seed round of funding from Li Ka-shing, the wealthiest man in Asia. An early version of Summly, called Trimit, was featured in Apple’s app store in July 2011 on a list of new and noteworthy offerings. This is where it got noticed by the influential Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch and quickly came to the attention of an investment group led by Li Ka-shing. A year later, Summly was launched, and within a month it had attracted 500,000 users and became the number-one news app in 28 countries.

D’Aloisio says: “I thought I was going to sell the app in the Apple store for a pound or two each, and then I’d use the money to buy a new computer. I’d never had any contact from an investor before. And now here’s an email supposedly from a Hong Kong billionaire. It sounded dodgy. I didn’t respond the first time. They had to email me again.”

Later that year D’Aloisio was accompanied by his mother and father as he took a meeting with Horizons Ventures’s representatives in London. The meeting ended with D’Aloisio receiving a seed investment of $300,000.

Currently D’Aloisio is enjoying the new found success and spends most of his time managing his app and thinking of new ways to include improved features. He’s also contemplating whether to enroll in university in England or maybe the U.S. to be closer to Silicon Valley. Or maybe he’ll just skip college entirely and just focus on his work.

D’Aloisio says: “Serial entrepreneurs get addicted to creation. I want to be passionate. I feel really bad when I’m not doing something new.”

Are you Digitally Transformed?

digital transformationWe have reached a stage where digital technologies have become a part of our day-to-day life. Over 2 billion people are connected digitally through the internet and almost 2/3 of businesses around the world have a web/digital presence. The internet is the biggest contributor toward the digital age and has become a bridge, making the world look flat. It has offered a platform for companies, societies and governments to adapt a more digital and real-time presence.

In a more basic theory, digital transformation is more of a concept of “going paperless”.

It is the third and the final stage of embracing digital technologies:

Digital competence → digital literacy → digital transformation

The last stage means when digital usage enables innovation and creativity and not just acts as a support to traditional methods. The other point to note is that successful digital transformation does not happen from bottom up. It must be driven from the top i.e. by the top decision makers and executives.

Major digital transformation initiatives in a business context are centered on re-envisioning business models, customer experience and operational processes. Companies and governments are changing how functions work, redefining how functions interact, and even evolving the traditional boundaries.

Digital globalization

Business and governments are increasingly transforming from multi-national to truly global operations. Digital technology coupled with integrated information is allowing firms to gain global synergies while remaining locally accessible. Managers and business owners of digitally transformed companies feel more empowered to make decisions autonomously, and have gained a broader view of the business through centralized data.

Businesses, societies and governments from around the world are experimenting and benefiting from the practice of digital transformation. Whether it is in the way individuals work and collaborate, the way business processes are executed within and across organizational structures, or in the way the businesses understands and services customers, digital technology provides a wealth of opportunity.

A three-year study conducted by the MIT Center for Digital Business and Capgemini Consulting concluded that around one-third of companies globally have an effective digital transformation program in place, and the number is rapidly increasing. So what are you waiting for? Ask yourself this question – Are you digitally transformed yet?

BOSE – The Master of Sound

BOSE – The Master of soundBose Corporation is an audio equipment company popularly known for their high-quality audio systems and speakers for home users, auditoriums and automobiles. BOSE was founded by Amar G. Bose in the year 1964.

During Bose’s engineering days at MIT, he had purchased a stereo system and was disappointed with its performance. This gradually led him to research the importance of reverberant (indirect) sound on perceived audio quality. His research was to focus upon the fundamental weaknesses plaguing high-end audio systems.

It is said that BOSE researched for about 8 years before he made his first loudspeaker product, the model 2201. He finally came to the conclusion that imperfect knowledge of psychoacoustics limits the ability to adequately characterize quantitatively any two arbitrary sounds that are perceived differently.

Bose Corp’s first products were high-power amplifiers produced under contract to the US military. The company that started in with a handful of people is now an international success. Bose subsidiaries, distributors, and manufacturing facilities are found throughout the world.

In addition, Amar G. Bose’s position as chairman and technical director of Bose Corp, he retained his MIT faculty appointment as professor of electrical engineering and computer science. During his tenure, his focus was on acoustics engineering innovation.

In a 2004 interview in Popular Science magazine, he said: “I would have been fired a hundred times at a company run by M.B.A.’s. But I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn’t been done before.

On Friday, July 12, 2013 Amar G. Bose died in his home in Wayland, Massachusetts. He was 83. The cause of death has not been declared. Amar G. Bose was firm in his belief that only the best education can lead to the best technology and innovation.

Going Public might kill INNOVATION

private-or-public-companyA new research suggests that IPOs can result in diminutive innovation, especially in technology firms.

In general, post-IPO companies create products and inventions that are less ambitious and valuable than do firms that remain private. Innovation may slow at public companies because IPOs trigger “brain drain” as employees’ cash in their holdings. Increased scrutiny and accountability to shareholders may also affect the kind of research and development a newly public firm chooses to pursue. After the IPO, companies become more “cautious,” less ambitious … and lose their top inventors and innovators.

The result? New public companies turned to acquisitions to bring in new technologies and get fresh talent.

According to the research, post – going public, there is a general change in business objective and customer approach. Shareholder value is kept as the prime domain of focus with minimal interest in innovation. Another alarming outcome is attrition. In technology firms where employees focus on delivering quality output, post-IPO, they generally tend to start losing interest due to the autocracy and eventually start finding opportunities with other start-ups.

On the other hand, the study also shows a flip-side to this trend: IPOs are crucial in generating innovation in the early stages of a company, before it goes public, because the promise of public-offering riches helps startups to attract capital from investors in the first place.

So, going public should be a planned approach as it might result in completely change in a firms strategy in pursuing innovation.