Tagged: science

Planning a pop-up megacity at the Kumbh Mela

Kumbh mela_small business poolThe word Kumbh means a pitcher and Mela means fair in Hindi. The Kumbh mela is the biggest mass held in the Hindu religion where pilgrims gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is the world’s largest religious gathering and there is practically no scientific or statistical method of predicting the number of pilgrims that might turn up for the congregation. This year, approximately 80 million people attended the Kumbh Mela held on 14 February 2013 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India.

According to a recent study by the Havard Business School, The Kumbh Mela is a boon for the Indian Business Sector. Airlines, Hotels, Tour Operators and State are likely to witness substantial boom period in their economic activities and likely to contribute Rs.12,000 crore (USD 258 million) revenues in the state coffers, according to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

John Macomber, a senior lecturer in the Finance unit at Harvard Business School, recently attended the Kumbh Mela with a group of Harvard colleagues. They discovered that the sight of the Mela is a massive 1,900 hectares (4,700 acres or more than 8 square miles) and it’s all built out with roads, bridges, electric power, tiny tents, midsize tents, and impressive multi-story temples.

Over 11,000 shops are catering to the mundane needs of those taking part in the congregation. These include shops selling spices and sandalwood from the south, herbs from mountain region and musk and curios from various parts of the country.

For hundreds of years, the size of the Kumbh has been of interest primarily to bathing pilgrims and local officials trying to maintain order. But this year it caught the attention of Harvard University, which saw the Kumbh Mela as a unique opportunity to study the formation and inner-workings of a pop-up mega city.

According to the researchers, the Kumbh has always operated in this capacity, but for a variety of reasons, the 2013 festival represents a significant shift towards seeing the festival as a seminal academic learning environment, where there is ample opportunity to learn the ways in which a pop-mega city can be planned, constructed and maintained.

Learning from Jugaad Innovation

“Jugaad” is a term popularly used in India. It originated from Sanskrit word yugat later converted as jugat, jugad, and jugaad in modern use. It means having a creative idea or an alternative to solve a problem. The theory originated when people found the need to work around creative solutions due to lack of resources, equipment and money. In the past few years, a jugaad movement has gathered a community of enthusiasts, believing it to be the proof of Indian bubbling creativity, or a cost-effective way to solve the issues of everyday life.

The jugaad movement is also popularly known globally as Frugal innovation or frugal engineering. It is described as a process of reducing the complexity and cost of a good and its production. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, famously coined the term “frugal engineering” in 2006. He was impressed by Indian engineers’ ability to innovate cost-effectively and quickly under severe resource constraints. And under Ghosn’s leadership , Renault-Nissan has proactively embraced frugal engineering and become one of the world’s leading producers of both electric cars as well as low-cost vehicles — two of the fastest growing and most promising market segments in the global automotive sector.

In now-a-days resource constraint environment, business and entrepreneurs need to come up with innovative solutions that fix problems and bring long lasting results. A quick fix is not the answer, but a way to think and come up with innovative solutions is important. Jugaad as a concept has inspired many business owners and innovators to think “out of the box” and experiment with unconventional solutions for better results.

Business lessons from Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist, philosopher, author, and is perhaps the most influential scientists to ever live. He published many scientific and non-scientific works and is popularly known for his explanations & research on the Quantum theory. He is considered the father of modern physics and has influenced many modern day entrepreneurs. Here are a few business lessons to learn from Einstein:

Curiosity is the key

Ask yourself this question: What piques your curiosity? What makes one business to succeed and the other to fail? Always searching for the right mix or the right answer is what drives a business owner. The pursuit of your curiosity is the secret to your business.

Use the power of Imagination

Imagination is everything. It is more important than knowledge. Are you using your imagination in your business? It is always important to remember that imagination pre-plays your future. Are you exercising your “imagination muscles” daily? Einstein once said, “don’t let something as powerful as your imagination lie dormant”. Imagination gives birth to innovation.

Create Value

It’s simple: Time + creating value = SUCCESS

Don’t waste your time trying to be successful, spend your time creating value: value for your customers, value for people and value for society. If you’re valuable, then you will attract more business and therefore more success.

Determination

Through sheer determination and perseverance you can break all boundaries! Are you willing to persevere until you get to your intended business goal? Are you willing to be focused with a clear cut objective and mission? Do you have the tenacity, courage and will power to sail through tough times? A business built on the core values of determination and perseverance becomes the ultimate gainer in prospective.

Be more present

There is a popular saying: “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

Learn to be present where you are; give your all to whatever you’re currently doing. Multitasking is a killer to productivity and innovation in any business. Focused energy is like burning power, and it’s the difference between success and failure of any business or business owner.

Redefining Singularity

Originally propagated as a mathematical theory, the term Singularity has gone through a series of changes and has been finally redefined at the Singularity University: According to the researches at the institute, the concept of Singularity relates to the unexpected moments of dramatic technological change and the need to foresee their implications and opportunities.

It is defined as the point in time when computer intelligence exceeds human intelligence, due to rapid and accelerating developments within and between science and technology fields.

The growing technologies been discussed are:

• Artificial Intelligence
• Robotics
• Nanotechnology
• Biotechnology & Bioinformatics
• Medicine & Neuroscience
• Networks & Computing Systems
• Energy & Environmental Systems

The university offers three main types of program: graduate, FutureMed and the Executive Program. The programs are funded and sponsored by corporate such as NASA, Google, Nokia, Autodesk, IDEO, LinkedIn, ePlanet Capital, and the X-Prize Foundation.

With a clear cut mission, the University aims to assemble, educate and inspire a new generation of leaders who strive to understand and utilize exponentially advancing technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.

Data Mining – the power of the spreadsheet

Data mining is a method of identifying and extracting hidden patterns from within data. Identifying unusual patterns or behavioral anomalies is the key goal of this process. By analyzing the numbers your business produces, you can see what the normal ups and downs of your business look like on a chart. When something out of the ordinary occurs, it will stand out like red flag.

Companies spend millions of dollars to install data mining software that automates much of the process. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, has spent billions of dollars on their own approach to business intelligence and data-mining. That is the secret to their great success.However, small businesses need not spend millions. All you need is a spreadsheet and the willingness to enter your own sales data on a regular basis. You can use Microsoft Excel or Sun Open Office; If you have consistent net connectivity, than Google Docs will also work fine. Mac owners can use any of the above programs, plus Apple Works.

“The Goal: Spot Economic Changes before the Professionals Do”

Although every firm is different, you can attack the data the same way. You need to be a little creative in your approach, whether you are selling cars, software or accounting services. Your goal is to find typical and aberrational patterns in your sales and other data.

The main idea behind data mining is that your business might show stresses or improvement in the economy before the official data picks it up. Sooner or later, what the Bureau of Economic analysis puts together is data from 1000s of businesses like yours.