The ‘More for less, for more’ innovation


(There’s been a while I’ve been out of touch with blogging. Since the last few days I’ve been feeling the void to blog and share to the world what I’ve been learning. I hope to be a regular from now).

I just stumbled upon a thought provoking video from a recent TED talk I watched, where Dr. RA Mashelkar who’s the former Director of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in India spoke about how some innovations transformed into global social innovations impacting many. Be the the Tata Nano, A prosthetic limb or a treatment for psoriasis ( a fatal skin disease) etc that solved basic human problems/needs.

One thing I learnt from the video is that if you’re a learner or a doer, think what your life has to offer, look at the problems around you, talk to n number of people and try to solve it in a way that is accessible and affordable by all. You will become a homemade entrepreneur by taking incremental steps to create disruptive innovations. Be passionate, compassionate and then try to innovate and create ‘the more for less for more’ innovation the world needs for the 4 billion people who are earning less than $2 a day.

Check out the video here:

RA Mashelkar’s video on ‘More for less for more’

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The Dilemma of Invention and Systems Framework


I want to start with stating a simple and profound poem by Shel Siverstein,

I’ve done it, I’ve done it! 
Guess what I’ve done!
Invented a light that plugs into the sun.
The sun is bright enough,
The bulb is strong enough,
But, oh, there’s only one thing wrong…

That cord ain’t long enough.

This poem articulates the way people think about working on their ideas without focusing on the key element that will facilitate the complete system. I am fortunate enough to take my Innovation Class under Prof. Max Shtein , who has written this book Scalable Innovation  at University of Michigan. This book clearly demonstrates how ideas can be articulated into a systematic framework that will lead to an innovation. There are two types of Entrepreneurs in the world: Inventors and Innovators, and the second ones are generally the ones who foresee a problem, get into the customer’s mindset and design the product that will solve the particular need. From the poem, we understand that there is a missing cord when Inventors work on a problem, and innovators are the ones who fill that missing cord to create a customer-centric solution. From all we know, it takes 3000 ideas to have one success. But not all of us are bestowed with 3000 different ideas in our life, maybe it’s too late, too early or too complicated to pursue.

The key for entrepreneurs today is to fit into one idea and see it in terms of System design framework that has five simple elements: Source, Distribution, Packaged Payloads, Control and Tool. In his book, Prof. Shtein has worked on an underlying premise that the economy is built where goods and services are exchanged. This exchange involves three basic flow parameters: Mass, Energy and/or Information. These parameters have to be originated somewhere say Source and is used or transformed somewhere say Tool. The parameter has to flow in a path comprising space and time, lets say Distribution and to be able to reliably process these parameters, they are packaged appropriately say Packaged Payloads and the Control element to ensure a robust, interactive and a sustainable mechanism between these elements. This is the System Design Framework and a system can be a part of other system to create a network effect that generates a multitude of solutions in the existing technology and create a solution for a new one. 

Ultimately, to build a better world is all about finding that ‘missing cord’ and the Innovators are the ones who achieve that earnestly through series of iterations, experiments, research, patents or getting the elements together. 

 

Your startup and market development process


When startups have figured out where they fit in the value chain process of their technology from the build to the consumers, they need to get out the building to talk to the customers. One of the stages is to identify where to fit in the market development process.

An interesting idea has been evaluated by Geoffrey A. Moore in his book Crossing the Chasm on different stages of market development. Quick look through it while you identify where your startup lies in the phase if it’s selling a product or something at all.

Check where you fit in, who your customers are and pivot your way through the complete buyer cycle to be a successful business.

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The Need-finding process


If you are an early stage startup or someone who’s working on developing an idea to a real product, it’s time you find out what is the need that your idea or product is going to solve. A lot of startups and organisations start to solve a problem before looking for the need in the market. That’s where most of the startups fail to distribute their products efficiently in the market without knowing what the customers actually need.

Working on the short-term need keeping the long-term need into the picture is the way to develop the product. That is a constant, dual and parallel innovation process for early stage startups or companies launching new products. And it works well with almost all the sectors and industries you are pertaining to.

So lesson learnt in the Creativity and Design class is to frame, record, organise and reframe the need of the customers and make your product fit to those needs.