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’

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. 

 

The Three kinds of Entrepreneurs


I read this most amazing quote today by the founder and CEO of Mu Sigma Mr. Dhiraj Rajaram. Mu Sigma is a billion dollar company in data analytics and is known to manifest entrepreneurial growth through the data scientists it makes out of programmers, analysts and applied Mathematicians.

He draws a relationship between the types of entrepreneurs and the two main kinds of marriages in India. He says, “ There are two kinds of entrepreneurs. One are arranged marriage entrepreneurs and the other are love marriage entrepreneurs.

“The arranged marriage entrepreneurs are the ones who want to be entrepreneurs and they look for the right business. They shop around. They try out different ideas. They sit in Starbucks and meet with people. They talk to VCs, raise money and sometimes even exit. And like many arranged marriages they have beautiful endings.”


“The second kind of entrepreneur is the Love marriage entrepreneur. He is somebody who has found a girl and wants to live with that girl. And as part of that he is ready to get married with that girl. The girl is the idea. I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to work on that idea.”

 

This analogy is indeed very true in the entrepreneurial context in India. There are always two sides of the coin. One side, which will always look for good ideas and create a business out of it. The other side, has already found out the idea and wants to work on it for the rest of his life. What do you think is more transformational? I say, its both. Both kind of entrepreneurs are needed in the startup ecosystem. One fosters competition and other fosters innovation. Both of which are necessary for a healthy startup scene.

I love the fact, that these two kind of entrepreneurs can be anyone. There are no set rules to become an Entrepreneur. Anyone can opt Arranged marriage, Love marriage or In India, Arranged cum Love marriage, which is the best bet and the hybrid third type of an Entrepreneur. To all those people, who never thought of marriage, marry your love and arrange it.

 

The Entrepreneurial India


Entrepreneurship is an intuition game. 

India is a blessing in disguise for its youth (below 35) in the population of 1.2 Billion. It’s not only creating a generation of those young entrepreneurs but also creating a rampant behavior in expanding the workforce from the current 435 million. These entrepreneurs are not just adding to the employment statistics in India but also exploring into different sectors like Social entrepreneurship, Rural management, Supply Chain, Logistics, Consultancy , Product based services, Web-based services, ICTs, Social media, Green Energy and much more. The concept of Entrepreneurship is reciprocating and collaborative over innovation. Its storming like a wave in the thunder.

Today, the youth in India is much more likely to take a risk of getting into a start-up rather than working for a 9 to 6 job. It not just involves risk but also patience and self-realization to understand the dynamics of the particular market before tapping into it. The world has become more entrepreneurial friendly place like never before with globalization’s raising curve and its different sectoral, regional and national perspectives as mentioned by Thomas L Friedmann, in his book The World is Flat. Its more in the sense of satisfaction in working towards something and accomplishing the task no matter how big or small difference it make, but  definitely striking an efficient change in the society. As remarked by Subroto Bagchi from MindTree in The High Performance Entrepreneur, “ that sense of accomplishment is next only to having and raising your baby”.  Moreover, the government and big companies are more subjective to the sense of entrepreneurship and are rationally developing solutions that can facilitate the consumer experience with a much more diverging and intriguing approach. These entrepreneurs have made India more open to ideas and have motivated young people in the process of constructive nation building.

There are top-ranked management institutes in the nation like IIMs and IITs, which are more focusing on entrepreneurship and product development skills. Organizations like TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), NEN, CIIE ( Center for Incubation for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) at IIM-A etc are fostering the idea of entrepreneurship and empowering the youth through their network and mentorship. Not just this, there are online websites like Dare, Pluggd, Yourstory.in and many more which are engaging the entrepreneurs online with their latest research and news.

With more youngsters joining their family owned business, there is a glut in idea of entrepreneurship in their core propositional competency. Post which, the India in 2025, will be number one leader in the emerging markets, as we are always known as culture in diversity, now with a multitude of entrepreneurial insights and approaches. More done than said, India is becoming highly entrepreneurial in diversified sectors, and will soon has its differentiation from the approach in the west. And this India will see itself barring away from the clutches of poverty and unemployment, and heading towards a more sustainable society.

As we all know, it’s all about staying hungry, foolish and starting it up. 

How can technology curb illiteracy?


Today, the world is moving in lighting fast pace in terms of research and technology, but it does make sense to those who can afford its benefits and accessibility. Though, we are building satellites and nuclear reactors, but are these really helping the common middle man? Yes, television broadcast and weather forecasting or determining atmospheric characteristics by remote sensing makes it more relevant and indirect. I know it’s not an individualistic approach but a nation’s approach towards building a sustainable future, but again how is the future sustainable, if the basic necessities of human life is not fulfilled?

From Cloud Computing to Solar Technology to Quantum supercomputers to Nanotechnology to Robotics, this century will be identified as the global technological age sooner or later. There are few initiatives which I would like to mention in eradicating the social causes and making the world a better society to live in.
Apple Inc. is building an application which is digitizing the textbook content and converting into e-books making it more convenient for the students to access it. It will be a revolution in terms of Education and a mentioned dream of Steve Jobs in Walter Issacsons’ book.

As per an article from BBC News, “More than 600 million people worldwide have some sort of access to the internet, but that still leaves about 5.5 billion people who do not use the net and who have no access.
Most of these people live outside the developed Western countries. While over half of UK households are online, only 0.1% of homes in Bangladesh can claim the same.” If internet is made available for each individual, there will a revolution in spreading awareness about current affairs, health and education. But before that, who will give them the device to access it.
One organization which I would like to mention http://olpcindia.net/en/ is making true efforts so that their motto of One Laptop Per Child is fulfilled.

Educational Technology has been coined and it works in creating resources of learning and making it more efficient around technology. The International Labour Organization defines the requirements for education and training in the new global economy  simply as  “Basic Education for All”, “Core Work Skills for All” and “Lifelong Learning for All”.

“Information and communication technologies (ICTs)—which include radio and television, as well as
newer digital technologies such as computers and the Internet—have been touted as potentially powerful enabling tools for educational change and reform. When used appropriately, different ICTs are said to help expand access to education, strengthen the relevance of education to the increasingly digital workplace, and raise educational quality by, among others, helping make teaching and learning into an engaging, active process connected to real life.” Read: ICT in Education.

How technology can enhance its competencies and making it more affordable for the commons lies in developing around ICTs linking television, radio, internet and cloud computing. Microsoft Research India is working for ICTs in rural areas.

OpenCourseWare by many institutions have been an accepted model, and through collaborations, lectures and videos from many institutes in the world are available for free. A lot of web-based learning websites have been made, and the knowledge is shared in the world with the maximum pace and efficiency. But, it should reach the ignorant and the unheard is the main task motive.

A move of Aakash, low-cost tablets available in India for just 40 dollars is going to make the world even flatter in the coming times and the ones who never actually could afford it, will own it.

I believe, through collaborations and connectivity, illiteracy will be history.

But, does technology does it all? www.teachforindia.org.

US without Jobs- Steve or Anyway.


There has been redundancy in the talks if there are ample of employment opportunities in the United States which has been catching up lately with the “Hold On” affirmation from Mr. President. But, there is one set-back which has struck chords of those passionate geeks and the half-bitten Apple lovers (including me), US did lose Jobs, may be not thousands in Number but one in the million Steve Jobs.

My first encounter with the Apple started in 2006, when my older sister wanted me to get her an Apple Ipod
(which was just launched then) from my South-Eastern trip to Singapore and Malaysia. And that was one adorable Black piece of 30GBs with amazing round-touch interface and white headphones. The standard Apple.
That was the first time, I took Apple Seriously and from then very seriously.

Just when I was looking for my first ever Laptop, I came across the elite one-piece aluminum coated MacBook Pro and other day it was home ( Thanks to Dad ). Since then I have been gaga over Apple products, and the discovered the man behind it. Steve Jobs had a life full of dramas and up-downs. The perfects leaders life.
He was one innovator which actually changed the world in respects to how it is essentially and effectively functioning today from the launch of first computer Lisa in 1984 to the well put GUI Interface in its first OS Macintosh. A man full of attitude and resources, just thought when everything was going right was asked to leave from his own built company over a tactless decision he couldn’t make. He then built PIXAR Animation Studios which has given some of the best animated films ever. Moreover, on the other side of his story which was grueling and adventurous, one which he accepted his daughter after a sense of responsibility, a biological child to his parents and the misadventures of pleasure in visiting India and chanting Hare Krsna in ISKCON. He was a man fully lived. And there are many such instances as such.

Now that, there are self-contradictions after the US Economy Outburst, the country is still well prepared and researched over 40 years from now and this leaves no clue when American economists Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims wins the Nobel Prize in Economics, 2011 when their countries economists failed to predict the outburst which was an unplanned entanglement of their own misdeeds. Though, it’s still planning over the dues and expecting a female president in the next General Elections in 2012 ( Read Sarah Palin’s statement that ” There will be a female president in United States and I look forward for that day”). Will still the country’s shape change in time? The well-rounded state became an obtuse ellipse in 2008 and it’s still regaining the lost weight. Employment Opportunities are rising subsequently but the catch lies in the survival of the silent change. US does it between the lines and across the borders.

Coming back to a life of the Authentic, Attributed and an Audacious being, I will miss the man who created something which the world loved over times and it’s really sad to see the news on my Ipad which the man himself designed post which I got a call from a friend saying it over an Iphone. Apple is everywhere, and I truly love the organization over its ideals, innovation, intrinsic and a bottom-up approach for which Customer Satisfaction has been the first priority which they still top in consecutive years. All cheers go the one who is making the heaven beautiful and that young Steve of 56.

Remembering the words, which Steve Jobs gave over a commencement Speech at Stanford in 2005 ” You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do…. Don’t settle. ”

” STAY HUNGRY, STAY FOOLISH “.

US is Hungry right now, but not foolish.

To the man I always wanted to meet,
R.I.P Steve Jobs.