Sunday, November 28, 2010

What can innovation seeking enterprises DO with LEGO set manuals?

LEGO pieces can be converted into far more variety of structures in addition to what is given in its manual. The outcome is usually unusual, and ranges from having no significant beauty to having an extraordinary beauty which has not been created before; and an originality which could carry a class and a value of its own.

Seems quite obvious. Let’s examine it a little closer and see what goes on to make this obvious - the obvious.

1) The child or a parent needs to think that maybe she should try to build something without referring the manual. (Innovative organizations always have involved leadership who understands the unstructured nature of creativity and facilitate this direction.)

2) The child might behave clueless at first, but show him once even the three piece structure done without the manual and see how she takes it further from there. (Besides providing vision, leaders know the importance of enablement.)

3) You won’t fail to notice the pride in her voice when she finally shows it to you. (It is of utmost importance to encourage and reward the effort, in however small or insignificant ways.)

4) You have kept the manual and she does refer it for the fundamentals like - what fits where, once in a while. (Building innovation culture efforts does not need to change the ways you run your company, however it might need a tweak here and a tweak there.)

Hiding them occasionally is what innovation seeking enterprises can DO with the LEGO set manuals.

ideaken team can help your enterprise in planning & implementing points 2,3 and 4 mentioned above and benefit from the power of co-creation and open innovation.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

FINISH uses crowd sourcing to find solutions for Indian sanitation problem

ideaken's journey with FINISH began with a chance meeting over the internet. However as we have continued our journey, we have been humbled to meet some great people who are committed to the cause of total sanitation system in rural India. We are proud to be associated with FINISH and sincerely hope that the ideaken platform helps FINISH to meet their noble and worthy objective.

A search for a rural toilet design begins on 19th Nov – the World Toilet Day

FINISH is launching an “innovation contest” to create new and improved sanitation systems for rural India, with rewards up to Rs. 620,000 (or 10,000 Euros) is up for grab. The contest is being launched on World Toilet Day - 19th Nov 2010. FINISH will incorporate the best innovations generated by the contest in thousands of toilets being installed in rural India under its programme.

November 17, 2010 - India / Netherlands / France
It is often said that Safe Sanitation Systems form the last chapter of human development. 1 in every 4 person in the world does not have access to Sanitation. India is a prime illustration.
Indian Space scientists have put machines on the moon, yet 1 in every 2 Indians does not have access to toilets. Everyday 638 million people or about 50% of the population in India resort to open defecation.

There has been progress, from the “Central Rural Sanitation Programme”, which was initiated in 1988 by the Government of India, to the “Total Sanitation Campaign” launched in the year 1999. However, according to the 2010 report by UNICEF, on progress in sanitation coverage, even in 2008, 69% of rural Indian population did not have access to toilets.
All private and public sanitation drives suffer from some common problems.
  1. The quality of constructed toilets is very poor due to budgetary or time constraints.
  2. Toilet designs are often not appropriate for the targeted ecological terrain.
  3. A lack of clearly defined “standards” for toilet design is leading to toilets that pollute the environment.
  4. Stakeholders do not have adequate awareness and knowledge of sustainable sanitation models.

The FINISH ‘Sanitation Challenge Contest’ is a serious attempt to find solutions to some of above problems. FINISH, which stands for Financial INclusion Improves Sanitation and Health, with the help of - a collaborative innovation platform provider and other network partners – WASTE, FIN Trust, Ethos India and the World Toilet Organisation have launched an innovation competition to generate new designs in sanitation systems.

The contest is open to all individuals and institutions. Its objective is to arrive at significant, even revolutionary improvements in toilet design, and safe disposal system, specifically suited to different climatic, soil, water table conditions, which will ensure sustainable and safe management of the human waste. This new toilet design will be used to diffuse 1 million safe toilets in India.

The 3rd toilet was constructed by the NGO even though 2 unused toilets already stand in the same house.” (This tells us that just building toilets won’t solve the issue)

You can help too

Please diffuse this news to sources you think can contribute to designing this new sanitation system. (Including but not limited to social media sites, news sources, NGOs, SMEs in Sanitation, WC/ Restroom and waste management areas, and Engineering and Design crowd)

Please click here to participate in the contest

Please click here to view complete press release

Monday, November 8, 2010

A slice of new products and services via vendor co-creation

Beside your enterprise and your customers, there is a rich layer of vendors your enterprise deals with. You deal with these vendors as they fulfill certain purposes of your business. Invariably these vendors develop fertile characteristics which are a mix of deep understanding of your business, solid technical know how and awareness of what else is happening in the industry you operate in.

Above attributes put your vendors in a unique position which you may not like to ignore.

There are various ways you could benefit from this, and the most promising could be how you could tap into this relevant talent beyond your primary reason of engaging with these vendors. For example you might be dealing with your vendors to provide you with a spare part, raw material, a particular service or a piece of software. Now is there a way you could tap into the peripheral talent of these vendors and their employees to add credible value to the tasks which you do in-house?

Obviously the first question to ask and to figure out is if your enterprise has such vendors; with whom you have been dealing with for a while, and over the years have developed a potential which could be tapped?

Second important question to ask is – is it possible to tap into this talent without being intrusive with your vendor’s talent and w/o violating contractual or IP issues. Part of the answer for this question could be to do this co-creation along with the existing projects / contracts. When co-creation is done as part of bigger engagement, it has a lesser chance of being looked as intrusive. When co-creation is implemented with a clear purpose, IP issues could be addressed upfront and hence managed better.

Clients have been always asking for additional value (and that additional slide on value proposition has been part of your selling deck ever since), now it appears that clients have started to look into more systematic ways of getting there, and vendor co-creation seems to be paving the way for it.

As a vendor, being partner in co-creation can add a tremendous differentiators, which can help you create client stickiness you always welcome, and a value proposition which can elevate your bid vis-à-vis your competition.

As usual only a win-win proposition stand a chance, both you as a vendor to your client, and you as a client to your vendor can benefit from Vendor co-creation.

This article is inspired by my recent discussion with Vikesh Mehta, General Manager Enterprise innovation and Pavan Soni, innovation evangelist at Wipro Technologies.