Innovation 101 – Cost vs. Quality. Deuce.

To me it doesn’t matter whether India will be able to maintain its cost advantage. What does is sustainable and long-term value as a combination of cost and quality. In my view we are seeing the end of the traditional benefits of outsourcing. In whichever way customers were disguising their need to leverage lower costs, the only reason for outsourcing was cost arbitrage. We have seen that gap closing especially in the case of Indian talent. Squeezing benefit from outsourcing purely on a cost basis is clearly the last remnants of Industrial age thinking, which besides all other untenable factors, seems to think of human beings as alternatives to machines. I suggest for this reason alone, that we delete ‘outsourcing’ from business lexicon.

Joel Delman, Los Angeles design director for Product Development Technologies(PDT) points out

Having already gained the lion’s share of  manufacturing work, countries like China and India are now focusing on building  their capabilities in the innovation and design phases of product development.  While some may dismiss the seriousness of this trend, we’d be naive to believe  that the United States has a monopoly on a creative workforce.

(read Cost vs. Quality: The Dangers of Outsourcing Design Overseas) Continue reading “Innovation 101 – Cost vs. Quality. Deuce.”

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Of Godmen & GUIs

The ‘Fast-unto-death’ theatrics of the past few weeks, allegedly (sic.) in a fight against corruption in India, have urged me to finally bring this article out of my closet. I wrote it fifteen years ago, almost to the day, for frogdesign‘s rana#3, a brilliant in-house publication that they shelved inexplicably. 

Godmen were around those days too, (their business model hasn’t changed) snaring people into their spiritual concoctions and exploiting India’s superstitious side. GUI was a term almost nobody had heard then. We in India still speak out the letters, not ‘gooey’ like the rest of the world does. Read it, like it, hate it, keep it, share it. Here goes …

India, at the end of History …

… is mystical and hi-tech.  Impoverished and affluent. A billion-strong society in a pulsating state of chaotic equilibrium. Cows and cars share city streets.  Superstitions abound and Godmen flourish.  We will show our palms to people who promise a peek at our destiny, or say they can chant away a terminal disease. We have much to learn, but the world can learn a great deal from us …  Continue reading “Of Godmen & GUIs”

Innovation 101 – The Jugaad phenomenon

This post is meant for those of you who have set up automated alerts for the new magic word ‘Jugaad’, the most fashionable innovation thread about India these days. Several innovation ‘gurus’, management experts, authors have latched on. The common thread – they’re mostly based in the US and are of Indian origin. The more equal of us. Keith Sawyer calls it a ‘fad from India’ and that’s exactly what  it is.

Business Week* reports on a management fad from India, that goes by a Hindi slang word, jugaad (say joo-gaardh). It means “an improvisational style of innovation”. It’s “inexpensive invention on the fly”. It sometimes has negative connotations, like cutting corners. The idea is that it doesn’t have to be perfect or fancy; it’s just good enough to satisfy immediate needs.

>>*See the comments at the end of the article.

Don’t be fooled – Jugaad is jugaad and innovation is innovation. Jugaad is a dangerous mindset – you heard right, a mindset. You ‘fix’ things by simply putting together bits and pieces, never mind that they don’t fit or that the final product is unreliable, unsafe, whatever. When something goes wrong, you can always use the excuse of not having time, resources, skills, etc. After all you did achieve ‘cheap’, didn’t you.

Maruti Gypsy 2020?

Continue reading “Innovation 101 – The Jugaad phenomenon”

Twitter is digital Marijuana – Wasted Time or Lost Opportunity

Twitter is a place to tell the world something in all of 140 characters. I’m not about to explain that the underlying sms technology is what creates this limit and it is not a number based on user research or any fancy stuff of the sort. So it’s a great way to waste company time for personal gratification. After all, how can anybody say something in just 140 characters (including spaces). How’s 20-odd words going to convey anything meaningfully?

imageOkay, so you want to be the first to tell the world what’s happening around you. You want to get your thoughts out of your system so new ones can be born. You want to keep checking how many people are following you. And you want your employer to pay for all this. Shame on you. What a waste of time! And some of you even try to convince your marketing guys get a company account for some ‘brand building and preservation’. The world is about ‘conversations’ you say.

Sorry, but I just don’t get it. Okay, the Dalai Lama tweets his spirituality. And Continue reading “Twitter is digital Marijuana – Wasted Time or Lost Opportunity”

Innovation 2.0 – US-based Indian invents clean power device

This moment pulled me back into the blogosphere … A proud moment for REC Trichy and the start of a new, clean age.

US-based Indian invents clean power device:

A team of Silicon Valley based technocrats, led by an Indian, K.R. Sridhar launched an energy server on Tuesday which they claimed could convert air and virtually any other fuel source into clean el…read more… Continue reading “Innovation 2.0 – US-based Indian invents clean power device”