While creativity is thinking out of the box, innovation is putting into action a creative plan. For innovating a product or service we must consider the following:
- What is required or desired by the users? It means that innovative products or services must meet defined or undefined needs of the consumers.
- What is possible with the existing technology? One has to keep in mind the available technology innovation can ride or ameliorate on, so as to make the innovation more achievable. Moreover, one really need not re-invent the wheel.
- What is viable in the market place? It is necessary to find out the viability of the innovative product or service which has been conceived before starting work on it. Truth be told, viability is critical to prevent wasteful efforts.
Simply said, innovation is change that unlocks new value.
The Following are the 7 steps that held, produce innovation smoothly.
- In order to ascertain desirability to the users we must start with the concept crisis: If trying to upgrade a product/service one may ask the customers who its current users are. Observing the product in use and reviewing the difficulties and complaints faced by the current consumer will give a clearer picture of the desired modification or innovation.
- After identifying what needs to be done a detailed plan including the target result has to be laid out. One should run brain storm sessions, and if a corporation, the company’s whole brain should be used. It is a myth that innovation is the brainchild of a single genius; rather it is the result of collaborative effort.
- The organization needs to examine the related current patents before undertaking innovation. One should not find out later on, that somebody else already holds a patent for the innovation conceived and worked upon.
- Failures are a part of creating anything new. Failures should not deter the process of innovation. It’s necessary to persistently follow the plan. Often results take longer than expected. Persistence is crucial.
- During the process of creating an innovative product or service the organization should consistently review i)what new additions can be made ii) what new ways can be adopted that could change the design or the processes.
- A friendly environment should be created and a keen sense of curiosity needs to be encouraged. At every stage the output reached is reflected upon. The process of innovation can be made smooth only with an in depth contemplation and an environment that promotes creative thinking.
- Innovation is best achieved when a creative idea is selected & the leader is totally committed to that new idea. Passion produces results. The leader must also have good business sense and a broad understanding of how things feel inside or outside the company. The requirement is that of strategic thinking or of a ‘helicopter sense’- a talent for rising above the smaller details to be able to see the big picture. Such a leader is able to create a cohesive and driven team which is in turn is fully dedicated to the project. The plan must be prepared in a collaborative fashion. The team members should also contribute in making the plan. Team work needs to be ensured.
We all want to be happy. Yet, many people in most countries are not happy. A survey of happiness quotient revealed people in these countries are leading stressful life. It is a worthy exercise, therefore, to examine where hides the problem. Which are the gateways of gloom in our lives? I have identified 7 major common causes, which I like to share. Besides, there could be personal reasons but often these common causes pose a major hurdle to happiness. These, 7, are:
- Inability to define the significance of life: It’s necessary to understand one. We have to be self-aware. We must have some goals which we should try to achieve. Understanding one’s duty is critical. Besides, it’s good to have one’s own dream. Unless there is a dream, there won’t be any effort to achieve it. The life’s significance lies in consistently reviewing these aspects. Once we do it, we find that life full of meaning and significance.
- Poor Health: In the competitive world of today, maintaining good health is not easy. Often there is imbalance between work and family life. In turn, it leads to an unwarranted stress. You start worrying. Unhealthy metal stability leads to poor physical health. There could be many other causes like improper food, lack of exercise, eating too much, or too little, inadequate sleep etc. The importance of maintaining good health by making necessary corrections in our habits should not be undermined.
- Negative Attitude: Clinging to the past failures or even happy moments lead to developing a negative attitude. At the same time worrying about the future, instead of planning and acting, contributes to further enhance this malady. Due to small difficulties or challenges, one starts feeling that he/she is not efficient, adding further to the negative attitude. Without doubt, negative attitude of anyone becomes the biggest gateway to gloom.
- Inability to take risks: If you don’t take even a calculated risk your success is hampered. As they say: no risk, no gains. This attitude also leads to cowardice. There is nothing to look forward to and life becomes mundane and dull. If you want to be happy, you have to be nimble and vibrant. Don’t hesitate to take calculated risks. Complacency should have no place in life.
- Comparison is Odious: Many a time one starts comparing one with others. Initially it may lead to envy. But later it becomes jealousy. Other negative emotions like suspicion and losing faith in God and Justice, reckoning oneself as a victim also creep in. Collectively, these become a cause of constant discontentment which in turn leads to unhappiness. It is necessary to keep these negative emotions out of one’s bound.
- Impatience: A man in a hurry (for that matter a woman) invariably feels that they are left behind. Impatience also leads to poor/bad decisions. The results become are annoying. Often times because of impatience we lose opportunities. Realization of the lost opportunity adds to the personal agony. Impatience is more of a habit which is difficult to change, but with consistent efforts, it can be changed. And it should be.
- Low self-esteem: If you don’t love yourself, nobody else will. It’s necessary to consider one as a worthy person capable of putting in desired efforts and bringing about good results. Self-esteem is necessary to generate initiative. This can only bring in creativity. This can only enable you to produce innovation- innovative product or service etc.
As said earlier there could be many other reasons for one’s unhappiness. I have detailed above as per my knowledge and experience. Life is a journey. The journey has to be enjoyed. If you feel that after reaching a destination you will be happy, you are following a mirage. It will never happen.
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Let’s first get a clear understanding of this commonly used word. Simply put creativity is thinking about new avenues and new possibilities. It is thinking out of the box. Contrary to what we may believe creativity does not come out of the blue. It is the deliberate working of the right brain which transcends logic which in turn churns out new ideas to solve old problems. All innovation is possible only when creativity is invoked.
It is often heard that creativity is original thinking and that it is the brain child of a ‘genius’ who has used his imagination to create something new. Creativity in fact, is the art of generating new possibilities and new ways to do things.
The following are the 7 steps which are helpful in understanding and promoting creativity. Subsequently Innovation is the ability to give shape to a creative idea in order to achieve a desired result.
- Firstly a manager must identify the problem for which he/she is finding a creative solution. It’s a good idea to lay down the details as to why the problem exists and persists. The need to find a solution also should be articulated. The manager also needs to clarify his vision of the solution.
- Once the vision is clear and the problem stated, all the possibilities need to be laid out. Any problem can have many facets. The same can be resolved in various ways. The best thing would be to note down all the possible solutions.
- Next, a strategic alternative needs to be created. The third step is to work out the strategy to achieve the desired results on the aforesaid alternatives. This exercise will bring to light the difficulties for each alternative. These have to be carefully examined to find out which ones are most suitable.
- The most suitable alternatives need to be contemplated carefully. The difficulties involved in resolving the issues should be noted down. What would the tentative procedure be to remedy these difficulties may also put down? At this stage one may select the best alternative.
- The 5th step for nurturing creativity is to find out break through projects. In this step we have to work in detail the plan of action for achieving the objective. The entire structure of the project needs to be created. Meticulous examination of the steps and the structure will guide us on how to proceed. The plan must be executed closely and effectively. Execution is very important. It needs to be remembered that an excellent implementation of a reasonably good plan is better than reasonably good execution of an excellent plan. Thus no doubt the plan is important the feasibility and the correct execution are even more important.
- Work out and write down all the details that may be required while implementing the plan. Creativity teaches us to be always proactive. It is therefore reckoned as deep thinking on every small detail. In the process sometimes new ideas come faster and other times they will not. In either case creativity is at work.
- The process of creative thinking should continue. It should become a part of the culture of the organization. Creative work climate requires:
- A manager should not hesitate to implement feasible looking ideas.
- Failure should be treated not as failures as this may actually show that people are actually trying and applying their mind.
- Every failure concludes with a lesson. This lesson must be learned and the learning should be imbibed. And the process of creativity in the organization must go on.
Thanks for reading.
Setting your goals defines significance of your life. Your self-esteem will go up surely if you passionately try to follow your goals. There are 7 different types of goals which need to be defined. It is not about money or career only. I am listening below the 7 different types of goals which may be clearly defined and written. These are:
1. Health Goals: Health is of prime importance, indeed. Yet many times it has been found that even common principles of maintaining good health are ignored. As per our scriptures a human is made to live about 100 year. When we look after our health properly we may live close to that age or even overstep it. But if one is not careful, life may shorten to any extent. If you love your life and want to live longer, set your health goals. Also prepare and follow the plan to lead a healthy life.
2. Career Goals: Career goals are undoubtedly extremely important. Any educated individual would like to progress in the career he/she is pursuing. But often it is only a wish. The best thing to do is to write down specifically what you want to achieve. This may mean – define the position and also define the timeline.
3. Financial Goals: Though finance and career are closely connected, yet it is necessary to specify separately your financial goals. Again, these should be time bound according to your needs, your family requirements and your social obligations. If necessary, consult a financial adviser and then carve out your own plan.
4. Family Goals: We all want to lead a happy family life- within our own nuclear family, extended family and relatives. Even today there are examples of joint families living together happily. Maintaining good relations require you to be proficient in interpersonal skills. It’s necessary to use discretion in speech even with your spouse, children, parents etc. Not only the words but the way how you speak is important. When you have set your goals you have greater chances to keep on improving in this direction.
5. Social Goals: Everyone would like to be a respected member of the society. Whether it is neighborhood or a club, or an association, you would like to build up your reputation. This can be achieved with necessary efforts provided you have stated your specific goals.
6. Hobby Goals: It is recommended that everyone must pursue at least one hobby. It’s investing in an activity for your own self. Music, theater, dance, painting is example of common hobbies. But it could also be collecting stamps, artifacts, antiques etc. Just as per your fancy, follow a hobby.
7. Spiritual Goals: last but not the least; one should define the spiritual goals. We all know that we don’t have to live on this earth forever. During stay here often we may think about how we like to be remembered. Think about how we should face the eternal force of which know very little. That is why people follow their own religion, which should be a united force. Religion helps to maintain our peace of mind. So we must note down our specific spiritual goals.
All the above goals are meaningless unless we write these down, make a plan to pursue each goal and execute that plan. The goals may be reviewed and modified as per the requirements of changing times.
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Speech was never as important as it is now. Today, it’s necessary that business leaders must be able to speak clearly and effectively. There are a number of speech blemishes which cause embarrassment while making presentations. Sometimes an executive in an important conversation finds himself/herself less than ‘up to the mark’. This is best avoided. I list below 7 of the blemishes which need to be addressed.
- Lack of clarity in speech: Often times we find that the speech of a person is not as articulate as it should be. Sometime they speak too fast; sometimes they mumble some words in a sentence. Though overall message is communicated but listener finds it’s difficult to assimilate. Each and every word, therefore, should be spoken clearly. The problem arises due to improper/inadequate use of speech organs. While the sound is produced by the vocal cord, the words are created by the speech organs.
- Inability to hold the attention of the listener: If the speaker does not modulate the voice, it is difficult to hold the attention of the listener. Modulation is the speaker’s ability to bring in variance in pace, pause, pitch, emphasis on the keyword and the tone. This can be corrected with the help of appropriate speech exercises.
- Use of filler words: At times, one finds that the speaker repetitively uses filler words which are: ‘like’, ‘you know’, ‘actually’, ‘basically’ etc. The filler words could also be just sounds uh…uh……and uh…. plus other such fillers. Since they are used as a matter of habit, so it requires focused attention to bring in change of such habit.
- Improper breathing: It is breath which creates the sound. We have to have sufficient amount of breath in our lungs. This requires practice of deep breathing. The best practice is to take breath at the time when you pause, and consciously, until it is a part of your speech habit.
- Improper pause: Pause if not taken at a right spot mitigates the efficacy of the speech. Pause must be taken at the end of a clause or at the end of the sentence. It should not happen that we have to take a pause because of the lack of breath.
- Body language: The speaker must be aware and maintain proper body language. Business etiquettes demand that he/she must maintain just right kind of eye contact- neither more nor less. It helps in bringing about a rapport between the speaker and the listener.
- Last but not the least; I must talk about the stage fright. Even experienced speakers suffer from stage fright, primarily due to the speech blemishes detailed above. Further, stage fright also inflicts the speaker due to lack of preparation and not understanding the needs and the profile of the audience.
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Whenever we go for an important negotiation, it is critical to be adequately cautious. In this regards there are 6 possible snares which we must take care of:
- Never underestimate the opponent’s ability. We do not know how much armour the opponent has gathered before coming to negotiating table. Besides, he/she could have consulted highly proficient professionals and come prepared.
- Preparing for what to speak is not enough. You must decide and practice how to speak, particularly maintaining your tone. More than that; prepare yourself to listen. Make a strategy to make the opponent talk. It is necessary to find out the real intent. Recognize the intent.
- Not following the tried and tested principal, ‘first understand and then be understood’ must be avoided. So at the negotiating table the first thing we must do is to listen. Let the opponent put forth all the demands.
- We must list out the demands of the opponent that we may concede. Being stubborn will only break the negotiation. It’s a loose/loose situation which needs to be negated. First talk of lesser concessions and offer the ace for which the opponent is most keen at the end.
- Be prepared that the negotiation may not bring about the desired result. So never give more information than what is necessary.
- In the instance of not coming to a conclusion create a space for the next meeting. Failure should never be considered as final. Then prepare for the next meeting at the agreed time with all that transpired carefully assimilated.
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Email happens to be the most used (at times abused) form of business communication. The importance of email, thus, should not be undermined. However, it is necessary to observe business email etiquette. Following 7 rules need to be taken care of:
Rule No. 1:
Think of all the options before deciding to send an email. Today, we have many other options like text messaging, WhatsApp, Instagram, chatroom etc. Choose the one which is most appropriate for the subject and for the receiver whom you want to contact. Remember email is a commitment.
Rule No. 2:
At times, you may be sending a venerable message. Whenever some kind of conflicting statements are made, it is necessary to be careful, very careful. In such instances, you may find it useful to print the message before sending. A hard copy can be easily examined for correctness of language syntax etc. But when you read on a computer, you may not be all that meticulous. Besides, you will have a permanent record. Who knows, you may need the record in the event the conflict escalates.
Rule No. 3:
Whenever you send an important email, it’s necessary to read it more than once. You may improve the language. You may like to modify the thought to make it more intelligible, logical & convincing. It may require extra effort. But when the message you are sending is of critical importance, extra effort is justified. After all, such critical communications are not handled on daily basis.
Rule No. 4:
Always maintain an address book. Never delete names. You never know when you need the same. But maintain the address book most efficiently. For personally known contacts, always start the name using surname first. For others business contacts you may like to form some groups. Vendors could be in one group. Clients could be in another. Further, these can be assigned subgroup names. It could be industry wise or importance wise. As per the needs of your particular organization and your role, planning needs to be done.
Rule No. 5:
In business, in spite of best efforts it’s difficult to maintain equanimity. But never send an email when you are not a good mood. Something may have happened and you may be upset. This is certainly not the right time to send an email. Further, even when you are exhausted, don’t send an email. An email is a spontaneous expression of your thought and mind. Your exhaustion could peep through the mail when the receiver reads it.
Rule No. 6:
Don’t ever cut short the business process to make it simple. When the occasion demands that you must have a face to face meeting: go for that. An effort to make it more convenient may obliterate and negate the very cause of the meeting. An email is never a replacement of a personal contact.
Rule No. 7:
Last but not the least, always keep in mind and reflect on the hierarchy of business contacts. Meeting comes first. So, when you need to convince and influence someone, you may require meeting. Yet, you cannot always meet even though it may be important business. Then, use the telephone. Have a smile on the face. Go through the contents of your call based on your objectives, and call. Don’t hurry to pick up the phone. Third in line is voice mail. Though it is not interactive, yet it has some degree of personal touch. When all the aforesaid three are not possible or not required, use email and sure remember to follow the first 6 rules.
Thanks for reading.