Its been a very very long time for me to write a post on my blog.  Yeah, I admit.  Call me lazy to write on my blog post or think of it as a lack of anything interesting happening around that prompted me to keep off the blog.

innovation Anyhow, today was a good day at work for me. We had the final of Aviskhar-2010, an innovator’s festival. Essentially it was a competition of innovative ideas that can help the business to either get more business, save costs or increase customer satisfaction. In last few months, we did have few rounds of initial discussions and screenings and today’ finally about 14 teams competed with each other for the top 3 prizes.  The set up was far from conventional where people go on dias and present their idea one by one and a panel of judges vote to rate the best idea.  The competition was more of an open competition where each of the competitor were given a stall with two desktops PCs, laptop & a network connection.  You were supposed to create your own marketing material, decorate the stall and entertain the people coming to visit your stall by marketing your own product.  People will come and visit the stall, talk to you about your idea, ask questions and if they are satisfied, will go to the voting booth and vote for their favourite idea. 

It was pretty interesting for me to stand in a stall and talk to hundreds of unknown people, few knowing what you are talking about, some knowing nothing about your idea. Few were veterans in the company, while few were absolutely new joiners. This kind of experience was new to me at work where I had to act as a sales agent and sell the idea to unknown people and get them buy into your concept and make them actually vote for you. 

My innovative ideas was about reducing the overall operational, infrastructure costs of production monitoring systems while keeping the operational efficiencies in tact. We projected to save about 80% savings on infrastructure requirements and about 30% saving on the human efforts. The visitors included almost all kind of employees right from India Head to new joiners, all showing keen interest in hearing what we wanted to say.  Few got convinced and did managed to vote for us.

I had to talk continuously to over 400+ different people about the idea, talking them through understanding the concept and urging them to vote for us. Looks we could convince only 306 of them.

Although, it was sufficient for me to win IIIrd prize at the contest.

Yes, finally Microsoft took the curtains out of the much awaited, much anticipated next version of the Windows Mobile Phone platform and its been named as Windows Phone 7 Series.

There is nothing new that I would be writing here mentioning the plus points / minus points about the platform and Engadget has done a wonderful job of keeping everyone informed of the unveiling of the new platform.

Windows Phone 7 Series

Hands on & impressions – Video

 

windowsphon7[1]

 

I personally can not wait but to try out the new Windows Phone OS in my hands.

Looks like Microsoft has done it again. Well done guys !

 

In last few days I have been fortunate enough to participate in the workshop for LEAN service framework. And thus, I am trying to share my experiences and learning on LEAN here.

The LEAN framework originates from the manufacturing system developed by Toyota called Toyota Production System [TPS] that pursues the principle of optimum streamlining throughout the entire system through the thorough elimination of waste and aims to build quality in at the manufacturing process while recognizing the principle of [ongoing] cost reduction. It also includes all the accompanying technology & tools necessary to accomplish those aims.  [Reference .. here]

The process that Toyota developed for Just-in-time production was called TPS until 1990. MIT researchers tossed the term LEAN in their 1990 book called “The Machine that Changed the World” to describe the principles of Toyota Production System. Thereafter, of course, the process was known to the world as LEAN Service Framework.

In a nutshell,

LEAN is an integrated system of principles, work practices & processes that empowers the operational users to drive the relentless pursuit of perfect customer value creation. 

Although LEAN was innovated and started in the manufacturing industry and especially at Toyota, it, over the years grown out of the manufacturing industry and into other verticals, not to mention the IT/BPO industry.

LEAN underpins 5 principles in the framework as follows,

 

Lean Principles

 

 

 

  • Eliminate Waste – As per the LEAN principles, the waste could be due to the idle time spent by the employees waiting for work, or spending extra hours to exceed customer expectations (without customer asking for it), excessive testing etc., activities and all such activities that do not add add direct value to the customers.
  • Eliminate Variability – This talks more about complexity of the work within the team. LEAN suggests eliminating the variability of work done by the employees so that activities & individual performances are streamlined to carry out typical activities. This also talks about the external work that comes within such as ticket trend, business requirements etc., and suggests to streamline.
  • Eliminate Inflexibility – This suggest more about the resources capacity and the work segmentation and align the efforts and create skill pools so as to better utilize the knowledge, performance & work practices against repetitive / common tasks.
  • Performance Management – LEAN suggests to compute the performance of the individuals as well as the team and making the results publish to the individuals / teams and discuss with them on a regular basis. LEAN recommends that regular performance discussions enhances the team morale, gives them goal to enhance performances etc.,
  • Involvement of workers – LEAN, more than a process is more of a philosophy and change in the thinking of the workforce and suggest to have the workforce participate and understand these principles so they themselves are aware of the waste being created around they can eliminate themselves.

 

Many IT companies have implemented LEAN successfully. IBM has been doing the LEAN implementation for the customers since last 3+ years. Over the years, being LEAN organization has been a selling point for the IT vendors and equally the customers have been demanding. 

The benefits of LEAN include reduce waste, reduction of inventory costs, cross trained employees, reduced cycle time & obsolescence, high quality & reliability and may more.

 

This, of course was a drop in the ocean of the knowledge of the LEAN framework, even for me. If you are interested in knowing more and reading more, suggesting the following reading

Principles of LEAN Thinking

Lean Manufacturing  &  Lean Software Development

What is LEAN?

Benefits of LEAN

LEAN – The Machine that changed the world !

Bye the way, if you have read the above carefully, the following video might tell you something.  Have a look (with audio ON) and let me know what you think ?

 

Caltex – going extra mile !

Recently I have been part of few discussions on how to increase collaboration within enterprise. The forum was volunteered by enthusiastic professionals who wanted to deliver value to their work through collaboration. Excellent thought !

When we gathered to discuss about Collaboration, questions came about What exactly is Collaboration? How we can achieve it? How different is it than team work?

Simple questions, one might think, however when the question was asked to everyone round the table, we got few interesting answers.

Few of those I would like to mention as follows,

“Collaboration is what the F1 team does to ensure that the driver is on the track within shortest time. Its just another form of Teamwork”

“Collaboration is what the Power Inverter company does with the Battery company to provide the customers a full set of power solution. Its more about knowing your strengths & weaknesses and match it with someone else’s so create a powerful combination that enables more success”

“Collaboration is a process of knowledge management where people are important, but outcome is even more important.  Look at Wikipedia, we have world’s biggest knowledge bank in one place, and we don’t even know who created it. Collaboration focuses on end outcome, rather than who does it.”

Interesting !

Let me know what you think about collaboration, post a comment, I would be glad if you could ! Thank you !