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May 14, 2014

How to harness technology to create value in totally new ways?

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:28 AM


Google's Grand Plan for Titan Aerospace [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31PW-Ep-Ykc]

This snippet of 20th century history never fails to amaze me: In the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, several military-industrial elites got together to propose creating a communications network that could work in the event of a nuclear war. Their top-secret plan was to design a complex web of communications lines that would allow messages to reach the intended recipient even if a portion of the network was knocked out of commission by a war. Various governments developed this byzantine network and there it stood by for decades, ready for armies and political leaders who might need to use it. They never did. By the 1980s, university professors began using it to send each other messages and trade research.

That Cold War relic was the Internet.

Soon more than just colonels and professors would use it. A young generation of scientists and computer aficionados would unlock its commercial potential. By doing so they helped create the Information Age. Many people are surprised that the Internet sat around as a little-used tool of a bygone era until innovators began harnessing the technology to create value in completely new ways. Its story serves as a lesson as to what can happen when we are unafraid to look at technology from new and untested perspectives, especially when monetization is a possibility.

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April 21, 2014

What Goes Into Making Critical Decisions?

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:12 AM


Taming Big Data [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu8x2iBw6V4]

Crowd-sourcing is revolutionizing the world of decision-making. From personal decisions outsourced to family and friends ("Does this dress make me look fat?") to corporate decisions that determine the shape new products will take, (Presenting prototypes to customers for their reactions, and then going to production.) crowd-sourcing it lighting the path ahead.

But new research points to a related phenomenon that some enterprises are only now seeing as a risk to their ability to make critical decisions: crowd rule. That's right - the same types of crowds that are a boon to that product manager can mire the organization in a sea of Big Data to such an extent that the company becomes nearly paralyzed in its efforts to take decisive actions.

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April 4, 2014

Financial Markets and Technology's Role

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:34 AM


60 Minutes - IS THE US STOCK MARKET RIGGED? [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK0aoQ5yVmA]

One of the sweeping promises of the Information Age has been about how a potent mix of technology and communications liberates societies.

But when an expert sheds light on fascinating developments in the global financial markets, it's a good time to consider whether the world's enterprises and consumers are sufficiently prepared for a little known "un-leveling" of this Information Age. I've enjoyed all the books from the financial journalist Michael Lewis, and his latest, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, is no less interesting. Lewis is stirring the waters by claiming that financial technology has allowed the market's big players essentially to rig the system.

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March 12, 2014

Why Social Innovators Know No Limits

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:04 AM


Aurolab, Jaipur Foot - Infosys presents Innovating for a Better Tomorrow [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxboOIgTKb8]

During the filming of "Innovating for a Better Tomorrow," an influential television series that debuted in India in February this year, the deputy editor of CNN-IBN asked Mr. Murthy if he saw any difference in the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship between now and 30 years ago. His answer was motivational: Today there are more fresh ideas and budding entrepreneurs in India than there were three decades ago. And their commitment to social progress is more resolute as well.

Economists have argued for centuries about the limits of private investment and entrepreneurship. Is it the responsibility of governments to provide all of the funding and infrastructure by which economies run, or can private entities fuel these engines of progress as well? If recent history is any judge, then it would certainly appear that it would be the latter.

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February 28, 2014

The Power of Effective Organizations

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:45 AM

Creating effective organizations takes a lot of effort and it's no small task. We value the ability to bounce ideas off each other in environments that are safe. We come up with prototypes for new products and services by not being afraid of proposing ways of approaching an issue that might rub people the wrong way. And the team matters - people that collaborate instead of focusing solely on their own goals are often the most potent part of any brainstorming session. But what is a safe atmosphere? It's a place that you might perceive as unfamiliar but remain confident.

When Infosys worked with the European Business Awards to detect the common elements of a best-in-class company, what we found was that organizations that create safe places of brainstorming and creativity tend to be the ones that are the most profitable and able to stave off the competition. In fact, the EBA winners tend to have as a common characteristic the ability to define new markets by sheer virtue of their collective creativity.

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January 28, 2014

Creating Cohesive Conglomerates

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:16 AM


Episode 173 - Conglomerate performance post-financial crisis [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z3f5io3h2Q]

In the field of organizational theory and management, no entity has been both highly respected and at the same time roundly derided as the conglomerate. In the 1950s, these large companies came into their own. It would not be unheard of for a conglomerate to manufacture everything from breakfast cereal to car batteries and ladies' shoes (and every product in between).

For generations, shareholders loved conglomerates. They were companies that were involved in so many businesses that no matter what happened in certain markets or economies, the conglomerate could weather the storm because of the sheer variety and expansiveness of its exposures to different sectors.

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January 16, 2014

Top Innovations of the Year

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:58 AM


2013 technology innovation highlights [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eYT_Dw8rfM]

Talk about thinking outside the box! Here are some of my favorite innovations of 2013. This list is by no means exhaustive. It's meant as a springboard to think about what impressed you in 2013 ... and what might be the ingredients of those big innovation during the coming year.

I would suggest that we not subscribe solely to the notion that an innovation has to be an earth-shattering event. Most of the world's most ingenious and most lasting innovations arrive without a huge fanfare. But they stand the test of time and end up changing the way we live and do business.

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January 3, 2014

How To Make 2014 a Banner Tech Year

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:50 AM


Being "Intrapreneurial": How to increase innovation in any organization [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1XGPJC0alU]

Self-evaluation forms. Project plans. Long meetings with department heads. And, of course, the various brainstorming sessions. Sounds like we have all the trappings of a new corporate year.

For most of us, the year that begins in January is a chance at renewal - an opportunity to assess what we've accomplished and to chart an ambitious course on our respective journeys. As business leaders we're expected to develop new products and services with very little outside assistance. A test of a team's effectiveness is its ability to operate independently and deliver outside-the-box results ... often within strict budgetary and time constraints.

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December 5, 2013

The Largest Enterprise Can Be the Best Start-Up

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:53 AM


GE's Innovation Czar On Startup Qualities | Beth Comstock | WSJ Startup of the Year [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJRkSnMy-mQ]

Innovation is driving the marketplace like never before. So many of us have come to the conclusion that to build an effective organization, we must all think and act like a 20-something entrepreneur who works out of his parents' garage.

There's no denying that young innovators who are fresh out of college will deliver plenty of market-changing products in the next decade. But what about the rest of us? The lion's share of the global economy consists of people who work at large enterprises with distinct corporate cultures and well-defined hierarchies. Too often we're led to believe that we have to throw off the trappings of the large organization in order to innovate like a start-up.

It turns out that the opposite is true. That is, the young entrepreneur who's looking to build tomorrow's enterprise from a drafty garage should be taking cues from established organizations. That's because every effective (and, ultimately, successful) start-up is the result of the right mix of messy innovation and defined, disciplined business processes.

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November 11, 2013

How Boredom Can Impede Growth

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:53 AM


Boredom, The Real Secret Behind Innovation [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFe4aPewV9c]

I continue to find a common thread running through the stories of the world's greatest entrepreneurs. Why is it that nearly every one of them has had a bout with boredom? That's the one trait you wouldn't associate with men and women who build companies from scratch, fend off competitors, and bring amazing products and services to market. How could classic Type A personalities bent on conquering a certain sector or industry experience boredom?

Many management gurus agree that boredom is a recurring problem among business leaders who are always trying to find their next business challenge. What I find fascinating is that most entrepreneurs become familiar with a new market and, just as they're about to blaze a new trail, decide to pull back for a while.

A friend of mine once shared with me the trials and tribulations of building a precision tools business. He operates in a very specialized sector. Large industrial companies rely on precision tool shops to do jobs like stamping or forming metal using a host of sophisticated techniques. My friend's company specializes in molding metal parts for automobiles by using water. The water is injected into a mold at such high pressure that the metal shapes itself into a specified form. For years my friend stayed on top of the latest technology and positioned his company as a supplier to some of the world's largest automakers. He was on the verge of expanding the company to other continents in order to fulfill growing demand from overseas markets. But then a curious thing happened: He got bored. His corporate officers and the board of directors were fairly confounded by his abrupt decision to hold off on an ambitious international expansion.

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September 6, 2013

Helping Clients See Around Corners

Posted by Soundararajan S (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:33 AM


It is difficult for someone born in the 90s to imagine a world without the Internet, smart phones, ebooks and global supply chains. The level of technological change seen in the last 20 years is unparalleled in human history barring, possibly, the industrial revolution. We live in a brave new world where there are more transistors produced every year than the number of rice grains consumed. Information travels fast and is always a mouse-click away while sheer processing capabilities have improved more than a thousand fold... remember the shiny new 1990s laptops with their 50MHz processors?

The last two decades have also witnessed fundamental changes in business models, the market environment and shareholder expectations. The ability to identify and react to market trends is key for organizations to succeed and thrive. Continuous innovation is not a choice, it is about survival. That's why it is important for technology providers to prepare to perform as key partners collaborating with clients in future-proofing their businesses. Helping them transform their business models, make it more efficient and also create new revenue opportunities through collaboration and co-creation.

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