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Need simpler way of Innovation, look beyond your industry!



March 19th , 2011

One hour ago, as I was stepping out of my car in the parking lot, I saw a bunch of kids playing with color & water. This further told me that ‘Holi’ (a festival in India played by putting color & water on each other and with lots to drink & eat) has arrived. I was almost tempted to join them & for a moment my childhood memories came alive. However, as I look further, I realize each one of them were carrying water pumps (read Pichkari). The pump was not new to me, but I also saw that each one of them was carrying a water tank on their back and there was a constant water supply from this tank to the pump. The first reaction was “Wow”. Until now I only saw pumps which could carry from 200 ml to 2 l of water at a time. The water would finish in a jiffy and kids would again run towards nearby kept bucket and would fill the pump again. During this time, the target person would run away. But now with the constant supply of water from the back laid tank was several magnitudes of improvement and it looked neat on kids back. Obviously, we all have seen this in pest control industry where the pest control person would fill the insect or pest repellant chemical in the tank, put it on his back and would spray it out across the street or farm or wherever else it is required. The 20-year-old technique in one industry (read pest control) is now a new innovation in another industry (Kids Toys). No rocket science, no Einsteins required to do this. All we need is to keep our eyes open and see how we can learn from one industry and apply some of those ideas in another industry. I know for sure that it Works.

Now coming back to my desk, I am able to easily associate with this kind of innovation culture at ProductDossier. We at ProductDossier are constantly doing this. Thanks to our product “TouchBase, an integrated software platform for Project, Process & Product Lifecycle Management” which is used across industries right from Engineering Services, Automotive (OEM & Suppliers), Defence, Consumer Electronics, Pharmaceutical, EPC, Software & Technology, & so on. We have been constantly learning from one industry & applying that to another industry. Our customer may not exactly call this innovation, but they see this as USP (unique selling proposition). To cite an example, we deployed in a pharmaceutical packaging industry, the concept of checklist for compliance purposes. Having learned and implemented this, while we were designing a solution for APQP for tier I supplier, we successfully deployed the checklist solution. In the case of APQP, each project has a certain checklist for each of the APQP phases. Each one of the checklists could be a document (read TS or APQP documentation). Now it was easy for the APQP manager to see which checklists are done and which are pending. I won’t go into details of this, but there are several such innovations are embedded in our solution. We are convinced that you need to look around & pick simple & powerful ideas to bring out innovations. You just need a lot of common sense and logical approach. However in reality when I go & sell the solution to the customer, he is only interested in other customers in his own industry and perhaps in his kind of business. Well, I do give him references which satisfy him (thanks to the fact that we have customers in the most domain) and I am tempted to tell him and customers in other industry also bring a lot of benefits to him.

Anyways, I am done for the innovation part for today. I would have bought that neat looking water pump ‘Pichkari’ for my daughter, but she is just too young for that, perhaps I will call my sister and ask her to buy them for her kids who have the perfect age for such innovation. Long live the spirit of innovation!


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