“Yes, and…” - why this idea from improv theatre has applications in the world of researchRead More
Innovator? Change-maker? Beater of the Status Quo? Get inspired by 12 real-life stories of putting a ding in the universe by hanging up this calendar on your wall. Our webcomic-style calendar helps you live, learn, and uplevel in 2018. Available in Desk and Wall formats.Read More
Your desk could teach you a thing or two.
If it's got our Calendar on it, any desk or wall automatically becomes the smartest thing in your room. Besides you, of course!
At Choose To Thinq, one of the things we do well is to help people and organisations apply insights from great books. One way we make these learnings accessible and convenient is via our annual calendar.
Each page is an actionable summary of a terrific book. In addition, we add 'prompts' to each Sunday to help you apply insights from them into your daily life, aiding habit formation and increased productivity. (Think of it as a life coach,only it doesn’t need your credit card details and is much less annoying!)
Like our 2016 edition, the 2017 edition has insights across topics such as innovation, creativity, and personal growth.
The 11 books featured in the 2017 edition (the 12th page has a little surprise for you!) are:
- The Ten Faces of Innovation
- Start With Why
- Reinventing Organisations
- Brain Rules
- Creativity Inc.
The Retro Version
Calendars may come and go, but great books are timeless. If you'd like to also get hold of our book summaries from last year (but with this year's dates!), get the 2017 Retro edition which covers:
- Thinking, Fast and Slow
- Made to Stick
- The Power of Habit
- The Innovator's DNA
- The Checklist Manifesto
- The Virgin Way
- The One Thing
- Lean In
Have a wonderful and smart 2017!
Have you heard of "co-creation with customers"? The idea is to innovate along with your customers and see them as part of the product/service creation process, rather than just as end users. Good to see Ikea do just that with one of their key users: children!
Now, Ikea is smartly tapping into this wellspring of ideas for a line of stuffed toys, dubbed Sagoskatt—Swedish for "mythical treasure"—which hits shelves on November 20 and will be available until December 24.
To come up with the toy concepts, Ikea invited kids all over the world to submit illustrations of whimsical creatures. From the pool of 52,000 drawings that came in, Ikea then picked 10 to turn into plush toys that are dead ringers for the kids' drawings. The toys retail from $1 to $8, and a portion of the sales will be donated to kids' charities through the Ikea Foundation. Last year, Ikea raised more than $11 million for charity through its inaugural soft toys campaign.
Today (4th Jan) marks another anniversary of the passing of that versatile music composer, R. D. Burman. Taken away suddenly when he at least had a decade or two left in him, RD was known for not just excelling across musical genres, but also for being a musical innovator. Even today, his fans can spend hours discussing his work and the way he put it together. For students of innovation such as us, it's interesting to look at his life (chronicled via books, a documentary, and via interviews of his peers & colleagues) and try to spot what made him so innovative. Not surprisingly, his work shows many of the classic traits of innovators. Here are five of them:
- Collaboration: Like many great innovators, R. D. Burman worked with some fabulous singers, lyricists, and musicians., allowing them their share of the spotlight. He let his collaborators bring in their own ideas, which helped make his music better. His work with his percussionists in particular, became a trademark.
- Wide influences: While he came from a musically rich background in folk, classical, and Hindi film music, RD also drew from Western pop & rock, the Middle East, and others, even bringing the likes of the Brazilian Bossa Nova to Hindi films.
- Creativity: R D Burman could play a variety of musical instruments (excelling in particular at the harmonica), could sing, and began composing at a young age. That foundation made it possible for him to build on, to produce numerous ideas by observing everyday life, improvise, and cleverly break several conventions of film music.
- Experimentation: Legendary for his use of non-musical objects to produce rhythm and melody (ranging from bottle tops, combs, and even the gargle of a singer and the back of his assistant), Pancham was unafraid to experiment. Not everything worked, but RD's work often went against the grain of popular styles, while others were playing it safe or commercial.
- Conviction: Being the son of a legendary music composer, RD could well have constrained himself to carry forward S.D.Burman's folk and melody style. Instead, he had the conviction to venture out, while making his father proud. At the end, when life was taking him through a tough phase, he was convinced he was going to bounce back with his work for "1942: A Love Story". He wouldn't be there too see himself proved right.
- R. D. Burman: The Man, The Music (the National Award-winning biography)
- Pancham Unmixed (a documentary)
- R. D. Burman and Rhythm (a paper)
- R. D. Burman's top 14 sound improvisations in music direction (India Today)
All good things must come to an end - but they did so with a bang. The Intel & DST - Innovate for Digital India Challenge, which had received an overwhelming response from across the country, ended on a high note earlier this month, with a unique quiz to mark the journey of the participants who had been in ‘accelerate’ mode for the past six months. We at Choose To Thinq conducted a special quiz for the participants and organisers that touched upon experiences, ideas and lessons that teams had gained in the past few months. The idea was to create a memorable experience that goes beyond the tedium of the typical awards night.
The Challenge which had asked people across the country to send in ideas that leveraged the use of technology in solving the country’s greatest problems, had been received with tremendous enthusiasm. Top 20 shortlisted ideas and teams were given a 6-month incubation program, with a 3-month ‘accelerator’ phase where mentors and Intel technology helped bring their ideas to life, from getting funding to market support and giving them the means needed to develop a Minimum Viable Product.
To conclude the event, a special evening was organised at the rooftop of the Novotel hotel in Pune where Choose To Thinq conducted a specially customised quiz that linked all the experiences these teams had in the past months. Called ‘Rewind’, the quiz became a way of connecting the dots, reliving experiences and ideas encountered during the journey, and also a trigger for conversations. Each answer led to someone elaborating or reminiscing about topics that the questions and answers touched upon.
For instance: -
“The previous generations were called Haswell and Broadwell. Most of you will find this "inside" something you own. What are we talking about?”
The answer: Intel, who were the title sponsors for the programme.
(Try your hand at some more interesting questions at the end!)
Questions trigger memories
At the end of each question, each team whose idea had been addressed by the question at hand, engaged in a conversation to share their views and relive their experiences in the program.
For instance, one of the questions connected to ASHA+, (a Chennai-based team who have developed devices to capture health-data instantly), one of the team members recounted her memories of the programme: “We were overwhelmed when we first came in, but it was very useful for us to see big customers, talk to them and rediscover ourselves in turn. It was wonderful. It helped us focus on our target customers, which for us was a great find.”
TCS’s Naresh, whose team was at hand to help out the participants, said that he felt it was like working with 20 CEOs, not startups. “Because they are nothing short of that. They have done everything what CEOs do - they organise, they execute, they design, they do everything by themselves. We met very inspiring people in the past three months and I am so thankful to Intel, CIIE and all the people who gave us this opportunity.”
A platform to regroup and reflect
Choose To Thinq first conducted elaborate research to find out more about participants and their ideas, about the organisers and their plans, collecting little anecdotes that happened along the way. As the participating teams came from a wide range of fields, from farming to medicine, the quiz questions too were tailored to cover all such topics, thus giving all teams an insight into the ideas of others.
After their turn to answer a question, teams who were working on devices to help the visually impaired, recollected a funny story from their experience to much applause.
“There was one question asked to us: ‘how do they buy?’ Our customers are basically the visual impaired. So we went to interview some of them and after 40 minutes of conversation - talking this and that - I finally asked the question: ‘how do you buy?’ And I really liked his answer. He said: ‘Do you think I am from a different planet? We do the same things but in a different way!’”
So it was curtains for this year’s event, but the lessons gained and paths paved will stay lit for a long while ahead!
Some more “Rewind” questions
- What connects women health workers in India, a Nokia mobile phone, and the House of Greyjoy from the Song of Ice and Fire BOOKS?
Ans: Asha. ASHA+ was the name of a selected team that had proposed a model on preventive healthcare
- E-13B and CMC-7 are two font faces whose names you may not have heard of. But you will definitely have checked them out on the bottom of certain types of valuable papers. E-13B has only 14 characters in its set. Where will you see these?
Ans: Numbers at the bottom of cheques are written in this font face. A team called Tellmate uses OCR technology, which is also used in reading cheques using such fonts.
- “No talking to cashier/ No smoking/ No fighting/ No ___ /
No outside food/ No sitting long/ No talking loud/
No spitting/ No bargaining/ No water to outsiders/ No change/
No telephone/ No match sticks/ No discussing gambling/
No newspaper/ No combing/ No beef/
No leg on chair/ No hard liquor allowed/ No address enquiry/
— By order.” This is a poem by Nissim Ezekiel that sums up what institution?
And what did we blank out?
Ans: Udhaar (Udhaar- was a team from Bihar with an AADHAR-based solution which allows easy access to credit for shopping at retail outlets and for online transactions).
Here at Choose To Thinq, books are what energy cells are to clocks: they make us tick. We love books and love helping people grow by getting them to consume and applying the wisdom from books. We are constantly stocking and restocking our library of books - this time, we are looking specifically at books that can help you work better. Can you help us? Then read on!
Some of the themes we are interested in getting books for, are:
- Practising Innovation and Building Innovation Culture
- Persuasive Communication
- Making Change Happen
- Being More Productive
- Making Better Decisions
You can also go beyond these topics and tell us some must-have books for our library. We will put up a list of books based on what you tell us, so go ahead!
IDEO's Tim Brown sketched this diagram to talk about the emotional states of researchers in the design process, who are trying to make sense of collected material.
The graph alternates between feeling +ve and -ve. His point? Insight is often found at the lowest ebb of the feeling, taking you from hope to confidence.
As you drown in data, you move from the high of what felt like being useful at first, but as the complexity of it hits you, your optimism decays.
That's where you need to stay strong, willing the insights out of hiding.
This is also true of most explorations in innovation and life. Do you agree?