Chance favors the connected mind


In the fast moving digitally connected  and complex world-  our beliefs ,skills,  assumptions , our knowledge is constantly  challenged.  Willing to accept that we need to refresh our knowledge, skills and other matters makes us better positioned to take on any kind of new challenges that come across.

RICHARD GREFÉ  :   “You know, a few years ago, whoever had the knowledge had the power. But today, the power resides in those who have a sense of the way that knowledge flows. And that becomes critical because knowledge is growing at an exponential rate. So what does that mean? That means that for any individual to succeed, has got to go beyond just knowing things. They have to be curious, they have to be thoughtful. And that doesn’t come from social media and that doesn’t come form deep-diving in data. That comes from thoughtful conversations.”

We are in a  era and times that requires us to think differently. 19th and 20th century education has built invisible walls around everything. We are trained to see things, learn , watch and use things individually.  Students are trained to learn subjects individually.    Civil engineers focus more on their subject and less on other engineering branch knowledge and similar is the story with all other branches. Computers science students focus more on software and less on industry’s domain knowledge  which is more vital in today’s market place. There is no one course that combines all these knowledge from different fields and provide us the insights of how interconnected everything is and how to acquire the right knowledge to face today’s smart planet’s requirements to stay successful with the right skills for the rapidly evolving nature of corporate work and society’s cultural shifts.  I always used to stress this point to graduate, post graduate and PhD Students of engineering and MBA to come out of their  specific subject knowledge and look afresh by learning how all the subjects knowledge works together to create solutions and products we use everyday. (Think Apple I Phone’s focus on Design more technology less) . Today Technology has erased the boundaries of  all branches of sciences, agriculture, medical and even changed our daily life habits. Why then are we not understanding that we have to have a open mind and inclination to learn something unrelated to our subject matter?

I get inspired when i look at some smart companies combining cross platform knowledge from different industries and come with a radical design and products. One such company is Dyson. James Dyson is famous for inventing something new that we never think possible.  They don’t hesitate to take inspiration and knowledge from different sources to come up with  new product. Here is a Blades less fan they invented using principles or aerospace fans. Click here to know more http://www.dyson.com/Fans/FansAndHeaters/Fans.aspx

For those who have guts to think differently and achieve something Dyson innovation awards is the platform to take on the challenges. Here is the link

http://www.jamesdysonaward.org/Prize.aspx

Similarly Companies such as Toyota come with some amazing ways of improving quality in their products , minimizing waste in production process and reduce the cost of making high quality products for less.  We already learnt their best practices such as Lean manufacturing, Kan-ban, Kaizan widely implemented in different industries.  They now use a new method called Andon Cord.

” The andon cord is literally a cord that workers can pull – a cord they should pull – any time something in the manufacturing process goes wrong that would compromise the quality of the product or safety of the people. The line stops immediately. Everyone’s attention is turned to the problem. Everyone helps to solve the problem. And the line doesn’t restart until the problem’s been fixed, thus ensuring that zero scrap or defects are allowed to perpetuate.”

http://www.toyotageorgetown.com/qualdex.asp

So innovation don’t need to be complex. we just need to think different.

World’s knowledge levels today (mostly Industry) are so mature that we don’t need PhD’s anymore because industry’s maturity levels are so high that until we think differently and look beyond  PhD’s  knowledge;  sustainable solutions are not possible for the complex problems we face today. Medical field is one such area where sufficient knowledge is not there to solve diseases such as Diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer or parkinson’s etc in spite of having top notch scientists with multiple PhD’s.   The only way to go is look into a different field , combine your subject knowledge with it to create a new idea or a cool product or a new medicine for a deadly disease.

We have different lifestyles than our parents. Youth today are in a constant flux of adopting to new lifestyles with high connectivity to the entire world. Mobile connectivity, social media interactions, crowd sourcing for solving complex problems of the planet,  Internet of things, body connected intelligent sensors, health tracking devices like Nike shoes and many more new technology gadgets allow us to look different , work differently than our predecessors and acquire knowledge differently than what is taught in our colleges today (the good old style).

The reach of internet to every nook and corner of the world allows us to know any kind of information , acquire knowledge and skills needed. Technology as i said above , erased the boundaries of everything and i want you to remove the mental blocks (the artificial silos in your mind)   and train  your mind to look at things differently with a open mind. Today we are connected so closely via social media, tech gadgets that we can collaborate with the world’s  best  on a massive scale that is not possible in a physical form. One of the courses  I’m doing on Coursera ( https://www.coursera.org/course/strategy101)  has 90, 000 students from across the globe. We are learning by doing  , something new but connected to a single platform on coursera No class rooms to go,  only online practicals using technology and internet connection. Cool way of learning something new,  Right?   Colleges and Universities should focus on building Labs to help today’s students to experiment, tinker with tools and gadgets. Otherwise we only produce paper engineers ,  MBA graduates who are just fit to do a service job  , does not provide any competitive advantage to students nor to the country as a whole. Today we should worry that we bring out very insignificant percentage of  cutting edge products to market  in spite of one billion population and large number of PhD’s and Master students.

Do you want to be a listless person or want to impact the world with your knowledge.  Remember the title of this blog  “Chance favors the connected Mind”  That power of Connectivity should become your major weapon to acquire skills needed for 22nd century companies. Many of the problems industry faces will be solved by individuals  from across the planet. This is the future of work. People won’t be working for a single company. There will be problems that need to solved and if you solve it you get paid. That is what will happen in Job markets going forward.

So why waiting. Go get connected with the world’s knowledge. My Previous blogs have several world class resource links to start with . so check them..

As part of this Blog here are some useful links for you to get on the fast track of 22nd century learning… Enjoy and good luck to you..

Learn something new here https://www.coursera.org/  or here https://www.udacity.com/  or here https://www.edx.org/ or from the whole internet which is at your finger tips.

Good luck to you and do not hesitate to reach out to me through your comments in this blog…

Time to standardize product structures


The Boston consulting group predicts that 10% to 30% of the goods that America now imports from China will be made at home by the year 2020, resulting in proceeds of up to $55 Billion a year.

The maker’s movement is gaining strength with rapid advancements in some technologies such as 3D printing and the new concept of distributed manufacturing becoming real.

Earlier prototyping of products have to be done either in China or elsewhere with tens of thousands of Dollars in costs but now a lot of prototyping of products are happening locally and resulting in low cost and the turnover is very rapid.

The above are some of the trends in product manufacturing which needs certain standardization in order to streamline the creativity, resources, money and new inventions in proper direction to solve the planets ever changing requirements.

Here is what I propose.

  • It all starts with Inventory part nomenclature standardization. I wrote a blog on this topic here. time-standardize-inventory-parts-data
  • An international team of manufacturing experts should be nominated for framing the standardization process for inventory nomenclature and product family/grouping and product structure nomenclature.
  • The team will be formulated by international trade organization (WTO) and will be initially funded by them until the whole process is completed and becomes self-sustainable.
  • Long term Sustainability should be mandated to make this effort profitable by WTO. Some of the ideas for this are given below.
  • The product structures should then be categorized on the same lines like Botanical nomenclature.
  • Next we need to create a cloud platform where all product structures are made available for everyone to access, excluding some sensitive (Defence) and copy protected ones.
  • Then we need to create Application programming interfaces (API) and other apps for accessing the Product structures by interested parties.
  • The API ‘s and other apps should be flexible enough to allow users to create new structures from the existing ones and also where able to connect to their own databases to transfer the structures as needed.
  • All the services should be charged for sustaining the standardization efforts.
  • Guidelines should be mandated for product structure usage and migration to user’s internal usage.
  • Guidelines also needed to monitor the new product inventions, accessibility of the new inventions and standardization of the same.
  • All global language translations for the product structures should be undertaken by crowdsourcing the same.
  • Every nation should have a team of experts to advice the core team on the standardization efforts and this team will be compensated from the WTO funds.

Benefits

  1. Redundancy of Product structures will be eliminated and standardization will increase operational efficiency and reduce cost of procurement, administrative and other costs for users.
  2. Same quality products will now be available for global citizens on equal terms with only pricing variations.
  3. Makes it easy to source semi-finished products or materials at the fraction of a cost due to visibility of the same from across the planet. Helps in supply chain logistics efficiencies and also reduce costs of transportation. This in turn reduces global warming due to less use of Oil.
  4. The huge network of users will now be able to talk to each other and can create new business opportunities for themselves and indirectly to nations by creating new employment opportunities and new start-up companies.
  5. The flexibility to mix and match products on the fly becomes easy for new inventions and trigger new creative ideas and new products.
  6. Rapid prototyping of new product inventions becomes easy from the existing ones.
  7. New business ideas and new start-ups ideas are possible due to democratization of inventory nomenclature and Product structure nomenclature.
  8. Many of the benefits that I mentioned in the inventory standardization will also apply here.

 

Please let me know what you think