One of the most innovative company
48th most innovative worldwide company scored by FastCompany in 2012, RedBus is an incredible indian company. Several years ago, on a busy holiday weekend, Phanindra Sama actually ran after some Indian bus operators in a failed attempt to catch a bus home. Now, says Sama, “I’m computerizing the bus industry.” His company, RedBus, spent years unifying the system–bus operators, tickets, travel agents–and this year unveiled an integrated platform that serves more than 10,000 bus routes. Customers can view open seats from multiple operators, purchase tickets, and post ratings. Meanwhile, bus operators can track seat availability in real time, and travel agents can prebook passengers. RedBus tripled sales last year, adding 4.25 million riders.
The founders worked in Bangalore
Like all innovations, redBus has a very interesting story. All the founders used to work in Bangalore at the time (in 2005) – all with top IT MNCs – IBM, Texas Instruments and Honeywell. They were friends from BITS Pilani, one of India’s finest engineering colleges.
During Diwali that year, one of them wanted to spend the festival in his home town. Since he didn’t know his schedule till the end, taking a bus was the only choice. He ran around town hunting for a ticket, but they were all sold out minutes before he reached the travel agents. Bangalore traffic is notorious and can grip you at the wrong time. That’s exactly what happened that day.
That’s when he thought of the possibility of providing consumers the convenience of booking a bus ticket over the internet. The objective was two-fold – to ensure that they don’t have to leave the confines of their comfort to book a ticket, and to help them get a ticket when they need it the most.
Book tickets on Internet
The idea was compelling. And why not? The internet was being voted as a medium people couldn’t do without. PC and net penetration was increasing not only in urban areas, but also in rural India with innovative concepts like Shakti and e-Choupal. Also, people were getting used to booking tickets for travel using IRCTC and private airline websites. So, why not buses?
Nobody in India had already done it!
However, the most compelling reason was that no body in India had done this! So, with these thoughts running through his mind, he bounced initial thoughts off his friends from college. They were excited about the concept too. However, they didn’t want to take the plunge without understanding the feasibility of such an undertaking. They met with various people – bus operators, consumers and venture capitalists – to gauge how well the concept could do.
As expected, they got a favorable response. They started writing the code for the software that would be required to run the operations. Once this was ready, they put together a business plan and presented it to TiE, Bangalore Chapter.
TiE – The Indus Entrepreneurs – are mentors, to say the very least. They breathe lives and hope in to young entrepreneurs who have a working concept. The idea didn’t need much selling to TiE members either. That was the beginning of a seemingly long journey. All the founders quit their well-paying, secure jobs and started redBus.
Not simple to change the mindset of bus operators
Since those days there have been many ups and downs. It wasn’t simple to change the mindset of bus operators who are used to dealing with their traditional brick-and-mortar travel agents. It wasn’t easy to market the concept. It needed time and money. It took a few months for things to fall in place.
All that was needed were a few people who used the website. Once that would happen, the user interface was bound to generate word-of-mouth. That’s exactly what happened. Those who used it liked it, told others and the dominos started to fall in place.
To cut a long story short, redBus has come a very long way from days of struggle to days of growth. It has the largest number of tie-ups (and growing) with bus operators and a large and satisfied customer base. Being run by a team of young people, the culture is informal and everyone is ambitious and charged to make it larger than imagined. What started as a team of three grew into a team of 50 within 9 months.
In 2013, French government is trying to find a way to push France to be more innovative. France is considered a moderately innovative country in Europe (see more details with the previous article TOP4 Leaders in Europe). French government is focusing on education aspect: how to infuse the spirit of innovation at school?
Art and Engineering Can Co-Exist
At the beginning, people thought she was nuts. Sue Mellon, working in United States, gifted support coordinator for Springdale Junior and Senior High/Colfax School in the Allegheny Valley School District, thought 7th and 8th graders could develop a deeper understanding of poetry by playing around with robotics.
“Originally, people looked at me like I was crazy,” Mellon said. Now, two years later, Robotics Poetry is a staple of language arts classes at Springdale and a new grant has students preparing to be peer mentors.
Poetry isn’t always easy for students. But with hands-on engagement, they gain new understanding. Take Robert Frost’s “Pasture.” Instead of just reading and discussing the work in a typical classroom setting, students made 21st-century dioramas with robotic tool kits containing sensors, motors, LEDs, and a controller. One student made a blue plastic wrap lake in an old cardboard photocopy-paper box that vibrated, thanks to the motor, and, lit up, thanks to the LED. When the student said the word “water”—students record themselves reading the poems aloud in the audio-editing program Audacity—the LED turned the plastic wrap a deeper shade of blue. When he got to the bit about the “tottering” calf, the motor made the toy calf vibrate.
Critical for Innovation
The move to include art and design in the push to advance science, engineering, and math is not just a “feel-good” move. It’s critical to the future economy and families’ standard of living. Researchers are finding that although children’s IQ scores have been steadily rising, results on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking—a key measure of creativity—have been on the decline since 1990, just as the demand for more creative thinkers is rising. In a 2010 IBM survey, 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as a top leadership competency of the future.
At a professional development event for local superintendents, the participants had all read Daniel Pink’s book, “A Whole New Mind,” and then Pink came in to discuss the importance of creativity. An executive director of state agency that support the Sue Mellon’s school, spoke to the participants about the importance of “right-brain qualities” like empathy and inventiveness. “The message was loud and clear, and that’s when the movement started. Being strong in math and science wasn’t enough. To meet future workforce needs, we had to address the whole-brain needs of our students.”
See more details on original article
- More Poetry For Gamers (voidpoetry.com)
- The Kiski School’s David (DJ) Gress Wins Poetry Out Loud Contest (prweb.com)
- Poetry For Gamers (voidpoetry.com)
- Robotics gets respect as an undergraduate major (stanforddaily.com)
- FIRST Student Robotics Teams Wrap Up 2013 Build Season (prweb.com)
Innovation isn’t this abstract thing that some companies have and some don’t. Innovation is actually a business skill that executives and employees can develop and master.
No. 1: Everybody might be an innovator
Innovative companies believe that all employees should be creative. That means that all employees are looking for better ways to do things in their jobs. They are rewarded, not shunned, when they try to alter the status quo. With that as a corporate culture, new ideas thrive and so do new products.
No. 2: idea-generation measured
Whatever a company values, it measures. Companies that value innovation measure how many of the ideas they generate turn into development projects. Most companies Booz surveyed convert fewer than 20 percent of their ideas into products, but a few say they convert up to 60 percent. Size matters here in a surprising way. The smaller the company, the more likely they are to act on their ideas, the report said. That’s because even though smaller companies have fewer resources, they also have less bureaucracy.
No. 3: Ideas change a lot before becoming a product
The magic of innovation doesn’t really come at the idea stage or the winnowing stage. It comes at the feedback stage where iterations of the idea are developed and tried. Successful companies incorporate what a customer asks for with new things that the customer didn’t know were possible, so the iteration stage is as much about education as it is about feedback.
No. 4: Ideas tested with customers
Innovation isn’t just about coming up with ideas, it’s about choosing between them. The best companies know how to pick which ideas to pursue because they have good idea-picking systems in place. Many of them line up customers to be guinea pigs, trying things out for them. They find risk-taker customers who are likely to buy new things. They also build a network of internal employees and partners to be guinea pigs, too.
No. 5: An internal “idea Caesar”
Innovative companies make one or more execs responsible for finding new ideas and turning them into products and services. The Booz report calls these folks “innovation champions” and says they are assigned “to coordinate the capture, development, and internal promotion of new ideas.”
No. 6: Customers & partners associated to innovations
Creating ideas means knowing customers really well. Most creative companies say they find their best ideas by talking to customers. And “talking” means having senior execs converse with actual people about new ideas. It doesn’t mean hiring a market research firm to talk to people, although one-third of the most innovative companies do that, too. Nothing beats direct, unfiltered input from real-life customers.
No. 7: Ideas found everywhere
Innovative companies don’t care where ideas come from. They look inside their company and they look outside. Acquisitions can be a way of bringing in innovation. A company might make a purchase to open up a new area of expertise, a new market, or to bring in entrepreneurs with cutting-edge thinking.
No. 8: Ideas generated in 3 basic ways
Innovative companies fall into three categories, according to how they most frequently generate ideas, Booz finds:
- Need Seekers talk to customers to find out what they want and generate new products based on that.
- Market Readers closely watch the market and then quickly create incremental improvements on hot up-and-coming ideas already in the market.
- Technology Drivers create brand-new stuff by letting their tech experts experiment.
No. 9: R&D spent thoughtfully & not reckless
The 10 most innovative companies aren’t the ones that spend the most on R&D.
Of the list of the most innovative (Apple, Google, 3M, Samsung, General Electric, Microsoft, Toyota, Procter & Gamble, IBM, and Amazon), only three of them — Toyota, Microsoft, and Samsung — are among the companies with the biggest R&D budgets, as listed in this chart from Booz. (Click here to see the chart.)
For example, Apple, Google, and 3M together spent $9.2 billion on R&D. Samsung alone spent $9.0 billion in total. Yet Samsung was ranked as more innovative.
No. 10: New ideas created systematically
Any company can come up with one or two great ideas. But to do so year after year requires systems for:
- Generating ideas.
- Choosing which ideas to pursue.
- Iterating on those ideas in response to feedback.
- Knowing that customers will buy new products before investing in production.
- Measuring success.
Simply put, innovative companies create systems for all five steps.
See more details
- Getting Crazy Ideas Off the Ground (blogs.hbr.org)
- 4 Ways to Turn Your Company Into an Innovation Machine (printforms.wordpress.com)
- Innovation for Small Businesses (prweb.com)
- 5 Customer Experience Innovation Killers (business2community.com)
- 4 Rules of Innovation: What Nike And SAP Know (business2community.com)
- Is Samsung sacrificing innovation for marketing? (ibnlive.in.com)
An entrepreneur has created an incubator in which intergenerational experienced executives are helping young entrepreneurs motivated.
“Switzerland, Canada, the North … everyone pulls seniors. So I said why not us? “After eight years abroad, Denis Jacquet, 47, a graduate of HEC multirecidivist contractor, designed the Growth Accelerator , a business incubator in which managers leaders are detached retirement of large groups to support young entrepreneurs develop their start-up.
For seniors, a “second career”
Headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt in the district of Pont de Sèvres, the Growth Accelerator extends over 700 m2 and will be operational in a few weeks. Meanwhile, the recruitment of seniors have already begun. Denis Jacquet currently discussing the detachment of several executives at SFR, Alcatel, Sanofi, Lafarge and Alstom. “After a while, the big companies do not know use their senior laments Françoise Daut-Vallier (63), former Senior Executive at IBM and in charge of recruiting seniors for Growth Accelerator. Instead of letting them end up in the closet, so we give them the opportunity to revitalize their skills and, if possible, to start a new life or a second career. “
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