Time flies when you have some interesting projects on-going. Since the last blog post I started one long term project, again, and now I have three of those. Those long term projects have been running since 2006, 2008 and now 10/2010. If someone is still wondering what projects am I referring, I am talking about my kids. Those little ones are fulfilling every spare time that I and my wife have and I am not complaining. It is fun to notice how two adults can adapt themselves to different situations several times per day and how things must be organized with small kids. This is also learning process.
The Original Need
A while ago I wrote about moving ideas forward and now I like to tell something about what my wife has been doing lately. My wife is very pragmatic person and she has a lot of good ideas, I almost envy her. As I said we got baby few weeks ago and naturally we have been waiting him 9-months before birth. During that time my wife was thinking about different choices of early bed to our new born baby and when suitable bed was not found she got an idea.
In Finland we have an social insurance institution called KELA that offers benefits for families with children (and lots more). One benefit is maternity package that is kind of starter kit for all mothers in Finland. It is a box fulfilled with different products which baby needs like clothes, blankets and other useful stuff. The box itself can be used as a early bed for baby, but it is little bit boring. My wife got an idea where she decided to sew kind of bag where box is inserted. The bag itself contains harness that are used for hanging the installation for example to ceiling. Now we have the hanging early cot that is lightweight, affordable and available for every mother in Finland who has accepted the benefit from KELA
When I saw it for the first time, I felt that it is an idea that must move forward. I said to my wife that she must start to sell those early cots online. Why online? The barrier in starting the online business is low and so are the costs. I think this is a good way to test ideas and now the UINUA.COM is bootstrapping. The first challenge, starting the on-line business was easy, but second challenge is much more bigger. How to get visibility, how to get people on the site, how to build brand: so there are many marketing challenges!
This story will continue!
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Tags: bootstrapping, ideas, uinua.com
Categories : ideas, innovation
|In the last post I wrote about ideas and how to make them happen. But now I am wondering what makes you and other people tick in different organization? What are environmental factors that allows people to encounter to challenges what they want to solve? And what kind of organizational functions we need to create that kind of environment?|
Passion is something that makes people tick. Somebody may be passionate for running, somebody is passionate for photographing and somebody may be even passionate for working. When people are passionate for something they talk all the time about it, they think about it and what to do next. You know when have you got excited about something and it is almost impossible to stay hold. You talk about it, sketch plans to paper, seek reviews and information about it from Google. What if you have same kind of passion towards daily work?
The new way of management
The challenge come in organizations where the traditional management methods take place. You wait for someone (usually your superior) to tell what to do next. You cant influence the content of the task or project and you do it just because it is your job. What if this is changed up-side-down and people could have opportunity to choose the tasks and project they want to do? I know that this is not the easiest thing to change because it may also affect to business models too.
Let’s think about positive sides of the model and imagine that we have different projects available. We have the environment where people have access to information of the available projects. Developers who are interested in project, apply for developing it. It might be possible that everyone are willing to solve same problem and rest of the project don’t get resources. The positive side is that the most interesting project may be also the most beneficial project for both parties (project lead and developers). Developers are happy when they can solve problems they want and motivation is on high level. This leads to better results in the project and project stakeholders are happy too.
Then the other side is when some project does not interest nobody. I would say that kind of project could be rejected before start and again both parties are happier. I would not be happy project manager for the project where developers don’t have enthusiasm towards project.
This kind of change needs paradigm shift in all levels in organization and also huge efforts from information systems. I profess that the more creative and intelligent people are working in organizations the more interesting challenges must be easy to find and access. Working environment must support happy encounters of challenges and solvers!
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Tags: innovation, innovation culture, management
Categories : innovation, management
I like brainstorming and sometimes I have days when my head is full of new ideas. The feeling when my brain is generating new ideas is amazing. You know, when it feels that your hair is growing and synapses are sparkling. It feels that you must have pen and booklet immediately available and if there aren’t any, frustration almost crushes you. After that idea thunderstorm you may have several ideas written down to booklet or corner of the paper (that appeared to be available on the table).
So how many ideas you have laying between the booklet covers and on the stack of paper? What have you done lately to make those ideas happen? That is the annoying part. Somebody should take those items forward but that is not easy. You do not have time, you must do the dishes, clean the bathroom or write a blog post. There are always something more important to do instead of making those ideas happen.
For me it works when I write down the actions related to ideas. I break ideas down to smaller tasks and do them in suitable timeslots. Making ideas happen is a real work. I must do some action if I want to move the ball forward. I am still learning this kind of routine where I write every day actions down which must be done during the day. Very often it needs some radical changes how to work everyday: reducing the time in reading/answering e-mails, time spent in reading the news or other articles, time spent on the phone or time spent in writing the blog.
There are lots of places where time is spent without moving the ball forward. When those time eaters are identified and eliminated you have more time for making your ideas happen. I have used Tim Ferris’s advice about reading the e-mail: I read my e-mails first time at noon and second time at 4 p.m. I found that my productivity raised when I spend less time with e-mails (Tim Ferris uses only 4 hour per week for e-mail but that is totally different story).
Well, when time is spent wisely there is better chance for moving ideas forward. It only needs little bit more self discipline than usual and it always rewards at the end. So, how do you make your ideas happen?
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Tags: ideas, innovation, way of working
Categories : innovation
It is over six months since I last time updated my blog. I must admit that it did not feel so long time, maybe it is because I have found myself wrestling with interesting challenges. Those challenges are related to innovation activities and how to inspire people to share their ideas. One part of those activities was defining the “innovation process” and the “innovation network”. Since I am encouraging people to share their ideas, insights and opinions I will also share my thoughts by this blog, so let us begin.
It is all about change, slow change
Changing people attitudes will not happen in a day or two. I have met a lot of people who are distant towards innovation activities, even cynical and some people think that they are not capable for innovation. The latter part is totally crap, everyone is capable for creative thinking but the first thing is about people attitudes. People’s attitudes change slowly and change must be managed from the top: important things like the importance of innovation must be frequently on the frame and people will not forget it.
Innovation Must be Shared Value
The next step from emphasizing the importance of innovation is transforming the innovation to one of the most important values in organization. If values are used efficiently in every day management values are really shared by the people in organization. When the innovation is one of the values it will direct people to common goal: more innovative organization. I have a dream that I do not need to answer anymore to questions like: “Why should I share my idea?” or “Why should we contribute to this process?”.
Access to the Latest Information
As I mentioned earlier, everyone is creative, they just need right inspiration. There are different ways to inspire people and something that works for me does not work for everyone. One thing what have I learned is that access to latest information, hardware and understanding the trends will help in creative thinking. When people have access to those things it will amplify the creativity and people can build on other’s ideas. There is always room for improvements and there is no need for creating entirely novel ideas all the time!
The last thing I like to share in this post is something I call “benevolent anarchism”. I bet that every second lots of energy is wasted in bureaucracy and needless processes. This also prevent innovation when some good idea jams in to bureaucracy. But what if we act like benevolent anarchist and do the thing more efficiently without following the process? If things just happen faster and more efficiently I think that is proof that there is no need for that process or bureaucracy. Ok, I admit that needs courage but sometimes it easier to apologize afterwards than ask permission beforehand.
These items that I found important and interesting needs a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. Innovation and efficiency will be on the frame a long time: Without innovation, courage, new ideas and efficient execution of ideas nothing will change and there will not be any “new business” opportunities.
Yep, I am done. Thank you for reading this post!
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Tags: attitude, innovation, innovation culture
Categories : innovation
Few weeks have gone very fast and now I am back from the basement chamber. I have been reading lots of books (in my chamber) about innovation and how to make innovation work. In addition to that I had fun time on my vacation with my family at Ruka and after that I spent week skimming the pile of e-mails. That was shortly what has happened during last few weeks, so let’s get started!
Earlier my noble idea was that everyone should innovate but after reading thoughts of respected authors I must admit that it won’t work. Everyone should have opportunity to innovate but the fact is that there are only small amount of people in organizations or in community who are interested in innovation. Usually they are people who always see gaps or improvement ideas in existing products, services, processes etc. Those people who have fresh ideas must be supported and also connect with other people in other parts of organization or community.
We have ideas.symbian.org that has over 1000 ideas submitted by the “innovators” in the community. I was wondering how those innovators could be supported and connected? How their energy could harness to create more focused innovations? I think that if we put more focus on ideas that fits in to Symbian Foundation’s strategy then we could have more competitive platform (in a long term) on the market.
Everyone who has involved somehow to innovation knows that 99% of innovation is perspiration and 1% inspiration. Perspiration means work and without work there are no innovations nor innovative environment. I was wondering if it could be possible to create some innovator groups that have different focus areas. For example, some group is interested innovating around multimedia domain and another around internet domain. Groups have frequent sessions for example once in three months and they brainstorm and generate new ideas to certain area. The result of the session could be for example new features to the package or some solution to the existing problem.
Then the tricky part is organizing this kind of groups and activities. The most active innovators can be found from leaderboard of the ideas.symbian.org, but they can live in different places even different continents. Usually brainstorming is done by the group in same place, face to face. I am not sure how this kind of brainstorming could be done by online tools. Maybe someone has some ideas or experience in using them? I think that this kind of activity could help in creating environment that permits innovation, but it needs perspiration. Thanks for reading!
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Tags: ideas, innovation, symbian foundation
Categories : symbian foundation
In previous blog posts I have been writing about openness, sharing and collaboration which are the basis for innovative environment. When people are physically in same place openness, sharing and collaboration happens in every day activities. People tend to socialize with colleagues, family and friends and they share their thoughts, opinions and comments.
When we come back to “virtual community” where people are spread all around the globe we need tools for collaboration. Everybody are familiar with different wikis, blogs, discussion boards and issue/task management systems which are basic collaborative tools. They enable sharing ideas, collaboration and increase openness. I think these tools are in place in Symbian community and they are quite well adopted by members. There are lots of entries in Wiki, lively discussions about technology in discussion forums where developers participate. I was thinking how Symbian Foundation could encourage members of the community to collaborate more in development activities?
Now when Symbian Foundation offers basic infrastructure for distributing information by wikis and discussion forums we could extend “the single source of information” to Symbian related projects. I was thinking about idea that in addition to basic communication infra Symbian could offer infrastructure for “incubation project”. The Project Infrastructure could contain version control services and information sharing services.
In practice if I wanted to initiate project which goal is to develop application for Symbian, I just create project and after that I have “project space”. Project space could contain version control for source code and “landing pages” where contributors could get information about tools, practices and so forth.
A good example is Eclipse.org and its list of projects. The list of project could be visible for everybody and developers could easily find interesting project where to start contributing. Also list of project could be a good source of new ideas for OEMs and other members in the community. In addition to that they could also sponsor the development of interesting applications.
My point is that if developer wants to start developing own application with the community, it must be easy. This would also boost innovativeness in the community.
How to boost collaboration in developing software? Mozilla Labs has very interesting project called Bespin which is collaborative development environment for web programming. I was wondering if this kind of approach could be useful also in Symbian development (in future)? I like the idea of development environment that is in “cloud” and I could easily start developing software without extra hassle. I just open web browser, log into my “project space” and start developing code in collaboration with other project members. In theory the collaborative IDE would offer “virtual pair programming environment” where developers could see written code in real time and give instant feedback, comments, opinions etc.
Of course there are obstacles before this kind of approach would be possible including device access, testing, etc. but I think that we need to think future possibilities too.
But that is something I was thinking recently.
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Tags: collaboration, development, tools
Categories : symbian foundation