Category Archives: Innovation

There isn’t one great trip planner for my vacation!

A few months back I was planning my vacation and things weren’t as easy as I thought. I had figured out the destination, booked air tickets, short-listed places to see and hired a car. The challenge however was to set up a local itinerary. I had X places to cover in Y days with optimized routes so we weren’t spending all our time travelling.  This required finding exact locations & distances between them so as to figure how much could be covered in available time. I had nothing at my disposal but Google Maps & notepad.

Based on my own needs, and the way I go about planning my vacation, here are some high-level ‘market needs’:

  • Itinerary Planer: Create, visualize & execute itineraries on interactive maps & calendar
  • Vacation Content: Genuine holiday suggestions, based on demographics, with verified itineraries[
  • Marketplace: Get quotes from interested agents on my itinerary
  • Integration: Link with booking, review, customer engagement & social media platforms
Google map created for my Singapore holiday
Google map created for my Singapore holiday

Am I working on this project? Continue reading

3 reasons you should innovate all the time, even in relationships

To be very honest, I don’t see a reason why someone should stray away from innovation. Thinking ‘New’ keeps your idea muscle toned for tough challenges. But here’s 3 reasons why you should innovate all the time: not just on the professional front, but also in relationships. After all, as LinkedIn says, relationships matter.

1. Not all ideas from the past scale

Storyboard
Storyboard

There could have been some things that worked very well for you in the past. But everything changes with time, ideas get stale, and they won’t always scale to match the situation – if at all they still work. A 20 picture photo album might have made for a lovely Valentine’s day, but that does not mean that a 200-slide story board – full of pictures and promises – can save a relationship. You have to think fresh! Eat Subway if it takes that :)

2. Not all ideas click (plan for failure)

Courtesy: BrownPaperBags.org
What I tore & stitched back :(

I once had to put some things together in a paper bag (like the McDonalds carry bag – sorry can’t think outside food), and snail mail it. I had to attach a note, and trying to be creative, I decided to use the inside of the bag. So, I cut the edges of the bag to make it one long sheet of paper (kinda rotulus), wrote the message on it (in black so it would be noticed) and stitched it back with tape. Outcome? It hit the trash can – unnoticed. I failed to deliver the message. Don’t be shy of failure, the world today is chasing failure, and the Tata’s are even giving out awards for failing. But make sure you have enough alternatives to compensate for the failure, without really having to start over.
Make yourself a promise:
I will always have 5 alternate ideas or planned for 5  un-happy scenarios (what does not fall on the happy path) before executing an idea

3. Competition is catching up fast

Need I say more?


Conclusion:

Innovate or perish. Sharpen your axe. Work out your idea muscle. Have coffee, or Subway, or whatever helps you think. Do something special for that special one: be it your better half or your project/product. It’s up to you to save it!

Marginalia: If you are planning to make them coffee, remember that if you make a heart with Hershey’s on it, it will sink. Instead, try rangoli (sprinkling) with coffee powder.

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Gazelle – Paying you for used gadgets

I sometimes spend a lot of my time and blog-space publicizing (often, through criticism) other products, websites, hotels, etc. But sometimes I just want to show respect for  great ideas. And nothing excites me more than green initiatives! While going through Gopal Shenoy‘s blog on Product Management tips, I got to learn of this cool company called Gazelle he joined. Gazelle, based out of Boston, pays you for taking away used electronics which it recycles. So instead of going to landfills, you’re gadgets are erased and either re-used or sold in the secondary market. It takes a week after receiving the gadget to complete inspect it and issue the payment. What more could you be asking for with Money in one hand and carbon-credit in the other!

I got too excited and checked what I will get for my 4 year old Nokia 6600! Have a look at the disheartening result!

Gazelle will pay me $9 for Nokia 6600
Gazelle will pay me $9 for Nokia 6600

PS: No links on this page have referral commissions :)