Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Growing an innovator

Parenting is probably the hardest career on the planet right now, what with so many options available and so much expert advice available at your fingertips. I would also add that since education systems are at the threshold of change and they are in a constant state of flux, much depends on the environment that parents create at home.

What is the environment that is needed to grow an innovator?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

On hiatus to publish my first novel...

I would like to apologise for the long break I have taken from my postings. I have just finished publishing my first novel on Amazon, 282 pages and available here -


Those of you who would like to preview it might do so at the same location, and you may even want to buy it for USD 3.49. I am writing the second book now, with the total number of books in the series expected to number about 10.

The series is called "The Kitrajaedon", and Book One is "Champions and Masters". The pitch for the book follows. Will be starting to write again here soon.

This story started billions of years ago when universes did not exist and cosmic forces were so concentrated they had consciousness which gave them freedom, choice and purpose.

Thus were the seeds sown for the beginnings of The Kitrajaedon tribe; Kaesh of the ever seeking Humans, Theves of the honourable Werewolves, Jaysh of the eternal Vampires, Amit of the valiant Dragons, Dar of the soul searching Elves, Nim of the life loving Fairies, Var of the spiritual Magi and Dav of the duty bound Guardians. Their stories unwind as they discover their powers and travel across the universe to determine the fate of the universe, and to discover the origins and purpose of the One Child.

Earth’s scientists initiate The Large Hadron Collider and The Human Genome Projects, revealing The God Particle and mapping the Human Genome. These trigger the arrival of the Masters, who come to earth after a cosmic wave causes a planet wide cataclysm. They test and train the eight champions before activating the champions’ true forms and powers. In their sentient space ship Avatar, the champions battle their way across the universe to fulfil their destinies to determine the fate of the multiverse.

The champions face love, betrayal, fellowship and adventure, before starting to discover their full capabilities and intertwining of their lives and purposes. Standing with them is The One. His counterpart The Anti-One, will stop at nothing to prevent the champions from uniting the multiverse and enabling the new age of The One Child.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Innovation on a full stomach

My infamous international kakis and I were sitting beside the swimming pool, awaiting the start of a supposedly sumptuous Chinese New Year buffet lunch we had been invited to. It was a pool buffet, meaning everyone in their swimming attire. Swim, frolic, eat, drink – and then repeat endlessly until the food runs out, then repeat until the drinks run out. Malaysian style that makes for hours of endless fun. Best thing is that it was right at our condominium home, so no driving required afterwards.

The hosts were being smart actually, because the sight of the male and female masses of mostly middle aged fat, pale, stretched, patchy, sunburnt and generally horrendously ugly flesh had the immediate effect of killing everyone’s appetites. Combine all of these with middle age crises and attempts to stuff all that flesh into tiny speedos and bikinis, and everyone was quickly attempting to get into an alcoholic stupor as fast as possible.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Leadership for Innovation

I absolutely do not claim to be a leader, or one who commands a workforce in ways that promote innovative behaviours. But all topics are fair game in this wide open flat world, and this topic is the one under my scope now, which means I have to write as if I know everything there is to know about it.

Top-down leaders beware. I have a say, but I have no force behind me, which makes it even easier for me to give it in a clean and dirty fashion. I also know it is easy for a non-accountable, non-responsible fellow who is not on the payroll, to talk his mouth off when there is no financial or quantifiable bottom line to meet…but heck, someone has to take responsibility to rock the organised establishments.

In simple terms, innovative leadership boils down to a single concept believed by and filtering down to, many levels of the workforce.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Instincts to Innovate

How inclined are we to innovate, especially when it involves work and brand new ways of doing things? Why not remain in our comfort zones? Maybe innovative behaviours are such a primal force that it drives us so hard, leaving us no choice but to ... well...continue being innovative regardless of how discomfiting it is.

I have grown to love my running (‘Lessons from the road’ posting) and one thing I have come to understand is that pain sometimes evokes true motivation and provokes emotional connections that come form the core of who we are. My breakthrough moments; switching from walking 8 Km to running 10 Km; increasing my 10 Km run speed from a fat speed of 5 Km/h to a semi-fat speed of 7 Km/h (and improving steadily); all these occurred when my body was at its most painful and full of aches and pains in my knees, ankle, feet, shins – every part of my legs.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The story of commercial humans

I was talking to some friends who are my regular kakis (gang) over some cups of the Malaysian Teh Tarik, or ‘Pulled Tea’, at a hawker enclave in Penang. It is a part of life here, going out is shorts and T-shirt, to have some light deep fried foods and light carbohydrate laden ‘snacks’ just before going to bed. It is good for the Malaysian constitution, and keeps us friendly to all the crazy tourists who come to Malaysia to experience the same lifestyle.

Poor, ignorant souls! At least they leave happy and satisfied.

Anyway, we were on our way to being happy for bed, when my famous badminton friend T asks, “Why are we all so focused on money? Isn’t there anything else to life?”

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Evolution & Innovation

What is it about us that most consistently, uniformly and unashamedly makes us always want more than what we have? Why does the grass always look greener, and nowadays more springy, soft and carpet-like; on the neighbour's patch of land? What is it about the human spirit that keeps us driven, determined and obsessive-compulsive about finding new and better ways to do things and to own things?

Today we shall look at this side of humans that will be the death of any and all alien races that try to conquer us (that's the tag line all movies promote) - that never say die attitude that keeps us striving higher, till we reach rarefied heights where no oxygen exists, and then we use air tanks.

It is also what drives the innovators and designers in us, and keeps us moving towards achieving the space bending drive that will qualify us to join the Galactic Federation, before we realise there is a whole galaxy and universe that is much greener and awaiting conquerors.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Game

I joined a group of friends in a game of badminton, and we sneaked into the hall very quietly, conscious of our middle aged looks and bellies amidst the fit young people there. T, the German amongst us asked why these people were all jumping so high as if they were playing volleyball, not badminton.

“In badminton, there is such a thing as a jumping smash,” says me, the delusional badminton master. “Don’t tell me you have never see a jumping smash before.”

“We Germans are very tall, we don’t need to jump and smash,” says he, smugly but I could see he had gone a few shades paler and was already starting to shed some nervous sweat.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Innovation consternation

I woke up today thinking to myself that I really should try to figure out how to explain innovation in a way that would make sense to people who do not believe. They do not believe because innovations generally look silly at first, compared to the product that is being looked at in new ways. The established product IS ESTABLISHED, so more people would be rooting for it than for some clumsy prototype that is being tested and proposed.

Many innovations are also geared towards interesting new products, not important ones. The interesting ones are sexy, makes money and brings fame, the important ones change the world, clean the environment, and get rid of world hunger and disease…who cares right? Let someone else who has already achieved fame and fortune sort the important innovations.

We want interesting.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A possible Design Thinking program

A possible Design Thinking program, for an Innovative, Competitive & Healthy workforce
(adapted from Stanford’s d.School Bootcamp Bootleg document)

Businesses have to innovate, grow, develop capabilities and human potentials, and in a way that maximises current resources and that will appeal to the human spirit of experimenting, building and creating. The key understanding is that the production worker, the middle management and the decision makers already understand the human problems and the ready-made solutions; they just need to come together in a tested methodology to make it all work in a seamless process and flow.