Tag Archives: Leadership

This semester at ID

So it’s the start of a new semester at the Institute of Design – and I finally was able to register for classes so I thought I’d give all of you a heads up on what’s going to be keeping me very busy this semester.

The first three classes are from the Institute of Design and the last three are classes towards my MBA. I do like how my classes cover different parts of user centered innovation process, from conceptualization of an idea to product pricing to leadership and management.

Product Form – The form of a product is a result of resolving technical conditions, organizing the product for use, and a means for communicating. In this course students examine what technical and social dimensions impact product form and conversely, how product form can be controlled by the designer to improve the product’s performance. Topics include the relationship between a product’s form and corporate identity, visual trends, new materials, manufacturing techniques, semantics, product architecture, ergonomics, specific industries, and others.

New Product Definition- This course introduces students to the professional and theoretical aspects of the product definition process. It covers the process of creating a new product definition in detail, the characteristics of new product definition documents and aspects of organizational structure and dynamics as they relate to developing new product definitions.

Research & Demo -Research and Demo projects are semester long consulting projects with real clients with real problems. I can’t reveal too much detail about this project since it’s still being scoped but I’ll be working with a couple of friends at ID, advising us will be Jeremy Alexis, a professor at ID and our clients are a design consultancy and a very very large aviation company.

Strategic Competitiveness – Understanding of the concept of Strategic Competitiveness (SC), with a command over powerful concepts including strategic positioning, industry clusters, the economic diamond, the corporate value chain, and the global supply chain. The student will apply the appropriate SC concepts through analysis of “real-world” situations.

Organizational behavior – Topics include individual differences in motivation, perception, culture and learning style; group and organizational dynamics; and the impact of organizational structure and culture on behavior.

Managerial economics – The behavior of firms and households and the determination of prices and resource allocation in a market economy. Topics include empirical demand, production and cost functions, monopoly, oligopoly, and pricing practices.
I’ll update this blog during the semester and let you know what I’ve been learning from these classes.

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Are the management style of Indian CEO’s stifling innovation?

At least, that’s the premise of this article published in the Harvard Business School press.

http://discussionleader.hbsp.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1365

While I agree that management culture can certainly stifle the growth of innovation from the bottom up, i disagree with his conclusion about the solution being the use of technology, namely social networking tools.

Forrester (disclaimer – I used to work at AMR Research, a competitor) is primarily a technology advisory company and as such, the recommendations are from a technology biased perspective.  That’s why Navi’s recommendation to

To facilitate innovation in this new fluid and dynamic organizational context, Indian CEOs must invest in Web 2.0-enabled employee motivation technologies like prediction marketplaces, idea management apps, and employee blogs.

falls a bit flat and sounds more like an attempt to drum up business for their advisory service. Any serious talk about innovation cannot happen through the perspective of technology alone. During my internship at Target’s Innovation Group, I was lucky to see their efforts at bringing the idea of innovation throughout the organization. They used none of the technology Navi is talking about, but they were extremely focused on making sure that their employees recognized that innovation was not just the responsibility of the single group, but rather that the group would act as facilitators in making sure all ideas were heard.

The idea is not to lead with technology when change can happen with people instead. If employees don’t feel the desire to innovate, no amount of Web 2.0 apps could help.