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Archive for October, 2011

You are fired Mr. MP!

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

In the past, conducting an assembly election was a mammothtask, a logistical nightmare. So, it was a practical solution to hold electionsevery 5 years. 

This provided a level of stability to the government to take along term view on all important policy decisions without having to worry aboutthe short term impact these decisions could have on the government.

However, I think it is time for us to sit back and re-lookat the past and see if this model still works for us or should we re-look atthe term of office for these elected representatives. Some questions that areworth asking are:
  • What would happen if we change the term of office to 2 or 3 years insteadof 5? Will this affect the decisions being made?
  • What if the elected representative is not actively working for thecommunity post his election? Should the constituency suffer for 5 full years ofnegligence or should they have a right to fire the representative and call for afresh election (even mid-term)?
  • What impact will this change in terms have on the scams? Will theyincrease or decrease?
  • Is it best for us to have a combination of the ideas (5 year term for thegovernment & ability for the constituency to fire an elected candidatemid-term if he/she fails to perform his duties well?

With the technological advances, it has become much easierfor us to hold elections more often than in the past.

Would you want to fire your MP or MLA if he/she fails to do her duty as the elected representative? 
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Customer Engagement (delight) at its best

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

The facebook team of zappos.com posted on their pagethe following post:



They got about more than 300 responses to thisquestion. One of the responses was the one below: 



They selected this fan, called her and offered herto choose a watch from their collection and they will ship it to her mom forfree.

She was totally wowed!!!

The team does not stop there. They take herpermission to post their conversation as a video on their facebook page (whichshe gladly agrees to – who wouldn’t in her position ;-))



Now, there are even more people who are wowed by thevideo and here I am writing about this wonderful thing.

What works wonders because of the surprise element(they did not mention that they will give away or that this was a contest) and connected to the emotions of all their fans (who would not like a person who would rather put her mothers need ahead out her own). Thewinner was taken by surprise (pleasantly). And the entire episode happens under 18 hours. 

Wow!!!

Engagement at its best!!! 

This explains whyzappos.com customers are so so happy and loyal. 

This also explains why their employeesare so motivated and happy. 

Do you know of any other story about awesomecompanies doing some really awesome things? 

Customer Engagement – What if your customers do not engage with you?

October 13, 2011 4 comments

There is a lot being said about the customer centricorganizations and how businesses can involve customers at different stages of product/servicedevelopment.

There have organizations that have done this verysuccessfully and continue to engage with their customers. I did write about onesuch initiative that FM station RadioOne recently.

However, what happens if your customers do notparticipate in these activities? Without their active participation, the entireprogram is designed to fail. 

How does one deal with this situation?

How would you deal with such a situation? 
Categories: Ideas

Caught you!

October 12, 2011 Leave a comment

While driving to my office today morning, I saw avery common sight in Bangalore (and in any city in India). There were 3 trafficcops waiting at a busy T-junction.

Now imagine, you are in a hurry to reach your office(or wherever you are going). You see that the signal has changed form Green toYellow and you are right at the turn. You race to cross the signal before thesignal turns red.


Alas! The signal wins the race and just turns to Redat the instant you are taking the turn.

Bang! The waiting cops pounce on you and slap afine or maybe ask for a bribe (yes, this is also a form of corruption, whichwas largely ignored by the recent uprising of the Anna Hazare movement) to letyou go (which could very well be more than the official fine for the offence – btw,fine for jumping a traffic signal is 100INR).

Are these cops responsible for catching trafficviolators or to reduce traffic violation?

The way we define the responsibility could have a bigchange in their attitudes and actions.

If their responsibility was to reduce trafficviolations, they could find ways to ensure that we do not race with the lights.Instead of hiding behind the blind turn, they could wait just before the signalto ensure that no one gets a chance to violate the traffic signals. They couldthink of more ideas like the timer at each signal which indicates when the nextchange in the traffic signal is.

Let’s now think (I know it is becoming more and moredifficult now-a-days to do this but let’s give it a try)!

How many of us know of a manager who do exactly thesame – wait for us to commit a mistake and they are all over us reprimanding andtaking us to task.

Do you think it would be much better if these samemanagers could find time to coach us and help us wade through our work withoutcommitting some of the common mistakes and when we do make mistakes, instead ofreprimanding us, they could help us learn from the mistake and move on in life?

Life @ work would be so much more rewarding.

Now, what happens if the manager went one stepforward! In addition to the coaching, he waits for us to do something well andpounces on every such opportunity to praises us for the job/task well done.

Life @ work would be so engaging !! 

So, lets start catching someone doing something right!!

Caught you – Reading this fantastic blog!!! Well Done!!! 😉

Categories: Ideas Tags: ,

Death of the Car Audio Systems

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

After a lot of deliberation, I recently bought aSkoda Fabia for myself. As part of the negotiation, the dealer offered to providea Sony Car audio system for free (along with a few other goodies). I was happy withthe deal I got.

When I was driving back home, I thought that therewas no need for a car audio system, if it was possible for me to connect myphone to the in-built speaker systems that is a standard fitting for the modelI bought. My mobile has all the songs that I like along with an FM/AM radio tuner.

So, for all practical purposes, if I had a 3.5mm whichcould connect my phone to the in-built speakers, Id did not need the car audiosystem at all.

This could save some cost & effort (avoid another device/medium) for me(consumer), space in the interiors of the car which designers could use for abetter purpose.

I had recently written about the disruptive power of the mobile phone and how it has the potential to disrupt photocopiers, scanners & TV. This is another product category that could be threatened by the power of the mobile phone. 

Innovation – Re-birth of a paint can?

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Have you ever wondered why paint containers (infact, most containers) are cylindrical in shape? Why not any other shape? Is itbecause cylindrical shape has advantages over other shapes or is it because oftradition (this is how it has been done for centuries)?

When I thought about it, I did what people usuallydo now-a-days – Googled it. I found some very interesting stories and designs:
  • A see-through container made using PET. Moreinformation on the same here.This helps customers to see the color even before buying it, thereby making thepaint selection process easier, fun and results in a higher customersatisfaction.
  • A square container with a unique twist and pourmechanism by Dutch Boy Paints. More information on this design here.
  • A unique 1-2-Paint, a paint bucket with aninnovative lid that serves as a paint tray to dry the extra paint from thebrush before using it to paint. This was designed at the Dutch-based designoffice of FLEX and refinedin close cooperation with AKZO NOBEL COATINGS. They also received a patent for this design.More information on this design here.

These stories go on to prove that innovation neednot be limited to the product development team. It can permeate to all aspectsof your products including the packaging and distribution.

These striking designs transform a paint containerfrom a commodity to an item worth collecting.

Innovative designs can also emerge out of combiningdifferent ideas. For example, when you combine these container ideas, you get:
  • A see through container, which is square in shape andcomes with a paint tray to dry your paint before application.

Hope the paint companies in India (Asian Paints, Nerolac, Berger, Dulux,etc) are listening and would do some work to transform their product packaging. 
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , ,

What more can RadioOne do?

October 10, 2011 Leave a comment

I wrote about the great campaign that Radio Oneexecuted recently to re-define their playlist by creating a user driven musicpanel. They are also engaging other users (via contests) to validate the new playlist byoffering a 1000INR gift voucher or cash prize for listeners who are able tocorrectly predict the song which did not make it to the playlist.

Now, Radio one has an opportunity to take theircustomer engagement to the next level. Instead of just offering cash rewards(or equivalent), they should also start offering social currency to all theirlisteners.

Let me explain:

Radio One currently has a Facebook fan group, wherelisteners can follow and participate in moderated discussions. Radio One couldalso offer social currency (points) to all the winners of the contests inaddition to the regular prizes. 

Listeners can accumulate these points to attaindifferent ribbon/badge/levels.

In order to participate, the listeners will need to jointhe facebook group and mention their winner code (a code that could be given toall the winners) to claim the points.

Radio one can then offer great experiences for alllisteners who achieve different levels. Some interesting ideas could be
  • Opportunity to host an episode of a popular showwith an existing RJ.
  • Meeting celebrities who are hosted at the Radiostation
  • Hosting a party for all winners @ a specific level.

This can also be extended to all the participants on Facebook who are actively participating in the online discussions & contestsas well.

In my opinion, something like this can take the userengagement to a completely different level. This will also help them increase the fans on their Facebook page

Hope someone at Radio one is listening!!