The Intern Diaries

First day at Ideafarms

Walking in, I am greeted by a drum roll: bright-eyed and bushy-tailed fellow intern Eeshta’s welcome to the new kid. I like it already.

First off, I am walked through the ground rules by the lovely HR director, Anuja, revealing some telling facts about the atmosphere of the company I had just joined. Number 4, no yelling or speaking in a rude voice; Number 2, no calling anyone “sir” or “ma’am”; first names would suffice. Number 7 was the most interesting, however, specifically delineating that everyone was approachable, and that one could go up to any other employee at the company to ask questions and request information. Already, 25 minutes in, Ideafarms is blowing my expectations of rigid, overly structured, hierarchical experience out of the water.

Next, I am immediately thrust into helping with a pitch for a new app, quickly going over the idea and seeing firsthand how Ideafarms brainstorms. Despite the good humour and familiarity pervading the atmosphere, employees know when to get serious and are impressively quick and efficient when there is a task at hand. I watched the team put together a competent, well-organized presentation, even offering some input which they used while talking about the app. I observed the bosses’ feedback with great interest straight after the pitch – they astutely highlighted the main issues in an even, businesslike manner and helped guide the team towards making a better product.

Lunchtime, though, was the highlight of the day. It is a time for everyone to get together around the lunch table, where no work is allowed, allowing for absorbing discussions about politics, current events, and our favourite TV shows to spring up. On the first day alone I gleaned more about the current state of the city than I had from newspapers in the past week, with everyone contributing information and experiences. Thankfully there were no Game of Thrones spoilers! It was great to see how well everyone got along, and I am already excited for the homemade cake, Nirati, one of the other interns, has promised to bring tomorrow.

Going home at the end of the day, accompanied by a leaving drum roll from the one and only Eeshta, there is only one thought in my head: I think I’m going to like it here.

Shaina doodling away!
Shaina doodling away!

written by Shaina Verma.

We will not forget – Happy New Year 2013

The year 2012 ended on a sober note for all Indians. Looked at another way, it brings hope for change. As the decade enters its teens, our New Year Greeting urges everybody to keep the youthful passion and energy alive to bring about a meaningful change for the future.

A very Happy New Year to you!

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Social Apps

Quick! A show of hands to see how many of you thought this was yet another post about yet another Social Media app? All of you?! Thought as much. Unfortunately, even a search on Google for “Social Apps” reveals a lot of Social Media apps and not any that matched our understanding of the term – Apps that can help / provide enablement to help with Social Causes.

The idea came to our CEO, Sunil Malhotra while watching the Satyamev Jayate episodes – Why isn’t anyone thinking of mobile solutions for the social sector?

Which obviously led to the question – Is someone thinking about Mobile solutions that can help?

Why Mobile?

Mobile phones are becoming the common man’s computer – available with all of us wherever we go and keeping us always connected – could they be used to empower the Social sector?

What is it about mobility solutions that make them perfect tools to become a vehicle of aid?

1. Their pervasiveness – in developing countries like India basic feature phones have managed to reach even into the rural areas.

A glimpse at the mobile market in India. (source: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/india-cellular-market-booms-but-not-for-operators/125678-11.html)

2. It’s a personal device and available with us wherever we go. In an emergency we naturally reach for our phones.

3. Simplicity of use – “ stripped of complex menus and navigation and even your kids have figured out how to use your phone better than you.

And just the basic fact that mobile solutions and smart phones have triggered everybody’s imagination and resulted in brilliant innovative ideas that touch every aspect of our life.

Let’s see some examples …

Close at the heels of the Satyamev Jayate episodes was the very unfortunate incident of the Guwahati molestation case. There was huge outrage and a lot of people expressed their anger and frustration, some through blog posts. Amidst all the outrage it was quite pleasant to see there was a sane voice of a young software engineer Shantanu (goes by @tantanoo on twitter) who wrote this post http://tantanoo.com/random-rants/2012/07/aftermath/ . In this post he explores ideas about how technology could come to the rescue in such situations. What stood out for me is that he peeks outside the proverbial box, into other boxes and draws parallels from the likes of natural defense mechanisms in the animal kingdom, from ongoing research in the Department of Defense and other apps developed across the globe (apparently there are quite a few of them out there!).

For example he talks about how maybe on the trigger of a button, the phone could shriek out loudly on your behalf (because let’s admit it, in most situations when we are caught off guard, though we do believe we need to raise our voice, we are not able to) or emit a smell so offensive (like a skunk does when its attacked) that the attacker is stunned. Do go through his post. Highly recommended.

It’s also heartening to see that someone has already made the first move in India. An Indian non-profit organization WhyPoll has launched a smart app called “Fight Back” which can help women fight sexual assault. The app lets women immediately alert friends and family if they feel threatened via SMS, email or facebook and they can in turn reach out to help or alert police who make help available faster. Similar apps are available and functional outside India too but its good to see someone make a move in the positive direction in our country too. The app and service I believe is currently available in Delhi and NCR only. Maybe a little more concerted effort is needed even from our authorities to recognize the value of such an initiative and roll it out country-wide.

First Smart App from India to help women reach out for help in case of a threat.

There were many such issues raised by the team of Satyamev Jayate – that are close to all of our hearts and we all feel something should be done about it. I am sure there are many ways in which technology and design thinking can come together in crafting effective solutions to address these malice. Much like pointed out in Shantanu’s post, a little out-of-the-box thinking is required, taking into account real-life scenarios and borrowing ideas from the life around us.  We would love to hear from you if you have any such interesting ideas or know of any Smart App ideas that have been / are being implemented in the Social sector. The iron is hot thanks to efforts like Satyamev Jayate. Let’s not let the fire die down!

Also Read:

Award Winning Case Studies @ Cannes Lions 2012

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a global event held annually at Cannes, France. It took place from 17 to 23 June this year. The festival showcased some fantastic ideas and work from several creative professionals around the globe. We bring you some of the best work in interactive, digital, design and smart technology space that we found really interesting.

 

Augmented Mobile Experience

1. A Shadow QR code, that works using the sunlight’s shadow to give people a unique lunch shopping experience. This campaign won the Direct Lions Gold Award.

httpv://youtu.be/EvIJfUySmY0

2. BAND-AID Magic Vision: Featuring the Muppets, a mobile AR experience that turns any ordinary BAND-AID Brand adhesive Muppets bandage or box into a stage for interactive entertainment so that kids forget the pain and enjoy. This campaign won the Mobile Lions Gold Award.

httpv://youtu.be/FE2I6G2_ogk

3. An augmented reality (AR) app created to help find the best students while giving them a taste of what life is like as a Medical Officer. This campaign won the Direct Lions Gold Award.

httpv://youtu.be/oUNm_n61maU

 

Innovative use of Technology

4. An annual report that could only be read under sunlight. Crafted by mixing right ratio of the photochromatic colours, in order to render the report all white under artificial light. This campaign won the Design Lions Grand Prix Award.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cahedLjFSmw

5. VIP experience for loyal customers of Red Tomato, by giving them fridge magnets in which with a press of a button, it would automatically place an order for their favorite pizza. This campaign won the Mobile Lions Gold Award.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFji6MbyxOI

Innovative Technology for mobile

6. Google partnered with Coca-Cola to create a mobile app that lets you gift a Coke can through a special vending machine anywhere across the globe to a stranger. This project won the First Cannes Mobile Grand Prix.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45Z-GevoYB8&feature=player_embedded


Ideas that can make a difference

7. Catching people while they’re already bleeding, by putting a simple marrow registry kit into a box of over-the-counter bandages, and turning an everyday act into a chance to save a life. This campaign won the Grand Prix for Good Lions Award.

httpv://youtu.be/ZG8NxjlyUxU

8. Minus One is a simple, one-step initiative to save fast-disappearing forests. A green initiative by Samsung Printers. This project won the Media Lions Silver Award.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KThJoYt4ml8

9. American Express created Small Business Saturday, a new shopping day right after Black Friday, to help small businesses get more customers. This campaign won the Direct Lions Grand Prix Award.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIYHjs1vEAo

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Jugaadonomix – The real picture

Jugaad popularly referred to as ‘frugal-innovation’ has become quite a buzz-word. Borrowed from Indian colloquial for “a quick fix”, Jugaad is being touted world-wide as the “frugal and flexible approach to innovation”. HBR defines Jugaad as …

…” a Hindi word that loosely translates as “the gutsy art of overcoming harsh constraints by improvising an effective solution using limited resources.” Jugaad is an antidote to the complexity of India: a country of mind-blogging diversity; pervasive scarcity of all kinds; and exploding interconnectivity.

Which according to us is not quite the complete definition. Hailing from the land where this word originated and seeing it in play all around us, on a daily basis, for so many years, we do believe we understand the essence of the term and hope this post will help communicate it. You see a “quick-fix” is just that – a “quick-fix”. Sure it applies innovative thinking – a brilliant spark of inspiration that can help you overcome a problem and find a solution – but one that will hold just long enough till you can find a permanent solution to the problem. Or maybe even in situations where you don’t actually need a permanent solution.

Jugaad can be thought of as a survival tactic. It is sometimes even equated with street-smartness. It could be a safety pin to hold together a rip in your shirt, old gift-wrapper paper kept to be reused, a tape to fix a broken pair of spectacles. Does it work? Sure. Is it safe? Is it sustainable.

In the same vein, do examples like Tata Nano actually deserve to be filed under Innovation? Is it actually alright to make a car cheaper while compromising on the safety of the parts and technology used?

Here are a few pictures we illustrated as well as collected from our environment to depict examples of Jugaad to you. We leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions by the end of it.

A coke bottle being used a water sprayer
Broken spectacles fixed with duct tape – Safe? Sustainable?
Safety pin used to fix slippers strap – Safe?
Dipping tire in water to detect location of puncture – Hygienic? Fool Proof?
A village kid playing with his toy(tire) – Safe? Clean?
Vehicle made by mounting diesel engine on wooden cart – Safe? Sustainable?
Ladder and wooden sheet used for shade – Safe? Sustainable?
Sign board used for shelter and living – Safe?
Make shift saloon by road side
Make shift saloon by road side – Hygienic? Sustainable?
Carrying multiple jars on one bicycle
A mobile store on a bicycle using sacks as shelves – Sustainable?

Like we said, the above examples of Jugaad can be tested against measures like safety, sustainability, fulfillment of one’s desires or aspirations, to see whether Jugaad should actually qualify at the same level as Innovation. Is “good enough” enough? We welcome your comments.

Here are some more interesting reads that you might want to read:

  1. Jugaad has hurt India a lot
  2. Use Jugaad to Innovate Faster, Cheaper, Better
  3. Can ‘Jugaad’ Get to Core U.S. Problems?
  4. Frugal Innovation: Lessons from Carlos Ghosn, CEO, Renault-Nissan
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3 Point Something

 

Since the advent of smartphones and mobile applications, many enterprises are exploring ways in which they can take their business or parts of their business mobile .  We have ourselves helped organisations design concepts for how their Sales, Marketing or Field Service executives can be empowered with Smart Devices as well as Smart Collateral.

Although Mobile is the obvious way to go,  a mobile solution cannot be approached with a traditional desktop or even the web mindset. You cannot just package an existing desktop/web solution into a smaller screen and call it mobile. “Mobility is not Miniaturisation“.

Smart Devices are highly personal – so much so that a lot of companies are promoting the B.Y.O.D philosophy – they are always on, always with us, usually connected and directly addressable.

Which is why when our CEO, Mr Sunil Malhotra was requested to speak at the CII Conference on Mobile Business, he talked about “3 Point Something”  the 3 main factors – What, Why and How – any organisation should consider when they decide to go mobile.

We would love your feedback on the presentation. If you have an app idea or would even like to explore ideas on how your organisation can go mobile, get in touch with us. We have specially structured our offerings to help you Ideate, Design and Develop your Smart Apps.

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Surfing the Cloud Tom’s way

Ideafarms has had a long association with Mr Tom Koulopoulos, since the days of his book ‘Smart-Sourcing‘. When our CEO Mr Sunil Malhotra first read the book, he was pleasantly surprised as we had been living the model talked about in the book since back in 2002 – that of partnering with clients and helping them innovate on the non-core parts of their business.

Which is why it was an honor when Mr Koulopoulos shared the copy of his upcoming book ‘Cloud Surfing’ with Mr Malhotra and requested him to write a pre-release review for it.

Without much further ado, here’s announcing the launch tomorrow of Tom Koulopoulos’s next book Cloud Surfing!

Ideafarms brings you a snapshot of what to expect.

 

 

Truth in the Cloud: How transparency will keep us honest

Innovation in the Cloud: How the way we create will be redefined

Commerce in the Cloud: How we will radically change the notion of value without risk

Reputation in the Cloud: How influence is redefining the economics of business

Learning in the Cloud: How we will go about educating ten billion brains

Community in the Cloud: How we will rely on one another going forward

 

Mr Malhotra shared the review of the book on his blog. This is what he had to say about the upcoming book – Cloud Surfing.

THE FUTURE AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE. – Yogi Berra

The fact that I have the opportunity of reviewing Cloud Surfing before its launch sitting halfway across the world in India, hints at Toms having already made a round trip to the future. Everything in the future is about connections – Machine-Machine + People-Machine + People-People – that will reach from 5 billion today to a staggering 100 billion in 2020. This is likened to the number of neurons in the human brain. Whether or not this means that the world will become intelligent, one thing is certain – our past cannot inform the future of work, life and play.

Tom is a natural at storytelling and you run into pleasant sprinklings of anecdotes that stay with you throughout the book. Each chapter of Cloud Surfing is a revelation; the more I read the more curious I became. Parts of it are science fiction at its best, only it may not turn out to be fiction.

Only one question remains unanswered – “What if it rains?”.

Read the full review here …

Download excerpt of Cloud Surfing

SpicyIP follows up on Ideafarms-Continental IPR dispute

SpicyIP did a follow up post on Ideafarms-Continental IPR dispute after the recent developments at the Indo-German Bilateral talks held in Germany 9-11 May. Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Sh. Anand Sharma raised the the Ideafarms-Continental dispute during the meet and the German government has assured a just solution for the lawsuit. In their post SpicyIP also mentioned that their team members were contacted by German lawyers who also think that the judgement of the German court was violation of Ideafarms’ IP, trade and investment rights and that they are willing to fight on behalf of Ideafarms.

Let us know what are your views about IP rights violations and the recent developments of the government backing the SME sector up.

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Amaya Don’t – A tribute to all mothers. Happy Mother’s Day

Our Mother said DON’T a lot when we were growing up didn’t they? It is now when we are all grown up that we realise it was their love and that they have stood by our side no matter what. All of our mothers deserve a big hug and a tribute this mother’s day. It is with this spirit in mind that our good friends and associates Geeta & Avinash Kumar made this beautiful and touching video to celebrate the most special person in all of our lives – our Mothers .

We share this video here to wish all moms a very happy Mother’s Day.

DON’T forget to wish your mom :-)

Happy mother’s day

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