Mobile & Telecom Innovators @ mBillionth Award Summit 2011

Just few days left for mBillionth Award 2011! The international summit with the theme ‘Linking Masses with 3G’ is scheduled on July 23rd in New Delhi at Intercontinental Eros. More than 500 delegates, 200 Mobile and App Developers, Telcos like Vodafone, leading mobile phone companies like NOKIA, and VAS leaders like OnMobile and One97, along with hundreds of other stakeholders are converging to see how the mBillionth movement is spearheading the convergence of ideas around mobility to directly impact mass inclusion to development and digitally equitable world.

Delegates will get to see more than 70 live demos of mobile ideas, 50 presentations, and 20 Socially Impactful Mobile initiatives under our “Mobiles for Good” presented by Vodafone India Foundation, where we will also announce a cash prize of INR 20,00,000 and One-Year Mentoring support. See http://mbillionth.in/mobilesforgood/.

See Jurors’ profiles here. The jurors shared their experiences of the Grand Jury held in Sri Lanka on 8th and 9th June here. More details at http://mbillionth.in . For registration, go to http://mbillionth.in/benefits/online-registration/.

VENUE:

  • Royal Ball Room, Inter-Continental Eros, Nehru Place (now known as Eros Hotel – Managed by Hilton)
  • See Map

For group discounts and passes, email to amar@defindia.net.

 

mBillionth at Delhi

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Mentoring Clinics from Mentor Edge, CIIE

Mentor Edge is an initiaitive from CIIE (Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entreprenuership), which was set-up in IIM Ahemdabad and is supported by Government of Gujarat and the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

Each participating city has a dedicated “City Coordinator”  to link Start-ups with a pre-selected groups of Mentors from a variety of domains and verticals.

So far, successful events have been conducted at Ahemdabad, Bangalore & Mumbai.  Upcoming events are listed below:

Earlier this month on May 15th, Aditi Gupta (in photo below) & Vineesh Kumar launched the Delhi Chapter by organizing a meeting of Mentors at IIT Delhi.

Mentors present included:

  • Amrish Sahgal [First Left in photo below]
  • Dr. CK Taneja
  • Kris Nair
  • Rahul Agarwal
  • Rahul Verghese
  • Ravi Kikan
  • Sanjay Gupta
  • Suhail Kassim [Centre in photo below]
  • Amarendra Srivastava
Mentor Edge Meeting at Delhi
Mentor Edge Meeting at Delhi

We had a good discussion on the ‘screening’ process for entrepreneurs: basic policy is “no rejections” but due diligence is taken in terms of helping applicant entrepreneurs to be well-prepared.

There was a longer discussion on ‘criteria & process’  to ‘match’ entrepreneurs & mentors. Ravi Kikan with a ‘backing’ of about 50,000 members in his Linkedin Group ‘Startup Specialists’ was keen to make it more democratic for entrepreneurs. The debate was too long to reproduce here. Suffice it to say that this initiative is from Mentors to empower entrepreneurs and facilitate an access to world class mentoring, long-term partnerships and ‘timely’ funds.

Last Day for applying for Delhi Clinic is June 5 2010. Apply Here: http://mentoredge.com/mentee/for-mentees.

Miracles and Wisdom from TEDxPilani

TEDxPilani Speakers
TEDxPilani Speakers

Rahul Anand visited TEDxPilani on March 13, 2010 and got a first-hand taste of an electrifying TEDx event. He shares his experiences:

TedXPilani was the first time I visited a TED event and it was truly a phenomenal experience.

First up was Dr. K.N.Ganeshaiah who demonstrated the relation between mythology and science and how mythology is helping in some spheres to understand the science behind it. He cited the case of ‘Sanjeevani’ herb, which is described in Ramayana as a miracle drug and scientists have now found a similar drug that could possibly have some characteristics of it .

Harish Sivaramakrishnan gave a fresh perspective on the user interface, and how it is an important and integral part of the entire user experience. He had some really innovative examples for it; user interface is actually the most overlooked part in application development. Humanize, Beautify, Personalize, Co-Create, Simplify were the central points of his presentation.

Kartick Satyanarayan gave an account of the situation of bears in our country and how Wildlife SOS freed them from the clutches of the kalandar community and also gave the people a new lease of livelihood, and utilized their love for the animals and natural hunting skills for a good cause. Wildlife SOS also sends 600 children of the community to schools giving the biggest gift that one possible can – education.

Vishal Talreja, co- founder of Dream-a-Dream, gave a fantastic speech on life, connecting the dots and about the great work Dream-a-Dream is doing in transformation the lives of young kids, who are alienated by our society. He laid emphasis on being sensitive to our surroundings: if you see a hungry child near your home or office, feed him, do your bit. If everyone does his/her bit, then this world would be a better place to live. Otherwise, all the talk about development does not really hold ground.

Cleo Paskal talked about the grave environment dangers we are facing – issues like whole islands getting submerged in sea, which we might face in the near future.

Nitin Gokhale oulined the possible dangers the country is facing from Naxalism to Economic Disparity.

Rahul Roushan, in his hilarious manner, outlined the difference between Breaking News and Faking news and how some channels are competing with News Channels when all they show is nothing more than Tabloid Journalism.

And at the end, Nakul Shenoy did his mind reading act which was quite fascinating.

Rahul Anand

Rahul Anand is a writer and entrepreneur, always looking for new challenges. He co-founded  simplypoet.com – world’s first multi lingual poetry portal. Currently, he is an Innovation Associate with Source For Change, a rural BPO in Rajasthan. Also, he is part of  TheBetterIndia. com.

Ideas Worth Spreading from TEDxGurgaon

Speakers at TEDxGurgaon
Speakers at TEDxGurgaon

After TEDIndia (held in November 2009 in Mysore), TED enthusiasts are showing up in various parts of India – a partial list is here: TEDxAhmedabad, TEDxBaroda, TEDxBengaluru, TEDxChennai, TEDxKonkan, TEDxMumbai, TEDxPilani, TEDxPune, TEDxShekhavati (see more here).

This list, at best, is a good start because the awareness about TED is still “poor”, to put it mildly. Many people who registered for TEDxGurgaon (held on Saturday, 27 February 2010 at Epicentre, Gurgaon), did not turn up (without communicating about their absence) and some attendees did not know about TED.

So, the task is cut out for us!  Let us do our “two bits” in helping spread TED, a non-profit organization “devoted to giving millions of knowledge-seekers around the globe direct access to the world’s greatest thinkers and teachers”. TED’s mission states:

Our mission: Spreading ideas.

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.

So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

To know how you could help, read here.

TEDx is a program that enables local communities to organize, design and host their own independent TED-like events. These events are expected to mirror TED and the local organizers are advised to be “cross-disciplinary, focused on the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world”.

TEDx guidelines include playing a minimum of two TEDTalks videos – TEDxGurgaon played many more than that – including Karen Armstrong, Bill Gates, Jamie Oliver and Kiran Sethi. The first of these was an introductory video by Chris Anderson. He talks about his life, career and future of TED (including happiness). Here is an excerpt:

And I discovered that while I’d been busy playing business games, there’d been this incredible revolution in so many areas of interest — cosmology, to psychology, to evolutionary psychology, to anthropology, to — you know, all this stuff had changed. And the way in which you could think about us as a species, and us as a planet had just changed so much, and it was incredibly exciting.

Live speakers are typically allowed 18 minutes. Here is a quick summary on conversations and provocations initiated by Live Speakers.

Kishore Bhargava started off with a talk on Photography (especially, how geeks view/pursue it)- running us through its history from 4 BC to 2009 when Kodak stopped production of its Kodachrome color film. He shared about some latest trends in photography including HDR – High Dynamic Range photography. 

Kishore talked about the impact of using multiple frames per second and illustrated the same with two stunning visuals – one that of snake bite and a needle prick on a water balloon. During the QA session, he shared how the bird feeders at his home attract 32 species of birds directly to his home in Gurgaon.

If you are a photography enthusiast, you might want to view some of the TED Videos (87 on last count) on photography.

Prayas Abhinav shocked many in the audience with his advice to “Get Lost”. The fastest way to so (in life), he says, is to disconnect : simply stop calling back people and stop responding to emails. He warned us that routine interactions are loaded with ‘directional vehicles’, which subtly compel you towards ‘pre-determined’ directions. There is a “pressure “of always having to “add value” and “be of use” to something or someone.

One of his creations is “Bhatka Bhatka” – a pair of shoes (using GPS, java code, LED and vibrator) which blink RED in a known location and the vibration intensity increases as you get nearer to a known location. This helps in discovering new and unknown places in the city. He recommends “Drifting” in this age of information glut and these shoes help people “get lost” and discover new and unknown places in the city.

Chatting with him during the break revealed deeper implications. If you can ‘Get Lost’ from external noise & expectations, you have a chance to connect to your truest self and the subsequent ‘discoveries’ and ‘creations” are likely be invaluable (especially for you, and, often for society as well!).

Prayas calls it ‘The Liberation Zone’!

Over coffee, he suggested creating a workshop for Idea (re-)formation & shaping- especially for entrepreneurs with long tail product ideas.

Osama Manzar shared his life journey – starting with the ‘confusion’ with his name ‘Osama’, his education in a Madarsa (reading Qur’an multiple times without understanding a word) and his career in journalism (Computerword, Hindustan Times). Next, came the success story with his software company called 4Cplus, which he quit in 2002 (sold his options) to start “Digital Empowerment Foundation” (DEF).

DEF works towards taking ICT to rural areas across all languages. He has some powerful ideas on creating a “Bottom Up” revolution in India. This includes a movement to publish a few hundred thousand portals online for village panchayats, MLAs and MPs.

Here is a powerpoint presentation on DEF’s vision and programs.

Atul Chitnis initiated a provocative talk on ‘Online Communities-beyond social networking’ – he observed that Social networking sites like Facebook,  Orkut and Buzz (Except Twitter) are NOT online communities. Most of the interactions on those sites are superficial and ‘Real’ (read meaningful) conversations are lost. This caused a flutter in the audience and a few attempted to defend the social networking sites as an access tool for the masses. 

It seems there are two problems:

  • The apparent social ‘malaise’  – inane and vacuous ‘social interactions’ (and commercialization – once you are categorized, marketers start hounding you)
  • A technological challenge – preserving meaningful conversations and a mechanism to easily search them. Despite hashtags and twitter archiving tools, this clearly is a big challenge. [Read this Twitter Nostalgia – “a good business opportunity”]

Mark Parkinson, Director of the “Best day school in India”,  talked about revamping the education system in India – a long list of proposals and actions items. In a break, we discussed his attempts to implement his vision in other schools and the bureaucratic/societal hurdles he faced. While answering a question, he observed that Life is play and why can’t all studies be fun! It would be a real revolution to have more and schools adopt this philosophy!

Aparna Wilder  shared about her latest project under globalrickshaw (they make short-films to spread awareness about social issues).  Her latest videos follow teenage girls as part of an almost year long program aimed at empowering them with life skills education and sports.

The last talk was  by Abhijit Bhaduri, author of two bestselling novels with MBA acronym – Mediocre But Arrogant and Married But Available. His talk was on ‘What makes you happy’. His proposed three ‘different’ elements – Joy, contentment and happiness. His conclusion: True happiness comes from finding meaning and helping others find their ‘personal significance’.  He referred to Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” and the famous words from Nietzsche:

“He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.”

During QA session, he warned against “temporary” joy and contentment – for example, he classified money as a ‘hygiene’ factor’ (taking cue from Frederick Herzberg’s theory).

Want MORE happiness? See some of the TED Videos (132 on last count) on happiness!

May you have all the happiness (don’t miss Chris Anderson’s video) in the world!

Long Live TED!

May TEDx events multiply exponentially all over the world!

Amarendra Srivastava

Samsung Techonology@Home: Story of a Brand

Kishore Bhargava
Kishore Bhargava

Event: Samsung India (LED and LCD TV) organized a unique workshop on future technology & aesthetics – Technology@Home. Date: Saturday, Jan 09, 2010. Location: Chocó La in Khan Market, New Delhi.

I remember a German colleague being amused on seeing a lubricant being sold with the byline “superior German technology”  at a petrol pump in Delhi! Whenever we see a label like “Made in German” or “Made in China” immediately our mind throws up stereotypes! So, what is YOUR image about the Brand “Korea” and more specifically “Samsung”? Any pre-conceived notions? Do send in your comments!

There has been a pereception about Koreans being clutter-oriented and going for overkill in design.

But, my experience has been different. If fact, there is an interesting 500 year old story on how Koreans designed their own alphabet to carve a unique identity (Branding Strategy?) seperate from Chinese (and later with Japanese).

In 1414, Sejong the Great initiated a project to create the unique Korean Script (till then they were using Chinese characters with special symbols). It took about 2 years to design the script, but the resulting system is a LESSON in simplicty.  The script, now  known as Hangul (or Hangeul or Hankul), has been variously applauded as “remarkable,” “the most perfect phonetic system devised,” and “brilliant, so deliberately does it fit the language like a glove”.

For example, visually, Hangul scripts starts off with ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ- How simpler can you get!  There are other interesting elements like shapes of consonants matching shape of the mouth when you make the sound! (A personal tidbit: I enjoyed learning the Korean alphabet when I was associated with QuarkXpress Korean team in India – but, no comments in Korean language please, that was long ago!).

Fast forward to the last decade when Samsung was a low-end consumer electronics company and they decided to accelerate up the “Value-Chain” and give “Samsung TV” a central role in overall Branding strategy. As Businessweek reported:

Most people carry their mobile phones with them everywhere, while their TV is the center of the family room. “We wanted the brand in users’ presence 24/7,” says Peter Weedfald, head of Samsung’s North American marketing and consumer electronics unit.

Jez Frampton shares how the Samsung mamagement transformed their “attitude, behavior, and business strategy” by making brand value a key performance indicator (KPI) for its top executives:

It (KPI) enabled the team to focus on the activities, messages, and business areas (not to mention a focus on design and experience) – all of which we knew would lead to the greatest increase in brand value. This affects budget-setting, allocation and, of course, provides a simple metric for success: “Did we create brand value?”

History reveals that this was a clever move. Samsung witnessed a significant increase in both brand and shareholder value. They soon outgrew Sony, the original challenge that Samsung’s executives had set for themselves before the KPI program was initiated.

Interbrand, the international Brand Consultancy, has played a role in this process as they have helped Samsung raise its brand value to US $16.8 billion. Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2009 lists Samsung at 19th position (up 2 from 21), but a 1% dip in overall Brand value.

So, what are some of the Branding lessons here? Let us list a few:

  • First, send a clear and consistent message INTERNALLY across all teams
  • Second, have a long-term branding building strategy – you cannot keep shuffling on short-term trends
  • Third, sweat the small stuff – if “innovation” is your brand recall message then you need put in more effort in research than anyone else

Coming to Chocó La event, Technology consultant & Open Source Wizard Kishore Bhargava gave a captivating presentation on how one can create a centralized set-up to integrate all your Audio-Visual needs at home – movies, music, images and games.

Next, Interior Designer and columnist Rekha Nambiar  gave a fluent talk on the challenges of the Indian Home (“loose wiring”, et al) with some handy tips on lighting & acoustics.

Later, Abhishek Rajan, Senior Product Executive and Prateek Seal, Senior Manager, Marketing, shared interesting facts and stories about LCD & LED technology (including how salesmen of some brands make you feel the “Liquid” in an LCD to indicate better quality!).

The event was organized by Blogworks: Rajesh Lalwani, Rajika Talwar, Manpreet, Amita and everyone else did a nice job in making eveyone comfortable and ensure good participation.

Disclosure: Received this Twitter T-Shirt like everyone else present. But, did NOT receive the LCD TV which was bagged by Hardik in a quiz contest:-))

Twitter Shirt for @amarsrivastava
Twitter Shirt for @amarsrivastava

UR4Z82VA4C7F

Intellectual Property and its relevance to SMEs

Dr. Ashok M. Adur's Intellectual Property Illustration
Dr. Ashok M. Adur's Intellectual Property Illustration

Most medium and small scale companies in India do not leverage intellectual property as a strategic tool to accelerate their commercial success. For example, when you have an idea for a business that is unique, that has a value proposition, you have some intellectual capital. How do you derive value from it?

Intellectual capital is not just about filing patents. It is the aggregate intellectual material knowledge, information, intellectual property, experience that can be put to use strategically to create wealth in a company.

However, it is rare that an SME owner would have access to in-house IP expertise. One way out is to hire right consultants. This could be critical for your business if you wish to grow over a longer time horizon with a sustained competitive advantage.

What could be the benefits of hiring the right consultant to guide your growth and maximize the value of your intellectual property? We list a few benefits here:

  • Dramatically Enhance Value, Competitiveness and Market Share
  • Assessment and Transfer of  Technology
  • Product Development for Various Specialized Applications in Many Diverse Industries
  • Market Research, Competitive Analysis, Business Development and Worldwide Marketing
  • Material Selection, Formulations and Product Development for Optimization of Performance, Cost and Processibility
  • Accelerating Projects from Conception to Innovation to Patenting to Commercialization and Product Introduction
  • Productivity Improvement, Scale-up, Cost Reduction, Quality Improvement, Quality Control and Quality Assurance
  • Strategic Direction and Planning and P/L Turnaround
  • Patents and Licensing – Legally Getting Around Existing Patents
  • Trouble-Shooting and Technical Service
  • Helping You to “Go Green” by Utilizing Recycled and Bio-derived Materials and Using Recycle Materials for Value-Added Applications
  • Other Business and  Technical Areas in Plastics, Polymers, Composites and Packaging

 In subsequent posts I shall provide more insights on how to do so.

Author: Ashok M. Adur, Ph.D. in Polymer Science & Engineering

  • Innovations Consultant; Product, Business & Strategy Development; Optimization of IP, Cost & Resources.
  • Consulting Experience since 1992.
  • Published 13 papers in professional journals and presented over 45 papers at regional, national and international professional conferences. Also moderated and organized some conferences.
  • Listed in “Who’s Who in Plastics” and “International Who’s Who of Entrepreneurs”.
  • Developed several new proprietary inventions, over 66 patents applied, 26 granted so far, resulting in commercializing numerous value-added products to meet specific customer needs and in new annual business of over $1 billion.

Franchise India– Entrepreneurship Summit 2009– F & B

Franchise 2009 Food, Beverage and Hospitality
Franchise 2009 Food, Beverage and Hospitality

Thursday, November 26, 2009. Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi. Day 1 of Franchise India 2009. Continued from Franchise India – Entrepreneurship Summit 2009 – Specialty Retail.

Another interesting session was “Business Opportunities in Food & Beverage Sector”. The speakers were:

  • Mahmood Khan, Hospitality Expert Virginia Tech, USA
  • Pavan Gandhok, CEO, Litebite Foods
  • Gary Moore, MD,The Pizza Co., Thailand
  • Rakhee Nagpal, MD & Chairperson of DVS (Moderator)
  • Luis Daniel, General Manager, KRR International
  • Ankur Sharma, General Manager Business Development , Yo China

Mahmood Khan shared how more than 200 fast food franchise brands have been in developed in USA – a critical factor being ubiquitous Highways (necessitating “quick bites”). He claimed that F&B is a recession-proof business because people will NOT stop eating. His another observation was that today’s customer does not have patience. Technology plays a big role in dealing with customer’s “instant needs”. So, you need to know “real needs of the customer” and continually watch “where the technology is going”.

Pavan Gandhok, CEO, Litebite Foods, opined that the challenge is to present local cuisines in an interesting manner – these items (like vada paav, paav bhaaji, samosa) account for 70-80% of the market and whosoever cracks this code is likely to make lot of money.

Gary Moore, MD, The Pizza Co., was excited about India and said that India is the biggest potential market we have seen in a long time. He emphasized on having “systems in place”. He said, “Brand is a promise of consistency” and successful entrepreneurs achieve that by engineering opportunities for the long-term. Apart from adequate capital, an entrepreneur needs to ask him/herself:

  • What have I developed?
  • What have I grown?
  • What is my passion?

Luis Daniel, General Manager, KRR International, (who started his career as a McDonald crew 25 years ago) shared that after about 3-5 years when operational systems of a business have been set (facilitating smooth expansion), an entrepreneur can “work less and make more”.

Ankur Sharma, General Manager Business Development , Yo China shared that capital needs of a franchise business range from Rs. 3 lakhs to Rs. 1.5 crores. At the smallest level, Kiosk models can yield 100% ROI in one year. A full-fledged restaurant model  can yield 30-35% ROI in one year.

franchise restaurant services market size
franchise restaurant services market size

Empowering Entrepreneurs in India