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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Innovation Journal: Week Three




Week Three of my Service Innovation Management Class is all about moving to the next step in the process:  "Explore".  How do we know when to move on?  It may never really be clear, but deadlines tend to focus people around moving to the next phase.  In our case, the partner at Gravity Tank that we have been working with, Shailesh Patel, was instrumental in getting us to focus, understand what we had already accomplished and progress to the next stage.  

It is important to remember that including the end user in the both the Explore and Discover phases is paramount. The Explore phase is about getting a broad understanding and Discover is about starting to connect the dots.  It's useful to talk to the customer during the Discover phase to make sure one stays on the right track, keep the team's thinking relevant and aslo to iterate your problem solving.  Your understanding of the problem will likely evolve - so should your solution.

Our team's assigned problem is "Project Management for Facebook."  More on what we are learning in a subsequent post.

[Photo via The Woods.]

Innovation Journal: Week One


This is the first installment of my "Innovation Journal" for a class I am currently taking titled "Service Innovation Management".  For those who may have wandered onto this site, I am in the second year of my MBA at the University of Michigan (Ross).  (For those Michigan students wondering what class this is, check out BIT 678).

This class is about learning how to answer the question "What is Design Thinking?" and then learning how to answer the question "So, how do I apply it?"  Having joined the board of the Ross Design+Business Club last year, I've had a head start on these tasks.  Nonetheless, I've welcomed the opportunity to deepen my understanding and get additional opportunities to apply these techniques.

So what is design thinking?  My own definition would be:  it is about learning to think like a designer, which entails customer/user/human centric problem solving.  Before you dive in to problem solve, take a step back and ask "What is the problem?"  Sometimes the actual problem is actually very different than what it appears to be on the service...

We've partnered with Gravity Tank to get the professional scoop on how these techniques are implemented.  The class consists of breaking into student teams and applying the tools to real business problems.  Action-based learning at its finest.

So this class is called "Service Innovation Management".  What are services?  According to Wikipedia, services are intangible commodities.  In other words, services are what you pay someone to do for you.  (Think haircuts.)  In this class, we are mainly studying e-services, or technology-enabled services, like Facebook. (You don't pay for Facebook with money, but advertisers pay for the right to serve you promotions, so you get the service for free.)

The EDCI framework gives structure to class activities. Professor Nigel Melville is the course instructor and designed the EDCI model.  It stands for "Explore, Discover, Concept, Implement".  I've learned that in the design-thinking space, you're not legit unless you have your own framework for how you approach the work, so kudos to the prof for having his own!  I like it because it's simple and succinct.  (Those who study the design thinking space will notice all very similar.  Gravity Tank, IDEO, etc all have their own proprietary frameworks...)

The Explore phase is all about brainstorming.  Getting out of the box, talking to people, observing, starting to understand the space.  It can be uncomfortable because it is unknown.  However, the worst thing that can happen is not talking to enough people and missing the key insight that changes everything.

[Photo caption:  Design Thinking at the d-school, Stanford University]

Monday, July 25, 2011

In Memory of Peter Khan

This is a slide show I put together with the help of some friends in memory of former member of the Universal House of Justice Dr. Peter J. Khan, who passed away ten days ago at the age of 74. His sense of humor brightened my days in Haifa. He will be missed.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Blog hibernation

In the meantime, check me out on Twitter (posts to the right), Flickr (above) and LinkedIn.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

STOP Religious Persecution in Iran


The Bahai International Community has sent a letter to Iran's Chief Prosecutor defending the innocence of the Bahai prisoners (picture above). The Bahais were taken hostage on baseless and nonsensical charges, making it clear they have been imprisoned solely for their beliefs.

Read the story here.

If you live in the U.S., please support House Resolution 175 and Senate Resolution 71 by contacting your respective Representative / Senator. Information on how here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Global Rich List

The Global Rich List is an interesting site. Enter your annual income and see how you stack up against the rest of the world. Although most of the time I feel like I am barely scraping by, according to the web site I'm in the top 0.88%! (Wait a minute, that means 99.22% are poorer than me...)

I found the following quotes from the Bahai Writings helpful while reflecting on my place in the world:

O SON OF MAN!
Should prosperity befall thee, rejoice not, and should abasement come upon thee, grieve not, for both shall pass away and be no more.

O SON OF MAN!
Bestow My wealth upon My poor, that in heaven thou mayest draw from stores of unfading splendor and treasures of imperishable glory. But by My life! To offer up thy soul is a more glorious thing couldst thou but see with Mine eye.

(Baha'u'llah, The Hidden Words, p. 16)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tara Ellis Devotional Music

Lately this has turned into a music blog, but I've been telling everyone about this and thought I could share it here too. Check out Tara Ellis Devotional music. The tracks featuring her were always my favorite on the Justice Leeg albums and now we get a two album set of her putting the Bahai writings to music. Send me to heaven.

<a href="http://dawnbreakercollective.bandcamp.mu/album/devotions-by-tara-ellis">Introduction by Dawnbreaker Collective</a>

"We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high..."

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 38)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New P-Slim

Check out the new P-Slim, aka Trukadero. He chilled out Run-DMC's My Adidas, giving it a 21st century sound. I like it.