Saturday, April 24, 2010

Green Idea

Business schools should also have environment friendly products.

Hi There,
Through this idea i want to make a point that we should inbuilt green values in student managers while they are in business schools, and not wait till they hold positions in corporate world and make green decisions.
Management education providers can gain more trust in the society by emphasizing their green efforts. Apart from competing for students by only advertising analytical rankings, they need to show they also value what society values.
The education industry is not working in isolation to the society. Thus their efforts in competing with others in the industry must evolve and be consistent with society values. They must embrace externalities for their efforts to become and to be perceived as a responsible education providers. 
So going forward, apart from parameters like - Placement, Intellectual Capital, International Linkages, Infrastructure, Industry Interface etc., they should include parameters which show their responsibility towards society as a whole. 
Some of the easy parameters can be - Energy consumption per student, College social responsibility, Renewable energy use inside campus etc.
In corporates senior management and executives are key persons for Initiating as well as driving green initiatives. Thus it becomes imperative to have these values and skills inbuilt in them right from their business school days. 
In words of responsible corporates, business schools should also have environment friendly products.

Ideas just waiting to take flight

The aviation sector was thrown into confusion by a volcano with an unpronounceable name. In six days flat, airlines suffered $1.7 billion in losses; 29% of global aviation was affected and seven million passengers were stranded, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The world needs to do better next time. Air travel must change and here’s how, say aviation experts:


Small Planes | Big jets cannot fly through ash at all but charter planes with turbo-propped engines can, to some extent. Small, piston-driven planes such as Cessnas are best if the ash isn’t too dense, says aviation consultant Captain Shakti Lumba. Here’s why. When ash gets sucked into a jet’s engine, it forms a glass coating on the turbines and stops them. It erodes the wings, covers the windshield and interferes with the electronic system. This is suicidal for jets flying at 40,000 feet and 700 km per hour.

But propellers of piston-driven planes are external, says a pilot with a charter company. Their engines behave like those of a car and their air filters eliminate dust, particles, etc. “As most fly at lower altitudes, there is less chance of being hit by an ash cloud,” the pilot says. There are other advantages of using piston-driven planes. They can land at smaller airports. However, the cost of travel rules such flights out for most people. A Milan-Dubai flight on an 11-seater would cost 50,000 euros, says Ankur Bhatia, executive director of the travel conglomerate Bird Group. Compare this to 866 euros on a scheduled flight.

Zeppelins | Imaginative businessmen could see the Zeppelin as an opportunity. These piston-driven airships operated from Germany to North America in the early 20th century. Captain Lumba says they might be one of the answers to the problem of affordable, reasonably weather-proof mass air travel. “They can carry up to 300 passengers, are cheap and green.” A test flight of a Zeppelin on July 2, 2000, travelled 3,600 km — that’s the distance from Srinagar to Kanyakumari.

The downside: They fly slower at a cruising speed of 70 km per hour.

Choppers | Ash sticks to chopper blades too but preventive action can be taken faster, says R K Tyagi, chairman and managing director of Pawan Hans. “We compress-wash the turbine blades to reduce friction and corrosion.” But helicopters can’t be a mass-transit, long-distance solution.


Radars | Wing Commander Sanjay Thapar, D-G of the Aero Club of India suggests weather radars that can identify ash. At present, radars only reveal the water content in clouds. “A dry ash cloud would not be visible,” says a jet pilot.
Planes | Could planes be developed to fly higher, on top of ash clouds?
Engines | Can engines be built to ensure ash cannot enter?


Alternative Routing | A jet pilot suggests that countries urgently work together to identify volcanic hotspots that could interfere with air routes and then open new, viable routes such as Cairo and Athens as was done this time.

Global Crisis Manager | Kapil Kaul, CEO of Asia Pacific Aviation, who is just back in Delhi after three nightmarish days in ash-grounded Europe, suggests a global crisis management group, that can disseminate information fast and coordinate with stakeholders, including bus services, cabs, rail or ferries.

Kaul had to use multiple modes of transport to travel from the Hague to Amsterdam, on to Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Doha, Dubai and finally Delhi. He says it was enormously difficult. “I stood four-five hours at railway stations just to get information, trains were so jampacked I travelled standing, Amsterdam cab drivers were charging a whopping 5,000 euros to London and airline websites and call centres gave no information.”

Single Sky | The European Commission now says the Single European Sky concept should be implemented rightaway. On May 4, this will be discussed at a Europe Transport Council meeting. Kaul says airline alliances such as Star and SkyTeam should help ensure seamless travel.

He says airspace should be kept open in emergencies and blanket closure was an over-reaction. “The US would have handled it better. Test flights by KLM and Lufthansa did not bear out this knee-jerk reaction and their results should be studied carefully.”

The IATA suggests that a crisis should mean immediate relaxation of airport slot rules and lifting restrictions on night flights. Its director-general Giovanni Bisignani says, “This crisis is an act of God — completely beyond the control of airlines. But the European Commission should find ways to ease passenger burden.”

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Smart Idea Principles (and why it works)

The difference between User Centred Design (UCD) and more ‘traditional’ product design is that, rather than asking “Is this product/service that I invented useful?”, in UCD we ask “What do we need to understand about people to find out what to design for them?”
In practice, the real difference is that doing the latter tends to satisfy a deeply held customer need thus making the product or service compelling and much, much easier to sell because the value tends to be self-evident.

Although User Centred Design originates from the spheres of product, interaction and interface design, there is, we think, absolutely no reason why the principles should not be applied successfully to the creation of business models. Particularly at the early or start-up stages of a company where it is both much easier to be agile and make strategic changes as well as being the point in a company’s life where making the right decisions is a life and death thing.
However, the one flaw with doing user centred design properly is that it takes time, effort, resources and money. While the rewards can be substantial, it is not every start-up that has the capacity to engage a team of researchers and designers to do this.
Smart Idea is UCD for start-ups were budget, time and resources are very low.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What an Idea sirjee!!

Aditya Birla Group's flagship brand Idea cellular limited has came out with innovative & interesting marketing campaigns, which focuses on social aspects of the country & have attempted to address them in very unique manner.

Idea initially started with campaign's which like all cellular brands focuses on generic & functional aspects of mobile service providers & this was not able to create a clutter in crowded & extremely competitive telecom industry. Lowe, the media house for Idea has came up with a brilliant message & 360 degree campaign with social awareness as prime focus. This will help idea to position itself as a more consumer oriented & responsible brand.

Lets understand Idea's marketing strategy.

1) Education for all

India today is undergoing a major challenges like poverty, unemployment & population which can be road blocks in its way to become global super power nation. Education is the key to address these issues. Idea has came up with unique advertisement in which an education for everyone is being shown. It should not be challenge anymore for village residents to give their kids higher educations which will make them global citizens of tomorrow & making this happen through mobile telephony.

2) For the people, by the people

Corruption in the blood of almost all Indian politicians & citizens will not make this country & its people grow. Integrity is what matters.

3) Idea Caste War Campaign

A campaign against caste war which still prevails in the rural part of India

4) Fitness's new Mantra

"Walk when you talk" Simply amazing campaign with benefits for general society & its people. I am sure many did start walking while talking. Including me :)

5) Go green

The latest in the ad world is go green campaign from Idea. I hope a day will come when we will become paperless economy.

What an Idea sir jee :)

Local entrepreneur makes a global call

The owner of an all-India virtual directory service plans to expand to every major English-speaking country in two years
In March this year, a Tamilian from Kolkata, who claims he grew up in an India that was “anti-capitalist and anti-growth”, expanded his Rs 500 crore-plus search engine business, Just Dial, to the world’s capitalist heartland, the US.
He’s not planning to merely leverage low-cost India to maximise revenues from a standard offshore back-office model. For now, Just Dial’s US operations will be handled out of India, where the company employs about 4,000 people. “We soon plan to hire up to 1,000 people in the US, mostly in under-employed, rural areas,” says 42 year-old Venkatachalam Sthanu Subra Mani.
The days to come will see Just Dial expanding to Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong to fulfil Mani’s target of being present in all major English-speaking countries in the next two years. The company also intends to leverage the brand and know-how for an international franchise.
Fourteen-year-old Just Dial is a directory service that provides information on basically any entity that has a telephone existence — restaurants, plumbing services, shopping malls, colleges and so on.
In India, Just Dial receives over 240,000 calls everyday and hosts over 200,000 visitors to its website. It caters to over 2 million users across 240 cities in the country. Its revenue model involves a nominal fee to those who list but is free to consumers.
Users need to dial a helpline number and explain to an operator what service they are looking for (this service is free in the US but customers in India need to pay for outgoing calls). Text and email alerts are then sent to users listing the four best options.
In some cases, the Just Dial executive patches through an instant call between the user and the service provider. Although this service is common to both the US and India markets, the US features have been tweaked. Americans can avail of unlimited free call connect to businesses and instant search on movies and events anywhere in America.
“The American service also has a facility that allows establishments to bid and compete with each other to offer the user the best deal. This is our way of ensuring that the customer is king,” says Mani.
Unlike in India, the US already has multiple ways of accessing business listings. So why is he entering such a competitive market? “The market in the US is more evolved and mature. In India, you may need a large sales force on the ground to get local businesses and services providers to sign up and get listed. In developed economies it is easier to accomplish this because there are middle-level players who act as aggregators,” he says.
He has also drawn up new services such as Just Dial Genie, a personal assistant that will enable consumers round-the-clock service for a monthly or annual fee. Genie will allow instant call connect to any business establishment, reminder services and the like.
The company is currently fighting a case in the Delhi High Court against Infomedia 18 Ltd, which allegedly copied and hosted Just Dial’s database, its single biggest asset. The high court has put an injunction against the site, but with the final verdict awaited, neither Mani nor his team want to comment on this dispute.
When Mani started his career in Delhi as a salesman with city-based United Database — a business directory service — he would watch people leafing through heavy books and lots of fine print to get at that one small but important piece of information. Why not offer a similar service on the phone, he thought.
“In 1994, a telephone connection costed Rs 15,000 so I could afford only three lines. I waited for a year to start the company, dreaming of numbers and millions of people using my service,” Mani recalls.
In 1996, he heard that the Kandivali Exchange in Mumbai was coming out with its 888 series. “I presented my business plan to the general manager, he liked it and the dream number of 888-8888 was mine.”
The business, which has now attracted venture capital from Hong Kong’s SAIF Partners, US-based Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital, started with borrowed furniture, rented computers and a small office where employees had to play musical chairs.
Today, Just Dial’s headquarters in Mumbai measures 20,000 square feet, and the company owns 1,25,000 square feet across India. How did he grow so quickly? By following this business philosophy: “Stay put, never give up and maintain fiscal discipline”.
Considering his early ventures involved selling a wrist watch to a relative for Rs 10 and organising a movie show with a colour television and a rented video (there were more people than tickets), Mani’s certainly proved his self-made entrepreneurial adage right.