Project Management

Growth through Innovation…

I recently attended a two day seminar on project management, project management practitioners’ conference (PMPC 2010), organized by the local PMI body here in Bangalore. The theme was an interesting one – growth through innovation. The conference had an array of speakers from various industries, but mostly from IT and ISRO (Indian NASA).

To brief it in a phrase, I would term it as time well spent. It got me thinking on a variety on topics which had kinda evaded me for a while. Like, a factory model of work organization killing any innovative spirits that’s inside of us and the need to motivate teams to think in terms of improving the existing products and processes, rather than asking them to carry out routine activity.

In my line of work, routine activity defines everything we do. There is hardly any room for thinking outside the box. I am eager to take the things I heard of to my work. And, I hope to document it here.

Right, I heard a number of definitions for innovation. A program manager from Infosys mentioned it as something that makes your stakeholder happy and a professor mentioned it as a rightful duty of each one of us. I think a little differently on this concept. Anything that changes the quality of life even by a fraction of a second is innovation. It need not be something as big as discovery of inertia. The innovation I am talking about is categorized as incremental innovation. Other types are breakthrough and radical. I have started to believe that each one of us can contribute towards incremental innovation, and the other two quite simply meant for the Eureka moments.

I guess the next few weeks/months, I will spend time on researching innovation. If it can improve the quality of life, or the work you perform, there is nothing better than learning the art. I don’t think there is a formula for innovation, but there is certainly the environment that you can provide for ideas to germinate.

Speaking about the factory model at work, a speaker from Wipro, Ramachandra Budhihal, used the phrase, and I felt a strong connection to it. The model revolves around employees having to swipe in at a certain time (or range), and ensuring they stay in office until the mandatory hours are spent in office. Whether, there is anything to do or not. As I said, I relate to it strongly, I work in one of those companies which believes by heart that an employee who stays in office for a stipulated number of hours is bound to deliver everything that has been thrown at him. Well, I want to throw this concept out of the window, but can’t due to authority limitations.

I want to end this article by asking you to study yourself. Under what circumstances, does your right brain function? For those who are unaware of left brain-right brain, your left brain is mostly associated with analytical thinking which is good for academics and right brain does all the creative stuff. Innovation is all about creation, and hence a need for you to tickle the right side of your brain quite steadily.

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