Finding Our Centre Of Excellence

I read a post by Mitch Joel (one of my insanely awesome people) where he proposes a 7 step model to define what could be our centre of excellence. Please do read his post here.

I wanted to do this exercise and the result is as below:

  1. The Tactic: My tactic of my primary output is content, just like Mitch himself.
  2. The Format: My format is text and audio.
  3. The Frequency: This is a place where i need to improve significantly. I have committed to myself that i will create content everyday in text and at least once a week in audio.
  4. The Triangle of Attention: Here i have a slightly different take than Mitch. I don’t have three topics where i spend my attention, it is 5 – Sales, Marketing, Innovation, Leadership & Entrepreneurship. So, for me its a pentagon, rather than a triangle.
  5. The Bullseye: My bull’s eye is “Innovation”. For me, the primary focus is to find ways to bring innovation to every field of my focus to see how I can become an agent of transformation for my audience, their businesses and ultimately, their lives.
  6. The Promoter: I promote my content primarily on twitter and some specific whatsapp groups that i am a part of. Some of my content is also syndicated on other much more popular sites, so that helps as well. I know that this is not sufficiently large group of people. This is something that I am going to continue to work on, so that i can increase the impact that my thinking has on this world.
  7. The Analysis and Adjustment Bureau: I do continue to explore which of my content works. What I haven’t done, at least not as effectively as I would need to, is to understand the reasons why the content that works and why something doesn’t work. This is another area of learning for me, just from doing this exercise.

As you can see, just by going through this 7 step process, I have been able to identify at least two areas that I need to focus and improve on, so that I am able to create a unique brand for myself around my topics of interest.

I would now strongly urge each one of you reading this, to go ahead and do this exercise – for yourself and if you are a business owner or a product owner, do this for your business and the product as well. You will be surprised at the level of clarity you will have once you have gone through this exercise.

If you do go ahead and do this exercise, I would love to know if it helped. Also, if would be great if you could also leave a comment on Mitch’s blog page with the result, so he knows that his model actually helped you clearly articulate your priorities and that he is having an impact on this world, one person at a time.

Innovation – Simple and Effective

Happy Hours @ Dosa Camp

I was driving home from office yesterday when I caught a glimpse of this advertisement on a small restaurant (Lemon Rice) on St. Johns Road in Bangalore. I was so happy to see this.

This is a great example of innovation in action. Click To Tweet

This also tells us that any one who wants to can innovate.

This also tells me that small entrepreneurs who hustle can be extremely innovative. This is how they survive.

This also tells me that innovation can be as simple as applying a concept that works elsewhere and try it out in a different environment.

In this case, the owner of this small scale restaurant took the concept of happy hours that is prevalent in bars and has attempted to apply it to his business.

What can you steal from a different industry and apply in yours?



PBTO40: Transforming Observation into Innovation with Andrea Simon

Andi Simon

Who is on the Show:

In this episode, we are hosting Dr. Andrea Simon. She is the principal and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC) and the author of the upcoming book “On the Brink”.

Why is she on the show:

She is a corporate anthropologist and helps organizations, large and small, drive change by helping them rethink their strategy, customers and the culture in your own organisation.

She has won numerous Addy and Aster awards for her marketing and advertising campaigns. She is a well-published author with articles in Forbes,Business Week and numerous publications and online blogs. She is a guest blogger for FierceHealth Hospital Impact and Executive Street Blog.

What are we talking about:

She shares her insights and stories about what corporate anthropology is and how it can help organisations change their culture, build new products/services, understand their customers better and how all of this can help them drive growth. This is an insightful conversation.

She talks about and shares real life stories about how stories that we tell ourselves or our employees, the stories that we tell our customers and stories that our customers tell us and themselves, can have significant impact on our business and drive growth.

Where can you find more info about the guest:

You can find more information about Andrea here and you can read her blog Business Change Management. Her book can “On the Brink” can be found here on Amazon.

Book Review: The Digital Transformation Playbook (3.5/5)


There is a lot of talk around Digital Transformation and everyone is exploring what would Digital Transformation mean to different organisation and I have been thinking and writing about it as well.

It is in this scenario that i came across this book – The Digital Transformation Playbook, written by David Rogers and my interest was piqued and decided to spend my time reading the book.

My expectation from the book was not very high as I have read a lot about digital transformation and not much was either surprising or truly visionary. However, the book really surprised me in a very positive manner.

What is the book about:

The book is full of practical examples and frameworks that we can put in place to navigate change due to digital disruption and thrive in the new environment.

The book is written as a guide or a playbook for incumbents to navigate the changing environment and not get cobbled up or killed in the process.

I truly loved some of the examples that David uses in the book to make a point and one of the most interesting story is about Encyclopedia Britannica and how they transformed themselves from selling their books to selling online content for schools/libraries and doing that successfully. This is interesting because this same organisation is used as an example of getting disrupted by Wikipedia and celebrated as a case study for disruptive innovation.

David starts off the book by arguing that there are Five Domains of Digital Transformations:

  • Customer
  • Competition
  • Data
  • Innovation
  • Value

He shares stories in each domain that illustrate how digital can have an impact on each one of these domains and follows it up with a framework that incumbents can use to enable them to not just to survive disruption due to digital but also how can they thrive in such an environment.

Whats good about the book:

  • The book reads easy,  thereby making it easy to complete the book.
  • The format of the book, which is case study to make a point and then provide a framework to either prove a point or as a follow-up activity works for the book.

What could have been better:

  • I read the book on the Kindle app on my iPhone 6. The framework diagrams did not render at all in the device.
  • Couple of examples of the framework in use could have made this an even better book.


Overall, I think it was a very interesting read and changed the way I look at certain aspects of digital transformation. I would rate it a 3.5/5.

So, if you are looking for a some inspiration to explore how the disruption occurring due to digital transformation can impact your business and want to explore some ideas on how to address that, this book is a good place to start.

Do you have any resource/book that has an interesting take on Digital Transformation?

PS: My other book Reviews:

Hope you like them.


Invisible Problems


I just finished reading the book – Meaningful, by Bernadette Jiwa. In the book she talks about the importance of “Invisible Problems”and refers to a TED Talk delivered by Tony Fadell. I watched the talk and would recommend that all entrepreneurs should watch the talk, multiple times.Seth Godin introduces him selves as someone who notices things for a living.

If you look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs of this generation, you will notice that all of them started with a problem that all of us faced but did not see it as a potential for value creation:

  • AirBnB saw that there were people who had a need and another set of people who could fulfil the need.
  • FaceBook noticed our need to connect and stay in touch with our friends.
  • Uber noticed the frustration we feel when we are waiting for a taxi.
  • Shoes of Prey noticed the need for custom sized shoes.
  • Sheroes noticed the special needs that women have from a career perspective.
  • GoPro noticed the frustration of not having a camera that was suitable for outdoor, adventure activities.
  • Etsy noticed the frustration of artists who wanted to set shop and sell their goods online.
  • Kickstarter noticed the frustration of inventors and creators in getting funds for their projects.

The list goes on. The only thing that they did was to notice these as problems and set out to address them.

All innovation starts with noticing these invisible problems. Some call them insights.

Once you have noticed a problem that is invisible for most of us, you have an excellent starting point to create something that will resonate with us, without you having to convince us about its value.

These are the products or services that when we come across, makes us feel that they make perfect sense and make us think why no one thought of it earlier.

The question we need to ask is the following:

Is this a learned skill and if yes, how does one go about learning to notice things.

Tony already does share some suggestions on how can we go about learning this skill.

In my opinion, the single most important skill that can help us in this regard is our ability to stay curious.

  • Every time we tell someone that is how it is, we need to stop and think about the situation again. There might be an invisible problem worth solving.
  • Every time we find ourselves complaining about things, we need to stop and explore it a bit more.
  • Every time we hear some one utter the words, “this is so frustrating”, we need to stop and explore.
  • Every time we hear our child ask a question and don’t know the answer, we need to stop and explore.

It is much easier to push things downstream rather than push it upstream. Identifying and solving an invisible problem is like pushing a product or service downstream. Its easier, faster and gains momentum quickly, which is of course assuming that we have done a good job in identifying the problem well and the solution is easier, faster and simple to use.

There are other things that you can implement into the solution for spreading the idea faster.

However, the fact remains that if we get good at this, our ability to come up with great products/services increases multi-fold.

So, what invisible problem have you noticed recently?

You can watch the entire TED Talk by Tony Fadell below: