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New Frontiers in Business Intelligence

Nari Kannan

A Systematic Approach to Creativity? It might just work!

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A systematic approach to creativity? It might just work! Doesn't that sound like an oxymoron? Alicia Arnold has me convinced, though!

Having sat in countless meetings where we were supposed to brainstorm and come up with creative solutions, I have found that groups of people wander aimlessly, finally ending up solving some other totally unrelated problem.

Doesn't happen that often? It happens more often than we think! Alicia Arnold in this book "Creatively Ever After" outlines her crisp creative process she labels Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS).

She breaks the whole proces down into Identify the Goal, Wish or Challenge, Gather Data, Clarify the Problem, Generate Ideas, Develop Solutions, and Plan for Action.

Makes a lot of sense. Alicia continues with the story of Jack and Jill (the same couple who went up the hill to fetch a pail of water) and sets the process in their quest to go up the hill and fetch a pail of water. She uses the story motif throughout the book to break the steps above into finer-grain observations and actions.

Small, but very good book indeed! Would recommend it to any individual or business to set the creative problem solving efforts on a goal-oriented path.

Reminded me of the story of the Stanford Design Institute students and baby incubators in Nepal. A group of students were sent to Nepal by the Stanford Design Institute to solve the problem of premature babies dying soon after they are born. They were sent there to solve the problem of installing more preemie-incubators in Nepalese Hospitals. How they solved the problem illustrates the efficacy of Alicia's approach.

When the students got to Nepal, they found that most women had their babies born at home and not at the hospital. So even if they had baby incubators at the hospitals, they would have been useless. So the problem was redefined to one of saving the babies where they were born rather than coming up with creative uses to get more baby incubators in the hospitals.

Now most of the women  did not have electricity in their homes, so the incubator needs to work without electricity. They solved the problem by coming up with an idea of a blanket that is like a sleeping bag but can be filled with hot water to keep the preemies warm--a simple solution that is not very expensive and solved the problem. It took off like a rocket and now they are manufacturing it in India and serving Nepal and lots of other similar countries. Focus on the goal, redefine the problem if necessary, identify all constraints and come up with a solution!

Just what Alicia teaches in her book. Small but great book to read by individuals and people in organizations.

No great thing is created suddenly - Epictetus

Nari Kannan's blog explores how new approaches to business intelligence can help organizations improve the performance of business processes--whether these processes are creative or operational, internally-focused or customer-facing, intra-departmental or across functions.

Nari Kannan

Nari Kannan started and serves as the CEO of appsparq, a Mobile Applications development company based in Louisville, KY with offices in Singapore and India. Nari has over two decades of experience in computer systems development, translating product and service strategy into meaningful technology solutions, and both people and product development. Prior to this, he has served as both Chief Technology Officer and Vice President- Engineering in six successful startups, two of which he co-founded. He has proven experience in building companies, engineering teams, and software solutions from scratch in the United States and India. Prior to this, Nari started Ajira Technologies, Inc., in Pleasanton, CA, where he served as Chief Executive Officer for more than six years. While at Ajira, Nari was instrumental in developing service process management solutions that modeled, monitored, and analyzed business processes, initially targeting the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Telecom, and Banking verticals in India, and Finance, Insurance, and Healthcare verticals in the United States. Prior to this, he served as VP-Engineering at Ensenda, an ASP for local delivery services. He also served variously as Chief Technology Officer or VP-Engineering at other Bay-Area venture funded startups such as Kadiri and Ensera. He began his career at Digital Equipment Corporation as a Senior Software Engineer. Nari has a long involvement with Customer Support and other customer facing processes. At Digital Equipment Corporation he was involved with their 1800 person customer support center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was tasked with coming up with innovative tools to help customer support people do their jobs better. He holds a U.S patent for a software invention that automatically redirected email requests for customer support to the right group by digesting the contents of the request and guessing at which software or hardware support group is best equipped to handle it. At Ensera, he led a 45 person team in developing an internet based ASP service for handling auto insurance claims, coordinating information flow between end-customers, Insurance companies, Repair shops and Parts suppliers. Ensera was acquired by Mitchell Corporation in San Diego. Nari holds a B.S. degree in Physics from Loyola College, and an M.B.A degree from the University of Madras in Madras, India. He graduated with a M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1985. Contact Information: Nari Kannan. Email: nari@appsparq.com Mobile: 925 353 0197. Website: www.appsparq.com View more .

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