Saturday, February 16, 2013

Story of Gandhi’s 1920 Charkha challenge: A critical look

Vinoba Bhave carried an experiment for a year in 1916 in Nalwadi, Wardha to check the earning productivity of charkha spinning1. He concluded that the maximum earning per day of a person cannot be more than two annas. Gandhi realized that this had to be significantly more. Hence, he announced an open challenge to design an improved charkha in 1920. How was the response to this challenge? What kind of ideas came? What was the outcome? To study this, I spent some time going through the Young India issues of 1920 at the archive section of Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad last July. In this article I will summarize the story first and then review the process of managing the challenge based on the 4 parameters Prof. Karl Ulrich of Wharton School has articulated in the book “Innovation tournament”.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

4 choices in the design of an innovation campaign

Whether it is the Charkha challenge of Gandhi in 1920s or the Ansari X-Prize challenge of 1990s related to spacecraft development, innovation campaigns have played big role in fostering innovation. What kinds of choices are involved in designing an innovation campaign? Prof. Christian Terwiesch and Prof. Karl Ulrich of Wharton School have presented following 4 design choices in their book “Innovation tournaments: Creating and selecting exceptional opportunities”.

Friday, February 1, 2013

4 characteristics of Einstein’s approach to theory building which I found useful

I don’t know why but Einstein’s approach to theory building fascinates me. I have been going back to his biographies from time to time for the past few years. I don’t understand the mathematics of relativity or quantum mechanics. Hence, my understanding about his approach is limited. However, I feel that certain aspects of Einstein’s approach to theory building are accessible to more people. Here are 4 characteristics that I have found useful in my research work which is done jointly with Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan.