Monday, December 17, 2012

SPR review for '5 Core Methods of Innovation'

Catherine Tosko from SPR has published a review of my book at:

A very honest review, I feel, I am also copying it here:

Did you know bees can smell bombs? Or that it could soon be possible to fly from the US to Japan in 30 minutes? Would you like to know exactly how your Kindle works? How could a tree be related to a laptop? Did you know there is a handshake invented to combat Swine Flu? And is SMS more popular in Asia due to people having thinner fingers? Would you like to know how to build a well without going down a hole?
Sanjeev Sharma, a New York-based consultant and US citizen who moved from India in the 90′s, gives insights into all these questions in his book, 5 Core Methods of Innovation.
The book is a real treasure trove of facts, absolutely soaked in a Who’s Who of everyone in the world of innovation from Thomas Edison to Amazon to Steve Jobs, and outlines how they made it happen in a bitesize format, with examples of their best work, which is a great potted history for any reader, as we discover their business and design techniques that made their products and services household names. Also we get a great case study of many dot.coms that made it big.
A fantastic study piece, Sharma lays out the principles of innovation and their related disciplines, such as Addition Framework (adding a feature for innovation, such as the frame to the lenses for glasses, an eraser to the end of a pencil), Subtraction Framework (streamlining features or taking them away) Disruptive Innovation (such as what the product cannot do) as well as talking about ergonomics and efficiency, which are cornerstones of the innovation principle in degree level education, and, more importantly, the pen-to-paper application of these principles, which is vastly welcome in this type of book, and over more, rare. The writer has obviously come across this oversight in other academic texts and thoughtfully given his student readers a real guide to getting on with it ‘on the ground’. I wish I had read this when studying for my degree in design in London!
Another great point for this book is the questions laid out for design success, such as, “Is the product a status symbol to own now?” or “What is the existing usable life of the product?” Seem like obvious questions, but as any innovation student will know, not asking yourself this type of thing before you start the design process often ends in one of the millions of rubbish products with no purpose that end up being scrapped or land up in dollar stores with a huge loss of capital.
There is also an erudite and interesting section on business methodology, describing techniques used by successful companies to innovate businesses, which covers matrix organization and Six Sigma in a way that anyone can understand, including links to any relevant websites and information outside of the book itself, along with a steady description of nearly every social networking tool and device we use in business and leisure today, as well as giving first hand insights into some of the fascinating gadgets being used in India today, and “fun stuff” like how to store ice without a freezer, how to light a fire without a match and build a well using simple techniques really gives the reader some food for thought for application in the modern world.
I especially devoured the sections of financial concepts such as reverse mortgage and trading because they are concepts that have evaded me up until now. I found them easy to follow and backed up with evidencial story telling to make the ideas stick.
This book is written by someone highly knowledgeable in his field but it falls down on grammar and punctuation because it is clear the author is not first language English and has not had the book edited or proofread before publication, a problem for some of the heavier text, as well as the lack of consistent formatting for titles and sub-headings etc. The paperback version has been professionally edited, and should be picked up by many academic libraries.
The photos could afford to be page size, as they do show fun ways to innovate, but are not very easy to see on a Kindle, but maybe this is down to delivery costs for the book: in which case I do not blame the author for keeping them small.
This book has, however, the potential to make it as part of  tertiary education material as a solid introduction to innovation, and is also in my opinion, almost mandatory 101 reading for any company leader whose vision is to improve any part of their business model, with chapters on consumer psychology, culture and localization, vendor vs. consumer centric models and profitability containing some real gems of knowledge that can be a great set of soundbites for any business related situation where knowing it all comes in handy.
I am glad I read this book, and will be taking some of the knowledge forward in my everyday working life and also personal life in some areas. I feel enriched in many disciplines and able to apply the methods across the board. Recommended.


About the Author: Catherine Tosko

Catherine Tosko is a British ex-pat living in Spain. Formerly an editor in London, she now makes documentaries about social issues in Europe. Her first book, The Bull and The Ban - The Book is about the Catalan ban on bullfighting in 2012, exploring the moral issues and interviewing matadors, writers, activists and politicians on the subject. She lives in Andalusia with her husband and is a vegan, since filming in slaughterhouses during her film. She will be translating her book into Spanish and Catalan for release this year.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

How to identify an East Indian Face ?

Is there a facial feature particularly unique to people from India ?

Most People of Indian origin, particularly with "traditional indian looks", have an enlarged upper "eyelid fold" above eye lashes. The fold is prominent even with their eyes fully open.

This fold is not prominent in people from other continents and people from Northern / Eastern Asia.

Attached is the picture of an Indian Actor known for her traditional Indian looks, the fold is prominent above her eye lashes. Indian actors with western looks do not have it. Conversely, some actors in western world  known for unconventional looks have this prominent fold. It may be interesting to note that while Sylvestor Stallone has this facial feature, Morgan freeman does not.

With the recent news about Prince William, it is interesting to note that some pictures of Prince William do show this facial feature, example: (

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Driving vs the world coming to an end on Dec 21, 2012 ?

Will the world end on Dec 21, 2012 due to the Mayan Calendar ?

Complex questions like this generally have very easy answers.

If one knows driving, he would know the answer to this question.

When you are waiting on a red light junction of 4 or more roads, which green lights do you look for before proceeding ?

Is it the one in your front, or on your left side, on you right side or opposite side ?

Of course, the answer is the front one. You do not care if the signal on the left/right or opposite side is turning green or not.

Now, here most of the world is following a religious path which is non mayan. There is no red signal in those religions for Dec 21, 2012, and they do not have to panic or worry.

However, there is a red signal for that date in the Mayan Calendar and people are worried. It is like driving straight but looking at the red signal for a road coming from the left side.

So, if you are not mayan, you do not have to worry.

Send me a thank you note if this helped you !

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The world was always small

Last weekend, I traveled to Washington DC with my relatives visiting me from abroad, for a tour.

As we entered the Rotunda of the US Capitol Building, I saw this oil painting "Surrender of Lord Cornwallis", depicting British Major General Charles Cornwallis who lost a major battle during American revolutionary war in the eighteenth century.

The name Cornwallis rang a bell as I have read the History of India.

Did a quick check on wiki and yes, he was the same Charles Cornwallis who was later appointed as the Governor General in India, by the East India Company !

Online networking event

A business networking concept is as American a concept as Baseball.

Here, people affiliated to an industry or business gather to meet others with common interests. One tries to meet maximum number of people and get their contact details for a follow up later. The discussions are pretty straight forward as people ask direct questions and express their needs.

I was recently invited to an online writers' networking event, and I decided to participate out of curiosity.

As I logged into the event's website, it immediately connected  me to another person for a chatting session and displayed his background details to me. The person was very direct in what he was looking for. After I completed my discussion with him, I clicked the "Next Person" button. As all other people were busy chatting, it took the software engine a few minutes before it could find another person and connect me to that person.

Overall, I found the concept to be a very viable concept as it saves you from traveling for such events. The feeling was almost the same as a real networking event. The experience can be enhanced using video and sound, but perhaps the text chatting is more effective.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Social networking appliance

There is a tug of war going on between internet users who want to guard their privacy and the social networking sites that want to profile these users. Any internet based website would be utilized for profiling.

An alternate model for social networking would be a plugin device, with high degree of security features. This would provide direct user to user interaction, removing the need for any middle tier or the hub from the hub and spoke architecture.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Can we switch between the number of cylinders in the Car Engines

The difference between lighter and heavier cars (tare weight) could be between 1500 to 3000 pounds.

Most gasoline based sedans have between 3 and 6 cylinders and the mileage per gallon (highway) varies between 25 and 40 and can carry around 5 passengers.

A sedan carries upto a 1000 pounds more when carrying 5 passengers instead of a single passenger.

With the advances in technology, new car engines could be designed that would switch between the number of cylinders being utilized, based on the number of passengers in the car. Such cars would run with higher mileage when only a single passenger is in car. 

A concept similar to this one, has been tried previously, though not very successfully.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Flush less Toilet design for Bill and Melinda Gates foundation

Mr Bill Gates spoke to Indian news media in New Delhi recently and said  "One of my ultimate dreams now is to reinvent the toilet - find a cheaper alternative to the flush toilet that does not require running water, has smell characteristics better than the flush toilet and is cheap.". The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has invited proposals for new design of such toilets by Aug, 2012 this year.

Using principles from  '5 Core Methods of Innovation', I have identified that the material "LIQUIGLIDE" could be a key to creating such a toilet requiring no flush/water.  Liquiglide is a structured liquid, it is rigid and can be applied like a solid, but has a surface like a liquid.

A coating of Liquiglide inside a plastic or glass container ensures that the surface becomes completely non-sticky. When it was applied inside a ketchup bottle, there was not even a drop of ketchup that could stay inside the bottle once the bottle was turned upside down.


(News source: )

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5 Core Methods of Innovation

My ebook '5 Core Methods of Innovation' has been one of the top 10 bestsellers in many categories during many days in June 2012.

I have tried to explain the 5 Core Methods that have been used in almost any innovation. I identified these core methods while writing  this innovation based blog  and utilizing my experience in the last few years.

As explained on

There are only 5 main methods that have been used in almost all innovations. The book "5 CORE METHODS OF INNOVATION" explains how these methods have been applied in products, processes and industries as wide ranging as finance, Information technology, mechanical tools,consumer electronics and internet. Sanjeev Sharma gives examples of innovative products and explains the methods that have been used in creating these products. He has explained how products ranging from simple household items to cutting edge electronics and telecom products, all utilize the same basic methods of innovation.
The author shares his ideas on how these methods can be applied to solve the existing needs of consumers and new products can be designed. The author explains what would make an innovation desirable by the consumer and the step by step process of applying these innovation frameworks.
Sanjeev Sharma draws on his two decades of experience working in finance, venture capital and technology roles in USA and Asia, sharing insights into the strategies of many companies and also explains the workings and problems of the venture capital industry.

You can get it to read on a kindle device, on an iPad using 'kindle app for iPad', or on your PC using 'Kindle for PC' app.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What's wrong with social networking sites of today

Social networking sites of today have a design flaw, besides having the known privacy issues.

Though these sites may make a person feel like a star, they make all his friends listening to him as his "followers" or his audience.

The one-to-one relationship which friends crave in a friendship is changed to one-to-many relationship where previously close friends find themselves as just one-in-many.

This may not be acceptable to many people. I suspect that it would lead to other competing sites to spring up which can provide both better privacy as well as the feeling of a close relationship with your friends.