Who Are The Originals? Good Insight Via TED Talk By Adam Grant

A small synopsis provided by TED for this talk by Wharton Professor – Adam Grant:

How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies “originals”: thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. “The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most,” Grant says. “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.”

Adam Grant starts out by talking about some students looking for funding in their e-commerce company but they were doing it part time. He declined but they turned out to be the founders of Warby Parker. Their business is that they sell eye glasses online. They were recently recognized as the world’s most innovative company and valued at over a billion dollars.

Adam then starts talking about the “Originals” – the ones who can speak out, do things differently and are not afraid to fail and sometimes can also be mild procrastinators.

The procrastinators angle makes sense because (and I admit I am one) when we are in that mode, we come up most often with the right kind of creative and original thoughts. The people who are either doing ahead of time or really bad procrastinators don’t have this proper balance.

More from Adam Grant’s talk in his own words:

But there is good evidence that Firefox and Chrome users significantly outperform Internet Explorer and Safari users.

They also stay in their jobs 15 percent longer, by the way. Why? It’s not a technical advantage. The four browser groups on average have similar typing speed and they also have similar levels of computer knowledge. It’s about how you got the browser. Because if you use Internet Explorer or Safari, those came preinstalled on your computer, and you accepted the default option that was handed to you. If you wanted Firefox or Chrome, you had to doubt the default and ask, is there a different option out there, and then be a little resourceful and download a new browser. So people hear about this study and they’re like, “Great, if I want to get better at my job, I just need to upgrade my browser?”

No, it’s about being the kind of person who takes the initiative to doubt the default and look for a better option. And if you do that well, you will open yourself up to the opposite of déjà vu. There’s a name for it. It’s called vuja de.

Vuja de is when you look at something you’ve seen many times before and all of a sudden see it with fresh eyes. It’s a screenwriter who looks at a movie script that can’t get the green light for more than half a century. In every past version, the main character has been an evil queen. But Jennifer Lee starts to question whether that makes sense. She rewrites the first act, reinvents the villain as a tortured hero and Frozen becomes the most successful animated movie ever. So there’s a simple message from this story. When you feel doubt, don’t let it go.

What about fear? Originals feel fear, too. They’re afraid of failing, but what sets them apart from the rest of us is that they’re even more afraid of failing to try. They know you can fail by starting a business that goes bankrupt or by failing to start a business at all. They know that in the long run, our biggest regrets are not our actions but our inactions. The things we wish we could redo, if you look at the science, are the chances not taken.

My First Driverless/Autonomous Bus in Espoo

My first onboard experience on a Driverless/Autonomous Bus in Espoo near my workplace. They are piloting it for a few weeks here. It was slow, not thrilling but safe ?

2016 MacArthur Genius- Rebecca Richards-Kortum Developed Portable, High-resolution Microendoscope that Enables Real-time Diagnosis And Treatment Of Cervical Cancer In A Single Visit.

Another 2016 MAcArthur Genius- Rebecca Richards-Kortum developed portable, high-resolution microendoscope that enables real-time diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer in a single visit.

Source: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/970/
Source: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/970/

She is a bioengineer addressing global health disparities in low-resource settings by developing point-of-care medical technologies and a new approach to engineering education by drawing from nanotechnology, molecular imaging, and microfabrication techniques, Richards-Kortum has created numerous low-cost and highly practical medical tools.

Richards-Kortum co-founded Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB), an undergraduate curriculum focused on translating classroom concepts into solutions for global health problems. The curriculum includes coursework in engineering, sociology, psychology, and economics, while a capstone project challenges students to work in multidisciplinary teams to build a technology that responds to a global health need.

New medical technologies created by BTB students include an LED-based phototherapy light for treating jaundice in newborns that can be made for less than $100, and a bubble continuous positive airway pressure machine (bCPAP) for premature infants unable to breathe on their own. The bCPAP decreased mortality rates in a Malawi neonatal ward by 46 percent at a cost of nearly 38 times lower than the standard model. Committed to improving access to quality health care for all the world’s people, Richards-Kortum is not only developing novel solutions but also training and inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists to address our shared global challenges.

2016 MacArthur “Genius” Manu Prakash On Frugal Science And His Aim To Make Scientific Tools More Accessible Worldwide.

Manu Prakash, a Physical Biologist and Inventor who is an Assistant Professor, Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University is one of the 23 people chosen as 2016 MacArthur Fellows.

Source: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/965/
Source: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/965/

According to his bio on MacArthur Foundations’s website:

Prakash has channeled his ingenuity to invent several devices that empower frugal science: these are low-cost, widely accessible, and appropriate for use in low-resource and field settings. Foldscope, a lightweight optical microscope that costs less than a dollar to produce, is assembled from an origami-based folding design from a single sheet of paper with integrated lenses and electronics. With submicron resolution, Foldscope has already been widely embraced in educational contexts.
Another recent project is a low-cost, sticker-like microfluidic chip that can collect thousands of nanoliter-volume droplets of saliva from mosquito bites that can be screened for pathogens. The chip would enable rapid, scalable, and low-cost collection of surveillance data that is critical for predicting and controlling mosquito-borne disease outbreaks. With remarkable breadth and imagination, Prakash defies traditional disciplinary boundaries in his coupling of basic research and fabrication of high-capability scientific instruments for widespread use in the field and classroom.

Northern Finland Plans Remote Health Care Kiosks. Frugal Innovations Can Help.

Finnish state media, YLE News reported today that “Northern Finland plans self-service health care kiosks for remote villages”

Finland’s northern municipality, Sodankylä, plans to introduce self-service health care stalls for persons living in remote locations. The pop-up medical kiosks will allow users to run lab tests, check blood pressure, as well as heart and lung activity – and to call on a doctor or nurse via a video link.

As noted in various instances on this blog and other social media, there are good frugal innovations that can be used for doing tests with or without help from a healthcare worker.

Some Examples:

1) ECG monitor developed by Finnish researchers from VTT – Beat2Phone

Source: http://beat2phone.com/en/
Source: http://beat2phone.com/en/

2) PeekVision – Professional eye exams from your smartphone . One can view cataracts clearly enough for treatment classification, detect signs of glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and signs of nerve disease. Other health problems such as severe high blood pressure and diabetes can also be identified with a good view of the retina. They are also currently trialling tests that they have developed for a range of colour blindness (blue, green and red) using the high definition of a smartphone screen.


3) Just go to the website – Frugal Innovations in Medicine that is curated by researchers in epidemiology, working in an academic laboratory (CRESS, INSERM U1153) in Paris, France. They have divided the solutions under the following headlines:

  • Lean tools and techniques
  • Opportunistic solutions
  • Contextualized adaptations
  • Bottom-up innovations
    Of course there are disclaimers regarding CE and/or FDA certifications and actually a good amount of them are certifiable and still can be had at lower cost than legacy medical devices.

    Weekend Relief – Dilbert on Weak Sales & Company Reorganization

    Source: http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-09-07
    Source: http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-09-07

    Gen X, Y & Z – And The Increasing Relevance Of Frugal Solutions

    Let’s start with the “Baby Boomers”. They are defined as people born during the demographic post–World War II baby boom approximately between the mid 1940’s and the mid 1960’s.

    Gen X – They are the generation that came after the Baby Boomers, and typically covers 2 decades for people born between the mid 1960’s and the early 1980’s.

    Gen Y aka Millenials – This covers people born between the 1980’s and the year 2000.

    Gen Z – They are the generation of children born after the Year 2000.

    With those definitions out of the way, it would be interesting to see especially how the latter 2 generations are faring in their prime years going through the economic crisis of the past 8 years.

    Early in March 2016, The Guardian newspaper ran a very informative article titled “Revealed: the 30-year economic betrayal dragging down Generation Y’s income”


    Source: Luxembourg Income Study Database


    Using exclusive data from the largest database of international incomes in the world, at LIS (Luxembourg Income Study): Cross-National Data Center, the investigation into the situation in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US has also established that:

    • Prosperity has plummeted for young adults in the rich world.
    • In the US, under-30s are now poorer than retired people.
    • In the UK, pensioner disposable income has grown prodigiously – three times as fast as the income of young people.
    • Millennials have suffered real terms losses in wages in the US, Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Canada and in some countries this was underway even before the 2008 financial crisis.


    Regarding the generation after the millenials, Fast Company ran another insightful article titled “Your Guide To Generation Z: The Frugal, Brand-Wary, Determined Anti-Millennials”

    Gen Z have been growing through their teenage and college years through the worst economic crisis the world has seen since The Great Depression. The years they are also very impressionable years and the crisis is having long lasting effects on their personalities, behaviour and spending habits. This means they will be unlike any of the 3 generations that came before but more like the generation that went through the Great Depression but with a modern twist of living in a technologically advanced world.

    Take a look at this 56 slides deck prepared and shared on Slideshare by marketing agency Sparks & Honey.

    Their findings describe a generation shaped by technology and austerity imposed because of the ongoing economic crisis.

    What the below shows is increasing number of people comprising of the Gen Y and Gen Z demographics are concerned on how to use resources wisely, on working under resource constraints and are socially and technologically more adept and want to use them for doing greater good.

    I believe these are also generations that will increasingly create and consume solutions via frugal innovations- solutions that are quality, accessible, affordable and sustainable.

    Here is a snippet of the massive slide deck:







    InnoFrugal 2016 Post Conference Survey Results

    We did a survey after InnoFrugal 2016 concluded in April 16-17, 2016.

    Want o give a shoutout again to the volunteers, sponsors, knowledge partners, speakers, panelists, workshops facilitators, exhibitors and last but not least the attendees themselves in making the 2nd edition of InnoFrugal hugely successful!

    I did a neat infographic that I shared on our TNFIS Blog and now I also want to share it here.



    MIT Tata Center Researchers Unveil Inexpensive Way To Reduce Runoff Pollution By Adding Low Cost Polymers To Pesticide Spray

    Source: http://tatacenter.mit.edu/
    Source: http://tatacenter.mit.edu/

    MIT researchers have found a way to make pesticides stick to leaves instead of bouncing off thereby reducing runoff pollution by using a clever combination of two inexpensive additives to the spray.

    via GIPHY

    The spray is divided into two portions, each receiving a different polymer substance. One gives the solution a negative electric charge; the other causes a positive charge. When two of the oppositely-charged droplets meet on a leaf surface, they form a hydrophilic (water attracting) “defect” that sticks to the surface and increases the retention of further droplets.

    The project was developed in collaboration with the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design, which aims to develop technologies that can benefit communities in India as well as throughout the developing world. Spraying of pesticides there is typically done manually with tanks carried on farmers’ backs, and since the cost of pesticides can be a significant part of a farmer’s budget, reducing the amount that’s wasted could improve the overall economics of the small-farming business, while also reducing soil and water pollution. Decreasing the amount of pesticide sprayed can also reduce the exposure of farmers to the spray chemicals.

    Based on the laboratory tests, the team estimates that the new system could allow farmers to get the same effects by using only 1/10 as much of the pesticide or other spray. And the polymer additives themselves are natural and biodegradable, so will not contribute to the runoff pollution.

    The new approach would require only minor changes to the existing equipment that farmers use, to separate the pesticide into two streams to which small amounts of each polymer could be added. The polymers themselves are extracted from common, low-cost materials that could be produced locally.


    In addition to pesticide spraying, the same approach could be useful in other applications, such as the spraying of water onto plants to prevent frost damage in places like Florida, where citrus crops can be severely damaged by frost but water supplies are already constrained.

    Mantra For C-Suite Executives In Finland & EU Who Want To Really Grow Their Business (Hint: It Involves Emerging Markets)

    Source: Wikipedia
    Source: Wikipedia

    I would like all C-Suite Executives, be they from Startups, SMEs or Big Corporations, to repeat this “Mantra” every day right after they wake up.

    Domestic Growth Is Not Enough For My Business

    Exports To Developed Economies Is Not Enough For My Business

    Growth For My Business Should Increasingly Come From Sales In Emerging Economies

    The last part, especially, will not magically happen. They will need to understand the market and create or co-create solutions that B2B and B2C customers in those emerging markets will buy. There is definitely space for high cost solutions but more often than not the solutions that are needed are those that have these Frugal Innovation attributes: quality, sustainable, accessible and affordable.