Daily Life Innovative Invention

And the winner is… CALCULATOR!

Bayangkan hidup kita tanpa KALKULATOR! Semua orang yang berdagang di pasar baru harus membuat kotret-an setiap kali bertransaksi. Dan si pembeli juga harus membuat kotret-an sendiri agar tidak ditipu pedagangnya. Kalau belanjanya sedikit sih, tak masalah. Tapi kalau belanja keperluan lebaran, misalnya. Repot banget tuh kalo harus menjumlahkan puluhan item belanjaan di atas kertas dengan sebatang pensil.

Saya rasa kita akan hidup dengan cara yang berbeda apabila hingga 2010 belum diciptakan kalkulator berukuran kecil. Apabila ditelusuri, sejarah penciptaan kalkulator layak pakai belum terlalu lama, kok. Baru sekitar tahun 1970-an konsep “kalkulator untuk semua” tercetus. Sebelumnya, kalkulator merupakan barang mewah seharga 2-3 minggu gaji karyawan umum (menurut oom wiki). Era kalkulator mewah berakhir saat ditemukannya IC (integrated circuit). Buat yang belum tahu, IC ini berupa benda kecil hitam berkaki banyak yang menempel di setiap rangkaian elektronik. Benda ini menggantikan ratusan transistor sehingga menghemat biaya dan ukuran. Bayangkan, kalkulator transistor sebesar lemari bisa disulap menjadi sebesar kotak korek api, berkat IC.

Meski begitu, sejak dahulu, masing-masing peradaban punya caranya sendiri untuk menghitung cepat, tapi tentu saja tidak secepat kalkulator. Contohnya toko-toko di daerah pecinan, beberapa pedagangnya masih menggunakan sempoa untuk menghitung. Bangsa Roma dan Babilonia juga punya metode perhitungan sendiri.

Kalkulator modern sendiri secara garis besar terbagi menjadi 2. Scientific kalkulator, dan kalkulator tukang daging. Pemakaiannya tergantung kebutuhan. Dilihat dari namanya saja, kalau kalkulator scientific, digunakkan untuk melakukan penghitungan rumit seperti pythagoras, integral, dsb. Kalau kalkulator tukang daging, hanya kali bagi tambah kurang yang simpel saja, biasanya memang dipakai pedagang.

Saking bergunanya inovasi kalkulator, maka ini menjadi fitur standar di setiap handphone dan iPod. Karena tiap orang suatu saat pasti menggunakannya sekali waktu. Untuk mempermudah akses, kalkulator juga dibuat menjadi tempat pensil, jam tangan, gantungan kunci, penggaris, bahkan anting.

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Open Innovation: Where R&D is Just a Tiny Spec

The R&D concept as a department in a company seems to be working well. In the theory. In a matter of  fact, in the world where ideas and knowledge are widely spread, the R&D department seems to be a tiny spec compared to what’s “the externals” is capable of. Forinstance, take a look at Google, who bought facebook.

Facebook, was not Google’s idea. Google might even have any idea of social networking until Friendster, myspace, and facebook appears. But looking at the opportunity, Google took the idea and implement it (by buying it) into its IT empires. The benefits of this acquisition is even bigger compared to the benefits generated by facebook itself, or google without facebook. And the founder, Zuckerberg, becomes an “accidental billionaire”. This is one of the examples of “Leverage” created by open innovation.

Adobe, the well-known software manufacturer, did not come to their success by internal ideas only. They have the feature called “Ideaspace” for customers to freely write down their ideas of what should be repaired and developed. The background is, sometimes the customers know better than the producer. The concept seems to be very simple, taking customers feedback. But for that big scale of a company, implementing it might be very complicated. And Adobe successfully did it.

Open innovation which leads to open business model, which has been done by youtube and ebay. Although they look like a simple online movies and store, not so many people can generate that kind of idea and successfully run it. The biggest stakeholder is not themselves (Youtube and ebay) anymore. It’s the users that counts. On ebay, it’s the uploaders and viewers. The success of YouTube is up to them. On ebay, it’s the sellers and buyers. The existence of ebay is depending on their transactions. There are many copycats duplicating the ideas, but none of them come close to their success.

To sum up, open innovation and open business model is the modern way. If R&D is the theoretical concept, Open Innovation is the practical concept. It looks through the reality, to the bigger picture of ideas and knowledge generation. It completes the lack of ideas in internal department. However, this doesn’t mean that R&D is useless by now. An end product is successfully created by a collaboration of internal capabilities and external ideas. It took both to work. R&D and Open Innovation is a complimentary, not a substitute.

 

Toyota Textile… Wait, what??

Rasanya terlalu dangkal apabila alasan saya memilih Toyota sebagai ‘The Most Creative Company’ hanya karena Toyota menempati peringkat 3 ‘The Most Innovative Companies’ 2009 versi businessweek. Di bawah ini adalah cerita bagaimana Toyota membuat saya terkesima.

Bulan Juni lalu saya izin tidak mengikuti perkuliahan untuk pergi ke ShanghaiTex, sebuah pameran mesin industri tekstil. Di sana saya melihat banyak produsen mesin China menjiplak teknologi Jerman. Hal ini tidak terlalu mengejutkan, karena peristiwa jiplak-menjiplak oleh China ini memang sudah terjadi di hampir semua kategori produk. Dan bukan hal ini yang ingin saya bahas. Suatu ketika saya melihat 2 buah forklift toyota dipajang di sebuah booth. Ini aneh, karena forklift itu bukan produk spesifik untuk industri tekstil. Tapi ternyata di sebehlah forklift tersebut, ada mesin tenun yang terlihat sangat sophisticated, dengan merk TOYOTA. Saya tertawa, saya pikir produsen mesin China juga menjiplak nama Jepang. Tapi ternyata tidak. Ayah saya bilang, Toyota memang terlebih dahulu memproduksi mesin tenun Toyota sebelum memproduksi mobil.

Seorang dosen semester lalu pernah bilang: “Orang yang menguasai teknis di bidang tekstil, pasti menguasai teknis di segala bidang”. Perkataan beliau mungkin benar. Toyota, dengan basis industri tekstil, akhirnya bisa memproduksi mobil meskipun pada mulanya adalah karena dorongan pemerintah Jepang. Soal jiplak-menjiplak, Toyota pun awal mulanya menjiplak produk USA Dodge dan Chevrolet. Kata Oom Wiki, dulu spare parts Dodge, Chevrolet, dan Toyota bisa saling kanibal. Sekarang, Toyota-lah yang pertama kali memproduksi mass-produced hybrid car, Prius. Pernah suatu kali saya ngobrol dengan seorang bule Amerika, yang mengaku lebih senang menggunakkan mobil Toyota daripada mobil Amerika. Katanya, Toyota lebih bandel dan jarang rusak. Saking innovatif-nya, Toyota menciptakan beberapa merk lain. Lexus, Hino, dan Scion. Mungkin kita sudah tahu Lexus. Hino adalah merk truk, sedangkan Scion populer di Amerika dengan mobil-mobil kecilnya (city car).

Sakichi Toyoda mulai memproduksi ATBM (Alat tenun bukan mesin) pada 1890 dan berkembang hingga tenun modern. ATBM masih sering kita jumpai di daerah-daerah pedalaman Indonesia. Barulah pada 1934, putra dari Sakichi memproduksi mesin mobil. Lengkapnya lihat di sini.

Kaizen Concept: Where Creativity Changes Things

Toyota terkenal dengan konsep Kaizen atau Continuous Improvement. Konsep yang terkenal di dunia manajemen ini mengatakan bahwa ide-ide sekecil apapun bisa dilakukan secara terus menerus untuk mencapai kemajuan. Konsep ini cenderung ke arah evolusi daripada revolusi. Revolusi dilakukan secara cepat dan mengorbankan orang-orang yang belum siap, sedangkan evolusi dilakukan perlahan dan berkesinambungan, memberi kesempatan untuk orang-orang melakukan adaptasi. Tidak ada ide yang terlalu kecil untuk dilakukan.

Sayangnya, belakangan ini Toyota lagi apes karena masalah rem yang jebol hingga mengalami penurunan penjualan drastis. Dirut Toyota memang sudah minta maaf di depan publik, dan diharapkan, seiring waktu, keadaan akan membaik.

Bravo Toyota, you have the magic. Turning a textile machine into a car.

Which Country is The Most Creative?

There are lots and lots of variables affecting a country’s creativity. The word ‘creative country’ itself, has a biased meaning, if i would say. It takes the people, history, culture, and even the climate. But despite those various factors, there is the ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ factors. The physical conditions, which i define as the ‘macro’ conditions, is out of our hands. Which have been so since the people exists. There’s nothing we can do to make things change. The only thing that matters, is how we respond. For instance: Singapore has a very tiny area, no natural resources, but can be very wealthy in the hand of the right man. Indonesia, whose area is so big, plenty of natural resources, but most of Indonesians live in poverty. The macro conditions cannot be an excuse of a country’s wealth. But, does a ‘creative country’ have to be wealthy? Maybe, in certain unstable conditions, people will tend to be more creative. This is called ‘The Power of Kepepet’ (by Johan Setiabudi).

So I would say, a ‘creative country’ is the country in which the conditions motivates the people to be more creative. This is my definition. Indonesia is a very good example. Some people can find opportunities in which they can achieve a very good result. But apparently, not so many people can do that since most of indonesian live in poverty. Singapore is wealthy, it can create professionals spread in the whole world while it has no natural resource at all. But in the reality, singaporeans live in a stressful competitions. Event the students (in the Movie ‘I Not Stupid’).

Hong Kong. Its conditions is very similar to Singapore. Located in a strategic trading crossline (so is Indonesia), also one of the trade center of the world. The difference is, there is a lot of famous people from HK. Maybe you know some of them: Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, Stephen Chow, Bruce Lee, etc. These are some of well-known creative people to ever created by HK. This country was once the garments center of the world, but it is now more suitable for service industry. There are also lots of names of billionaires from HK. Maybe you don’t know Dr. Dickson Poon, but you may know Harvey Nichols, the upmarket department store (They opened the first store in Southeast Asia in Grand Indonesia, Jakarta). Despite the british brand, it is actually owned by HK businessman. You may also know Li Ka Shing, Michael Ying (Esprit), John Woo, etc.

HK culture is oftenly called ‘Where the east meets west’. It is where western-style skyscrappers can stand tall and the traditional chinese culture still strong. This is the kind of non-invasive development. This kind of creativity which builds something out of nothing, while maintaining original identity. Although not much of a natural landscapes there, they managed to build attractive tourism sites, like The Peak. HK is also a good example of a good collaboration in diversity.

For these reasons, I choose HK as the most creative country.

Super!

Ternyata Arti Nama Saya Keren Juga…

Btw, post ini dibuat untuk memenuhi tugas kuliah dari Paman Apiq. Bukan inisiatif saya. Hanya sebuah kebetulan apabila nama saya ternyata memiliki arti yang bagus.