Supplement for Productivity Boost: Which one is for me?

Similar like in a body building world as it is in our daily life. Be the best means doing the task with full immersion, focus and wholehearted. Sometimes, winning takes a lot more than that. In a situation where a lot of competitions and desire to be the best owned already by many, a lot of time this challenge will brings men to the search of additional boost to reach a level that would not be possible if the same men wish to attain the same level in which he desires in a short amount of time with fairly less effort.

In bodybuilding world, this additional boost came from supplements and there are magnificently vast amount of choices about it. All supplements, created for the benefit of the general user. However, everyone is not the same biologically and therefore smart decision is needed. Choosing the right supplement could mean a good well shape body or in the other side of the coin partly disable body.

In our daily life, higher productivity is attainable by an additional boost to our brain power through the use of “supplement”. A trivial decision is about answering questions such as what are supplement for brain power and which one is actually fit to our personality, biological nature of our body, etc, etc. So that in the end we are sure that our decision will actually prove us to achieve more and become more productive.

English: Everyone take a drink

English: Everyone take a drink (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recent interesting hot topic about “brain” supplements by consuming everyday drinking create blind followers and fans to a certain supplement. There  are lots of debate about which one is the best, coffee or tea or wine or beer ? Some of them are, Does drinking beer makes you more creative?What Coffee do to your brain?, Why tea is really the best drink of the day?, Stay young with the health benefit of red wine.

Turkish Tea

Turkish Tea (Photo credit: dimi)

All of those articles and many more are trying to study and find out which one has better health effect or decreasing stress or any other effect which at the end will have an impact on enhancing general productivity. However, following all the advice blindly is fool and so neglecting all the advice.

Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it. ~Benjamin Franklin

Smart decision is needed so that we don’t be like fools that either follow all advices that are coming or reject all advices. It is better to be stupid as stupid people learn, getting better and at the end thrive and become wiser and smarter but fools are unwise and can’t be made wise.

Fools

 

 

Can of Brain Toniq

Can of Brain Toniq (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

A word to the wise ain’t necessary. It is the stupid ones that needed advice. ~ Bill Cosby

That is the reason that we should pick the right supplements that really fits our needs. Personally, I drink all of them but with different function with I unconsciously has strategically decide which drink I will drink when and how much. However, my personal favorite that I always drink everyday is tea.

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Kaizen critics on Innovation: Sustaining Innovation is not Kaizen!

The rapid change of the world makes innovation a lethal weapon to become a big part of solution to bring about countries, companies, or communities to a useful change that hopefully take them to the top the leading pack in the world. Little research on the topic could give many hints that innovation is the key. There are now disruptive innovation, cultural innovation, reverse innovation and other terms that use innovations as the key.

However, the overwhelming topic of innovation that filled the market has overshadowed some important not so radical, slow and not extreme change that comes from continuous improvement that actually be the backbone of many leading companies in the world. The power of kaizen culture which embedded in top leader of the pack has been uncover in the book The high-velocity edge by Steven Spear seems to be undermined by the amount of innovation books and its varieties on the market.

Java Printing

I am not against innovation because I understand that without innovation no companies could ever bare their existence let alone leading. innovation is the key. I really enjoy reading books on innovation especially books by Clayton M. Christensen which really is the result of his in-depth research and reflection about the world of innovation.

My argument about innovation is that most of the books on innovations discussed about big changes that will lead to strategic/big step. My take on current innovation paradigm is that innovation is not enough because we still need kaizen. Some people say that kaizen is innovation also, but it really is not. The rule of thumbs is what your mind perceived what innovation is, reduce it by factor of at least 100.

When for example Clayton M. Christensen tried to detail innovation into a more elaborate by dividing it further into Disruptive and Sustaining Innovation. People get confuse because first, where is then Kaizen? Second,  a strange combination of words is used (Sustaining Innovation!).

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The Innovator’s Dilemma (Christensen 1997) identified two distinct categories—sustaining and disruptive—based on the circumstances of innovation.

  1. Sustaining Innovation : when the race entails making better products that can be sold for more money to attractive customers—we found that incumbents almost always prevail.
  2. Disruptive Innovation :when the challenge is to commercialize a simpler, more convenient product that sells for less money and appeals to a new or unattractive customer set—the entrants are likely to beat the incumbents. This is the phenomenon that so frequently defeats successful companies. It implies, of course, that the best way for upstarts to attack established competitors is to disrupt them. (Low end disruption and New market disruption)

Confusion happen among the practitioner of whether Sustaining Innovation is Kaizen because it is also about making better products to attractive customers. Additionally, two words of sustaining and innovation are both contradictory in nature in a way that when innovation happen, change happen and it moves the object of innovation to some future state.Thus actually it is inappropriate to give the name “sustain”. Sustain means almost equally to maintain. Hence it means the innovation going nowhere but only maintain and hence going nowhere.

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History wise, the Kaizen term exist already since 1986 which is kaizen/continuous improvement which small incremental improvement. However, it seems that the founder of kaizen concept had predicted that confusion between Innovation and Kaizen will likely to happen.

This big misconception has been cleared before by Masaaki Imai in 1986, a notable quality philosopher and practitioner and the founder of Japanese consulting company namely Kaizen Institute or best known by the west as the father of Continuous Improvement. Misconception of innovation happen when people associate immediately innovation with improvement. The truth is that innovation indeed is improvement but improvement is not just innovation. Improvement consist of Kaizen and Innovation in which until the next innovation, kaizen will improve the system little by little.

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From the graph it is clear that Kaizen perfected Innovation. It means that any types of Innovation whether it is disruptive innovation, cultural innovation, reverse innovation will be make perfect by following through with Kaizen afterwards. Kaizen will target improvement until next innovation.

Hence it is very clear that innovation itself is insufficient to create a winning edge and that innovation coupled with relentless kaizen become the ultimate answer. This is why in my opinion, despite of the effort to rally with other companies toward Innovation from generating, managing, until applying innovation many firms still happen to be in the lower league. Because Innovation without Kaizen is just like “Pound Saving, Penny Foolish”. It seems good that you get to save many Pounds, but other companies take care also every Pennies possible with Kaizen and overtime they who cares for both thrives.

Story of Scientific Management Guru: Back to the Roots of Scientific Management with Frederick Winslow Taylor

While his name is not known to most people, his impact on the 20th century was quite profound. He is Frederick Winslow Taylor, a management theorist that focus on the labor process. He is the backbone of today’s management by the use of science. His works started blooming in an era after companies have become more than a mere limited project, but unlimited by the boundary of time and that in this time, industrialization is on the move.

Companies were growing in scope and racing to reap the benefits of industrialization. They were so starving in harvesting benefits of industrialization. In that time, companies need much more labor than ever to be able to produce products that made possible by the industrialization.However, even labor is many, a fundamental problem is emerging that needs an answer, how do we get labor to work more to ensure maximum output?

His works begin with many writings in the theory of work that mainly focusing on  finding the way of controlling the motion of workers to obtain highest maximum output for what company pay for wages.

Even all that he has created  is not fully acceptable in todays modern era but many of his concepts become a root for current management practice. His controversial concept such as the concept of soldiering that workers didn’t work hard enough is totally rejected by lean thinking that fundamentally held a strong believe that worker is good and therefore most of error come from engineer or the architect of the system that most of the time have to put to blame.

Soldiering held a believe that in a majority of cases the man deliberately plant to do as little as he possibly can to turn out far less work than he is well able to do in may instances to do not more than 1/3 or 1/2 of a proper day’s work. ~ Taylor

Proper day’s work is a maximum level of output humanly possible or  a fair day’s work. when worker is not physically possible to reach this, he fired them. He argued that soldiering was possible because company management does not even know how much work can be extracted from workers. once to make a stubborn man who refuse to make any improvement to achieve this fair days work he cut his wages.

Industriearbeiter Giesserei // foundry industry employees

Taylor’s goal was to take knowledge work from the worker and put it in the hands of management to be used as control of workers. He himself called this method as Scientific Management. However, his method on full reliance solely on management let to the born of shopfloor expert which is industrial engineer. However, as people said that too much is never good, the role of management in shopfloor is too dominating that even in the development of work instruction, management get a majority of decision on the content and organization of it which is fundamentally different than now

But his famous real contribution besides of his many controversial concept is his management theories and the concept of time study.

There are many and different ways for come at doing the same things, there is always one method and one implement which is better than any of the rest. and this one best method and one best implement can only be discovered through a scientific study of an analysis of all the methods in use.

He stated that no job is to simple or to complex. In fact, in he has spent 26 years only for figuring out the best way to cut metal. but in other examples, many simple works can be rationalized as well.

Some of his wise words are never more appropriate now compare to at his time:

We can see our forest vanishing, our water-powers going to waste.. the end of our coal and iron is in sight. But the larger waste of human effort, which go on everyday through such of our acts as are blundering, ill-directed or inefficient are less-visible, less tangible and all but vaguely appreciated.. ~ Frederick Taylor

Supermarket Stocktaking, Happiness in Working and a Lesson of Variation

I am considered myself as a kind of person who is so interested on listening more than speaking. For me, being able to listen to ideas, a glimpse of someone else’s life experiences or a feeling of someone about something is so inspiring. I can learn from the story and get an idea of things that I had not realize before because I just never thought it would be possible, never experienced it myself, or simply didn’t know that such a thing could exist. By listening more, I can open myself to the presumption world that I previously held  to a new perception of the world as I listen to the story of people around me.

This post is referring to my comment on my dialogue with one of my friends. He has an interesting experience in which I had not any experience on  being employed in the type of industry he was in. It was all begin in a totally normal day. After lunch, we had a normal afternoon chat that suddenly led to a story of his previous employment in Supermarket Industry. Due to my curiosity, I started to ask probing questions that led him to tell his own experience working in a supermarket with a role as an assistant store manager with most activities that deal with audits.

What caught my attention was when he talked about his experience in stock taking procedure and penalty that he did in his time (and I believe still many also have the same principles even until this time). He told me that in his company, stock deviation from the ideal value of difference between beginning of month and end of the month in comparison with actual reality value of difference between beginning of month and end of the month difference will be assigned to store employees. It means that, if beginning of month stock minus sold product in that month ( which this become ideal end of month stock) is not the same as actual counting at the end of month stock, then the difference between ideal and actual counting in the form of amount of money will be paid together by employees from their salary to substitute lost products .

When he told this, I quickly recalled a wise words from Dr.Deming. Then, I found the exact same story that happen in Deming’s book titled “Out of The Crisis” in 1982. Deming has already elaborated what is wrong with this kind of system setup and why management not only in manufacturing industry but in all industry, even government, education, and any systems that has management on top of it has to learn the knowledge of variation.

Stock counting at the end of the month, if deviated from the ideal amount, can cause from many factors. the accuracy of inventory system, security of store from thieves, logistics in store, and still many other factors. It is indeed easy to directly attributing lost of stocks to employees for replacing the money that lost with the assumption that all lost rooted in the negligence of employees to prevent it from lost without looking into details about the root cause. However, by doing this, it is also easy to get trap into a bad system where everyone is dissatisfied, work is stressful, and at the end surviving will be impossible if not very difficult without sacrificing employees.

Actor businesswoman express sadness isolated in white

Imagine a staff that start to work in a company with a good pride. He and the company both have an expectation on both sides. The employee starts with a willingness to contribute to the company maybe even thinking that this company that he will start to work will be even better, fun and fulfilling. It is also the same good expectation that come from the company that hired this employee, because after all resources available in company’s labor pool has been filtered, this man has the best fit with the company to help reaching for the company’s goal. The new employee is ready to grow with the company and contributing the best effort possible. Isn’t that exactly what we feel when we want to start working in a new company? Excited! Happy! Want to prove ourselves! and having better a time? Sadly, this man so shocked to find the fact that even though he begin his job by working as hard as he can with the will of contributing his maximum effort and with their own heart and soul trying to be nice to every customers coming to the shop, he finds himself at the end of the month getting paid with less salary than promised and that they ought to receive it due to stocks lost that they don’t have any ideas at all of  how it could be lost, why they have to be the one who take the risk of something they just don’t have any idea about, and the fact that he cannot improve or doing anything about it.

Drawing from the world of manufacturing, this could be seen as assigning defect of products to the workers that works in assembly line. Whenever there are defects, put the blame on workers with the reason that workers are the one who actually works assembling all parts into a product. This obsolete philosophy have proven to be a downfall of manufacturing industries before Japan could set the pace again and followed by a reparation to systems of managing manufacturing in other countries and companies.

People in management should as Deming urge long time ago and yet still valid, realize that there are two types of variation (natural/normal variation and assignable/special variation) Classifying defects in case of lost product in supermarket into these two kinds of variation classification will give us more insights. If a defect/lost product happen, manager should be able to determine if this will attributable to workers/store employees or to system that managed by management. The action directly blaming workers for a system problem then is not a wise act of management because normal variation and special variation should be handled in different ways. .To learn more about differentiating this, I would suggest reading “Out of The Crisis” or “The New Economics” by Deming.

Young business woman presenting colorful charts and diagrams

As we came to know that those defects or lost of products are caused by system, then improvement to a system could reduce the lost of product. In relation with supermarket system, let’s take one defect example of lost product. Previous assumption is that employees should watch closely everyone on the store so that no product is lost, but employees indeed can be forget or not paying attention to someone stealing because fatigue which so normal. What is not normal is to assign tasks that obviously normal people with normal capability cannot do and give them penalty for it.  In fact, lost product happen also because the environment provided thieves to steal some products despite of the hardworking that employees have done in preventing it. This environment setup is management job. A system should be setup by management to prevent lost from happening by creating a better environment for employees to work and a better system to prevent lost of products. Usual flow is that mistakes that management makes is attributed that should be management responsibilities (system design and improvement) are all assigned to employees.

Join Green Movement in Urban Area

Last post, in my personal article focusing on plastic bag, I have elaborated the importance of the role of Industry in determining the progress of  transformation into green and sustainable living. In addition to the Industry effort, we as a customers in any supply chain, a human that lives in the earth and a parent that will have to pass on the living environment to our future generation, has an obligation to the progress of green and sustainability of living around us.

For those of you that live in Urban area where people bustle everyday, tall buildings occupying most spaces  and transportation seems never stop their activities, the hustles will be more intensive than people that live in suburban or small city area. However, I can convince you that it is possible to still join Green Movement to preserve the good side of the city that we have know and to fix those that have already been destructed by pollution and other matters. Below are several tips for you to get to move and participate in small act to make our city Greener and more comfortable for a living.

1. Electricity and Water Use Awareness

By saving energy and water, we actually will in the end save our money.The US Department of Energy has statistically calculated the hundreds of dollars savings that could be achieved by smartly using energy and water. From Coffee Maker, Refrigerator, Fan, Clock Radio, Cell Phone Charger, Personal Computer until Printer, there are still a lot of possibility that we can cleverly reduce our consumption.

One great example is to turn off the lights if you know that you will leave the room for more than 15 minutes or you can also put a sensor to further save electricity. Another is sharing fridge. Sharing fridge seems have a little impact, but in reality, the cost of electricity from fridge itself is consider as large in comparison to other home appliances. So, instead of buying small fridge for each of rooms in your house or apartment, you can plan to share a fridge.

2. Buy Green Products

Eating organic, free-range, local and fair trade are also a great options that will definitely have a positive impact. However, because those products are rather expensive, an alternative is to to eat less meat, use canvas bag when you can, use recyclable plastic bag and buy from your local to get anything from fishes and meats to vegetables or fruits and still contribute to environment.

Buying green products will also unconsciously lead you to healthier living by avoiding more and more consumption of junk food which have bad effects that will later take away money from your pocket due to obesity, diabetes, depression and nutrient deficiencies.

3. Urban Farming

The previous two tips are all about getting better at managing what we already have. The next tips will be about making small changes that have a big impact. It starts with Urban farming. It is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city.

Urban Farming is very fun activity to do. If you have a garden in your house, you can use it as your own farm. Even if you have only a roof (flat roof ones), you could turn it into a space for farming. Urban Farming is so easy as you can simply use your window as a medium for farming which Urban Farming Communities called windowfarms.

Urban Farming communities is now everywhere in the world, you can find communities around you with the like minded purpose and the good thing is that all that effort you spend in your farm will be fruitful as you can sell it as an organic product through Urban Farm communities and organizations. The organization also has good resources for education from methods of urban farming until ways to plant a certain plant and dealing with issues like watering and soon.

4. Cycle to Work

Another fun way is Bike to Work scheme. Using bicycle to go to work is a very effective method to achieved so many things. It is not only contributing to a more greener and sustainable environment, but also saving money for gasoline and make you more healthy. For some people, indeed, Cycle to work could also save life.

If you have a road bike, you can go to work riding it and take a shower in your office and you will be fresh and energetic to start your day. Another good alternative that I found very compelling is to use Folding Bike. I love folding bike because it gives commuters so much flexibility on the way. There are many combination of method that can be done using folding bike to get us to workplace in no time.

5. Change our Mindset from “WANT” to “NEED”

Our mindset is a powerful thing. Have you heard about feeling lonely in a crowd ? This is exactly what mindset is able to do. It can make you happy or unhappy when you decide that the circumstances seem to prove that you should have it. The fundamental change in mindset could change the way we behave and how it affects our surrounding.

To change mindset, the key is to know what our currently mindset is toward a particular situation. Oftentimes, in relations with buying or shopping, we as a customer has been automatically set our mindset into “WANT mindset”. The reason is, this is the right mindset that all retailer shops want customers to have so that customers will more likely to buy their products.

So, now we should change our mindset to NEED instead of WANT. Think before buy is a good step to take. Do some researches before buying anything instead of getting tempted on the spot when you see a very nice advertisement. Go online, watch videos, read articles and make sure that you purchase good stuffs that you need. Then, you will be surprise by how much stuffs you really need and how much stuffs you already have that are actually got there and hanging around since you first bought it.

Remembering the Real Santa Claus

At mid-night, I suddenly heard a rushing wind flowing into my house. I woke up and thinking if the sound was actually real or a part of my beautiful Christmas dream in the midst of Christmas night. I was curious yet a little bit afraid because my parents have already slept and no one is there to protect me in case if anything should happen to me. In the curiosity I tried to keep silence with my blanket on top of me covering my whole body. I pretended that I was sleeping, hoping that I actually fell a sleep and just forget about this weird night. The next sound I heard, I was so certain that someone was in the ground floor indeed. I then opened my door room  and walked very slowly, to avoid to get noticed. I went down the stair to the ground floor and turned on the lights very quickly with a wish that the intruder will got shock by it and ran away. But after I turn the lights on, there was nobody in the room. I looked right and left, my eyes searching for the source of noise that I had heard from my bedroom. I found no one there but surprisingly when I glanced to the Christmas tree that my parents and me assembled just before I went to bed, one additional red boxes with my name is placed under the tree. As I approached the tree to hold the box, I heard bells ringing and I ran quickly to the window and saw Santa Claus was there, he saw me back from his sleight with all his reindeers, smiled, waved at me and laughed out loud “ ho ho ho”.

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How many times, we heard the stories and movies about Santa Claus that tells the tales about a big man riding his sleight with all his lovely reindeers giving presents in the night of Christmas traveling very far from South pole where he manufactured all the gift helped by all his dwarfs.

When I moved  to Belgium, I surprised by the fact that the Santa Claus that I have known for my whole life is not exist. It is not entirely a fictitious character though. But only here when I stay in Belgium I discovered the true Santa Claus. Santa Claus or also being famously called by religious catholic by the name of Saint Nicholas is a Santa in Catholic religion. Here in Belgium, people has a huge respect on the true Santa Claus. He is very famous that he became the patron of many things from archers, children, merchants until pawnbroker.

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Indeed, some of the story of Santa Claus that we knew today was originally a fruit of the real Saint Nicholas’ heroics and charity acts. He was a Christian bishop of Myra. He was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas.

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In Belgium, 6th December turns out to be a great feast day of Saint Nicholas that is celebrated publicly by a festival. A noticeable difference exists in the way Santa Claus dress in Christmas event in Belgium. With the effort to combine the famous American way of Santa Claus and the real Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas, usually a man who became Santa in Belgium will dress with a combination between both Santa Claus that just look similar in the picture above.

In addition, recently I just found a fact of one of the big influence of the famous American Santa Claus tales. It  is the book titled “The Life and Adventures of Santa Clauswhich is a children’s book, written by L. Frank Baum in year 1902 that has shaped world perception of our currently held wide belief of Santa Claus. The book has later got into production to become a film in year 1985 with an ever good rating in IMDB website until today.

System Thinking on the Future of Transportation and The relationship with Cars

 

Who doesn’t love to own a nice, luxurious and stylish car? American dreams, high status, or A successful person will not be  complete without a Car. Some even deliberately buy a Car with the hope of increasing his status. The reason is because that is just how it works with human. Other people’s perception has strongly urge the necessity and needs of buying car. It is only one of many reason beyond function of why people buy a Car. Therefore, it is undeniably that buying a Car has been more than a necessity of function.

In the video, it is Lucinda Turner has make a huge effort to make an awareness of people that car could be the source of pollution and traffic congestion. Additionally, she suggests another mode of transportation such as Bicycle or other more environmentally friendly vehicle as a mode of transportation to avoid pollution as well as suggesting using public transportation to decrease traffic congestion.

In my opinion, we, people are not so stupid of not knowing the long effect of pollution that crashing our ozone and of amount of huge car owners that cause us to travel longer and longer time  from house to office due traffic congestion. Indeed, we do keep buying cars. Even I can say that I am one of this group because I know this and I buy car.

But one never questions “why?”. Why, despite of this very clear, visual depiction of future with lots of data and presentation and campaign and sometimes flyer by supporting communities, the progress seems to be very little.

I mean, honestly if someone ask me tomorrow do you want a brand new Lexus or BMW or Mercedes or Bentley or any brand of cars that you can choose freely without paying a dime, would you take it home? Then, why do you want to take it home? don’t you know it is causing pollution and traffic congestion?

It feels like we are the people who say yes to a good car even know the bad effect is those who deserve the blame.

Let’s sort this things up. The main reason we buy car is not merely because it can take us from point A to point B. But because the additional “feature” or “image” that it can have to increase our own self-perception and perception of people to us. It is not even we, people buying car because it cause pollution and traffic congestion.

We don’t  go to car dealer and buy a low pollution rate car. What we do look is speed, engine, design, and the additional value it gives us.

But have we ever question “who” created this image? Why we want these vale really bad when we buy a car? It is THE COMMERCIAL. The relentless injection of value adding that the future car owner will receive if owning a product.

I don’t think that bicycle or public transportation could ever beat this. First of all, Car is made by a company with thousands of highly skilled workers that fight for the survival of the company with the aim of profit.Whereas, public transport will not need to survive, car company do need to survive much more than the owner of public transport. The need for survival creates the relentless commercial that change people’s perception and will to buy a car.

This is an enormous challenge. The solution lies in the systemic change and not in changing the minds of the people who buys the car by only presenting about pollution and traffic congestion.

The ultimate challenge is changing the system that makes people have a strong will to buy a car into a system that makes people want to use public transportation or pollution free vehicle. The customer is not the only one that has to be regulated.

Maybe, a proper way is to convert car manufacturing companies into public transport. Or maybe car manufacturing company obliged to have a share in public transportation so that they will think about commercializing it and build image to it. Most importantly, there should be a radically new system model in place to solve this problem.