Individual Evaluation of the Completed Process by Answering the Following Questions:
Catchball is a concept called Hoshin Kanri. After the Second World War, Hoshin Kanri was a system to create policy management in Japanese companies. 'Hoshin' is a Japanese word that means pointing the direction and 'Kanri' means control. (Ten Step, 2003) The process is complex in the sense that the management creates the policy or attempts to create a goal. In this case it was to create the 'electronic housemaid'. This requirement often translates to many actions from all participants and thus the peers in the team throw a 'catch-ball' to the staff or various participants who then respond to these questions or propositions and the analysis of the response evinces further questions and so on until all issues are sorted out. This method was used in the project which was a software project to create an artificial intelligence of an advanced nature that would respond to human commands and make the machine a 'house maid'. To this end there was the software, hardware and live ware components to be considered apart from the process of design. It was theoretically a very complex project in which four of us participated.
2) • Is the end product an improvement over the original product?
Definitely yes, because the voice recognition systems are not that perfect in any systems so far. Although in the system there is a lot to be achieved, there is definitely more interactivity imparted to the machine and with proper input and training it is possible to make the machine behave as desired, although in the field of artificial intelligence there will always be something more desirable. It is definitely an improvement that was caused by discussing the shortcomings of earlier software and improving on those defects. Therefore it is no doubt an improvement. These features were arrived at after detailed and very appropriate discussions. The important feature of the value model, namely keeping the ultimate value to be produced, and converting it to sustainable output and profit was not lost sight of. (Lindstedt; Burenius, 2003) That is the benefit and the ultimate fallout of using the strategy insofar as product improvement in terms of overlay and costs were concerned, because innovation must be within the limits of marketability which this team did not lose sight of.
3) • Does the energy in the team increase or decrease as ideas are accepted or changed?
The team spirit that was infused did not deteriorate with the changes in ideas and changes in acceptance. It was where if one person's ideas were accepted the others went and searched for more material to add to the idea. If the idea was rejected then the person who contributed was driven to either defend his idea with better references or by abandoning the idea and then taking up a new idea that would improve upon the question. In fact the system improved the overall creativity. At this stage it is appropriate to point out that in networks there are premises that work automatically. One concept that can be mentioned, that was a result of discussions of idea and discovery is the concept of' "Responsibility, Authority, and Accountability (RAA) network" introduced by researchers Jolley et al. (2004).
It was contended by them that there are great pressures of reorganization and one of the principle is to maintain the lean, resilient RAA networks and they suggested some models. Although they were not incorporated, learning about these models gave us a great insight. Like wise studies were done by the team on the European Business Excellence Model and the cause and effect diagram of that model was incorporated inside the process because of the enthusiastic search for such methods by being fired by the passion to seek that was created by the discussions and the need to create a system for managing the process in which all members had a great role to play. The team discovered that the system is useful to some extent in the planning phases for innovations. Such ideas were gleaned with the enthusiasm of the participants and energy level was high. (Martensen; Dahlgaard, 1999)
4) • Is the end result useful to the customer or are unnecessary features added?
No. It was carefully seen to it that the software development stuck to the original flow and system analysis and design that were given as the blueprint. By sticking to the boundaries and developing no further unnecessary things were avoided. Further the value model was used in conjunction to the catchball, with each participant following the value model too. There is the product development challenge, following the problem of establishing a common framework and identifying roles and responsibilities. (Lindstedt; Burenius, 2003) It was also suggested that the evaluation of progress also be maintained according to the original analysis and design. Thus it was suggested and cited by a member that the method of evaluating progress includes assigning values to components of projects independent of their local assumptions in isolation. Thus cost, benefit and the usefulness to the end user was also discussed. (Business Process Excellence, 2008) These activities prevented the divergence into unnecessary things.
5) • Were there any breakthroughs in product use or application?
There were some improvements made in voice recognition and command learning and memory of the system that was unique. The speed of the system was also increased, with better throughput. The system was able to learn faster and with lesser mistakes in the overall.
6) • What worked during the process? What did not work?
The catchball strategy worked during the planning phase and thereafter we had to seek out other methods to supplement it. Catchball system does not work with coding after a certain extent when the individuals coding methods are unique and catchballs method will generate hurt and criticism.
7) • What suggestions would you make for managing innovation?
One thing is to see if there has been progress or possible progress made in the area of proposed innovation and the sustainability of the innovation. This requires dissemination of knowledge and ideas, and that is where such systems of Catchball are useful. The success behind the project is the way the strategy planning is used by Japanese-especially Hoshin, which can be agreed to have been very influential in making the team work better. As Zairi (2006) puts it, "Hoshin can be integrated with total quality management and performance measurement -- two essential requirements for modern business practice." That was achieved by the team in this project to a great extent. Other than that there have been many concepts like 'Total Quality Management -- TQM, Just in Time -- JIT or specific tools like 'Single Minute Exchange of Dies -- SMED' for reducing tooling set-up time on a work centre and so on." (Tan, Platts, 2002) It was suggested by some researchers Tan and Platts (2002) that a well created data base on various methods used would in the end help evaluate the performance of the system and the product. That was not considered. It is a vital factor that data bases for the performance and the entire sequence of progress be maintained. These also have to be considered.
8) • How did this process mimic innovation management at an organization?
There were essentially the first level strategy that related to the overall use of the product and its viability. In this project it was assumed to be valid. The second level strategies deal with what must be done with the process to achieve the first level strategy which was already formulated by the peers. (Cowley; Domb, 2012) That means that the final strategy and tactics had to be derived from the second level strategy for which we used the catchball system to achieve. The tactics have to be generated with a view of the future possibilities and thus it involves a shared vision of what the demands will be in future and plan for bridging the gap. Thus just as processing the firm's strategy on the whole, the inputs was then analysed. This was done by learning from each other and consulting with one another at each step. Thus in combination a consensus was evolved as per principle regarding the strong points of the decision -- "how we could have done better, what we could do better if we have to do this again"? (Harvard Business Essentials, 2006) Such thought leads o the learning of better management strategies.
9) • How did the forum discussion inform your learning?
There are no limits to human knowledge but the entire knowledge will always be in fragments in different minds. There have been comparisons and researches of the team work and its impact by researchers that show that even in sports, team sports have been the basis of gathering and upgrading knowledge. (Sheng; Gao, 2009)
In this case the coming together of these minds creates a shared knowledge and also creates new insights that were not…