Monday, May 31, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Frugal Innovation

A few weeks ago, I spent a lovely afternoon and evening with my friend Carol Adrienne and her boyfriend Robert. While we shopped, he browsed the bookstore and ended up reading a fascinating article in The Economist on the topic of "frugal innovation." Both Carol and I were exceedingly excited about this. I see innovation as the next big wave, and this article was SO hopeful! Carol just sent her newsletter and mentioned it. So I am passing this on, as it is noteworthy. Here is a section of the article:

"There is nothing new about companies adapting their products to the pockets and preferences of emerging-market consumers. Unilever and Procter & Gamble started selling shampoo and washing powder in small sachets more than two decades ago to cater for customers with cramped living spaces and even more cramped budgets. Nike produces an all-enveloping athletic uniform to protect the modesty of Muslim women athletes. Mercedes puts air-conditioning controls in the back as well as the front of its cars because people who can afford a Mercedes can also afford a driver. 

But GE and TCS are doing something more exciting than fiddling with existing products: they are taking the needs of poor consumers as a starting point and working backwards. Instead of adding ever more bells and whistles, they strip the products down to their bare essentials. Jeff Immelt, GE’s boss, and Vijay Govindarajan, of the Tuck Business School, have dubbed this “reverse innovation”. Others call it “frugal” or “constraint-based” innovation.

There is more to this than simply cutting costs to the bone. Frugal products need to be tough and easy to use. Nokia’s cheapest mobile handsets come equipped with flashlights (because of frequent power cuts), multiple phone books (because they often have several different users), rubberised key pads and menus in several different languages. Frugal does not mean second-rate. GE’s Mac 400 ECG incorporates the latest technology. Many cheap mobile handsets allow users to play video games and surf the net. Frugal often also means being sparing in the use of raw materials and their impact on the environment. 

The number of frugal products on the market is growing rapidly. Tata Motors has produced a $2,200 car, the Nano. Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing, one of India’s oldest industrial groups, has developed a $70 fridge that runs on batteries, known as “the little cool”. First Energy, a start-up, has invented a wood-burning stove that consumes less energy and produces less smoke than regular stoves. Anurag Gupta, a telecoms entrepreneur, has reduced a bank branch to a smart-phone and a fingerprint scanner that allow ATM machines to be taken to rural customers. 

Frugal innovation is not just about redesigning products; it involves rethinking entire production processes and business models. Companies need to squeeze costs so they can reach more customers, and accept thin profit margins to gain volume. Three ways of reducing costs are proving particularly successful."

Here's the link to the whole report:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Quantum wonders: Spooky action at a distance

This is from New Scientist Magazine issue 2759. Science approaches consciousness. . .

ERWIN SCHRÖDINGER called it the "defining trait" of quantum theory. Einstein could not bring himself to believe in it at all, thinking it proof that quantum theory was seriously buggy. It is entanglement: the idea that particles can be linked in such a way that changing the quantum state of one instantaneously affects the other, even if they are light years apart.
This "spooky action at a distance", in Einstein's words, is a serious blow to our conception of how the world works. 

In 1964, physicist John Bell of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, showed just how serious. He calculated a mathematical inequality that encapsulated the maximum correlation between the states of remote particles in experiments in which three "reasonable" conditions hold: that experimenters have free will in setting things up as they want; that the particle properties being measured are real and pre-existing, not just popping up at the time of measurement; and that no influence travels faster than the speed of light, the cosmic speed limit.

As many experiments since have shown, quantum mechanics regularly violates Bell's inequality, yielding levels of correlation way above those possible if his conditions hold. That pitches us into a philosophical dilemma. Do we not have free will, meaning something, somehow predetermines what measurements we take? That is not anyone's first choice. Are the properties of quantum particles not real — implying that nothing is real at all, but exists merely as a result of our perception? That's a more popular position, but it hardly leaves us any the wiser.

Or is there really an influence that travels faster than light? Cementing the Swiss reputation for precision timing, in 2008 physicist Nicolas Gisin and his colleagues at the University of Geneva showed that, if reality and free will hold, the speed of transfer of quantum states between entangled photons held in two villages 18 kilometres apart was somewhere above 10 million times the speed of light (Nature, vol 454, p 861). Whatever the true answer is, it will be weird. Welcome to quantum reality.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Finally! I've Created a Cool Product for You!

If you've followed my posting of quotes from my various books on Facebook, you'll probably enjoy this new product I've created. Every selection is unique and high-quality and it's a full book's worth of material.

PENNEY-A-DAY Subscription

Direct to Your Inbox for 365 days!
Do you wish you had a daily reminder to help you raise and stabilize your frequency? Penney will be your companion for a moment each day to help you remember to stop, center, and be present to what's deep and real. For pennies a day, this specially-designed, beautifully-formatted subscription service brings you fresh and encouraging ideas—a different focus for each day of the week—to keep your intuition, imagination, and personal vibration fluid and clear.

• Day 1: A Vibration-Raising Quote from Frequency: The Power of Personal Vibration

• Day 2: Dream-Stimulating Quotes: one from Penney's dream books & one from another recognized authority

• Day 3: An Inspiring Poem: selected for the ability to shift you to a higher state

• Day 4: A Recentering Thought: focus on one simple empowering truth

• Day 5: Intuition-Enhancing Quotes: one from The Intuitive Way and one from another recognized authority

• Day 6: A Mindfulness Practice: an affirmation and exercise from Penney's daybook, The Present Moment

• Day 7: A Quieting Prayer: selected for beauty, heart, sincerity, and energetic power

Find out more about it at

"white feather floating by" photo by Penney Peirce May 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

Social Venture Network: Transforming the Way the World Does Business

Here is an organization that's on the frequency of The Intuition Age! Here's what they do:
Social Venture Network inspires a community of business and social leaders to build a just economy and sustainable planet.
We work to achieve this mission by
  • Providing forums, information, and initiatives that enable leaders to work together to transform the way the world does business
  • Sharing best practices and resources that help companies generate healthy profits and serve the common good
  • Supporting a diverse community of leaders who can effect positive social change through business
  • Creating a vibrant community that nourishes deep and lasting friendships
  • Producing unique conferences that promote the exchange of ideas and encourage the development of relationships and partnerships
  • Offering programs that support the spiritual, professional, and personal development of our members
They also offer a spring and autumn conference, this year the fall conference will be October 21-24, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Each year they jury entries for their Innovation Awards. Their newsletter is available at:

Song of the Sun: A New Film

My friend, Norma Tarango, in Santa Fe, just sent me an announcement of a beautiful new film—still in development—about our relationship with the sun and how we may be aided in our spiritual shift by connecting with the frequency of the sun, by having a relationship with it as a wise being. You can watch the trailer and find out more about the speakers—among whom are David Abram, Peter Dawkins, Norma, and many other mature and deeply experienced people. I can feel the reality of how, by receiving the sun into every cell, by raising our personal vibration to match the sun as best we can, we can ease our transformation process. It is no accident that indigenous people rise in the morning to greet the sun with face uptilted and arms upstretched. And at the setting of the sun, do we notice the symphonies the birds and insects and animals offer up?

About Song of the Sun: "We once believed the sun revolved around the earth. Now, our ecological emergency demands another profound and urgent shift in the way we perceive ourselves as a part of the earth and the cosmos. Song of the Sun is a hybrid of visual poem and documentary, yet more than either. The film engages on all levels—the senses, the mind, the heart and the spirit."