Inflexion Point, June 2021

Inflexion Point, June 2021

Inflexion Point, June 2021

How Netflix Reinvented HR

Netflix is consistently rated as one of the most innovative companies around and a class disruptor. A key contributor is its unique set of HR policies, or should we say 'practices', for there are minimal policies in place. For starters, the company's expense policy is five words long, "Act in Netflix's best interest." Netflix insists on hiring truly the A-talent and letting them chose for themselves the rhythms that best suit their work and nature, and expects them to behave like adults. Formal performance reviews aren't practiced and performance improvement plans are out of the question, as they seldom work (we all know it).  The company expects HR to behave like businesspeople and make employees accountable for their own actions, all driven by a compelling cause. 

How Amazon is Built to Try and Learn

One of the core values at Amazon is 'Learn and Be Curious'. The pervasiveness of experimentation and trying out is supported by the appropriate infrastructure and policies. One such award is 'Just Do It' which recognizes employees for their initiative, without going through formal approvals. Learning is possible only with real-time feedback and the company adopts 'Connections', a means to solicit grassroots level feedback on a daily basis. Through their annual review process called 'Forte' employees are asked about their superpowers and how others could support those. Sponsoring employee self-learning programs, encouraging internal movements, and content sharing are some of the means of ensuring continuous learning for the employees. An employee with an idea is asked to 'work backward' and think of what all it takes to delight the customers and prepare a PR/FAQ that would help others greenlight the project. (Source: McKinsey) 

How Astronauts Deal with the Boring Parts of Being in Space

With space exploration expanding beyond the preserve of astronauts and scientists, it's useful to understand how's it in space. For one, the most mundane tasks back home, such as brushing your teeth, shaving, keeping yourself clean, and taking care of personal needs, may become highly demanding and if you aren't prepared already and agile it may lead to catastrophe. NASA astronaut Leland Melvin shares two tips for to-be explorers. Firstly, take care of oneself before others, and secondly, learn to visualize. But these are true even for rapid learning in an uncertain environment very much back on earth. 

Psychiatry Needs to Get Right with God

Since Sigmund Freud’s characterization of religion as a “mass-delusion” nearly 100 years ago, mental health professionals and scientists have eschewed the spiritual realm. However, the recent wake of the pandemic has brought back the importance of spirituality in mental health, and psychiatrists are seeing positive results. Research shows a connection between religious belief and the thickness of the brain’s cortex, which may help protect against depression. The key is to not confuse spirituality with religion and to understand that secular clinicians may be particularly effective in providing spiritual treatment, if they are willing to. 

Rapid Prototyping Insights from Google

One of the key tenets of design thinking, which is a human-centric approach to creative problem solving, is rapid prototyping. The idea is to pack maximum learning and progress in the least possible time and budget. Google is a master in cultivating prototyping mentality in its engineers and then making the seemingly bizarre even possible. In this very instructive TEDEd Talk, Tom Chi from Google offers insights on how Google Glass, one of the company's audacious projects, was prototyped. For instance, the heads-up display of Glass was done in a day (Rule 1: find the quickest path to experience); and to test the content manipulation it took them just 45 minutes (Rule 2: doing is the best kind of thinking). The team used basic, commonly available material to get their ideas through (Rule 3: Use materials that move at the speed of thought to maximize your rate of learning). And a few more. 

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Dr. Pavan Soni

Innovation Expert

Dr. Pavan is an Innovation Evangelist by profession and a teacher by passion. He is the founder of Inflexion Point, a strategy and innovation consulting. Apart from being an Adjunct Faculty at IIM Bangalore, Pavan has consulted with leading organizations on innovation and creativity, including 3M, Amazon, BCG, Deloitte, Flipkart, Honeywell, and Samsung, amongst others. Pavan was the only Indian to be shortlisted for the prestigious 'FT & McKinsey Bracken Bower Award for the Best Business Book of the Year 2016'. He has also been invited four times to speak at the TEDx. For his work on innovation, Pavan bagged the prestigious ‘On the Job Achiever’ Award at Lakshya in 2007 at NITIE Mumbai. Pavan works closely with CII, Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce, European Business Group, FICCI, Karnataka Knowledge Commission, NHRD, and World Trade Centre, towards shaping their innovation activities. Pavan is a mentor for NSRCEL at IIM Bangalore, Founder Institute, Institute of Product Leadership, Brainstars, Budli, HackerEarth, and UpGrad, and is on advisory board for VC firm- Utilis Capital. Pavan is also a columnist at YourStory, Entrepreneur India, Inc 42, and People Matters. He is a Gold Medalist from MBM Engineering College Jodhpur, and did his PGDIE from NITIE Mumbai. Pavan finished his Doctoral Studies from IIM Bangalore in the domain of innovation management. More on his work is available at

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