Welcome back to Inflexion Point, the monthly on the insightful research and practical developments from the domains of innovation, creativity, and strategy.
In this edition, we explore interesting research studies, surveys, puzzles and insights on how to shape creative teams, foster organizational innovation, and have a robust strategy, with sources ranging from NatGeo to MIT Tech Review.
Why do we value art? Is it for its scarcity or originality (in beholder's eyes), or the effort? Or something entirely different? There are companies like Amper Music and Spotify which aren't far away from rendering music and other forms of art entirely generated by machines. If machines can replace human anywhere from driving to disbursing cash and performing more-than-routine tasks; composing art may not be all that non-trivial. What then remains human? (Source: Scientific American)
It's for long known that pursuing pastime and hobbies help enhance creativity, but the question is -- how exactly? Scientists note that for the fellow researchers, which are often stressed with over 60-hours working weeks, hobbies help them relax, expand the network, weaken fixed and strong associations at work or about concepts that help with problem-solving, and even helps get a sense of accomplishment. The trick is to ensure that you deliberately identify pastime, and then follow it up religiously. (Source: Nature)
While a greater number of employees are taking learning programs online through MOOCs, the employers somehow don't seem to gain. Latest research suggests that a large share of employees spend their own money, time and opportunity cost to upgrade their skills, but are seldom noticed by their employers, and hence, achieve career growth, albeit in a different organization. The imperative is for the employer to support and fund the programs, else they stand to lose talent. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
One of the most awaited and comprehensive reports on the state of global innovation, country level, is out. The top ten most innovative companies are: Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, Singapore, USA, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and Ireland. Interesting, India ranks at 57, up from 60 last year, while China is at 17. While India's weaknesses on institutions and infrastructures is well know, the country scores high on its market sophistication, and knowledge and technology output, particularly on the ease of protecting minority investors, knowledge diffusion and state of cluster development. (Source: Cornell INSEAD WIPO)
Arguably the largest study of global CEOs, the IBM C-Suite Study covering over 12,000 CXOs, and throws some very incisive pointers to the state of innovation and business priorities. Firstly, the CXOs opine that it's not startups, but incumbents that are dominating the innovation landscape, and that is by leveraging digital technologies, and power of platforms. These companies are betting on newer business models, tapping into consumer data, and embracing agility to remain competitive. (Source: IBM)
One of the most iconic companies in the business history is fast becoming a history! General Electric, the company Edison found and Welch ran for a long time, withered away under the leadership of Immelt, a Harvard graduate. Several reasons for the demise, ranging from a culture which is lacking candor, to poor execution, and unthoughtful capital allocation, but it's sufficient to say that it hurts to see the giant failing. Here's a very insightful piece on what has led to the current state of GE. (Source: Fortune)
Have we evolved to be creative, or has creativity lead us to evolve radically? The answer seems to be our creativity as the catalyst of continuous, and often radical change that has led to us, the way we are. The article reflects on how human imagination and the ability to realise it seems to be the most distinctive ability we possess, and this has led us to tame the nature, fellow animals, and create communities, which only accelerate evolution. (Source: National Geographic)
Go to market is the new buzzword in the startup circle, for budding entrepreneurs are realizing that a good technology is just the beginning. Being a category creator makes the ordeal even more taxing, since one has to both create the market and ensure a sizable chunk of the pie. Here is a five point agenda of how new companies can become a force to reckon with in markets that didn't exist before. The journey starts with communicating the utility and ends with cultivating habits. (Source: Founder Institute)
Every years, since 1999, the MIT Technology Review has been publishing its much awaited 35 Innovators Under 35 list. In fact, the 1999 list had these three names- Sabeer Bhatia of Hotmail, Jerry Yang of Yahoo!, and Jonathan Ive, of Apple, each under 35, then. Today's list looks more AI dominated, and interesting, female dominated (for the very first time). Some of the interesting advents include better ways of disease management, new material for healing injuries, better ways of learning, and cleaner energy. (Source: MIT Tech Review)
Blockchain has made a lot of news of late, especially on its valuations and disruptive potential. However, the technology may not be as disruptive or reliable as thought of. In this incisive article, the authors identify the domains in which the technology could make a maximum impact, and dispels a few long-held myths around the technology and usage. Beyond financial services, public sector would be a big beneficiary of the technology, while its short-term utility would be mostly cost savings, with a growing value-add with time. (Source: McKinsey & Co.)
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 www.PavanSoni.com.