I mentioned in that post that business failures will occur. While this is a tragedy it is not all bad. Sometimes life is just like that. The circle of life involves death too. And while death is a tragedy it is neither good nor bad. It is what it is. To me, Steve Jobs expressed this extremely well in his 2005 Stanford commencement address, two years after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which proved fatal.
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.”
– Steve Jobs at the Stanford University commencement address in 2005
2018 is a World Cup year. This year, 32 teams from all over the world will be competing to be the World Champions, a feat achievable once in every four years.
In our real world – we are facing similar competition on a daily basis. We just don’t treat it like the World Cup, but we should. Every day, the global economy sees competition. The strongest, or the fastest, or the most innovative, or the most adaptable are the ones that win. This competition is not just about economies, but also ideologies, businesses, jobs, talent etc. With a fast-changing world, the competition gets even more frenetic. Adaptability and ability to move fast become increasingly the desired trait. What is relevant for us ordinary people is how we can sustain our living in this fast-changing environment? Continue reading “In order to be globally competitive, we need to start opening ourselves more to the world.”
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We fear that artificial intelligence – AI – will be taking away jobs from us in a big way. Although similar concerns were raised during the days when robots were introduced to the factory floor to automate manufacturing – in truth, the impact to the availability of human jobs was not significantly affected. But this time we now increasingly fear that jobs for humans will finally be threatened by technology – by AI, purely because technological development is far outpacing our ability to learn and adapt to new things. The jobs we know today may no longer be relevant in the future. Will there be new jobs or occupation in the future in such AI driven economy? And we know that it will not be easy for us to be retrained, reskilled – to unlearn and relearn new things. Thus, this begs the question of what kind of education should our children be given in order to survive in this uncertain future? Perhaps we should forget about teaching the next generation biology, physics, law, accounting etc. Perhaps we should teach them even more fundamental skills and habits such as reading, creativity, empathy, adaptability, curiousity, research, learning, problem-solving, interaction and the likes. What do you think?
Amongst many things, Google is also well known for its creatively designed office and work spaces. The logic behind the colourful and playful design is to create environments that can nurture creativity and innovation within the people that work in these places. Google is acknowledged as one of the most innovative companies in the past decade or so with a variety of products and services that are significantly impacting and changing our lives.
This is quite a common trait of many tech companies too. And similarly these companies also adopt conditions that are designed to encourage creativity and innovation.
Of course, such conditions are not only confined to office space design. Values, management practices, and leadership play equally big roles.
I believe that environment shapes culture, and in the case of Google and the likes, how much do you think the office and work space design (colourful and playful) contribute towards the respective organisation’s innovative culture?
We live in an age where technology, customer expectations, and markets shift rapidly. Sticking with dogma and age old ideas, methods, products and services will no longer cut it.
Assuming that we believe in the above – and I would not be too far off the mark, I’d guess – then we need to be able to adapt, respond, anticipate these shifts before and as they happen. We need to be agile, and most of all we need to be innovative. We need to find even more effective solutions to old and new problems. What worked in the past will not guarantee to work in the future.
Innovation is the key to winning in the fast changing world.
But innovation is not just an activity. It is more than that. It is a mindset, a culture, a function that everyone plays – and not just some people in labs and research centres.
Like creativity, you cannot force innovation. Like creativity, innovation must be allowed to flow, naturally. The biggest enabler for innovation is allowing individuals the freedom to have independent thought.
The seed of a new idea would only come from a ground that is fertile with many different thinking. In groups of people, society and organisations – allowing people to think different allows them to explore new ideas, test new perspectives, find new solutions in ways never been thought of before. A social group that emphasises conformity over individuality will psychologically limit the collective minds. This is often the subtle tyranny of the majority.
A society or organisation that is conscious of these subtle effects will need to take steps to allow individuality and take these steps even further by bringing in people who would be expected to see things differently – given they come from different backgrounds and thus would naturally see things differently. Artists will see different solutions to problems than would engineers or accountants. People from different industries will see different ways to solve problems. This is vital in order to encourage innovation. Societies and organisations will need to infuse their own culture and groups of people with people from other backgrounds in order to create a much richer diversity of thought.