One manager of a Best Buy store, who resembles Fidel Castro, leveraged this “asset” turning his store into the best performer. How? Revolutionary mode (called his store “La Revolucion,” posted “Declaracion de Revolucion” in the break room, made store supervisors wear army fatigues,…) and encouragement to whistle when employees do good things.
In Cuba, considered “Internet enemy” by Freedom House, Internet has only 14% penetration, served much like rationned food.
In 2010, Castro admitted he admired Internet and WikiLeaks’ influence on American government and agreed to have a Cuba-Jamaica-Venezuela fiber-optic line, increasing its connectivity 3000 times, but not for ordinary citizens.
Pro-Ams – term coined by Charles Leadbeater – are people pursuing amateur activities to professional standards.
Since the industrial age of 18th century, there was a steady rise of professionals and narrow specialization in medicine/science/education/etc.. Amateurism was driven out.
Pro-Am Revolution argues that in 21st century this historic trend is reversing.
Passionate amateurs who have vast knowledge/skills in a certain domain(s), often driven by confusion/lack of sought solutions, come up with new inventions gradually improving their quality, eventually ushering into high-quality products/services.
Where good ideas come from claims innovation originates in seven realms:
- Adjacent possibilities.Use existing components. Gutenberg used wine press for his printing press.
- Liquid networks. 21st-century cities and the Internet make it possible for informal networks to form, enabling idea cross-pollination/inventions.
- Slow hunch. It takes years for a hunch to evolve into an invention.
- Serendipity. LSD, Teflon, Viagra.
- (Unplanned/unexpected) errors. de Forest‘s development of audion diode/triode resulted from erroneous thinking.
- Exaption. Vacuum tubes were developed for long-distance telephone/radio transmission and later used in computers.
- Platforms. Development of TRANSIT, a precursor of GPS by Applied Physics Laboratory.
There’s growing realization that value-added technology innovation stalls. How did ancients invent/innovate?
New York Times started its own Google-Labs-style innovation-driving initiative called beta620. A response to stalling news industry?
Recently, Google’s CFO acknowledged that every single day 15% of the queries Google handles are completely new/never seen before.
Also, many modern financial tools (cheques, stock-certificates, bills-of-exchange) have ancient roots.
Even Roman dictator’s post was an innovative response to demands/aspirations of the time, namely overcoming inter-fighting of magistrates. List of Roman inventions are must serve as examples for modern leaders aspiring to innovate.
Isn’t it time for 21st-century value-based innovations?
There are about (cheers to taxonomic Carl Linnaeus) 8.7 million species (only 14% identified) on earth. There are only one species that could tweet: humans. And robots.
The first human-like astronaut robot R2 awakened at the ISS and already tweets/facebooks.
NASA apparently innovates, disruptively. Does it complement its existing ”high-end” (humans) with “low-end” (robot astronauts), by mimicking Apple’s famed ipod/iphone business model?
It was Schumpeter whose acute insights about disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship are still present with us in works of Christensen, Drucker, …
Less known is that hackers are essential for innovation. Pentagon agrees. Educators too.
Innovation, shminovation. We’re obsessed with innovation. But why care about innovation? Perhaps because it’s comfortable to think innovation is panacea for our social stagnation or economic graveyard called capitalism? Indeed, if capitalism, it must be messy to drive innovation.
Ask yourself, how many Fortune-500 firms breathe innovation? Only few. In them “innovation initiatives face their stiffest resistance after they show hints of success.“
But, not all lost: creative capitalism + social innovation = new social enterprise. Sure, capitalism. Even Bible indirectly condones value-based, compassionate capitalism, for which we need to be deliberate and motivated.
Oh, capitalism inspires poetry too.
Beethoven. Michaleangelo. Dickens. Common treats?
Brahe. Morse. Tesla.
Crazy habits and behavioral patterns.
According to Hans Eysenck, psychotic tendencies translate well into creative endeavors via overinclusiveness (drawing upon many ideas/connections/treats no one else sees and formulating original/effective approaches/solutions), a basis for divergent thinking, in itself a hallmark of all geniuses.
Geniuses are in most cases successful innovators; they question, observe, network, experiment and think associatively.
Modern/fresh tentatives? Reliable energy VS. poverty = EnergyInCommon. Charity VS. social change VS. fair-trade = LemonAid.
P.S. To prove he was a god, Empedocles jumped into a volcano…
“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative,” said David Ogilvy, the best ad-man there was. Innovation is commercialization of creativity, said Vijay Govindarajan. In practice, corporate innovation looks mostly as below.
This article spurred the below “what innovators can learn from Sonia Gandhi,” making innovation more impactful.
- Modest but perseverant (shuns publicity)
- Mindset/ears tuned towards customer/market demands (her econ-policies are extreme pro-poor)
- Surround yourself with smart/complementary-to-your-skills people (PM Singh takes care of administrative burdens of the office)
- Not interested in (corporate) politics
- Systematize (innovation) in order to capitalize (spearheaded successful systems/procedures)
- Earn trust from outside (customers/markets) and inside (leadership/employees)
In 2007, I was writing an essay I submitted for St Gallen university’s prestigious annual symposium. Instead of conventional and well-trodden topics such as leadership/entrepreneurship, I vied to seek out correlations between a nation’s religiousness, leadership, availability of natural resources and economic development.
Based on extensive research of modern Norway, KSA, Hittites and post-Gutenberg Europe, the essay concluded (formula is pretty straightforward):
D = 0.25*N-R + 0.3*R + 0.45*L
- D=development (probability)
- R=religiousness (if religion is dogma/fixed, R<0)
I didn’t win – Churchill’s infamous words came to mind:
A modest little person, with much to be modest about.
Since 2009, SEC’s Division of Risk, Strategy, and Financial Innovation, “parachuted into complex legislative matters demanding immediate specialized expertise“. Searching “risk fin” on EconomyInCrisis and DollarCollapse was fruitless.
A beautiful poem “Risk (author unknown)” contains:
To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
concluding “Only the person who risks can be free.“
To succeed, organizational risk-management needs:
- rethink (danger->opportunity->necessity),
- consider (cross-disciplinary/organizational) success-stories
- tailoring to organizational structures