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Guest AuthorPavan Soni

Inflexion Point, April 2019

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist 

Welcome to the 11th Anniversary Edition of Inflexion Point.
I started this newsletter, originally named Inflection Point, in April 2008, when I was an Innovation Evangelist at Wipro. The inspiration came from my first boss at Wipro – Sangita Singh, and then GS Nathan and Vikesh Mehta fueled the desire. From a humble beginning of 300 recipients, the size has grown to over 14,000.
Hope that you find this edition useful. Also, read online. 
Do reflect and share. 
The world is largely designed for men, and women, even now, are treated mostly as an outlier — a different type of men! In this very readable piece, Ritu Prasad identified a series of contexts in which women are forced to compromise, or worse, abandon the tasks altogether. The space suit, military gears, sport gears and science safety equipments are just a few of bad designs for women; the more surprising ones are the cell phones and our humble office space. Time for a holistic design and a more inclusive approach to problem solving. (Source: BBC)
Intrapreneurship is the call for the hour in most large organizations. But to solve a well-specific problem is a different skill than incubating a business while marrying rich customer insights with technological possibilities. McKinsey has identified ten traits of successful innovative teams under four broad categories: vision (uncovering, generating, selling); collaboration (networking, orchestrating, motivating); learning (absorption); and execution (deciding, pioneering, tabulating). Check your team composition, and try filling the gaps. (Source: McKinsey & Co.)
Basis a survey of 19,957 people across five continents, the study reveals that Asians, Europeans and Australians score over Americans on productivity basis their abilities to have daily schedules, not constantly checking messages, focusing early on the final product, and thinking carefully before reading or writing. Further, the more aged, senior executives turned out to be more productive then the younger lots as they learn to develop routines for low-value activities, manage message flow, run effective meetings, and delegate tasks to others. (Source: Harvard Business Review)   
 
Imagine someone studying patterns of failures across startup companies, attempts of securing funds, and terrorist attacks? The insight on why things fail can be so valuable. Millions of data points across disparate contexts offer that between chance and learning, the learning, basis past experience, is a greater predictor of success. The key is to incorporate the learning from failure and model the successive attempts accordingly. (Source: MIT Tech Review)
 
Creativity involves cognitive resources and is some of those could be freed up, the overall performance on problem-solving or divergent thinking could go up. In a study, it’s shown how participants with their eyes-closed generated 1.5 times more divergent ideas than the ones with opened-eye. With the eye closed the person cuts off a part of external stimulus, thus saving scarce cognitive resources enhancing the generation on novel ideas. (Source: Nature)   
 
Design Thinking, a phrase coined by Ideo’s Tom Kelley and popularized by the Stanford University, seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon. However, some of the most majestic and influential of the innovators, chiefly Thomas Edison, did apply the tenets of Design Thinking to the core. Practices such as rapid prototyping, iterative design, customer centricity, visual thinking, collaboration, and systems thinking, were ingrained in the thinking and working of Thomas Edison. I call him the Original Design Thinker. Learn why. (Source: LinkedIn Pulse)  
 
We all are well aware of the benefits of taking a break, or having a playtime, or even a nap during the work hours to encourage creativity and boost productivity. But how about fatigue induced creativity? Recent research at the Yale University has shown surprising effects of work induced mental overload which leads to high quality of ideas. The mechanism is that overwork lowers latent inhibition which then allows radical ideas to surface which would otherwise won’t get a chance in regular state of alertness. (Source: Scientific American) 
 
Why reinvent the wheel — goes the saying; but there is so much of turning of wheels that happen in apparently the most mundane of the contexts. Some of the most significant innovations that have shaped the humble cycle, invented in 1817 by Germany’s Karl Drais, include: pneumatic tyres (1840s), pedals (1860s), tension-spoke wheels (1860s), the roller chain (1870s), and safety bicycles (1870s), amongst others. It’s fascinating to see how the product has evolved over the years, one step at a time, and yet looks so intuitive. That’s great design. (Source: Road.cc)
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