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Pavan Soni

Inflexion Point- January 2018

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One of the core purposes of my life is to ‘touch as many lives as possible‘. A humble attempt in this direction is Inflexion Point. Another effort came through the latest TEDx Talk of mine on Creativity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmXGvsuNDv8
Do take time to watch it, and if you like it, help me achieve my intent of touching as many lives as possible.
As for this edition, I am sharing insights on the world’s most innovative companies, the impact of diversity on innovation performance, how Samsung is once again betting on emerging technologies, insights on innovation hit rate, the real benefits of mindfulness, and what qualifies and how to hone competencies for innovation.
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Since 2005, the Boston Consulting Group has been publishing the list of world’s most innovative companies. The top then in 2005 were Apple, 3M, General Electric, Microsoft, Sony, Dell, IBM, Google, Nokia, and Procter & Gamble. The top ten for 2017 were Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, Tesla, Facebook, IBM, and Uber. Interestingly, four of the ten names are common in listings spanning over a decade! What have they done differently? The report hints at the adoption of digitization across the innovation value chain, right from insight gathering to ideation and commercialisation. (Source: BCG)
A study covering 1,700 companies across eight countries (the U.S., France, Germany, China, Brazil, India, Switzerland, and Austria) reveals that diversity impacts innovation. Diversity is in terms of gender, age, nationality, career path, industry background, and education, all show above average returns on a firm’s performance on new product revenues and other measures of innovation. However, diversity in the workforce has to be accompanied by fair employment practices, participative leadership, top management support for diversity, and open communication. (Sources: Harvard Business Review)
Having already overtaken Intel as the world’s largest chip maker, the Korean electronics giant is setting its eye on the emerging technology of cryptocurrency. This not only offers legitimacy to the technology, for chip making calls for significant capital, but also helps build an ecosystem with affordable hardware. Known as Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC), these cryptocurrency mining chips are currently being manufactured en masse by Chinese Bitmain, which corners 70% market share. Samsung, which owns some of the largest chip foundries in the world, can change the playing field much like its response to Sold State Devices. (Source: MIT Tech Review)
While this might sound like a passe, but to know the exact innovation practice that leads to superior performance isn’t a trivial pursuit. Based on an investigation of 154 companies over a five year period, researchers identify ideation rate (number of winning ideas generated per 1,000 users), as an important matrix. Supporting this causality is an innovation culture that encourages problem solving across levels, and in a proactive manner. So, it’s not just about having idea management portals in place, but in also having the right incentive systems and a tolerance of failure. (Source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
Nobody seems to question the seemingly obvious benefits of mindfulness meditation on stress levels, anxiety and overall wellbeing, except the research fraternity. Surprisingly, a bunch of prominent psychologists and cognitive scientists concede that there aren’t robust results to conclude if the approach really works. For one, there is no common understanding on what is mindfulness and if the measures and results are standard. Regardless, there is a growing popularity of the concept from fitness clubs to large corporates, such as Google. Would be interesting to discern if mindfulness really impacts creativity. (Source: Scientific American)
 
Ever wonder that what’s more important for a startup, opportunities or capabilities? Opportunities are outside while capabilities remain embedded, and unlike opportunities these are more enduring. In this article, I decipher the components of a capability, and how one could develop a capability before starting off, at the firm or even outside. The essentials of a robust competence are its value for the customer, inimitability by the competitor, and scalability across products and markets. Remember, even identifying an opportunity itself is a valuable competence, and that it needs to be honed and practiced. (Source: Entrepreneur India)
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