"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Better! Faster! Cheaper! The chant of the marketspace!

Earnings have become less predictable. The challenge is how to reconcile unpredictable earnings with predictable bills. Hard work is no guarantor of future security. No pundit, preacher, or politician can predict with any precision about profits, performance, and productivity. Income used to be directly proportional to rank and seniority.

Now you’re paid for your ideas and your ability to inform, communicate, and entertain – so that you sell!

A Financial Times investigation covering an eighteen months timespan from January 2001 has shown that the directors and executives of the 25 largest US companies to go bankrupt in this period managed to amass a US$3.3 billion fortune between them – in horrid contrast to their companies, their employees, and the millions of shareholders that lost all their investments in them. A mere 52 individuals emerged with US$2.95 billion in remuneration shortly before their businesses went bust – 89 per cent of the total!

Some of the huge entities guilty of previously unimaginable corporate scandals were WorldCom, Enron, and Arthur Andersen, to mention just a few. Of course, the personalities of such creative chicanery are now confronted with financial bankruptcy.

In this new learning economy, success equates most with connections, relationships, alliances, talent, creative ingenuity, continuous innovation, and the ability to project ourselves into the ever-contracting attention span of potential customers. Inventiveness and empathy are needed to remain in contention.

In the corporate ecosystem, selling out was once a stigma; now, the worst scenario is when you’re not selling! Net worth and self-worth are generally poles apart; in today’s frenetic marketspace, they meet on equal terms when your personality has become a marketable commodity so that it sells successfully.

Creative ingenuity enables you to nichecraft; it helps you to blaze your own career path and make a reputation in your field, not just in your organisation. Promotion comes from promoting yourself. Entrepreneurship has morphed into multipreneurship, and the new individual has to become an intricate web containing several different nodes of expertise. Demand for ingenious innovators is outrunning supply. Electronic communities and coalitions are coordinating themselves via the Internet.

Constantly morphing constellations of diverse disciplines, such as researchers, designers, manufacturers, financial specialists, marketers, shippers, and many others, are merging into conglomerates that function as if they were a single enterprise – only to disband once their united aims are achieved, to form fresh coalitions of creative collaboration.

Are you in? Are you out ? Choose. And act!

The clarion call of innovation has forced large organisations to rip out entire bureaucracies – replacing middle management with computer software to streamline activities such as billing, procurement, and inventory; leveraging the Internet for customer services, auctioning,sales, and advertising; and renting space and equipment instead of purchasing them.

In many instances, bricks and mortar have been extinguished, rapidly replaced by brains and wits!

Continuous innovation emerges from continual learning, much of which is informal, unplanned,serendipitous. These outputs shape outcomes when technical insights merge with marketing imagination. Intangible value from innovations has surpassed tangible value from the creations of these innovations.

When, for example, buyers purchase a compact disc, some medication, or a transistor, they are paying the bulk of the price tag for researching, designing, marketing, and advertising; the raw cost of the products themselves is a mere few cents in each case.

How are YOU capitalising on innovation?

Here is another choice for you: Innovate or Abdicate!

[Excerpted from the 'Catalysing Creativity' edition of The Braindancer Series of bookazines by Dilip Mukerjea. All the images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Say Keng's personal comments:

Posting the foregoing essay by Dilip Mukerjea - & rereading it - reminds me of our earlier conversation in his car, while travelling together to visit his printer in the Tuas area some time ago, during which I have mentioned about a wonderful book I have read, entitled 'Fast Strategy: How Strategic Agility will help you Stay Ahead of the Game'.

I have then shared with Dilip a particular comment made by the two consultants-authors, Yves Doz & Mikko Kosonen, of the book:

"Companies are often the victims of their own success. They die not because what they did was wrong, but rather they kept doing it for too long."

It resonates with what Dilip has so eloquently written.

From my perspective, to succeed - and thrive - in an environment of disruptive change, we will have to be more versatile, more ready than ever to anticipate and adapt. I have mentioned this point in an earlier post.

Creativity &/or innovation, as argued by Dilip Mukerjea, is just one avenue. We also have to stay agile & remain nimble, mentally as well as physically.

With greater creativity, versatility and agility, I reckon we can have more options to deal with a rapidly-changing, discontinuously disruptive marketspace.

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