"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."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Welcome to the Age of Brainware.

Those who do not know this, are victims, not victors. The crucial variable in transforming knowledge into value is ‘creativity.’ Creativity ignites our audacity; it helps us convert pain into progress, and become what we are capable of being.

Incremental evolution has been trumped by quantum revolution. The workscapes of tomorrow have their genesis in the mindscapes of today. Corporate landscapes are littered with the charred remains of burnt-out executives. There is only one ultimatum: innovate or incinerate.

Too many organisations are obsessed with ‘best practices’ when what is needed are ‘revolutionary practices,’ ones that are radically different; the pace of change demands intellectual mutiny vis-à-vis past protocols. Previous success has become irrelevant in today’s fail-fast-leap-ahead quantum dance with competitive innovation.

Japan’s three most innovative companies -- Honda, NTT DoCoMo, and Sony -- are addressing a gargantuan social problem facing them, and also the world’s industrialized nations: the drop in the fertility rate, which has resulted in an escalating aging population. The problem will eventually hit developing nations, since the drop in fertility rates for countries like China and India will pose unheard-of challenges beyond the year 2050.

So will we witness the fruits of creativity in the guise of humanlike robots? These three Japanese companies are working on this new species for our planet.

A goal for these robots is to be ready to challenge the winner of the FIFA World Cup to a soccer match in about 50 years. If they can play soccer, then they surely will be able to do a lot of things for you, both at home -- like wash the dishes, vacuum the floor, baby-sit -- and at work.We know that robots represent the future. We need to start preparing for them. The challenge facing humans is to make sure that these robots behave morally and ethically -- something that we have a hard time doing ourselves.

Exercise: Write down at least 3 ways in which you have demonstrated a good measure of creativity in the past month.

[Excerpted from the 'Igniting Innovation' 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:

Re-reading what Dilip Mukerjea has written reminds me of a National Day Rally 2000 speech by the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, now Senior Minister, during which he had painted the new economic landscape for Singapore (as recorded in my scratchpad notes).

He had even quoted from then visiting consultant Prof Gary Hamel, who wrote 'Leading the Revolution: How to Thrive in Turbulent Times by Making Innovation a Way of Life':

"In the new industrial order, the battle lines don’t run between regions and countries. It's no longer Japan versus the USA versus the EU versus the developing world. Today, it’s the insurgents versus the incumbents, the revolutionaries versus the landed gentry . . . First the revolutionaries will take your markets and your customers . . . Next they’ll take your best employees ... Finally, they’ll take your assets."

With the world changing so radically, naturally it cannot be "business as usual" for us. We have to reinvent ourselves continually.

What Gary Hamel and Goh Chok Tong had put forward still rings true today.

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.

Creativity, 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 any insurgency.

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