Guest AuthorPavan Soni

Inflexion Point, August 2022

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist

Welcome back to another edition of Inflexion Point. 
In this edition, we look at why humans are growing dumb over the years of evolution, if chess masters tend to live longer, means of measuring innovation, the sweet spot of design thinking, and the fourth dimension of design thinking.
Hope you find these articles useful. You may access this edition online. 

Stanford University researcher Gerald Crabtree suggests that unintelligent humans have a far greater chance of survival today than during the hunter-gatherer era. Crabtree argues that the urbanization that followed the development of agriculture simplified survival by removing some of its challenges, which likely weakened natural selection’s ability to eliminate mutations associated with deficiencies in intelligence. The selective pressure from the environment has relented significantly and we can still walk around relatively unintelligent. (Source: Time) 
India recently hosted the 44th Chess Olympiad. A relevant question is – does playing chess add years to your life? Research suggests that it does indeed, a good 14 years! In fact, ace chess players enjoy the same longevity benefits as Olympians. For starters, playing board games can reduce the risk of dementia, a leading cause of death. Further, the sport elevates life expectancy through psychological, social or economic boosts. Though the relation between IQ levels and chess proficiency isn’t established, such results apply to masters, grand masters and experts, and so you can work your way to a longer life. (Source: The University of Queensland) 
Getting a handle of how innovative a company is isn’t easy. There are too many measures, some more relevant than others and yet others are difficult to measure. Wharton Business School has come up with a comprehensive coverage of the kind of yardstick that one could adopt, categorized as input, process and performance measures. The prominent ones include time to market, financial, customer satisfaction, and cultural factors. A more detailed reading is suggested. (Source: Knowledge @ Wharton) 
Design thinking is often thought of as a method for all seasons and all reasons, and that any problem would benefit from the application of this tool. But certainly design thinking is one of the several means of problem solving and a problem must qualify first to be administered using this approach. There are five conditions to be met: 1) audacity of goals, 2) ambiguity of context, 3) availability of time, 4) access to customers, and 5) diversity of teams. (Source: Pavan Soni) 
Design Thinking is a powerful method of creative problem solving. It defines a winning idea as one that qualifies on the dimensions of human desirability, technical feasibility, and business viability. However, these axes, put together, may not do justice to an idea which can result in a disproportionate result. Let’s call this impact. How about impact as the fourth dimension of design thinking? Even if an idea meets the conditions of desirability, feasibility and viability and yet doesn’t result into a significant impact would you still consider it? May be not. (Source: Your Story)
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