Guest AuthorPavan Soni

Inflexion Point, June 2019

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist

Welcome back to Inflexion Point, the monthly on innovation, strategy and creativity.
In the edition, we look at the country rankings on AI readiness, how Facebook is launching its own cryptocurrency, the limits of Design Thinking, how leaders enable organizational innovations, training the brain for creativity, and a look at the world’s greatest leaders. 
Further, on August 21-22, CII is hosting the 15th edition of the India Innovation Summit in Bangalore. It’s a useful event for the innovation enthusiasts and practitioners alike (though slightly costly). Click here to know more. 

McKinsey has declared that a good 50% of the global workforce would lose their livelihood to machines, and the World Economic Forum puts the number to 42% stating that as many of today’s core jobs would lose meaning by 2022. Meanwhile, Coursera, the world’s largest provider of online education and with 40 million learners and over 3,000 curated courses, has published its Global Skills Index report and the Harvard Business Review looks at three of the core skills, namely, business, tech and data. India doesn’t look pretty on the report at all. Check for yourself. (Source: Harvard Business Review)  
If you ever doubted the power of Facebook, this very act of the social network behemoth would put your doubts to rest. The world’s largest online platform is soon launching its own digital currency- codenamed Globalcoin. This blockchain-based payment network could be a potential game changer, especially in the developing countries where people can’t have enough Facebook, but not financial inclusion. The boundaries between industries are surely blurring. (Source: MIT Tech Review) 
While Design Thinking has really caught on the people’s imagination and become a part of workplace vocabulary, the question remains — is Design Thinking (DT) applicable to all context of innovation? The short answer is no. There are some clear limits of DT, or so to say, not every problem is amicable for a DT based approach. Three specific contexts in which DT meets its limits are: disruptive technologies, improvisation, and pushing science. (Source: Medium)  
One of the key imperatives of leadership is to bring about change, and innovation is the agent of change. The question remains though on the specific temperaments the leaders hone to enable a culture of innovation. In this piece, I argue that effective leaders don’t necessarily innovate, rather they protect those who innovate. The key is to provide psychological safety and not the sheer horsepower for innovation to happen. As managers move up the value chain, their role becomes more of enablers, catalysts and shields than active innovators or ideators. (Source: People Matters) 
Can creativity be cultivated? The answer is an emphatic yes, because creativity is a skill, and like any other skill, it can be improved. Unlike the convention belief that creativity is a right-brained phenomenon, recent advent in brain-science reveals that it’s the connectedness of the brain parts that matters and not the parts per-say. Some of the practices that can change one’s thinking for good include mind wandering, selective listening, and reducing distractions. (Source: Fast Company) 
Here’s the list of World’s Greatest Leaders from the Fortune Magazine. Now, you won’t see many familiar names in the list, and that’s what makes it very interesting. I was amazed at how these business and non-for-profit org leaders, and even heads of states are building on their abilities of deep listening, vulnerability, openness and empathy to shape organizational culture. A very different take on leadership, indeed. (Source: Fortune)
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