Guest AuthorPavan Soni

Inflexion Point, May 2023

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist

Welcome back to another edition of Inflexion Point, your monthly on innovation, creativity, and business. 
Here we look at the entrepreneurial insights from Marwari businesses, how Lego came to become the world’s most famous brick, how dreams can be used to inspire creativity, why 45 years is the average age of successful startup founders, and a look at the worst technologies of 2022.
Hope you find this curated list useful. 
Arguably one of the most successful business communities is the Marwari. Years before startups became a vogue and funders came along, the Marwari business people have been busy building enduring commerce, which often span multiple generations and geographies. The Birlas, Goenkas, Bansals, Agarwals and Jains are some of the more successful ones, but the community remains extremely robust and you rarely see them going bankrupt. Why? Five key reasons: 1) tight and centralized financial control, 2) parsimony and frugality, 3) adaptability and opportunism, 4) subordination of the individual to the family and vision, and 5) building social capital and a brand. (Source: YourStory)
There are over 700 billion Lego blocks sold till date. How did the toy come to become so ageless? It all started in 1946 in Denmark when Kirk Kristiansen, a master carpenter, brought in a plastic-injection-­molding machine. The machine would cost the firm almost 7% of its total sales and was deemed a very risky affair, but over years of trial and error with the  stud-and-tube coupling system he could finally mold a Lego brick within an accuracy of 0.005 mm. That’s the story of perseverance, tinkering, design and an excellence in manufacturing. (Source: Wired)

Here’s How to Use Dreams for Creative Inspiration

Recent strides in research suggests that fertile grounds of creative outburst are not the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep but rather the twilight zone that separates sleep and wakefulness. Findings suggest that people who take brief naps that usher in the onset of sleep score higher on several measures of creativity than those who undertake the same creative tasks after staying awake. The key is to direct your dream towards a specific topic. Both Salvador Dalí and Thomas Edison would device ingenious ways to interrupt their brief sleeps to solve difficult problems which they would ruminate while sleeping. (Source: Scientific American)
Research shows that among the top 0.1% of startups based on growth in their first five years, the founders started their companies, on average, when they were 45 years old. While the average age of starting seems 42, but if accounted for growth in parameters such as patents, VC investment, or of employment of STEM workers, the number goes up to mid-40s. Except the consumer-facing IT companies, most B2B or industrial companies are started by older people. Work experience plays out a critical role in startup success. (Source: HBR)
Let’s take a break from the best and look at the ideas that didn’t work so well. It seems that trouble stems when rules, processes, institutions, and ideals that govern technology’s use faulter or become unreasonable. China had to abruptly cut down its ‘Zero Covid’ iron fist (may be causing a million more deaths); a 60-year-old painkiller, fentanyl, caused death of over 70,000 Americans owing to overdose; the FTX broke down wiping our the crypto dream as a pure case of greed; a faulty pig-human heart transplant; and Meta pulling out its large language model, Galactica, within three days of its launch. Read a few more misses. (Source: MIT Tech Review)
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