Guest AuthorPavan Soni

Inflexion Point, April 2022

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist

Welcome back to Inflexion Point, after a gap of about five months. 

I was away from work, but closer to life and got recharged in the process. Hope you too had an eventful time. 
One update from my end is that my book Design Your Thinking is now available in the audio format at Audible and Google Play. It’s recorded in my voice and I hope this makes them more accessible. Do check it out and reflect. 
In this edition of Inflexion Point, we look at the effect of oxytocin and dopamine on everyday creativity, how Deloitte is transforming its business, the surprising benefits of sarcasm, BCG’s insights on innovation leaders, and we wind it up with ten breakthrough technologies of 2022, 
Hope you find the effort meaningful. Kindly share your feedback.
Take care. 
An acceptable definition of creativity is the generation of ideas that are both original and useful. Further, genetic variance in creativity is explained partially by the genetic variance in intelligence and the personality trait of openness. Like other complex traits, additive genetic effects and unique environmental factors play major roles. Based on the measurement of creativity and divergent thinking (DT) by adopting the alternative uses test (AUT,) researchers have suggested that 
oxytocinergic and dopaminergic pathways contribute to enhanced creativity. The AUT measures performance on the aspects of fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration, and this effect is seen especially for originality. (Source: Nature)
In this HBR article, Prof. Michael Tushman shares his insights on how the consulting company Deloitte is reinventing itself at the top of the game by honing ambidexterity — the ability to exploit the present opportunities while simultaneously exploring the future avenues. Instead of waiting for disruption, they are embracing one. One of the approaches at Deloitte Consulting is Pixelating, where they break down a client’s complex business or strategic problem and then outsource it to a bunch of gig talent who are far away from a typical consultant type at the firm and turn around the solution in a faster and cheaper manner. Such talent range from machine learning people, digital people, AI people, to artists and scientists. It all happens at the Office of Innovation which is headed by Balaji Bondili, who, through his entrepreneurial edge, helps run over 60 concurrent experiments and turns a few of them into new service offerings. (Source: HBR)
Oscar Wilde famously quipped, “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit but the highest form of intelligence,” and yet it is known to be expressing the poisonous sting of contempt, hurting others and harming relationships. Research suggests that mild levels of sarcasm can help enhance creativity. Much like creativity sarcasm is about constructing or exposing contradictions between intended meanings. Since the brain must think creatively to understand or convey a sarcastic comment, sarcasm may lead to clearer and more creative thinking. It facilitates abstract thinking as one needs to be careful that the tone must overcome the contradiction between the literal and actual meanings of the sarcastic expressions. However, sarcasm is also quite likely to be misinterpreted, especially if delivered through an electronic medium. Even further reasons to be creative. (Source: Scientific American)
For several years now BCG has been coming up with a comprehensive review of the innovation trends and this time it’s pretty insightful. The latest report identifies five key drives of innovation: 1) setting aspirational goals that align with corporate strategy, 2) grounding the innovation strategy in deep customer insight

and adjusting nimbly to shifting opportunities, 3) linking ambition to measurable KPIs that are tied to incentives rewarding both predictable, incremental progress and successful step-change innovation, 4) having execution teams that are small yet functionally diverse and able to act autonomously and make their own decisions, and 5) honing a culture that grants prestige to innovation roles and values openness and thoughtful challenges to the status quo. (Source: BCG)

For well over two decades, MIT has been offering one of the definitive guides on technology evolution and mostly it has been bang on. Here’s a look at some of the interesting developments in varied fields. The list includes the evolution of passwords from impressing on your memory to links sent via email, a push notification, or a biometric scan. Not only these are more convenient but also more secure. Reliable research on iron-based batteries to power your renewable energy grid. Less expensive and more practical nuclear fusion reactors based on new magnetism. Synthetic data for training AI which would otherwise rely on human-generated data often takes a lot longer. And how about carbon removing factories? Read at leisure. (Source: MIT Technology Review)
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