Tag Archive for 'Innovation'

From Employment to Employability

The shrinking job market post recession in the US has global impact . It affects immigration,education policies, social security costs and even crime rate . Notwithstanding the focus on STEM [ Science , Technology , Engineering and Mathematics ] based education by the US Government , there are many vacancies which do not get filled while the unemployment hovers around 9 percent or more .

The paradigm should shift from employment to employability and this can only be done through deliberate and holistic emphasis on Education and Vocational Training . STEM is a good way to go but it needs to be followed through and translated to employability – getting new employment, maintaining employment and getting new employment after getting laid off .

The hallmark of US culture is Innovation and Entrepreneurship . The genesis of this culture lies in the hard life of the first wave of Immigrants from Europe and it is still in the genes in spite of all the ” softening ” done by default through  technology , entertainment and gastronomic pursuits . Why not everyone leverage this basic trait and create more jobs to boost the sagging economy ?

The above message has universal applicability and the US example is only a trigger to ponder about .

I read in a magazine about 50 years ago a statement by Aubrey Menen , the well known English writer of Indian parentage and satirist  that one of the way to reduce unemployment in India is to employ the unemployed to count the unemployed! – A sound advice indeed in its essence !

Determinants of Economic Growth

A positive outlook for economy has many things in common with your anatomy – your body weight vs flab and good vs bad cholesterol in your body . While , the US boasts of a global outlook with scientific temper , innovation and entrepreneurship and a positive population growth post the baby boomers retirement  , India boasts of a young profile for 60 percent of its population with an annual growth rate of over 8 percent for its economy . Both Europe and Japan are negative in its population growth while scoring on other factors .

Productivity is another important determinant of economy and most of the third world countries suffer from poor productivity – with China , Japan and South Korea bring notable exceptions . In order to jump start an economy , a country needs to focus on its productivity and elimination of waste both wasteful processes and wasting scarce resources . Energy conservation and a free market access also facilitates economic growth .

A democratic set up with transparent governance and a political system with adequate safeguard against corruption is essential for any national economy to grow and prosper . Educating the masses and giving them good health care and right to property is also necessary for social security and enduring economic health .

The current unrest in the Middle East , the Jasmine Revolution , Arab Spring etc have come about due to the opening up of the global economy and due to the  spread of information and knowledge because of the internet and social media . This trend will continue not withstanding the road blocks on the way from countries like China and Iran .

India and the US are both favorable placed in this aspect and can hope to leverage the good factors mentioned above for a robust growth in their economy .

CATS – The Nine Lives of Innovation

It is said that curiosity killed the CAT .  But have you ever seen one die of Curiosity ? – Asks Stephen C . Lundin , Ph.D.  the author of the recently published book titled  ” CATS  The Nine Lives of Innovation ”  .  The cover also states the core theme of the book ” Companies don’ t Innovate . People do . ”  Lundin ,  coauthor of the famous fun [serious fun] book ” FISH ! ” has done it again . While Fish dealt with the theme  ” work place as a fun place  ”  , CATS  The Nine Lives of Innovation  deals with the topic  Innovation from a ”  CAT ‘s eye view  ” , explaining how to get  every employee – no matter what level –  to think and act in innovative ways .

IDEO in the US is well known as the Innovation factory and we have authors like Tom Kelley of  IDEO [ The Art of Innovation ] , Tony Buzan [ Mind Mapping  ] and  Edward de Bono who is credited with many books  on Lateral Thinking as a tool for Creativity and Innovation . However , Lundin ‘ s book stands out as a unique contribution  in demystifying   Innovation both at work and at the personal level  initiating the reader through a simple step by step process  through the Four Basic  Challenges of Innovation [ Distractions , Normal , Failure  and Leadership ] followed by the Nine Lives of Innovation , creating a friendly environment , preparation , know innovation isn’ t normal , welcoming physical – social and intellectual provocation ,  fascination ,  failing early and failing well and using Wranglers  to provide leadership with natural energy .

Part 2 of the book deals with sustaining a CAT ‘s life of Innovation through a personal review  with a taxonomy for Personal Innovation . The icing on the cake is the open invitation to earn CAT belts in Innovation by working with  <catsinnovation.com> .

A highly readable book cum work book  both for the uninitiated and the expert in Innovation   ,  this book grows on you as you go through the chapters and the simple exercises  laced with CAT pauses and CAT nips . Believe me I faced many Eureka moments while reading the book and I could come out with a few innovative solutions at work and at home  which  I never thought I will be capable of .  I strongly recommend this book for all potential CATS !!

References – CATS  The Nine Lives of Innovation by Stephen C .Lundin , Ph.D ., published in India in 2009 by Tata  McGraw -Hill  , ISBN – 13 :978-0-07-067097-6.