Jun 11, 2004

Cultural reasons for non-Innovation

Corporate Innovation Blog points out : "Joel Kurtzman, former HBR editor, writes this funny piece that suggests that what countries with a self-confessed 'innovation problem' need is to get a little messier. His contention - that countries like Switzerland and Japan are characterised by their inability to handle conflict and disorder, are also stunted in their innovation capacity because people cannot think beyond the current order."

Hmm, that means we Indians would be amongst the most Innovative cultures?

As I posted once on ISTT:

"What gives us Indians an edge in this world is a paradoxical ability
to balance the super-structured with the totally ambiguous !

In my view, no other civilisation (Jung would call it the 'collective
unconscious of a people'), save the Japanese, drills in both the
factors to such an amazing degree. So you have the example of a
Ramanujam who excelled in the so called structured world of maths
relying on mysticism and intuition.

So what, I hear you ask? What does this psycho-babble have to do with strategy? with business? with India Inc.?

Look around you ! The structured world of business as Taylor, Ford
and Sloan knew it is falling (or has fallen) like a house of
cards...and the domino effect is happening around the world. In these
chaotic times the skills that are needed most are the duality to
balance the chaos of the environment with order and structure of the
organization...and yet not be rigid !

The rise of the Knowledge Age...Drucker called it...when individual
expertise is the most coveted...in the Financial Analyst industry
(the "new Jews" is what Indian whiz kids are called on Wall Street),
in the Software industry (too numerous to chronicle), in the still
developing discipline of Management (CKP, Rajat Gupta, Sumantro
Ghosal, Ram Charan are uber-gurus!)

I believe the skills that help us succeed in these diverse fields are embedded in us, in our psyches."