“The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles.”
I love the pertinence of this statement of Oren Harari for our culture. As a former business professor at the University of San Francisco, he is sure to know a thing or two about the trends and changes in the business world over the last few decades, and with this one, I believe he is exactly right.
Imagine a world where you enter a retail store and are instantly identified by your mobile phone. Your preferences, credit card details and buying history are immediately recognized along with your identity and from that moment on, the entire in-store experience is customized to your needs and desires. You select products either by scanning a code on your smartphone or by placing items in a physical shopping cart the old-school way. When you are finished shopping, your shopping tally is calculated as you walk past sensors near the exit and the amount owing is immediately charged to your default credit card.
Sound fanciful or futuristic? Well this is almost precisely the automated retail experience shoppers are already enjoying in Amazon’s recently opened bricks-and-mortar retail stores.
If you rose through the grades of the schooling system in the last forty years or so, it is almost certain that at some point you were encouraged toward university. With its lures of prestige and its promises of the expansion of the mind, and a cap, gown and certificate waiting at the end, it has kept young people captivated by the hope of their own future.
Inversely, vocational training, apprenticeships and industry work have been negatively affected by people’s prejudices against them. Presenting as paths of education with fewer prospects, less prestige and less purpose, numbers within them have dropped dramatically compared to tertiary education, and society is feeling the burden of this imbalance.
‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’
This old proverb has been renowned and repeated through the decades, declaring that it is impossible to retrain someone or something that is aged and set in its ways. In our current age of disruption in the world of business, this is a toxic way of thinking that destroys the companies which live by it.
Few things are discussed with more enthusiasm in the business world of our day than innovation and creativity. However, implementing innovation within organisations is a much more challenging task. It requires radical risk-taking and unhindered creativity within a culture of boldness. Creating this culture involves sacrificing time, effort and a lot of comfort but the rewards are great. Here are 3 ways you can create a culture of boldness that will encourage the creativity and innovation you are aiming for in business.
“Innovation is not an idea problem. It’s a recognition problem.”
This quote from David Burkus’s book, The Myths of Creativity, is spot on. Some of the best ideas for innovation, creativity and invention don’t lie somewhere ‘out there’; they are often right under our noses. The real skill in creativity is being able to identify and recognise the ideas that have the potential to be game changers. You have to know where to look.
Recent years have seen the discussion of the relevance of the current education system come to dominate public dialogue. Doubts and fears have risen surrounding the prospects of the current form of education in Western countries, the preparation of students for a rapidly changing technological world, and inequalities within the system.
The need for change is clear, but there is an underlying concern that it seems unachievable and unrealistic to adopt the progressive practices that often seem limited to the north of Europe.