Friday, October 4, 2013

Innovation Imperative at the World Economic Forum

Dalian, People’s Republic of China
Meeting the Innovation Imperative

The Annual Meeting of the New Champions is the foremost global business gathering in Asia. Also known as the “Summer Davos”, the Meeting creates a unique opportunity for exchange between leaders from top-ranked multinationals and chief executive officers of dynamic and fast-growing companies, including key decision-makers from government, media, academia and civil society. 
It will bring together more than 1,500 participants from 90 countries to share strategies and solutions and discuss global issues and risks. The New Champion communities – including Global Growth Companies, Young Global Leaders, Young Scientists, Technology Pioneers, Social Entrepreneurs and the World Economic Forum’s youngest community, the Global Shapers – will once again engage with Forum Members and Partners during the seventh Annual Meeting of the New Champions, to be held from 11-13 September in Dalian, People’s Republic of China.

Shuwen Diao

Shuwen Diao
Producer, International Channel Shanghai, People's Republic of China
BA in Media and Communication/Asian Studies, University of Sydney. In the TV industry for almost six years. One of the youngest producers at Shanghai Media Group, currently heads the reality show The Amazing Race: China Rush and the sitcom In The Office at International Channel, Shanghai. Experimenting with new media, as Founder, Oh My English, an online English teaching platform. Curator, Global Shapers Community Shanghai Hub. Initiator of the hub project, Mission RONG, and its leader.
Diao makes a half-subtle, half-pointed distinction between private sector and public sector in innovation, which bears elaboration.  Government may use its policy-making authority to direct the course of society and innovation.  However, companies have greater resources to discern market needs, more choices about what to invest in, and wider options of technology to use.  So, perhaps because she hails from China, she emphasizes that the private sector brings doses of freedom which is so crucial to innovation.    

Richard T. Pascale

Richard T. Pascale
Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Twenty years as faculty member, Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Consultant and Adviser to numerous Fortune 500 US and European corporations. Former White House Fellow and Senior Staff, White House task force that created the Office of Management and Budget. Co-Author: Art of Japanese Management (1981); Surfing the Edge of Chaos (2000). Author: Managing on the Edge: How the Smartest Companies Use Conflict to Stay Ahead (1990); numerous articles. Winner of the McKinsey Award for Best Article, Harvard Business Review.
 What Pascale relates in the Innovator's Dilemma that Clayton Christensen.  To me, the resolution isn't that complex or out of reach.  Any company can segment a small portion of its staff, resources and cash to work on innovative projects.  That portion has to be small enough to not impact performance significantly, that is, in the event of failure, but not too small that it cannot fulfill its charter.  Perhaps the main challenge is changing the either-or mindset and dialing down expectations of big, quick success.

Anthony Lo

Anthony Lo
Vice-President, Exterior Design and Concept Cars, Renault-Nissan BV, France
1985, degree in Industrial Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Master's in Automotive Design, Royal College of Art, London. Formerly: with Lotus Cars, England, designed the iconic Lotus Carlton; 1990, joined Audi, Germany, and worked on the AVUS Concept Car and the A4; 1993, recruited by Mercedes-Benz, Japan, to work in its new design studio on the M-B F200 and the M-B Maybach concept cars; 2000, joined Saab, Sweden, as Chief Designer of Advanced Design; 2004, appointed Head of Advanced Design, General Motors Europe, overseeing all Saab, Opel and Vauxhall. 2010, became Vice-President, Exterior Design, Renault, France. Instrumental in the development of Renault's “Cycle of Life” design strategy. Recipient of awards.
Lo doesn't talk so much about learning creativity per se, as relate a process of creativity that works for him and his team.  In what I call extracting the algorithms, he speaks about getting at the essence of something.  But before bringing in knowledge and experience, and other elements to mix with it, I emphasize the need to get insight into that essence.  It may make sense to consult with outside perspectives, but again until there is sufficient grasp on an issue, task or aim, these outside perspectives mustn't jump into ideas, solutions or actions prematurely.

Giovanna Mingarelli

Giovanna Mingarelli
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, MCrowdsourcing (MC2), Canada
Degree in Political Science, Carleton University. Technology entrepreneur, public speaker and writer. CEO and Co-Founder, MCrowdsourcing (MC2). Collaborates with government agencies, NGOs and start-ups in the development of new crowdsourcing strategies for mass mobilization using micro tasks. Parliamentary witness, guest lecturer and keynote speaker at various events and conferences relating to digital democracy and engaging young women in politics. Has worked for government agencies and a former prime minister of Canada. Has contributed to: Harvard Business Review, CBC Radio-Canada, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and the Hill Times. Regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
What Mingarelli speaks to resonates very well with the incidents I've seen, the process I've gone through, and the bursts of insight I've had with my seminal Theory of Algorithms and The Core Algorithm.  There is no particular path or moment to that Eureka effect - breakthroughs in my thinking come whenever and wherever they may come - and there have been quite a lot of trials and tribulations as well as triumphs and joys.  So while this Eureka effect cannot be scripted, one can get there via an unrelenting pursuit of dream or vision.

Chris Washburne

Chris Washburne
Trombonist and Professor, Columbia University, USA
Currently, Assoc. Prof. of Music and Founding Director, Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program, Columbia Univ. Leader, Latin jazz group SYOTOS, which has released: Paradise In Trouble, Jazzheads Records, nominated best Latin jazz record (2004); Fields of Moons (2010), voted the best jazz release of the week, All About Jazz. Co-Leader, jazz quartet FFEAR. Has recorded over 150 albums and performed with numerous jazz and Latin groups, including: Tito Puente, Anthony Braxton, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Ruben Blades, Justin Timberlake, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony, Ray Barretto, and Eddie Palmieri. Author of: numerous articles on jazz, Latin jazz, and salsa; Sounding Salsa: Performing Latin Music in New York (2008); a book on Latin jazz (forthcoming). Co-Editor, Bad Music (2004). Named one of the best trombonists in New York, The New York Times; Rising Star of the Trombone, Downbeat Critic's Poll (2008, 2009, 2010).
I really like the idea of jazz improvisation as a model for innovation in the boardroom and across industries.  Washburne points out that every time jazz musicians play, something new comes about.  Interestingly, they prefer not to call their improvisation as innovation or creativity, but rather as discovery time and time again.  Columbia University believes so much in this model that every single undergraduate, across majors, must take jazz.  Improvisation is adaptation, not so unlike adaptation for the sake of survival.

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

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