Happy New Year! At the turn of this decade I wanted to summarise some of the golden nuggets I have seen along my travels and work:
1. Innovation lies in the intersection – the intersection is the relationship between two different subjects. New business models can be found by connecting industries, natural processes, products. By connecting the dots and spotting the trends one can create new solutions that have a major impact on the way we live our lives.
2. Where there is change there is opportunity – we are moving through a paradigm shift from the industrial age to the digital age. The very mode of production is changing and in doing so it is creating new businesses and a new age of collaboration.
3. Live on the right side of change – think about how this paradigm shift is effecting what you do. If you are a writer, what is the future of publishing? If you are a musician, what is the future of music consumption? If you are an engineer, what is the future of the energy industry? Look for the writing on the wall in what you do and stay one step ahead.
4. The world is interdependent – my generation need to be a generation of leaders. We are inheriting more global problems than any generation gone before them. We live in a world of challenges such as climate change, population growth, poverty, HIV/aids, nuclear proliferation, desertification, food/water security, terrorism, etc. All these issues are interdependent in that the solution does not lie with one country or one business. The solution lies in interdependent thinking – that China, India, the US and the rest of the world all have to work together beyond protecting their own interests and more into protecting the interests of humanity. Every problem is like a bowl of spaghetti. You move one piece and it has an impact on every other. Here lies the problem – politicians and CEOs are elected to serve the interests of their electorate rather than humanity. This serve serving interest breeds independence rather than interdependence where we try to keep hold of as much as possible and give as little. It is for this reason most governments and businesses are not currently fit for purpose to deal with the scale of challenges that we face.
5. The best leaders are great followers – timing is everything. Sometimes we need to lead and sometimes follow. The greatest leaders are those that strive to lead by example. Everyone can be a leader in their own way. Something I have certainly realised is it’s not how good you are but how good you want to be that gets you places.
6. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas – There is a reason AT&T didn’t create Skype, why Microsoft didn’t create Google, why Universal Records didn’t create Napster, why Newscorp didn’t create Twitter and there is a reason why Monster won’t create BraveNewTalent. The reason is simple – Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. Big business are rarely agile enough to keep up with the pace of innovation and new businesses models as big business are incentivised to serve the short term interests of their shareholders rather than cannibalise their revenues through the disruptive business models that lie on the horizon.
7. The world is full of snobs – avoid becoming one. A snob is someone who judges a person’s entirety based on one small aspect of their life e.g their job title, the car they drive, the clothes they wear, etc.
8. The Girl Effect – the utilitarian philanthropist should always invest in adolescent girls in the developing world. The greatest bang for buck an investment can have is investing in the education of a teenage girl in poverty. This frees them from their cycle of poverty. Have a look at one of my favourite videos at Girl Effect.
9. Work builds, Charity destroys – I grew up knowing the great social worker Baba Amte. He always told me solutions lie in youth and education. He believed that poor people are not the problem but need to be seen as their own solution. Have a look at our thinking on this at http://TakeHeartIndia.org.
10. Talent has no Age, Talent has no Gender, Talent has no Passport – Opportunity has all three. As we aim for a more meritocratic world we have many societal challenges to overcome. The best leveller is education. However, the global education system is no longer fit for a purpose as it is a product of the industrial age. See more on my opinions on this here.