Economic Crisis & Innovation

My work as a Director of Innovation at Steria is to promote Innovation. How else will I keep my job? And of  course, as part of my work, I have to get engaged in this raging debate about “Innovation in Economic Crisis?” Often, I keep muttering under my breath that the lack of it has caused the economic crisis but loudly I am forced to join the mediocrity of the noise factory! Well, it sounds very elitist and arrogant. But look at it the other way; every Tom, Dick and Harry is an expert on the subject of Economics and most importantly Innovation. They leave the word “Crisis” out of their dictionary because they don’t recognize it and they are not responsible for it either!!!

And then, what is Innovation? If you asked Socrates, he would have replied that it is the engine for growth. First, our modern day management experts would decry Socrates as a useless fellow who didn’t have the faintest clue to managing share price index and secondly they would be appalled by the fact that one has the gall to talk about growth, when they are struggling for existence and gasping for breath. Never mind the money they spent to somehow wriggle themselves into one of the many dinner balls that Barrack Obama has addressed since he was elected President of the United States of America. However, while President Obama has been seriously taking the risk of raising funds to fuel growth that will move the engine towards a desired destination, the rest of the industry have been debating what to wear for the dinner ball and how to get to the venue!

So this term called growth; if it is not manufactured in the enterprise balance sheet, then where else would you raise it? I heard a wag say “In the Mind to Market” & “Time to Market” processes of the business enterprise. So if I were the Chief Executive of Ford, General Motors, AIG or Royal Bank of Scotland, wouldn’t I be focusing on these processes? At least, from a design perspective? Well, the question is just not restricted to these companies is it? Can it be applied to every single business that is affected by a new world economic order and requires response to the context posed by this new world? While most of the management gurus might be busy editing their next books and the few who are not in the business currently are looking for alternate careers, the businesses are seriously lacking words that can make up interesting press stories and interesting photo opps. May be, this is the right time to get some serious work started and actually create that threshold of capability that the organization requires to transform and grow; economic crisis or not.

In a new dawn where Promise and Potential are bridged by Performance. Capable Organizations and Leaders are rewarded for not just fudging the rule book but for truly creating wealth for shareholders, stakeholders and employees. When the thin line dividing those who are caught in their act and those lucky to escape the net is not used by the fortunate as an excuse to hide and hope that no one will discover the seamier side of the industry captains. When Government and Businesses will work in unision to make commerce driven by integrity; not becuase it is a moral thing to do but because it is the people’s money and right of the future generation that the legacy they inherit from their Parents and Leaders and Society is not Poisoned to mutilate them but Progressive to provision for them. Then the thought of “Growth” will be seeded in business, government and people to grow humanity, commerce, peace and prosperity.

Well, companies like EADS and Boeing must start building their Program for being part of a manned mission to Mars, Ford and General Motors must put the next alternative locomotion into high gear, financial institutions must start building programs for helping small and medium businesses grow into multinational businesses and tax administrations must become responsible and accounting for the money they spend on behalf of the tax payer. They must do all this while actively finding methods to drive efficiencies in the current business model and yet be prepared to transition into the new model at the first available opportunity.

About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
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One Response to Economic Crisis & Innovation

  1. girish says:

    Excellent and Insightful. I am not sure why most of the Indian companies take the shorter services route and move away products and innovation. Hope we wake up to the call of innovation and this economy should probably teaches us just that. Thanks for the wonderful write, glad to have peeked into the mind of thinker.

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