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The Changing Paradigms of Productivity and Innovation

Progress GraphFew issues present a greater nuisance to executives than time wasted.  The majority of corporate structures have an assembly of declarative systems in place to ensure that a problem is addressed by the proper department.  An executive simply does not have the time to spare over end-product details or technological minutia.  However, there is one aspect of the executive sphere that is often overlooked, and – given its full-spectrum impact – presents a risk if left unchecked:

The Big Picture

More than any other high-level officer, the CEO must have the capacity to think beyond the trees of daily operations, and conceptualize the forest itself. The importance of anticipation cannot be overstated; the nature of markets demands skills in trend-prediction — an ability which is often as near-intuitive, as it is categorical.

A Famous Example

One of the strongest examples of the power of paradigms is demonstrated by the Swiss watch industry in a revolution referred to as the “Quartz Crisis”. In their absolute adherence to “the way things are done” and traditionalism – not to mention their over-confidence, having at the time, a near monopolistic hegemony and holding over 50 percent of the global watch market – the company refused to consider the advent of new technology. Yet, their competitors certainly didn’t; within 30 years, the shares of the Swiss watch industry had been utterly decimated.

The Big Picture

Many changes are on the table for companies to either recognize or which to adapt, or suffer the consequences of their lack of insight and acquiescence.  RSA Animate released a video outlining their fact-based and data-driven findings; the research was conducted by top-tier associates from some of the most respected institutions in the world: MIT, University of Chicago, and Carnegie Mellon to name a few, and was funded by the US Federal Reserve.

Their research illustrated one of the most game-changing paradigm shifts to hit modern conceptions of business. Their keystone factor was the examination of motivation and innovation. The carrot-and-stick paradigm that asserts “productivity is purely by reward” was completely turned over. The studies showed that the key to motivation is building an environment that fosters creativity, self-determination, allows for mastery – and perhaps most importantly – gives a sense of contribution.

The science is hard and the trends continue: the black and white view of the Profit motive must bend and blend with the Purpose motive; the companies that refuse to adapt their operating paradigms are going to suffer. Business is profit, yes, but smart business is moving forward in very real, multifaceted ways.

Red Arrow Breakthrough

The effective executive always has his eyes on the horizon.

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