Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Individual Creativity and Work Pressure

Often we feel that the kind work pressure we have to cope up with is really killing our individual creativity. Sometimes we look back at our past and recall the good old days when we could actually do something really exciting and creative. Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile is trying to understand this situation in her research findings on Time Pressure and creativity.

She is in midst of a ten-year study looking at, among other things, how time pressure in corporate setting affects employee creativity. She recently presented early findings and an updated working paper to colleagues at the HBS Research Symposium, and will publish an overview of the work in the August issue of Harvard Business Review.

Here's a snapshot of her findings;

The results suggest that, overall, very high levels of time pressure should be avoided if you want to foster creativity on a consistent basis.

  • However, if a time crunch is absolutely unavoidable, managers can try to preserve creativity by protecting people from fragmentation of their work and distractions;

  • They should also give people a sense of being "on a mission," doing something difficult but important. I don't think, though, that most people can function effectively in that mode for long periods of time without getting burned out.

  • At the other end of the spectrum, very low time pressure might lull people into inaction; under those conditions, top-management encouragement to be creative—to do something radically new—might stimulate creativity.

  • The most surprising finding from the time pressure study is that time pressure really does seem to have an important impact on creativity, even though our intuitions are contradictory and previous research is inconclusive.

  • To read the complete interview click here.

Monday, November 21, 2005

CISCO -India vrs China

Businessweek has carried out an interesting story on CISCO's future plans for expansion in India,and why India was given a preference over China. Here’s a brief from the article.

On Nov. 9, in a conference call, Chambers made a striking prediction: "It would not surprise me to see India actually challenge China, in terms of our business revenue, [in] three to four years.” Chambers' statement certainly goes against conventional wisdom.

After all, China boasts a $1.6 trillion economy that's growing at a 9% annual clip, and it's the world's largest market for many products. India, with the same 1 billion-plus population, has a $700 billion economy that's growing at 7%.And Cisco itself has been a major beneficiary of China's buildout.

From the late 1990s through 2003, China's massive state-controlled phone companies built nationwide networks that connected more than 30 million homes, and Cisco profited greatly. Many Western companies, meanwhile, are banking on China remaining their single biggest source of new growth. Says Meichun Hsu, a Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ ) executive who will run a new research and development lab in Beijing: "China's potential is greater than India's for the next decade, even though India could be the bigger economy in the next 25 years." Others are even more skeptical about India matching China. "Maybe in 50 years," says Toshiba Corp. CEO Atsutoshi Nishida (TOSBF ).

What is Cisco thinking? The company is betting that India's growth rate is going to pick up smartly -- in part because deregulation of its telecom industry is leading to vast investments in new Internet infrastructure. "We are witnessing the advanced stages of an enormous evolution of the Indian market as the government rolls back state control and as the economy becomes liberalized," says Cisco Senior Vice-President Daniel Scheinman.

That creates a huge new market for Cisco with big phone companies, including state-owned BSNL as well as private players such as Bharti and Tata Group, which are rolling out state-of-the-art broadband networks. That in turn is leading to demand from consumers and companies.

To read the complete article click here

Friday, November 18, 2005

Knowledge Society and the Digital Divide

Knowledge based societies have come a long way in developing the quality of its citizens life. Probably the wheels of growth have gained a strong momentum because they always believed in the healthy practice of sharing and enabling knowledge based processes.

UNESCO has come up with a report which tries to find out the approach these societies have adopted and how they differ from the information based societies.

Towards Knowledge Societies"*, launched in Paris by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, also advocates making linguistic diversity a priority, sharing environmental knowledge and developing statistical tools to measure knowledge and help policy makers define their priorities.

Knowledge societies, the authors** stress, are not to be confused with information societies. Knowledge societies contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities, and encompass social, ethical and political dimensions.

Singapore, for example, started out as a developing country of shantytowns at independence and achieved economic growth rates that surpass those of most industrialized nations in just four decades by promoting knowledge (education) and creativity.

Information societies, on the other hand, are based on technological breakthroughs that risk providing little more than "a mass of indistinct data" for those who don't have the skills to benefit from it.

The Report, opens a panorama "that paints the future in both promising and disquieting tones," says the Director-General, "promising because the potential offered by a rational and purposeful use of the new technologies offers real prospects for human and sustainable development and the building of more democratic societies; disquieting for the obstacles and snares along the way are all too real."

One of the main obstacles, according to the Report, is the disparity in access to information and communication technology that has become known as the digital divide.Only 11 percent of the world's population has access to the internet and 90 percent of those connected live in industrialized countries.

This digital divide is itself the consequence of a more serious split. "The knowledge divide," write the authors, "today more than ever, separates countries endowed with powerful research and development potential, highly effective education systems and a range of public learning and cultural facilities, from nations with deficient education systems and research institutions starved of resources, and suffering as a result of the brain drain.

"Encouraging the development of knowledge societies requires overcoming these gaps, "consolidating two pillars of the global information society that are still too unevenly guaranteed - access to information for all and freedom of expression."

To read the complete report click here.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

More about Drucker

Here's a snapshot of a wonderful tribute given by the Wharton Knowledge site to Peter Drucker.

Back in 1942, when Peter F. Drucker was a professor of politics and philosophy at Bennington College in Vermont, a book he had written, The Future of Industrial Man, caught the attention of Alfred P. Sloan, the legendary head of General Motors. Sloan was so impressed by the book that he invited Drucker to study GM, and Drucker agreed -- ignoring the warnings of those who said the project might derail his academic career. As Drucker said later, it was as though he had single-handedly begun an expedition to map "the dark continent of management." That exploration, which gave birth to the field of management, came to an end on November 11 when Drucker passed away at age 95.

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tribute to Peter Drucker

A Tribute to the Great Legend Peter Drucker: 1909–2005
One of the Greatest Management thinker and fine intellectual P.F.Drucker influenced every sphere of modern lives with his thoughts and Strategic thinking.Drucker died on 11th Nov., of natural causes at his home in Claremont, east of Los Angeles, said spokesman Bryan Schneider.
To read more click here.