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Is innovation making you think.. or not?

Imagine being part of a think tank that creates such innovation and incredible changes to business or to our communities.

It seems we are on the edge of an outrageous revolution… coming ready or not to a people-less business near you at the speed of incomprehensible thinking.

Sometimes I think we forget that all this modern automation comes from imaginative and creative thinking… yes thinking…. that human process that may be alluding some of us these days. Thinking at this level largely involves the “how” and “What” rather than the “why” and “where”.

We have survived revolutions before, because we are so clever in our thinking. So why is this one appearing more invasive and scary? Why do we think the onslaught of Artificial Intelligence is rendering us null and void and out of the game?

So we have driverless cars, and a trial McDonalds outlet where all the cooking and money handling is robotic or electronic with no person in sight. I wonder if McDonalds have calculated how much they will save in uniforms and training costs with this people-less innovation. Whose photo will they hang on the wall as employee of the month! Actually they are probably doing away with the walls as well!

Our focus may need to consider and deliberately involve a culture that will create the foundation to stomach all this cage rattling talk. This culture needs to wrap sense around the effects on our business, our families and our organisations throughout our communities. How will we cope with large dollops of technical innovation and Artificial Intelligence?

A culture is often defined as “ the way we do things around here” in referring to not so much the physical written policy, rather defining attitude, frame of mind, responsiveness, team interaction, responsibility and value based  behaviour.

For example a family may have a culture of always having dinner around the table or maybe the Wi-Fi goes off between 6pm and 8.30pm. These simple rules or culture statements promote the values and characteristics that are important to that family resisting the oncoming revolution is clearly not going to work as a culture, as tempting as the proverbial head burying may be. The problem with burying your head in the sand is that you get sand in your ears and you stop listening to what is going on around you.

I reflect on our history of clever thinking and fondly recall the think tanks that we have created over time. Wasn’t the DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research) a wonderful Government department think tank? A sector that was given tasks to think about, experiment with and discover solutions that appeared inconceivable at the time.

23 years ago I was fortunate to spend time evaluating and culminating new apple cultivars from the original 10,000 Gala/Splendour seedlings planted under the very clever watchful eye of Dr Don McKenzie. Another DSIR then Hort Research project that led to many apple cultivar releases that are still popular today. These became sought after cultivars from all corners of the globe both in wanting to grow them in their respective countries and as an export item from Kiwi land.

Another DSIR success story is the Pyroclassic fire, manufactured still today in Hastings. 30 years ago a bunch of scientific heads were tasked with creating a low emission, high efficient wood burner for the average Kiwi home. The unique wood burner solution, that to this day is still the most efficient and effective wood burner on the market, has an internal concept that is different to the standard fire box models.

Talk apples or talk emissions or talk driverless cars… we need to think through and beyond in creative ways, like we have done through all the significant life changes we have experienced so far.

Thinking of course is the right answer for now. In a world that’s creating more questions than answers the key is twofold;

Ask the right questions

Spend time to think about the answers, possibilities and opportunities.

Thinking is a deliberate action and a much lesser strategy used these days. Best outcomes come from multiple points of view considering a common theme.

And what of Education in the conversation of future dramatic change… don’t start me…OK you started me! I will write about this for the next edition. How is our education preparing for the next series of career choices and is any education sector doing this well? Or are we currently doing our young, open minded learners an injustice?

In the meantime start thinking, as an individual, as a whanau, as an organisation and as a community. Thinking is an art.

Being afraid of the massive change ahead of us won’t help you, in fact it will probably paralyze you to think through it.

With this in mind, who‘s volunteering to be on the first pilot-less commercial aeroplane?

David Trim.

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