Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stanford after Stanford

"We all need to learn how to talk to each other, how to cooperate. Sweden, Finland, Silicon Valley are not by coincidence the drivers of global change. Probably the strongest differentiation factor is the networks that they have… their way of cross functional cooperation."

Exactly! It’s all about getting people talk to each other. And magic happens if people from different disciplines talk to each other about the same problem.

Innovation comes from new looks at old problems; when people see beyond their expertise and together approach situations actively and in new combinations. Great breakthroughs often develop as a result of a combination of ideas from different fields, not within one specialized field only. Innovations occur at the intersection of multiple fields or interest areas, where ideas and opinions from different fields and cultures meet and diverge, to form new discoveries and solutions.

Most people have a core competence where they have developed expertise. You also have to have an “open attitude” for new approaches and learn new ideas. It just struck me that innovators are often self-taught (at least Swedish). They educate themselves intensely and often have a broad learning experience, having excelled in one field and learned another. Broad education and the ability to self-educate appear to be two keys to learning differently. The Swedish National Agency for Education and the Swedish National Agency for School Improvement has a special action programme for “lifelong learning”, to be able to learn in any stage of life. It is all purposeful learning activities whether formal, non-formal or informal like literature, media, and experience of life.

It is also essential to have a supportive environment. If you’re too much rebel, you’re rejected. It you’re too much conformist, you’re not innovating. The problem is all people who find themselves in environments where they are forced to specialize. (I have a lot of that experience
myself, but finally found a place where I feel can use all my knowledge and experience)


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