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If You Were the Next Steve Jobs...
September 3, 2012 | Harvard Business Review | by Umair Haque.

Imagine, for a moment, that you (yes, you) were the next Steve Jobs: what would your (real) challenges be? I'd bet they wouldn't be scale (just call FoxConn), efficiency (call FoxConn's consultants), short-term profitability (call FoxConn's consultants' bankers), or even "growth" (call FoxConn's consultants' bankers' lobbyists). Those are the problems of yesterday — and today, here's the thing: we largely know how to solve them.

Whether you're an assiduous manager, a chin-stroking economist, a superstar footballer, or a rumpled artist, here's the unshakeable fact: you don't get to tomorrow by solving yesterday's problems.

To solve today's set of burning problems, you just might have to build new institutions, capable of handling stuff a little something like this...
Singularity. Scale is a solved problem. We know how to do stuff at very, very large scale — if by stuff you mean "churning out the same widget, a billion times over". What we don't know how to do is the opposite of scaling up: scaling down an institution, to make a difference to a human life.
Sociality - something resembling the advanced dating stage of the courtship ritual.
Spontaneity - the act of human potential unfurling in the moment — and if it's human potential you wish to ignite, then it's spontaneity you need to spark.
what distinguishes organizations that achieve enduring greatness is teamwork and collaboration — and those are words so overused, they make my teeth ache just saying them. Here's my bet: it's time to drop the fourth wall of the "team" — and go beyond collaboration, to something like what Jung called synchronicity: a kind of uncanny intersection of seemingly unrelated lives.
Solubility. But the biggest lesson — and the one hidden in plain sight — is this: creating institutions capable of not just solving the same old problems, forever.... the greatest challenge for tomorrow's would-be problem-solver renegades is this: building institutions that don't keep solving the same old solved problems, like profitability, scale, efficiency, productivity, and the like. Over and over again, like algorithms of human organization run amok. Institutions that are capable of taking a hard look at unsolved problems around the globe — as big as climate change, sending humans to Mars, and redesigning the global financial system, and as small as Umair's perfect coffee — and then accepting the difficult, often painful, always fulfilling, work of attempting to solve them.
living_in_the_moment  creativity  Steve_Jobs  HBR  problems  problem_solving  umairhaque  political_infrastructure  ideas  value_creation  wealth_creation  threats  scaling  institutions  spontaneity  human_potential  superstars  financial_system 
february 2013 by jerryking
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