Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

January 2, 2013

My Kind of Productivity --- Part 2

Michael Porter's Kind of Productivity

In a recent Fortune's article Porter defines productivity as

Research shows that innovation accounts for a large fraction of growth in national productivity, and the knowledge gained by one firm frequently spills over to others. Entrepreneurship is also key to job creation: Startups account for 3% of U.S. employment but 20% of gross job creation.

What does Porter mean by "innovation"?

Michael Porter (1990) has also implied the need to distinguish between invention and innovation. He writes that innovation is defined as: ‘a new way of doing things (termed invention by some authors) that is commercialized’ (p. 780). From Porter's strategic perspective, inventions need not result in something tangible. A ‘new way of doing things’ need not be the result of a new piece of equipment.


A simpler answer :

To paraphrase Michael Porter, innovation is about doing something different or about doing the same thing differently


This is not an academic exercise. So, this is enough. Innovation means :
  1. "doing different things" or
  2. "doing the same things but it different ways"

Seth Godin's Kind of Productivity

More time on the problem isn't the way. More guts is. When you expose yourself to the opportunities that scare you, you create something scarce, something others won't do.


So, Seth Godin recommends gut and glory.

My Kind of Productivity - Aspect 1

My kind or productivity doesn't require
  1. innovative brains
  2. steely guts etc.

In the late 1980's, I was taught, for the first time in my life, by 2 foreign professors in Yangon. I didn't know about other classmates but my homework were graded C- or something consistently.

I hadn't read either but knew by instincts
  1.  Goethe's Dr Faust's devil's advice to students: "Prepare for your professor."
  2. Customer is God, "kamisama

What did the prof s want?

I didn't have a clue.

So, I handed in 3 answers for a single question under 3 different names e.g. My name only; my roll number only; My name spelled in a different way etc. One got the usual C-, that answer was written respectfully and in our "traditionally approved" way, full of quotes and theories. The other got C, free of quotes, but sort of paraphrasing the quotes and theories. The third got B; here I was angry and just used my personal bluffs, sort of to provoke them.

So, the profs liked bluffing? So, I upped the game with the third approach till I got A or A- consistently.

Is there a clue for us here? Loving customers doesn't take brains or guts, does it?

My Kind of Productivity - Aspect 2

Even with the third approach, I still got a lot of red-ink feedback. It's still depressing. I noticed that the red-ink remarks were heavier and thicker in the beginning.

So, I changed my introduction, as usual, the lazy way.

One day, one of the profs remarked to the class, "KKN is getting better because .. (a dramatic pause) .. his introductions are getting shorter ... a pause ... why don't you drop them altogether?"

Only then I realized that our "traditionally approved"introductions were for him "non sequitur."

I cut  out such introductions eventually from my writings.

Is there a clue for us here? Does cutting the crap take brains or guts?

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