Session 4 – Drivers of World Change & Change Management & Leadership

Session began in an awkward fashion today.

We began the class about 45 minutes later but still managed to make up for lost time and end the session at 3.15pm. Maybe we should do this more often:) Anyways getting back to the main topic proper, we started the session with a movie on the once highly publicized motivational book “Who moved my cheese?” In short, the book illustrates the lives of 4 characters, 2 mice and 2 little people. Their mindsets towards being aware of the inevitable changes occurring in their environment and attitudes towards embracing these changes. What i felt the key takeaway of the video is the need for us to constantly be aware of our surroundings borrowing from the quote used “Smell the cheese often so that you will know when it is getting old!” Remember to always let go of old beliefs and practices because they would only hamper you down and make you reminisce of the old traditional ways of doing things. The sooner you adopt the mentioned mindset with an open mind, the sooner you’ll be able to embrace change and reap the rewards of adopting the new shift. Again borrowing from the quote in the video “The quicker you can let go of old cheese. The sooner you can enjoy new cheese!” & “Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese!

Moving on, after the very insightful video, Prof shared with us the possible drivers change such as environmental drivers like the causes of global warming which causes us to consider the possibilities of green technologies and green power, Competition – capitalism vs communism, Changing expectations and “Tastes” with changing times……. Having mentioned some of the major impetus for changes, i feel that the one that i can relate to most is “Changing expectations and tastes with changing times”. The reason for selecting this even though there are more “pressing” changes like environmental  and scientific discovery is because changing expectations is more of a gradual “soft” social change and one that has no immediate impetus for change. For example environmental one may be stimulated by climate change and competition by competitors…. However changing expectations being more of a social change(with evolutionary change at the heart of this driver) means that businesses would really need to observe their surroundings in the long term and adapt to it.

 

The graph included above was also mentioned in class as an indicator to the type of consumers who are likely to “buy” into a new idea/product/service. Basically it just means that for die-heart enthusiasts, it doesn’t matter what price the product is. just as long as it satisfies their need for a new type of technology and performance, they would be willing to try it out. However for most marketers or most businessmen, they would be interested in capturing the market of the early&late majority. For that however, they would then have to provide not only new technologies, but also products that are convenient aka easy to use and helps solves problems that customers are looking for. This sort of ties in with last week’s lecture where Prof was talking about the different opportunities – valley, summit and cloud. So if a marketer wants to successfully capture a large slice of the market they would have to attack the summit opportunities – problem solve a pressing need in the market and at the same time make it convenient for consumers to adopt this new product.

During the individual presentations for this section, what interested me was the change in media or to be more specific the end of mass media. It really tied in with the prevalence of social media and how channels like twitter, personal blogs, Facebook, etc.. have transformed the way we view and disseminate information. We are no longer confined to the contains of traditional views of media journalists who may sometimes not be objective and be partisan towards certain issues. However there is still the question of reliability of information when it comes to accepting opinions and views on people’s personal blogs or posts on twitter. Therefore my view is to take in as much as possible on the current issue and then sieve out the common opinions which would be an indicator of facts of the topic.

For the next part of the session, we touched on change management and leadership. Basically i found the readings rather insightful. But in particular, i agreed with reading 5. The one about the identifying a disruptive change. About how it is not wise to look at the future through the eyes of the past. As stated in the article, how fallen HP CEO Carly Fiorina clearly adopted this short sighted view of the future when HP acquired Compaq in 2002. And she was subsequently asked to leave.  The indicator which help companies identify whether there has been /going to be a disruptive shift in an industry when situations such as: Specialities becoming a commodity, consolidation of vendors, increase in customer dissatisfaction, government pronouncements, a tipping public sentiment about the industry also helps make it clear to industry watchers that that should there be a fulfillment of 3-4 of these options, there they would have to keep their eyes peeled as a disruptive change is on the horizon.

Sharing session for this part was particularly intriguing and interactive. Maybe it was because of the presenters, maybe it is due to the topics of choice, but for the 3 presenters, kudos for doing a great job. Seeing that there are 3 presenters, i will choose to go through 1 sharing session. That will be the topic on change management. The article of discussion was Germany’s management shift of dependence from nuclear power to green energy. On how despite the problems with nuclear energy, the germans chose to completely transform and shift their reliance from nuclear to green energy.

Just like what is stated in Murphy’s Law – “Every new solution breeds new problems”

I felt that it was a simple discussion topic however a strong message that was being brought over was innovative solutions – nuclear energy would only bring about even more problems. Hence the solution to these problems would only mean more innovative solutions and not trying to fix the current innovative solution.

Overall a fruitful session, albeit the rushed seminar. I’ll rate this week’s session, 7.5/10

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Terrence’s Topical Review Paper Outline – Credit Card and M-Commerce Payment Methods

Hi world,

included below is my skewed version of the proliferation of e-commerce and to a larger extend m-commerce. How it was in the past, where it is now and how i feel it would be in the future. I’m not too sure how the future considerations would look like but I’m assuming that if the same technology can be “borrowed” and used across other fields it would encompass technology. For that’s what i feel satisfies the concept of the practical application of knowledge to everyday problems.

Anyway, enough of my mindless blabbing. Okay take a look and do leave your comments. Do feel free to be as scathing as possible 😉

Cheers.

How Technology revolutionized credit card and m-commerce payment methods.

Rational for Selecting these technologies

-The reason for selecting the change and trends in the use of the credit card as well as mobile commerce payments was because i felt that ever since its introduction, it has been a real game changer in the way people make their purchases. Upon further elaboration further on in the report, it will be revealed that credit cards, other cashless payment methods as well as mobile related payments are making up a sizable portion of the payment market. And soon traditional payment mediums like cash well be phased out to make way for these technologies in the near future. Also, i will touch on the future outcomes of how these technologies will evolve and assimilate with other technologies to form new revolutionary game changing inventions.

Background and History

-How society was like before the start of a uniform standard of money.

-How restrictive and troublesome payments were without credit cards and mobile payments.

-How credit card and m-commerce payment methods came about.

Issues/Challenges/Opportunities

Current Situation

-There has been a surge in the number of cashless transactions in the past decade.

-The number of credit cards owned by an average US household numbered 10 in a survey by Nielsen group.

-Many card companies target the tech savvy like college students.

-Projected fall in cash and check transactions by 2020

-Rise in the number of smartphone users.

-Mobile purchase segment of e-commerce payment grew by 100% from 2008-2010

-Many companies are banking on mobile payments being the next big thing. (Visa, Starbucks, Tesco)

-Despite being seemingly able to streamline the payment process, privacy would be a huge concern. (Identity skimming, lost of phone à having to re-configure and set up original settings)

-Challenge of having a universal reader that would recognize the different card technologies. (EMV, FiliCa, NFC…)

-Limited wireless networks in certain areas. Especially in areas outside the city where mobile Internet infrastructure is not secure. (Thus making payments inefficient and susceptible to hacking.)

Taking Things Forward

Future Considerations.

-The bringing forward of mobile technology from NFC related cards to biometrics. (Be able to be given the choice of tying your NRIC/FIN number and fingerprint to a dedicated bank account) à Thereby mitigating the need for m-commerce.

-Facebook very prevalent now. May use it as a medium to conduct wire transfers and facilitate sale of goods. (Seeing that Facebook has about 750 million users and Paypal only has 100 million, the branching out to collecting and remitting payments might be possible)

-Borrowing from the above example of NFC cards can store financial information. Personal information can also be stored in the card and embedded into a smart phone. Thereby mitigating the need for passports altogether. (For added security, user would just have to take a fingerprint scan to confirm their identity.

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Session 3: Technology & Industrial development With Innovation management

Today’s brief overview of the session:

With the topic of technology and industrial development towards sustainability in mind, we began the lesson with Prof Shahi reminding us the meaning of technology. Technology isn’t what we all make it up to be. At least that is true for me. I always associated technology with all the techie stuff. You know, far out innovations like 3D-printing or payment using the latest e-commerce machines like your thumbprint. However what technology really means is the practical application of knowledge. Thats it no gimmicks no fancy text. Just that!

Lets get back to the main topic. We talked about sustainability and watch this really cool video ” The Story of Stuff”. Basically it talks about the story of where we get all our stuff. From our iPods to the timber used in furniture. It continues to elaborate that we as humans are consuming the resources at a “linear rate” with no consideration that the resources that we are using is limited. The presenter in particular talks about how America with 5% of the world’s population, is consuming 30% of the world’s resources. Needless to say it is because of their affluence that they can afford to do so. However take a step back and think, with the BRIC nations gaining economic clout, what would happen if they too start consuming like the rich Americans and West Europeans? How many more earths do we need to sustain their appetite for more resources?

Therefore there has to be a need to shift from what is known as the current model of linear industrial development – Where we consume based on the belief that the is unlimited resources, to cyclical sustainable industrial development where we maximize value creation without reducing options for future generations. It was discussed in one of the readings – “the advantages of backwardness” which made me sit up and think. Maybe being not so technologically savvy a nation isn’t a bad thing. In essence, the article explains that with all the 1st word nations doing all the R&D and making inroads in new technology which helped them achieve their 1t world status, all the developing nations have to do is employ these technologies, tinker around with it by making it relevant to them and they’ll have the same results. All without the hassle of expensive and costly R&D. However a good point to note is while the original inventions were created under the old “linear industrial development” way of advancement, the developing nations need to consider the social & environmental impacts of these technologies and how they intend to balance it with their economic growth. Luckily for these nations, there are tools they can use to temper the negative effects of technological advancement. Tools like taxes and subsidies, product and design regulations, labeling of green products……. All with the aim of sustainable industrial development.

During the Individual oral presentation, the one that sparked interest was Masdar city and how it aims to be the world’s first car-free, waste-free and first self sustainable city. A lofty ambition some might say but the Sultan of Abu Dhabi thinks otherwise. In essence, the push for the development of this mega metropolis is because Abu Dhabi is traditionally reliant on energy as their main economic driver. But as we all know, the source of fossil fuel is limited. Hence the government is keen on building up on its energy clout and become the first to explore the concept of a self sustainable town with the use of green energy like wind and solar power and clever architectural planning to cut back on power use. However one of the problems that as raised during the take-away/ Q&A was where this metropolis was going to get their food from as well as who gets to stay in this city? Would food be outsourced? Will only the rich be able to live in this “utopia”?

During the second part of today’s session, we talked about technology and innovation management. How innovation takes root as a creative idea and will only become an innovate when there is a development in that idea where resources are poured in the idea is screened by business executives for market viability before finally being pushed out into the market for commercial application.

Prof also showed us his artistic side through his drawing of the valley summit and cloud model.

While this is not the exact replica of the word art picture that was shown to us. It represents the same picture. The same summit followed by the decline back to the valley and the ascend back to the summit. And at the top, the lofty “in-the-air” clouds that have potential but still very much abstract.
While i won’t go into the semantics of the diagram, what was mentioned during class which i feel makes a lot of sense is advice for all young budding entrepreneurs or accomplished businessmen. In the short term, try to capitalize on innovation that is market driven. The reason for doing so is because there already is a market for this idea/product/service. And once that much needed innovation is out there, the innovator would be raking in money left right and centre. Thereby driving up short term sales and growth.
However in the long run, especially with companies with deep pockets for R&D, the general rule is to research into a need that people haven’t identified with yet. That is where the cloud opportunity comes in. To concrete-ify a need where there isn’t a market yet. And keep on improving on it in the lab. Before waiting for the right time to launch it into the market when the time is right and people are beginning to recognize the need for it.
All in all, i wished that we could have spent more time on the topic of sustainability. Thats cos i feel that it is the major concern that we have to address especially in today’s world where we are faced with depleting resources and people who still lack the concept of safeguarding the earth for future generations.
Overall, todays session was very insightful and made me think about how man’s nonchalant attitude has caused such aa strain on the resources available as well as the key in concept innovation. Score rating for this session? 8.5/10
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Session 2 of TWC – Technology –> human development and global dominance

Veering away from the standard template that was issued on the course outline, for this session, i chose to cover the topics discussed as it occurred because i felt that the flow following that manner was a lot more natural.

Fast-paced! This would be the word i would choose to describe the structure and topics discussed at today’s session. Not only was there a glut of information to digest, there were also thought invoking key take-aways which raised many questions about the viability of continued research as well as the detesting views and reluctance that some of us have regarding accepting changes in technology.

The session was opened with the types of dominance and the talk about Prof Shahi’s model of identifying if a country/company/society is “dominant player” in its field.  Their ascend from from rising star status- inquisitive, open perspective, to a dominant player to falling star status- pessimistic, not interested to learn from others.

The reading that was assigned left an indelible mark on me especially the one titled ” the colonial holocaust and its legacy”. In it it talks about the old colonial powers- Britain, Spain, Italy, France… And how colonialism wasn’t actually was beneficial/good as what people make it out to be. In many places especially Singapore, people have a very “rose-tinted” view of colonialism. This is partly because the Singapore was lucky and the British actually were humane and to a certain extend actually helping improve the quality of life of Singaporeans.  However in other countries in particular the islands in the Caribbean, South America and certain parts of North America, these colonial masters were actually exploiting the locals, taking advantage of their naivety, extensively procuring their natural resources and ultimately eradicating entire populations just for their own benefit. If i hadn’t read this really insightful article, i wouldn’t have known that this side of colonialism actually existed. However surprised i was, i guess this was expected because at the crux of every society/person, the urge and desire for self improvement and success far outweighed the desire to assist others in improving themselves.

The topic of “dominance” was succeeded by the individual sharing by fellow classmates. Topics like technology and how it permeated society such as military defense, medicine and cloning, extending foreign assistance…. The one which left the most impression on me was the extending of foreign assistance. The case shared was actually how USA was losing its influential clout and China catching up in the race to be No. 1 economy in the world. When China volunteered to go into Africa to help build up its manufacturing economy by investing in basic infrastructure, USA got really offended as the Africans welcomed the chinese with open arms. The chinese chose not only to invest in infrastructure crucial in the manufacturing of goods and services, they also took the initiative to help up with the locals to improve on their standard of living by improving transportation networks around the country and literacy levels of locals. As a result of this, the Africans really benefited from this all rounded assistance. The Americans, who saw this assistance as a threat to their “dominance” are now going back into Africa to improve the standards of living. Which can only spell good news for Africa.

The rather controversial topic on cloning was also being discussed by one of the students in class. Overall, the questions that was brought was ” Is cloning ethical and should humans continue researching on the topic?” While many felt that it shouldn’t, Prof Shahi brought up a very interesting point about during the 1980’s what was controversial was IVF. However overtime, people began to accept it and now, it is as common as ever. In view of that, i feel that cloning no matter how controversial now, would sooner or later be recognized as a social norm in the near future.

Finally we sort of rounded the seminar with the video about the Millennium Development Goals. How while many of us Singaporeans live comfortably there are still many unfortunate out there- the extremely poor living on less than 1USD a day, people with no basic primary education, where there isn’t gender equality and women are seen as second class citizens….. While these plans were signed back in 2000 and were to be attained by 2015, i have my doubts about successfully reaching all these very ambitious goals. Some maybe easier to achieve, but overall, I don’t we can hit all of them by 2015.

This week we were bombarded by a deluge of information. Things that need to be thought and re-thought through. But overall it was a very insightful week. Rating therefore would be an 8.5/10.

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TWC Session 1

Brief Overview of Seminar 1

The first lecture started out normally enough with the standard self introduction and necessary adminstrative paperwork. After which we delved into the main topic. Why has the shift of progress and prosperity shifted across the world and to be more specific across the different civilizations? What was the crux of each successful prosperous nation which enabed them to build up such advanced cultures and civilizations?

The video screened during the session, an extract from the title ” Guns, germs and steel” pointed us in the direction that amongst all the various factors, technology might be main reason for prosperity.

Interesting Observations & Ideas

What was brought to my attention was what Yali – A Papua New Guinean native said. ” Why do you white people have more cargo?” A seemingly simple question that hides more thought provoking ones. In short, this question asks why in history, some civilizations were able to rise to prominence while others aren’t able to do so? The answer I have learned is – Technology.

What was discussed during the session was the fact that the thin line that separates a cultural and economic prominence of a country is not so much its people but more of a country’s resources and how it is being manipulated, the trades with one another (including exchanging of knowledge) and the recording of these valuable insights which would benefit and spur the future generations to build upon that wisdom. Although the Papua New Guinean’s may be as smart as their western counterparts, they simply lack the accessibility to other nations thereby cutting off their access to a transfer of knowledge. This was evident in the video where many of the westerners where already employing the use of metal and electricity while the natives were still using stone tools and manual labour.

Moving on further along the session, we digressed on into another article titled “Agriculture and the Origins of Civilization”. Whilst this may sound like a trip into history 101 class, it was actually very informative read where the article discusses how far ancient man has evolved from independent hunters-gathers to banding together to form nomadic groups sowing crops and domesticating animals. Overtime, as each of these groups expanded, so did their knowledge of agriculture which gave rise to what i feel is one of the most significant discoveries of man – The agrarian revolution. Which then gave rise to more complex settlements where technology was developed and flourished and a loose hierarchy of command was developed where the ‘Leader” of the tribe would govern its members.  (A system much like the modern day government, legislation and judicial courts)

Key Takeaway Points

What was mentioned throughout the seminar was the fact that technology has been and will always be the key driver in change. Whether this change is for the better or worse, we as judicial users of this technology must decide. Since the invention of modern technology, its ubiquity has made us almost blind to its existence. Only when we suddenly lose it do we realize how heavily dependent we are on it. Case in point, how many of us can remember all the contact information stored in our iPhones/Blackberries should we lose it?

Issues for Further Discussion

I am well aware that the birth of civilization and technological advancements that has occurred over time. However i would like to further understand whether during the course of this “technological” advancement, the environmental impacts were recorded and whether it played a part in shaping the direction of the technological progress.

Are the massive environmental disasters such as the Japanese Tsunami early this year, the constant flooding in Australia and the hurricanes that struck The States only recent events? Or are they just cyclical events (just like every equity based technical chart there has to be recession, recovery, growth and market correction) that our planet goes through once every few hundred years?

Lastly, should these environmental repercussions be a result of man’s brazen depletion of the earth’s resources, what are the views of the younger generation in mitigating its effects? After all, the earth will be for us to inherit in the future.

Personal Rating of the Session

7/10 – It was a really thought proving session. Although it left many open ended topics and questions.

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