30 December 2009

Learning from I-Ching Part 10 5 需 Needs - Wait for the Right Time

"5 需 Needs - Wait" with Water trigram at the top (i.e. clouds) and Heaven trigram at the bottom. The Chinese word means needs or wants and extended to mean waiting for the right time and opportunities. Formation of clouds in the sky is preparation for rain and is not raining yet and hence the extending meaning for waiting, or getting ready, preparation for rain or actions.

Waiting here is not idle waiting or killing time. It is an intense preparation, watchfulness, and most interesting of all, waiting with celebration and joy! Let's look at the details:

Moral Attributes:
  1. 有孚: have integrity, honesty.
  2. 光亨: have light and smooth flowing
  3. 贞吉: righteous and goodness
  4. 利涉大川: suitable to start big project (original: cross wide rivers)
The textual description said that it means 'wait' because there is danger at the front. Move with integrity and strength and will not fall into the pit. Neither will you be trapped in a dead end. The position is at the sky, and need to hold the righteous central and is good for crossing great rivers. Moving forward is rewarding.

Fun in the Midst of Waiting 
The most interesting description is given in the pictorial text : 云上於天,需;君子以饮食宴乐。 Clouds rise up to the sky is, 需-Xu, waiting for the right moment; Wise man has joy with  partying with foods and drinks.

The secret of the ability for a long and fruitful wait is the attitude of joy and celebration. In the midst of preparation for the right opportunities, we must work with joy and gladness in our heart. We can intersperse fun times in the waiting period.

The common reaction to delay and waiting is frustration and anger. We wasted much energy in complaining and on futile activities killing the time. This hexagram tell us to make best of the waiting time for preparation and some fun, keeping our expectation and hope alive. We will then be in the best position to exploit the opportunity when the time is ripe. Keeping happy and busy will also make the waiting time seems short.

Stage 1 - Begin Nine: Waiting at the wilderness. Good to have perseverance. No fault.
We are just starting and we must prepare to wait and work for a long time. Remember to have fun in the mean time. Please take note that we are not idly waiting but in preperation and making progress even though progress is hard. We must not loose our calmness and there will be no fault. We can picture army moving forward to take a city starting from a far far place in the wilderness.

Stage 2 - Second Nine: Waiting at the sands. Have some complains. Good ending.
Some more waiting and there are people getting impatience and you can hear some complains. Some encouragement and fun will help and we can continue in a good state of readiness.

Stage 3 - Third Nine: Waiting in the mud. Enemy (original: Robbers) came.
We are getting closer but now there are external harmful factors coming in to interfere with our progress. We need to be watchful and careful to handle them well so that we will not loose out.

Stage 4 - Fourth Six: Waiting in a bloody place. Escape out of danger and traps.
If we are in a war, we are so near the target that the enemy come to attack us and there are injuries and bleeding. If we are in business, the long build up time is bleeding our cash. Being watchful of the external trends, listening to the market, we manage to escape from traps.

Stage 5 - Fifth Nine: Waiting with Drink and Food. Righteous perseverance bring forth fortune.
We are all ready to celebrate. It is like the eve of the product launch. Continue with the care and excellent work and you shall have a good success.

Stage 6 - Top Six: Back to home and meet three uninvited guests. Treat them with respect and you will end up with good fortune.
A successful launch brings forth customers that you have not expected. Respect and understand their requests. Make the needed changes and they will bring you to the next stage of greater success.

Don't waste this waiting time. Get prepared, be watchful, and have a happy and expectant attitude.

Further learning on I-Ching please go to my BvOTech blog.

Learning from I-Ching Part 09 4 蒙 Naive - Learning

Life Long Learning:
"4 蒙 Naive - Learning" hexagram is formed from Mountain trigram at the top and Water trigram at the bottom. Water trigram also represent danger. Meeting danger, one needs to stop first.  蒙 stands for naive, blur, lack of understanding and in the dark. Once encountered the water-danger, we will be at a lost of what to do. The moral teaching is about learning - life long learning. Learning to gain understanding and to know how to cross the water safely. If one does so, one will process smoothly ahead.

The picture of mountain over water also signifies the rich potential underground water needs to burst out to create the streams that benefits living. Developing the hidden potential and talents to be useful is the teaching of this hexagram.

Moral Attributes:
  1. 亨: smooth unobstructed flow. Must adopt the middle of path righteous way.
  2. 匪我求童蒙,童蒙求我。Literally, it is not me seeking the naive; it is the naive seeking me. There is a famous saying that "we can bring the horse to the water but cannot force the horse to drink". Learning cannot be force by the teacher. The student must be self-motivating and wanting to learn.
  3. 初噬告,再三渎,渎则不告。 The first questioning will be answered. But if one ask again and again without sincerity, it is insulting to the teacher and no answers will be given. There is a difference between a sincere question to clarify lack of understanding and the cynical question that doubt the capability of the teacher. Such cynical questions are insults can could not be answered.
  4. 利贞。 Secere seeking of knowledge and truth is good and beneficial.
  5. 象曰:山下出泉,蒙;君子以果行育德。Streams from the bottom of mountain. Wise man must boldly build up his moral character through gaining wisdom and teaching wisdom.
Stage 1: Begin-Six: To open the eyes of the blind, one needs model and discipline. Moving forward without understanding will lead to regrets.
We learn best when there are role-models or examples for us to follow. Learning is a discipline process of time and effort. If there be any thing that we don't understand, we must have the discipline to pursue the answer until we fully understand it. A good way to learn is to draw a mind-map or even better, a concept map. Learning occurs when we know how to classify or group things together. What are the similar attributes and what are the differences. Which is the parent and which is the child or may be a siblings type of relationship is better. Should we go for a refinement and create a subcatagory? We must provide the answers to the 5W1H. I conduct a short course on "Creative and Visual Thinking for Breakthrough Ideas" that will explain the cognitive learning method of mind and concept mapping and with innovative ideas generation.

Stage 2: Second-Nine: It is good to help the naive. It is good to have a good wife. Son is able to take responsibilities for the family.
Once we have obtained understanding ourselves, we are then in a position to teach others. We should not despise the unlearned. We must accept them first so that they can have the mental attitude for us to teach them. Teaching others also enhances our learning and understanding. When we want to teach, we be more careful about what we learn. Interaction with the students also enhances our understanding. When one is mature, it is good to have a good wife as a help-meet - to make the man complete. A husband and wife grow up to greater wisdom when they have children and become father and mother. Parent adopting the sometime hard discipline and sometime soft-encouragement will be able to bring up a son that can take care of the family responsibilities. The key job of parents is to bring up chidren that are capable of setting up families on their own. Having children with successful families on their own is a testimony of the wisdom of the Parents.

Stage 3: Third-Six: Do not marry a girl who is after money and has not self-control with proper conduct. Marrying such bring no benefits.
It is very interesting to note that in the hexagram of learning, wives are mentioned twice. It shows the importance of the roles that women play, as wife and as mother, in the learning and education of their husbands and children. This is opposite to the conventional common Chinese saying that "women without education is good moral" and so many Chinese did not send their daughters to school. The ancient Chinese teaching however is very different. It emphasizes the contribution of women in a family. This is more like the Jewish tradition where both parents have the duty to educate their children. Such distortion that girls need not have an education probably set back the progress of the Chinese.

Stage 2 tell us to share our wisdom and be ready to get a good wife. Stage 3 shows that we are matured enough to start a family of our own. It tells us what kind of girl we should not marry. Be not be deceived by the beauty of the girl but be watchful of her inner values, especially toward money, and observe her conduct. Does she exercise self-control? Is she a show of, impulsive, and others. Be observation.

Stage 4: Fourth-Six:  Trapped in folly brings regrets and frustration.
Dov Siedman in his book "How" has a Hill of Knowledge chart showing a M-shape curve.  At the beginning, our competence increases with time and effort on learning - represented by His 'B' grade students. However, after a while, we seems to get confused - the more we learned the more felt we don't understand - represented by his "C" grade students. Those will breakthrough the confusion arrives at the master level represented by his "A" grade students. Stage 4 learning is like the "C" grade students. We seems to be confused as we learned. We felt trapped. At this point, we should persist on. We may need help, if we can, find a teacher to enlighten us and bring us up to the next hill of mastery. Giving up will end up like 'C' grade, worse than before.

(note: a typical learning curve for a fixed skill is a L-shape, one gets better as we practice and gain understanding for a fixed skill. For advanced unbounded knowledge, like, beginner level 101, intermediate 201, advanced 301 etc level, I think the M curve is more appropiate).

Stage 5: Fifth-Six: Childlike Naive. Good.
Childlike learning, without prejudices, biased and baggage and pure in motive, ever curious, is excellent for acquiring knowledge. The key reasons we are stuck at the valley of the M-curve above is our preconceived and erroneous ideas. We unknowing place restrictions on the things we are trying to learn. Some of our unknown assumptions or heuristics are blocking our understanding and stopping our progress. Remove those, back to the basic, be pure and we can make it. Unlearning is hard. Go back to the childlike stage, list down all assumptions, constraints and uncovering our blind-spots help our progress.

The motivation for learning needs to be pure as a child. It is not for learning to harm or control others. It is learning to gain understanding per se.

Once also need to adopt the childlike eagerness to learn new things. When we have master a new thing, we need not stop there. We need to continue to renew our learning and acquire new knowledge. In the early stage of learning, we make the strange thing familiar. In the latter stage of learning, we need to make the familiar strange, that we may break out into new territories. 

Stage 6:  Attack Folly. Don't use learning for bad (original: robbers). Use learning for good to remove bad.

Finally, what is the objective of learning and acquiring of knowledge and understanding? Is it not to be put to good use for the benefits of the society? Acquiring knowledge to do bad things is bad. It is better not to have learned. Education should be more than just acquiring of knowledge but be building of moral character as well.

Summary:
  1. Learning to break folly and darkness.
  2. Learning is a life long process.
  3. Learn to be more responsible and capable so as to contribute to the society through your life, family or your business.
The finer wisdom from the six stages are:
  1. learn by following good examples
  2. learn by practicing and growing up by taking responsibility and caring for others such as having wife and family
  3. learn to discern – choose your life partner carefully
  4. learn to master level. Get helps if stuck; don’t quit (you are at the stage of the more you know, you more you seems to be confused. Don’t quit but continue for a breakthrough understanding). Make the strange familiar.
  5. learn to innovate. Be childlike, have curiosity, purity and eagerness. Make the familiar strange for innovation.
  6. learn without ending. Use your learning for good and not for evil
For a comparison, see BLOOM’S REVISED TAXONOMY shows the level of knowledge/learning, from the basic of recalling facts to higher levels of applying, analysis, judging to the highest level of  creation of new knowledge. I-Ching shows the how and the increasing level of learning.
  1. Remembering - Recalling information.
  2. Understanding – Explaining ideas or concepts;Interpreting, summarising, paraphrasing, classifying, explaining
  3. Applying – Using information; Implementing, carrying out, using, executing
  4. Analyzing - Breaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships; Comparing, organizing, deconstructing, interrogating.
  5. Evaluating – Justifying a decision or course of action; Checking, hypothesizing, critiquing, experimenting, judging
  6. Creating – Generating new ideas, products, or ways of viewing things; Designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing.

Lim Liat (C) 2008-2011

26 December 2009

Learning from I-Ching Part 08 3 屯 Sprouting - Starting is hard

"3 屯 Sprouting - Starting is hard" hexagram has the 29-Water trigram at the top and 51-Thunder trigram at the bottom. The pictorial symbolism says, "象曰:云雷屯;君子以经纶" cloud-thunder gives rise to Sprouting; Wise man (superior man) has and concern with statesmanship - managing a country or a business.

The interesting point is above-water was described as cloud. It shows that ancient Chinese was well aware that clouds came from water and was water in the sky. It is only forming of clouds and no rais yet. There is cloud and thunder showing rain could be coming soon. 3-Sprouting is the hexagram for starting a new business or project. Sprouting is also an energy consuming process and hence it also signifies the difficulty of starting a project. Nevertheless, all great accomplish begins with a first step. The famous saying by Neil Armstrong when he landed on the moon - "a small step for a man and a giant leap for mankind". So we find the following characteristics to 3-Sprout.


Moral Attributes:
  1. 元: a new beginning of a project or business (vs the beginnings in 1-Heaven-Creation of Universe, 2-Earth - Creation of Lives)
  2. 亨: smooth flow of progress
  3. 利: increases, gains
  4. 贞: continued righteousness and purity.
  5. 勿用,有攸往,利建侯: because sprouting plant is weak, be focus on the tasks at hand and not try to do too many things. It is good for building empire since the growth has begin.
The moral teaching is that man needs to do some good things and have some good accomplishments with their life. Don't waste your life.

The additional textual description  "彖曰:屯,刚柔始交而难生,动乎险中,大亨贞。 雷雨之动满盈,天造草昧,宜建侯而不宁。" warn us that giving birth is hard. It is moving in danger zone. Yet it is good going for righteousness and purity (don't try to cheat or take short cut). Rain and thunder , activities and energy, fill the place. This is like the time of creation of living things. It is good for building empire (influences, great businesses) and it will not be quiet.

The danger of beginning comes from the upper-water trigram which signifies danger/trap/cracks.  The bottom trigram is thunder signifying vibrations and activities. For those deep in I Ching, you can tell a good story from the positions and patterns of the lines of the hexagram. I am amazed at this simple patterns giving rise to meanings and principles for life.
This is very much like fractals where the complex shapes and pictures can be reproducted by the repeated patterns of simpler fractals. Or like the complex life forms come from the genetic patterns or DNAs!

So we know while starting a new business or project promises great rewards and returns in future, there are lots of dangers and obstacles ahead where we need to persevere and be committed in order to succeed. There is no short cut and we must follow the right and righteous ways.

Stage 1 Begin-Nine: Meet Big Rock and Large Tree Trunk, not sure to push forward to move back. Good to progress with righteous conduct. Good for building business empire.

Starting a business is a challenging things. Before you start, you may receive a lot of encouragement from friends and acquaintances to start. Some even offer money to help you get started - until you really get started and asked them for support and they kindly forget their earlier promises. You may suddenly find that the going is much tougher than you original plan. There are other licences that you need to get. The staff who claimed they know the business seems to know only theory and did not really have the experience etc... He may feel like quiting but could not because you have already spent quite a lot of your own and borrowed money and then there is the 'face saving' thing. You need to have conviction and commitment to make progress. Building a successful business, you need to bite your teeth, hang on there, and do all things as legal and righteous as possible. You don't want to have any loose ends or short-cuts that may later give you much trouble on your growth phase.

Stage 2 Second-Six: Going is tough. There is no progress. It is not thieves but true customers (original is marriage seekers). They want true quality and it took 10 years to commit.

After much effort, there tlll seems to be no success. You thought that people are sabotaging you. But the facts are that your products or service or new business model are not really providing the value that your potential customers are looking for. You either have not yet understand the real needs of your customers, or there you be quality problems, or you are not meeting the specifications or expectation that you set. Your customers while wanting to do business with you is just not having the confidence that you could deliver what he wants and in a relaible manner. Don't give excuse. Seek first to understand his needs, rephase his needs to him, and then show how your offering can meet his needs. He is not nasty to you. You just have not gain his confidence. It may take time. Don't give up. Work on it. I have saleman who told me he loose his sales because the customer doesn't like him and prefered his competitor's pretty sale girl. These are just excuses.

Stage 3 Third-Six: Know when to give-up - Hunting for deer without the guide-person. Following the deer into the thick forest. It is better for the wise man to give up else going further will only lead to danger and dead end and bankruptcy.

After quite a few years of hard work and still no result to show. Is it because there is no good mentor to lead you? You may have forgotten the teaching of 1-Heaven hexagram that tell you to get mentors. If there is not break-through and you can't find wise people to guide you out of the wood, it is probably better to cut-loss, give-up and close the business. Progressing further blindly will just cost you more and eventually leads to no where but bankruptcy.

Stage 4 Fourth-Six: Still going back and forth. Pursue the deal (original word is marriage). Going forth is good. There is gain.

If you have the right person to guide you, with your following actions, then continue to pursue the customers to close the deals. With your guides and customer sponsors, you can get the contracts and establish the future of your business. This is time for the break-through.

Stage 5 Fifth-Nine: Overcoming obstacles bring forth blessings (original word: anointing oil). Take care of small deals and deal rightly. Watch out for the danger of closing large deals.

This is the growth phase of your business. You have crossed the chasm in stage 4. But you need to continued to do well in the small deals. Watch out when you try to close big deals. Do your proper risks management. Are you financially strong and have the necessary capability to do the large deals at your present stage.  Large deals suck up cash and are just more complex to execute. Your large deal customers may want you to do a lot of tailoring to his needs. Are they worth your efforts? You just need to be absolutely sure even though you may the profits, revenues and reputation may be enhanced if you can win them. But just be careful. They may consume the resources that you could use to win and confidently close many small deals.


Stage 6 Top-Six: Lot of activities but no progress. Continued bleeding.
Carelessness or inability to deliver the large contracts won in stage 5 is causing you bleed profusely at this stage. You are doomed. Please look for a Savior or else.

Let not the difficulty of starting business stop you from doing any business at all. For every danger, there lies great opportunities. This hexagram give us some wisdom to overcome them. Let me ends with a word of wisdom from Meng Zi, "when Heaven is about to confer a great office on any man, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his sinews and bones with toil. It exposes his body to hunger, and subjects him to extreme poverty. It confounds his undertakings. By all these methods it stimulates his mind, hardens his nature, and supplies his incompetencies". Be bold and start your business with care.

You may want to attend one of my training course on "Successful Business Plan Writing".

Summary
Overcome the inertia, the hardship and just get going. Business must be built on righteous values. Start to do something useful. Don’t waste your life. The teachings from the six stages:
  1. Start with a worthy vision built on righteous values, plan A. Overcome the initial inertia and obstacles.
  2. Don’t give up. Make sure you delivery value that customers want. Improve.
  3. Time to Quit if you are stuck and can’t get wise man to help
  4. Ask, reflect and come up with new plan B. Proceed with new plan B.
  5. Grow fast & watch out for risks of large deals
  6. Bleeding cannot be stop – Quit and do something else.

Learning from I-Ching Part 07 The S-Curve & Bell Curve

People who study innovation will be familiar with the S-Curve and the Bell-Curve. S-Curve is the accumulation of performance, sales or %penetration over time. It is the sum of Bell-Curve which is the sales over period of time. For any new innovation, it will grow, peak, stagnate and then decline and death. G Moore pointed out in "Crossing the Chasm" that the grow for a particular innovation may die a premature death if it fails to cross the chasm. The bell curve is not smooth and many innovations will not survive to go through the whole curve. The teaching of I Ching actually agrees with that. While there are 6 stages in each hexagram, promotion to the next stage is not automatic. Most likely, many will not get higher, and many will even drop off if the advices are not heed.

I will use the bell-curve to categorize the hexagrams for ease of reference and understanding as stated in the earlier postings. Here are the curves and the corresponding Hexagrams. Only the lower number hexagrams are illustrated. For the complete list, refer to part 03.

The typical S-Curve of Innovation or Technology:

The Bell-Curve and the related Hexagrams (a subset)

The fundamental hexagrams like the 1-Heaven and 2-Earth are applicable throughout the life cycle.

The Start
For the starting phase, we have the "3-Sprouting-Starting is hard".

The Growth
The growth curve is not smooth but with lots of up and down as depicted in the diagram. We need to learn fast with "4-Naive-Learning" hexagram". We will have needs and must know how to wait for the right opportunities with the "5 Wanting-Wait" hexagram".

The Impedance
There will be the typical situations of misunderstanding internally and externally resulting in disputes. How to prevent and handle disputes is taught in "6 Litigation - Conflict Resolution" Hexagram.

The Accumulation
Growing start-up business requires one to take care of the details, save and accumulate experience, resources, conserve cash etc. The less you need of external help and investment, the higher the valuation of your company. This is covered in "09小畜 Small Accumulation – Improvement in Details" please.

The Acceleration
Disputes are just one of the many impedance for growth. Others, include 12-Stagnation, 25 无妄 Not Bizarre – Follow the Principles , 29 坎 The Pit – Danger –Be Watchful & Righteous etc.  To break free and to grow quickly, we must know how to mobilize the resources. This is taught in "07 師 Army – Mobilization & Management". "08 比 Union – Relationship Building" tells us to build good relationships with people - staff, customers, suppliers, and partners.

The Peak 
This will bring forth great flow of activities and success to the main-street - "11泰 Great-Vibrant Flow of Abundance and Peace". In the midst of great success, it is important not to forget about the building of relationship and partnership. Good relationship comes from "10履 Walk – Right conduct & Positioning".

The Decline
Great success brings forth complacency and may result in "12否 Stagnation – Don’t Give Up" and worse, in-fighting and decay in "18蠱 Worm – Removing Disorderliness".

The Recovery
Unless this is followed by "24 复 Return – Recovery  to Basic and Original Vision" to get a recovery or else pending death. There are two other hexagrams "40解 Freed – Get with Decisive Actions " and "43 夬 Breakthrough – Power with Caution " that address how one could transform and take off from the next S-Curve.

Hope you now know how to apply I Ching to your business building.

You may want to read this post as well The Right Way to Consult I-Ching.

Related posts: Ancient Chinese Wisdom

Additional Note:
This Bell-curve can also apply to our relationship - how to build-up, and how to renew when the relationship has stagnated or worse is decaying.

Hope you can begin to grasp the usefulness of I-Ching teachings - which is actually very Biblical. They are founded on the "Fear or Respect" of God - the beginning and wisdom and knowledge. Pro 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The regrets of Chinese Classics authors are that they recognize the work and wonder of God the Creator, they did not know that the Great God comes in the person of Jesus Christ who wants to develop a personal relationship with the men he created. The union of God and Man 天人合一, the wish and objective of I Ching, is realized in Jesus Christ. We need the Christ in Us to do the teaching of I-Ching becoming the superior man!

For a more complete Bell Curve with the 64 Hexagrams is as below:[Yi+Jing+(2).jpeg]

An alternative version is I-Ching Re-Classified - The Faster way to Consult

Lim Liat Copyrighted 2008-11

23 December 2009

Learning from I-Ching Part 06 Steps for Application

Initial feedbacks from friends revealed that while my postings were interesting they were still too abstract, alien, or complicated. This is written to hopefully explain things better.

The Steps for Applying I-Ching are:
  1. Identify the Your Current State or Position.
    (the superstitious fortune-telling way was to cast lots for the hexagram and stage-line. Unnecessary and Not recommended.)
  2. Refer to the Relevant Hexagram.
  3. Read the Advice Given for the Hexagram and check your stage in the 6-Stage-line. 
  4. Understand:
    • present danger or opportunities for the position
    • the actions or non-action needed to avoid danger or make progress
  5. Apply and review. Don't be stuck at a stage. Learn how to go to the next stage smoothly and harmlessly. It may take time for your situation to change but continue in right and just ways. Seek advice from mentors if you are still uncomfortable.
    The foundational hexagrams like the 1-Heave and 2-Earth are applicable in general situations. Then you may just see which of the six-stage are applicable to you. You can use it to give advice to others as well.

    At the Hexagram Level, 1-Heaven Force is the Yang of initiative and creative action, 2-Earth Receptive-Love is Yin's way of responding with gentleness, following. When we meet an obstacle, we can choose the 1-Heaven-Yang way for forcing our way through head-on. We will succeed if we have greater force than the obstacle. Or we can choose the 2-Earth-Yin way of understanding the obstacle and then finding alternative routes, or even better, channelling the opposing force to open up new way for us. Or we can choose to test the strength of the opposing force first and then deciding sometime to force through and some other time to by-pass. The key is that there are many ways to solve a problem. It calls for understanding of the situation, referencing the knowledge base of I-Ching patterns, then wise and innovative applications to progress. Let's go to the more detailed level of the 6-Stage-lines.

    Let me summarized advices given at the various the stages of 1-Heaven and 2-Earth Hexagrams.

        1-Heaven-Yang Force               2-Earth-Yin Follow,Respond      Ages

    1. hidden, no showoff  ---   watch the trend, prepare, plan ahead. 0-19
    2. appear, get mentors ---   show integrity and work quietly       20-29
    3. diligence           ---   patience                              30-39
    4. jump across chasm   ---   keeping secrets                       40-49
    5. fly                 ---   race                                  50-59 
    6. Regrets (no)        ---   fight (don't)                         60-69
    Some people apply ages to the 6-stage line and a possible range is shown above. However, certain people are more talented and the age-range could be shortened. Exception could occur when one is the son or daughter of the business owner and he/she can be put at stage 5 by his/her owner parent. But, the true progress may still be from stage 1 to stage 6.

    From personal experience, I am already at stage 6 at present and transforming to the next S-curve, going or doing the from "success to significance" process. If I have studied i-ching earlier and apply the wisdom in my life, may be I could fly higher, prepare for stage 6 better and get transform to the next S-curve earlier.

    For a fresh graduate starting out in his/her career, the 6 stage-lines for both hexagram offered much guidance. Firstly, he/she must know to keep a balance between 1-Heaven taking initiatives and 2-Earth responding appropiately to people and circumstances.

    At stage 1, one should just be humble and learn as much and do our work without showing off as taught by 1-Heaven. (Learning is covered in "4蒙 Naive - Learning" which we will do in future posting). We must watch the trend and plan ahead as taught by 2-Earth. If not, we will most likely end in dispute or worse be fired and would not be able to progress at all. (Dispute is covered in "6訟 Litigation - Conflict Resolution"!).

    Good performance and foresight bring promotion to stage 2. The advices are to get mentors, work with integrity and quietly. Have good relationships with colleagues and bosses. Practice the Yang of creating value and the yin of acceptance and respect of others.

    Stage 3 is small success where we are promotion to be team/branch head or project leader. It still calls for diligence and patience--- be watchful for opportunity.

    Promotion to Stage 4 brings forth "danger" + "opportunities". We must decide whether we want to take the risk to jump across the chasm to next level of bigger success. If we succeed, we progress to stage 5, if not, we may need fall back to stage 3 and sometime to another place to start again. The 2-Earth tells us to hold secrets and not to betray trust. It is an important advice for making the crossing. Opportunities are given here in stage 4.

    Successful crossing bring us to Stage 5 the highest level of success. At this time, we must prepare for the next stage 6 of retirement. Building network is key when we go into stage 6 of retirement. We should not 'fight' with other leaders and know how to work well in a new community.

    By further reflection and meditating on the teaching of I-ching, we can acquire fresh wisdom that we can apply to make our lives better.

    Hope this is a useful clarification.

    Understanding Unchanging Patterns to Manage Change for Success in Life

    The title "Understanding Unchanging Patterns to Manage Change for Success in Life" is the teaching of "I-Ching" ( The Book of Change, Yi Jing, 易经 ). It is the foundation of Chinese philosophy and culture. This is the index page to my postings on I-Ching.

    1. Learning from "The Book of Change - 易经 Yi Jing" Part 01 Overview
    2. Learning from "The Book of Change - 易经 Yi Jing" Part 02 Hexagram Structure
    3. Learning from "The Book of Change - 易经 Yi Jing" Part 03 Relationships
    4. Learning from "I-Ching" Part 04 1-乾 Heaven - Creative Force
    5. Learning from "I-Ching" Part 05 2 坤 Earth - Receptive Love 
    6. Learning from I-Ching Part 06 Steps for Application 
    7. Learning from I-Ching Part 07 The S-Curve & Bell Curve 
    8. Learning from I-Ching Part 08 3 屯 Sprouting - Starting is hard 
    9. Learning from I-Ching Part 09 4 蒙 Naive - Learning 
    10. Learning from I-Ching Part 10 5 需 Needs - Wait for the Right Time
    11. more to come .....
    See Ancient Chinese Wisdom for a longer list of I-Ching topics and other Chinese Classics teachings.

     

     

    22 December 2009

    Learning from "I-Ching" Part 05 2 坤 Earth - Receptive, Love

    This "2 坤 Kun" hexagram represents the Earth or Mother Nature. In contrast to 1-Heaven, which is forceful, hard, invisible, 2-Earth is receptive, soft, and materinal. 1-Heaven is invisbile Energy, 2-Earth is visible mass. 1-Heaven is active, 2-Earth is reactive. Heaven represents righteous action and Earth represents love and acceptance.

    Earth Hexagram is:
    1. 元 Beginning. This beginning is the start of living things on earth. It is in response to creative force of heaven.
    2. 亨 Smooth Flow - no obstruction, grow and success. The earth provides the environment for living things to grow throughout the earth.
    3. 利牝马之贞 The mother-horse constant and unending righteous behavior brings forth gains, increases and harmony.
    4. 君子有攸往,先迷后得主 Wise man started a journey, loosing his way at first until he finds a master.
    5. 利西南得朋, 东北丧朋 Finding friends in the southwest and loosing friends in the northeast.
    6. 安贞,吉 Follows the way of purity and truth will bring blessings.
      Key Moral Value is 厚德载物 Love
      The character of Earth is as thick as the earth (as deep as sea) and able to accept and carry things (people and events). Its characteristic is soft, yin, follow, obey, gentle, quiet. I think it is best to use the biblical word of "Love" to represent it. No matter how hard to pound it, it can absorb the attacks. It responses is always loving acceptance and your promotion.2-Earth does not take things into her own hands. She leave it to the 1-Heaven to take actions.

      In the Bible, the description of Love or Charity matches well this hexagram. 1Co 13:4-8  Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself rudely, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, keeps no record of evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.


      1-Heaven and 2-Earth also signifies husband and wife or more accurately Father and Mother. It is these two that give birth to other 6 hexagrams forming the 8 hexagrams. The 8 hexagrams also form a family representing 1-Heaven Father, 2-Earth Mother, 51-Thunder Eldest Son, 57-Wind Eldest Daugther, 29-Water Middle Son, 30-Fire  Middle Daugther, 52-Mountain Youngest Son, 58-Lake Youngest Daugther.

      The Stages of Growth

      Stage 1 Begin-Six: Stepping on frosts tell us that deep frozen Ice is coming soon.
      When we step on frost, we know that the winter has come and soon the whether will be very cold and ice will be formed. Before any action, we must know how to plan first. Planning involves doing situational analysis and forecasting of the future. We must be watchful of the tell-tale signs and be prepared for them. Before the big financial crisis of 2008, there were already signs of the sub-prime problems. Before the dot-com crash of the 2000, there were already many reports of the possible running out of cash of many dot-com companies. Those who do not take heeds, who think life is going to be same as before in spite of the signs, end up suffering the losses. Tell-tale signs should alert us immediately to do investigation to discover the real impacts - whether they be just a random statisical errors on the quality control charts or one that is indicative of structural changes such a change in technology, policies, tastes, trends. Be watchful, investigate and prepare for the coming impacts.


      Stage 2 Second-Six: Straight and Square is great. Don't spin it and there will be gains.
      When we are well prepared in stage 1 to face the changes, then follow the righteous way of being straight and square (honesty and integrity). Don't try to be smart and take short cuts or spin a story or try to hide. The honest way will bring increases. We can recall the tempering of Telenoid incidents in the 80s that resulted in the death of a few people in US. The immediate, open, just-in-case, actions of the supplier resulted in creating confidence and regaining of market share. In contrast, the milk-poison affair in PRC China resulted in much lost of lives and lost of confidence in PRC made products. It not only affect milk products but also other products made in China. 


      Stage 3 Third-Six: Have proven capability and good character. Can take up tasks assigned by the bosses. Don't claim credits and have good ending.
      As we faithfully performed our duties - whether bosses or people are watching or not, our consistent performance will be noticed and will be assigned important tasks from our bosses. We are not to take our own initiatives independent of our bosses. We are to to our best in those opportunities assigned. But remember to give credits to your boss and you will have good ending.


      Stage 4 Fourth-Six: Tighten our mouth and pocket and there will be no troubles and no bad reputation.
      As we progress in our career we will get to know confidential information. It is important for us to control our mouths and no showing off. We must know how to keep secrets. We should be cautious in our talk. Then there will be no troubles for us and no bad reputation. This key is not to outshine your immediate boss. This is in preparation for our future promotion to stage 5.


      Stage 5 Fifth-Six: High Position 2nd in command (2I/C). Good blessings.
      The original wording is "Yellow Skirt - Lower Garment" symbolizing the dressings of the King. Here we are promoted to departmental manager or company vice-president or the COO or the 2I/C. This The position of the CEO belongs to the 1-Heaven Stage 5. There is one boss you report to and others are reporting to you. Note that there is one person higher and you have to help him. You cannot independently take charge without consulting him or else you will end up in Stage 6 described below which is bad. Recall the moral characteristics of this hexagram is soft, follow, and gentle and loving. Serve upper and lower well and you will keep your position. 


      Stage 6 Top-Six: Dragons fighting at the wilderness. Yellow and Black bloods flow.
      At the stage, there is the description of the great fight between the dragons of the 1-Heaven and the up-start 2-Earth horse(2 I/C) transforming into a dragon. The fight is fierce and results in casualties and injuries.  Some of us are dragons and some are horses. We need to know what are our capabilties and follow our own journey. Fighting for the top position may not be right thing for you do. 


      Ultimate Stage Use-Six: Eternal Righteousness and Just is Good.
      The best position is always maintaining righteousness and justice. Everyone know their roles and positions and contribute together harmoniously accepting and respecting each other. The teaching of I-Ching is about the harmonious synergies of differences! Discover your talents and roles in life and work with others for the greater good of the community be it your family, colleagues, country and the world at large.

      Learning from "I-Ching" Part 04 1-乾 Heaven - Creative Force

      The study of the 64 hexagrams begins with the first 2, 1-Heaven and 2-Earth. It is good to study the details of the hexagram itself and its opposite and then the before and after. This is be because I-Ching is about Changes from Position (hexagram) to Position.
      I-Ching tell us that the Ancient Chinese believed in the creation of the universe by a God who created the heaven and the earth. The visible beginning (太极) comes from an invisible (无极) . This is very much like the big-bang theory of the creation of universe. The visible beginning then multiples into many other things. First comes heaven (universe) and then come earth and all the phenomenons and living things on earth. There is creation and there is evolution (change). But there is a beginning and the beginning have order, and rules for living. Scholars divided I-Ching into two major parts. The 1st half of 30-Hexagrams cover the Ways of Heaven(天道 Dao of Heaven) and the 2nd part of 34-hexagrams cover the Ways of Man – How man should live well with one-another 人伦).
      The Chinese Text can be found at many sites, for example Chinese YiJing Text is here and click on the icon of lines for the hexagram that you want. A version of the English I-Ching Text is here. A bilingual site of Chinese Classics can be found here with the I-Ching text here.

      The description of Heaven begins with 4 key words.
      1. 元 The Original Great Beginning. This beginning is different from the Beginning of the Earth. This is the grand beginning of the creation of the universe. Earth’s beginning is the beginning of life on earth.
      2. 亨 The unobstructed smooth flow.
      3. 利 Fitting and harmony resulting in gains or increases.
      4. 贞 Constant or Eternal Purity and Righteousness or Fairness or Justice.
      Moral Values
      These are also known as the four moral values of Heaven. Heaven is the great force, energy, the initiator and creator. It creates breakthrough and its influences are far and wide. It brings increases in harmony and is eternally just and right. A wise man, normally translated as gentleman or superior man, should follow the ways of the Heaven in taking the initiative to create value, to impact the lives of others, to bring benefits, and to continuously maintain purity, righteousness and justice. These are the values of successful Entrepreneurs. A key phase for this hexagram is “self-motivating unceasing improvement” (自强不息).

      The Stages of Growth
      More interesting teachings are conveyed in the six lines (爻) which show the six stages of growth. It applies to personal growth. It also gives us wisdom on how to mentor others. Let’s look at them.

      Stage 1 Begin-Nine: Hidden dragon. Do not act harshly. 潜龙,勿用
      Nine is the number for the solid line Yang and Six is the number for broke line Yin.
      At the starting point, timing is more important than positioning. Hence, the ‘begin’ in time is used. At the later stage, the highest sixth stage, the description is changed to ‘Top’ showing positioning is more important than timing at the mature stages of development.
      Dragon is a symbol of strength and goodness to the Chinese. It is a description conferred upon the kings. This is the very opposite of the western’s dragons which are evil and and are of the devils.
      Hidden Dragon here refers to the hidden and undeveloped potentials residing in us. We are the dragon of great potential. But at the start, the potentials are not developed could not be used without due consideration. At this stage, it is best  for us to learn and develop as much as we can. We should not rush to undertake take tasks beyond our capability to show-off.  We don’t rush to express our opinions. We  listen to others first. When we have better ideas, then we may offer them (better is we are asked). Always wait for others. Nevertheless, when the opportunity opens such as a task where no one want to take and yet it is within our capability, then we should do it. We can do the things that others don’t want to either because they are not glamorous or too tedious.
      For the managers, it teaches us that we should try out our young recruits first before assigning tasks of great importance. There is not short-cut to life and development. Only laying a good foundation could we build skyscrapers. Otherwise, we will loose out, get fired, in life. Develop our potential first.


      Stage 2 Second-Nine. Dragon shows up in the field. Get mentors (great man) to progress. 见龙再田,利见大人
      At the 2nd stage, hopefully some of potentials are developed and being used. Others can see us doing some good works. At his stage, it is important for us look for mentors who will guide us and help us to progress further. One could get a few mentors in different areas of our lives e.g. mentor for finance, mentor for behavior, mentor for marriages etc. Having mentors allow us to learn from the others. We learned from Newton that we become a giant by standing on others’ shoulders and not stepping on other toes. We progress, but not by bad-mouthing others (that is not the moral character of Heaven), nor by sabotaging others, but by truly acquiring real skills and capability and networking by seeking out and following mentors.
      Another interpretation tell us that we should behave like our seniors, having wider vision, greater depth and concern for others. We don’t fight with our colleagues but help them to succeed instead. Behaving like a senior will one day make us one.

      Stage 3 Third-Nine: During the day, the wise man is actively creating and value-adding. He reflects on his activities at night. He keeps watch over his behavior and hence will not be blamed. 君子终日乾乾,夕惕若,厉无咎
      With greater growth in responsibilities due to promotion from stage 2, we have to not just blindly work hard to creating values but also to reflect on our activities. Are we busy for business sake and putting up a show only? At this stage, we are also attracting the attentions and perhaps envy of others. We must be careful in our behavior so that we may be beyond reproach. We do not want to have loose-ends for our envious colleagues to use against us. Bible teaches us that while we should be harmless as doves, we should be as wise as the serpents. A Chinese proverb tells us not to have motive to harm others but at the same time not to loose our guards against the tricks and attacks of others.


      Stage 4 Forth-Nine: Flying Across the Chasms. No regrets. 或跃在渊,无咎
      Success at stage 3 promotes us to stage 4. This is greater opportunity and success for us. But here lies the great danger – the chasm. We must be able to fly across the charm to reach stage 5 – the CEO or Division head post. We may fail and dropped into the chasm. What shall we do to cross the chasm? Do the things that is taught here – the 4 moral values and as in stage 3 be watchful, be humble, draw support and so forth (There are other hexagrams that will teach us as well). The most likely thing a typical young up-start or new promoted managers will do is to show-off and start ‘commanding’ or ‘despising’ fellow colleagues. Such activities will bring forth our down fall in the chasm.

      Stage 5 Fifth-Nine: Dragon flying in the Sky. Beneficial to have a network with great people. 飞龙在天,利见大人
      This is the highest post of life. Chinese King is described have a 9-5 honor. This is so because the next stage 6 is retirement. Greatness does not just come from oneself but also from the association and networking with other great people. At such a high position, life is lonely too. You are not sure whether the good things people do and say to you are truly of their heart. You need to be supported by a good network of great people. There is also the need to get continued support from those people under you, especially your immediate subordinates.

      Stage 6 Top-Nine: Highest Flying Dragon has regrets 亢龙有悔
      The end will eventually comes. Here comes the time when one have to retire and handover duties to the younger ones who replace us. Chinese has a famous saying …. the scenery of the setting sun is beautiful except that it is already evening. While we are at the top in Stage 5, we should remember and be prepare for the day that we will retire. This is just a warning for us, the reality of life on earth, that there will be a time for us to go. We must then prepare for the 2nd half-life after retirement. You can see why having a network work of great men and mentor is important even at our stage 5. They help us to prepare well for the next life we shall be entering into. If we prepared for retirement or change to 2nd life well, there will be no regrets.
      For the 1st two hexagrams, there is one more line each. Not sure which stage it is, but could be the ultimate stage. It is called

      Ultimate – Use Nine: There are many dragons but without leadership. Good fortune.见群龙无首,吉
      This is the ultimate stage where all the dragons are fully matured righteous men. There is no need for a leader to lead them. They all know how to live peacefully and harmoniously and happily with one another. That is the true blessings. Heaven is it! Heaven is only heaven if it is filled with righteous people. Heaven is hell if it is filled with immature and evil people.
      Another interpretation is that among the 6 dragons of the six-stages, there is no one that is the leader. The moral teaching is that leadership is situational – it depends on the time and the situations.  There is no one right way of leading.
      Lao Zi has the following saying on good leadership:
      To lead people, walk beside them …
      As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.
      The next best, the people honor and praise.
      The next, the people fear;
      and the next, the people hate …
      When the best leader’s work is done the people say, “We did it ourselves!”
      Hope you benefited much from this sharing and begin to apply it on your personal life and journey on this earth. Live wisely and live without regrets.

      A Quick summary: Be proactive. Be the innovator and the initiator – start a good project. Take the steps to make a better world.
      1. Hidden Dragon: don’t show off – get ready – prepared well. Do it when time and opportunity is right.
      2. Appearing Dragon: excel in your work and get mentors
      3. Running Dragon: be diligent and watchful at same time
      4. Leaping Dragon: take a leap to higher ground
      5. Flying Dragon: soar higher with a network of influential people
      6. Retiring Dragon: prepare for retirement or change of career
      7. Parenting Dragon: self management of virtuous leaders – developing others.

      15 December 2009

      Learning from "The Book of Change - 易经 Yi Jing or I-Ching" Part 03

      64 Hexagrams are too many to start for beginners. One can go according to the serial number of the hexagram and do it one at a time.

      There are 2 things to learn
      1. The description of the hexagram and its six-lines or 6-stages description and then deriving the principle.
      2. The interaction and progression of one hexagram to another.
      I will present my translated version of the hexagram this way,

          serial-no, Chinese Character, literal translation, synonyms, principle teaching

      Let take an example,

         41損 Decrease - Give, Invest, harming oneself to benefit others (損己利人)

      The serial-no or sequence is 41.  (so that you can easily look up other translations for its meaning)
      The Chinese Character is 損
      The Literal Translation is "Decrease", also means "harm"
      The Dynamic, real meaning translation, is Give or Invest.
      The Principle Teaching is harming oneself to benefit others.

      We will discuss 41 損 Decrease hexagram in details in future. But I intentionally use this hexagram to illustrate an interesting point. The literal translation of the Chinese word is not a very good interpretation of the meaning. (There are many others literal translations that are ok, but I want you note that quite frequently, the literal translation is not good enough). Just reading the literal translation without going into the details will result in misinterpretation of Ji Ying. This is a common mistake of beginners. If we just read 41 as decrease or harm, we may be quick to jump to the conclusion that Yi Jing is teaching us to harm others to benefits ourselves. But the real teaching is the very opposite! It is teaching us to sow first into others and reap the benefits later. This sowing and reaping principle should be quite familiar to Christians. Hence, I prefer to use the word "Give or Invest" in place of "Decrease or Harm" or at least I will quality decrease with give or invest. So you will find my translation a bit different from other books but it is more meaningful ( I hope. If not, let me know).

      Start with the First 2
      Ok, back to where do we start from? It is usually recommended that one starts with the first 2 hexagrams - 1乾 Heaven and 2坤 Earth. These two are the foundational hexagrams that interact to give rise to the rest. This is the yang (1 Heaven, Father-Creative Force, Energy, invisible) and the yin (2 Earth, Mother-receptive, materials, visible).

      There are those who group them. For example,
      1. to know how to have great blessings 元吉, learn these 4 hexagrams:
        • 10履 Walk - Right conduct
        • 41損 Decrease - Give
        • 48井 The Well - Sharing
        • 50鼎 Cauldron - Authority & Talents Management.
      2. to know how to do great project 利涉大川, learn these:
        • 5需 Wanting - wait
        • 13同人 Same Hearts
        • 18蠱 Worm - In-fighting, Decay
        • 26 大畜 Large Accumulation – Restraining Power
        • 27 頤 Cheek – Nourishment & Self-Reliance 上九:由颐,厉吉,利涉大川。
        • 42益 Overflowing Increase
        • 59渙 Dispersion
        • 61中孚  Integrity
        • 64 未济 Uncompleted – Finish it Wisely & Boldly 六三:未济,征凶,利涉大川。
      The Growth Life-Cycle Classification or Taxonomy on Ji Jing (I-Ching or Book of Change)

      For me, I suggest the following grouping based on the growth life-cycle. It has 7 stages of growth from 1-starting, 2-Growth, 3-Impedance (or Blockage), 4-Breaking Fee, 5-Peek Success, 6-Decline and 7 Renewal. These 7 stages are to build on the 0-Foundational Personal Character and 8-Partnership for group success. Hopefully, this classification allows one to easily recognize the current situation and look for the corresponding hexagram to understand the needed principle for application.

      Here is the mind-map of the Life-Cycle Yi Jing Taxonomy:

      We shall cover the first two hexagram in future postings and then do a S-Curve or Bell-Curve with the first set hexagram that covers the curves. You may find following the S-Curve or Bell-Curve as a more fruitful way of applying the hexagram principles.

      13 December 2009

      Learning from "The Book of Change - 易经 Yi Jing" Part 02

      Yi Jing is the Chinese book of Wisdom. It is like the Proverbs of the Bible. However, unlike proverbs, Yi Jing is highly organized into a graphical taxonomy. I hope someone will be able to create a taxonomy of proverbs wisdom before me.

      Someone says that a leader must have 3 things - moral character, capability and wisdom. Wisdom is not a static thing. Wisdom is the ability to perceive a situation, and apply the right knowledge in the right way at the right time to resolve a crisis or make a bad situation good. Of course, wisdom will tell you that your need good moral character and ability.

      The key concept of Yi is

      Life is a harmonious interacting cycles of changes that follows patterns put in order by the creator. Lack of harmonious interaction will bring forth blockage, fight, decay, crisis, war, disasters and sickness. Breaking the rules determined by the creator will leads to danger and destruction.

      The theology of Yi is that the universe is created by God and there is a order, the Dao (the Way) of the universe. The 3 key elements are the Heaven (God, 天), the earth (地) and man (人). Man must learn and follow the ways of the Heaven and the Earth (the natural environment). Violating the orders will bring disasters (think Global warming & pollutions). For man to live a joyful, rich and long life on earth, man must know the ways of the Heaven and Earth and live in harmony with them.

      The working of the Heaven, Earth and Man are represented first in the Yin-Yang, then the 8 trigrams and then the 64 hexagrams. A typical pre-creation 8 trigrams is shown as :


      The usual 64 hexagrams is created by overlaying the trigrams over one another to create a matrix of 64.

      It is interesting for me to find out that the American natives (Red Indians) also have a similar form of diagram. They call it the medicine wheel. In the diagram, you can find storm, thunder, lightnings, fire, mountains, rivers, earth produces (e.g. wheat), moon and stars, eagle (God, Father-Sky) etc. The key teaching is similar to Yi Jing - balanced and harmony with oneself, God and the environment! By the way, the Chinese 8 trigrams, the Kan Water also represents the moon and Li Fire also represent the Sun. The medicine wheel is like a simplified form (less than 64) of hexagrams that teach how one should live in this world. This shows that the creation truth and order of life are opened to the discovery by man and many different races of people has grasped the essentials of them.
      We read from the Bible, Romans 1:19-20 "Because the knowledge of God may be seen in them, God having made it clear to them.  For from the first making of the world, those things of God which the eye is unable to see, that is, his eternal power and existence, are fully made clear, he having given the knowledge of them through the things which he has made, so that men have no reason for wrongdoing:" [BBE]

      The 64 Hexagram represent different situations or positions that we may find ourselves in. They also contain the principles of life. Some says they represent the 64 moral character or virtues. For each Hexagram, the original Yi Jing has a text descriptions of what it is and descriptions based on the pictorial (象) meaning (phenomenon). There are also 6 (爻) lines (full yang line and broken yin line) of text and pictorial descriptions. The six lines represent 6 stages of growth through time and positions within the hexagram. For position wise, the hexagram is drawn from bottom upwards. The 1st represents beginning,lowest position, 2nd is sprouting out of the earth, 3rd is initial success, 4th is entering next level, 5th is the highest success and the 6th is the ending and handing over and the highest position. Another related interpretation is 1 - move (birth), 2-enter(balanced), 3-depth(dense), 4-show out(shine), 5-stationary(rest), 6-substitute (changing). The 1st 3 lines or stages represent internal (under), and the upper 3 lines represent external(upper).  The odd position lines, 1,3,5 represent Yang (activitor) and the even position lines 2,4,6 represent Yin (receptor). At the start, timing is more important than position and at the end, position is more important than timing.

      Another, to me less significant, meaning for the 6 lines is that they represent the different parts of a body. 1st, lowest line is toes, 2nd is foot, 3rd is waist, 4th is uppper body, 5th is face, 6th is head.

      In summary, each hexagram represents a situation or state and within each situation, there is a 6 stage development. The principles and characteristics of state and stage transition are described very tersely in Yi Jing. Even so, there are much to be learned from them. Precisely because of the terseness, there are many books written to explain what Yi Jing means and how to use them. One can follow the interpretation of the Confucian Ru 儒-School, or one can follow, not recommended (as it leads to too much spiritual and mystical explanation and practices), the extension by the Dao school and the Daoist religion to the fortune telling geomancy practices.

      There are much teachings on how the patterns of the Hexagram give rise to the textual description. In fact, scholar in Yi should know the how. A key reason is that by knowing the how, one can explain and develop the teaching of Yi better. For me, the descriptive text and its application should be useful enough.

      If you are a Christian like me, studying the Yi Jing help me to understand the Bible better. Most Bible expositions are made from the western thinkers' viewpoints and tend to be, in my biased opinion, narrow and hard - either or, force it. But Bible truth is interestingly very eastern like. God is both love and just - either is partially wrong! The truth is to hold both concurrently like the Yin-Yang of Yi Jing. We can say Yin is love and Yang is Justice. The explanation of love given by Paul in 1 Cor 13 says that love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but with the truth. So love has justice inside and Justice has love within.

      11 December 2009

      Learning from "The Book of Change - 易经 Yi Jing" Part 01

      One of the oldest book on thinking patterns is "The Book of Change - 易经 Yi Jing" from the Chinese. It is about 5000+ years old and is recognized as the Classic of all Chinese Classics. The mind set of Chinese thinking originates from this book. To understand Chinese thinking, culture and practices, including medicines(TCM), one must read and understand this book.

      For the history, development, structure and overview of Yi Jing, one can refer to wikipedia I-Ching. It makes mention of Chang, Shi (aka Tuck Chang) 2008. ebook : Unveiling The Mystery of The I Ching from Confucian perspective. For the Classical English translation see Classical translation by Wilhelm


      I am posting this to share the wisdom of ancient Chinese to those that know English but don't know Chinese and to those fellow Christians who misunderstood Yi Jing (thinking that it is a fortune telling or demonic book).

      I shall be sharing my personal understanding and learning from the study of the Yi Jing, and from the expository books on Yi Jing by many scholars. Being an ancient book with much use of symbols, brevity, ancient language words that have either lost or with different meaning, and lack of punctuations, there will be quite number of different interpretations and views of the original meaning of the Yi Jing text. I am no scholar on Yi Jing and make no claim that my understanding is of the original and correct meaning. It is just what I learned from the books that I read about Yi Jing and will surely appreciate others to point out my errors or give me additional meaning. I am sharing to introduce Yi Jing to others and to learn from others as well.

      Because of the additional layer of translation from Chinese to English, where there will be great difficulty in finding the exact words for the translation, I shall be not be doing any literal translation but be using dynamic translation of meaning. Hence, be warned that the English words used by me may differ from the other English translations of Yi Jing or I-Ching.

      More specifically, my purpose is to share the thinking patterns, strategies, ideas and teachings of Yi Jing and applying them to our daily life and business. I have been studying Yi Jing and other Chinese Classics (e.g. 36 Strategies etc)  to improve my innovative thinking methods BVITS and knowledge in Corporate Performance Management Framework.

      Furthermore, because of my belief in a God of Creation and Love for man, my views about the Yi Jing will be so colored. So a good title for this series of posting could be "Practical Learning & Applications of Yi Jing for Success in Life and Business".

      Yi Jing is NOT a Fortune Telling Book
      As stated earlier, because Yi Jing was the earliest, it exerted great influence on the subsequent Chinese Philosophies of Lao Zi, Confucianism and religions like Taoism and Buddhism and their related practices such as fortune telling and geomancy. Hence, Yi Jing has been misunderstood as a fortune telling book and an occult book to some Christians. This misconception is unfortunate and prevented the teachings of Yi Jing to be shared.  The fact is that Yi Jing is not about religions nor about fortune telling. Fortune telling see life as left to chance or the so called fate. Yi Jing teaches us how to predict and manage the future of change! Yi Jing teaches us that man has the responsibility to know the wisdom and to change. Gain or Loss, Good or Bad outcom is in the hand of man. Famous Confucian Disciple Xun Zi said "Those who know Yi do not cast lots." (荀子“善为易者不占”)。


      Yi Jing is about Change and Handling of Change
      There are 4 basic ideas on the word Yi 易. 
      1. Simplicity 
        • Yi is a codified and classified set of knowledge or principles into a binary system of yang (positive male odd  full line 1 some use 9) and yin (negative, feminine, even, broken line, 0, some use 6) 8 trigrams (3 lines), combining into 64 hexgrams (6 lines), 384 (6 x 64) 爻lines of commentary (some version have 2 more lines, 1 more each for the 1st Qian-Heaven  and 2nd Kun-Earth Hexagram). It is simple but profound.
        • It is the co-existence of Yin and Yang and their interactions that give rises to change. It is not either Yin or Yang but both in different degrees. Western thinking tend to force us to choose either. Yi Jing, Eastern thinking is a degree. In the typical Yin-Yang fish diagram of black and white, there is a white do in the black and a black dot in the white. This co-existence thinking is very important in innovation. Radical Innovation is about breakfree from old and establishing new. Incremental Innovation is about improving the existing. Any new radical innovation needs incremental improvements to make it better. Innovation is about making the familiar strange and the strange familar with quality and efficiency improvement of the 6-sigma and lean methodology. Life and growth is a flip-flopping process of ever changing.
      2. Change
        • Yi Jing is a study of change. Its basic principle is thing will change and go in cycles. Things progressing to the extremes will change direction (物极必反). Life is change. 
      3. UnChanging Patterns & Principles
        • This is key part of Yi Jing. In the midst of forever changes, there is the unchanging patterns where changes follow! God created the universe with order and have put in the principles of change. To the unlearned, the changes seem to be random. But to those who study changes, they may soon discover some heuristics - the rules of thumbs. As his understanding increases, he may develop formulas and algorithms to forecast and control the changes. Yi Jing is the heuristics of changes in life and in the environment.
      4. Interaction and Exchanges
        • Exchanges cause new things to be formed and new events to happen. This is what life is all about. The key is to make sure that any exchanges should result in positive, good, harmonious gains and not result in losses and destruction. Whether a change ends up well or not, you hold the key, even in situations where the forces beyond our control. For those we can control, we can 'yang' - create, initiate it. For those forces beyond us, we accept it, understand it, flow with it and ride on it - we 'yin' it! It is not always the use of force that win. The flexible palm tree can survive the storms but the big hard trees got broken.
        Because Yi Jing is codified knowledge, there are 3 main schools of intepretation (need not be exclusive but different in emphasis). They are the Conceptual rational meaning (义理), the symbolic (象), and the numerics (数). I shall follow the conceptual and symbolic to understand Yi Jing. But even the numbers tell interesting stories.

        Key Learnings of Yi Jing
        1. Study and Acceptance of Change - You hold your 'fate' in your hand.
        2. Learn the Unchanging Principles and patterns where changes follow.
        3. Understand the Situation or State we are in or caught in. It is about positioning and timing.
        4. Use the Principles to 
          • prevent us from the being caught in a bad-situation
          • get out of the bad situation
          • change a threat to an opportunity
            In Yi Jing, every threat contains an opportunity (that is how Chinese define a Crisis 危机 Danger+Opporunity) and in every opportunity, there lies a trap. There is a famous saying, 乐极生悲 - 'extreme joy begets sorrow'.
          1. Life are endless cycles of changes - extremity triggers u-turn.
          2. It is all about leading a Meaningful, Joyful, Stress-Free Life by following God’s Way of integrity, righteousness, harmonious, balanced disciplined life with Risk Management.
          3. About Harmonious Living with people and with the earth and heaven (natural and spiritual's laws). It is holding middle-way between Extremes (Yin & Yang). Neither is wrong or bad. The positioning and the arrangement of interactions should be changed to gain opened channel of communication & interaction to get harmony.

            08 September 2009

            The Polite Way of Expressing Disagreement

            Instead of saying an explanation or point of view is wrong. It may be more acceptable to say that the interpretation is not necessary or helpful.

            Better still, put the statement into a question first. A question expresses uncertainty and seek clarification. Give the listener an option to agree or disagree or contribution additional point of view.

            We can ask some guiding questions. Such as, is it necessary to have this ? What help does this bring?
            And even more encouraging question will be "What situations will this be useful?" or "Who will benefit from this?"

            16 February 2009

            Innovate Out of Recession

            In times of recession, what can companies do to not just only survive but to grow? The answer is simple - innovation. It is about how you can do more with less. We cover a systematic innovative thinking method and suggest ways to innovate out of recession.

            Understand Your System

            Our success is determined by the formula profit = sales – costs. To increase profit, we either increase sales or reduce costs. Doing both has greater impact. In recession time, most people think that sales will be down and there is nothing much you could do about it and so they just try to cut costs.

            Challenge the Assumption

            A basic rule of Innovation is to challenge the assumptions. “Recession means less revenue” is pre-conceived assumption. This need not be so. In any phase of economic cycle, the boom or the gloom, there will always be some people making money even while others are loosing money. “Recession as opportunities” becomes the basis and goal for our innovation. We will discuss ways to increase revenues in the later part of this article while we address the cost issues first. Nevertheless, we must see recessions as opportunities for doing better and building a stronger company. We must have this positive outlook and a can do attitude before any innovation can be created.

            Costs Cutting the Short-term Way

            1. Across the Board Cut.
            A typical practice in cost cutting, in the name of fairness, is to reduce cost proportionally throughout the company, such as a 10% across the board cut. All salaries and all budgets are to be reduced proportionally. However, a proportional cut may benefits the poor performers and penalize the contributors and really making it unfair. If we are not able to tell who are the better performers than it reveals a weakness of the company.

            2. Cut Staff.
            When recovery come, we lack ability to ride the rise.

            3. Cut training.
            When business is good, there is no time for staff to upgrade. When business is bad, the company could not afford to send staff for upgrading. The staff is perpetually learning, if ever, on the job. Does management ever think of the frequent fire-fighting and problems could be due to lack of training and incompetence of staff?

            4. Cut Marketing & Sales.
            This practice is like a self fulfilling prophecy.

            Perhaps such thinking we have of training and marketing and sales have to do with our lack of understanding of marketing or misused of training. Training has been used as rewards for performance rather than a necessity for improving the competence of staff for better performance. We are always suspicious of the effectiveness of training and marketing and hence we think they are costs item to be eliminated when we cannot afford. Again, this strategy reveals that we did not do a good job on training and marketing in the first place.

            The Smarter Cost Cutting Ways

            In the above discussion, we have implicitly introduced an Innovation Operator called Take-out (also known as Cut, Minus, Remove or Exit). Another Innovation Operator is Segment (also known as Divide, Refine or Specialize). We pointed out earlier that across the board cost cutting could be bad – it is like cutting away fats and muscles at the same time where we only want to cut the fat. A better way is to segment the Cost Items into greater details, i.e. refine the cost cutting. The possible refined cost items to be cut could be Dead Weights, Loss making Customers and Loss making offerings of our products & services. (We shall use offering to represent products or services henceforth).

            Remove Dead weights

            Dead weights are activities or jobs that are not directly contributive to the providing of our offerings. Features in our offering that customers do not see it as important but cost us much to deliver them should be cut. Dead weights are not as apparent as wastes because they have the appearance of busy-ness and and hence of usefulness.

            Customer Profitability Curve

            If we plot a curve of with profit on the y-axis and our customers on the x-axis with decreasing order of profitability, it is very likely that there are customers that give us negative profit (i.e. loss). These are the loss making customers that we could not serve. Such customers should be dropped properly by introducing them to other vendors who could serve them better.

            Loss Making Offerings.

            We could also plot a curve of the profitability of our products and services. Loss making products and services should be dropped or packaged with other to see if there is possibility of making a profit. Resources tied up could be freed for innovating new offerings.

            Irregularize the Cut

            A blockage to creativity is our tendency to make things uniform. For example, the windscreen wipers we find in our cars used to be 2 of equal shape and size. Our housing loan in the past has been of equal monthly payments and of fixed interest-rate over the lifespan of the loan. Now we have more innovative loan offer to attract borrowers. The payment and the interests changes with time. The more expensive cars have a larger windscreen wiper on the driver side giving the driver a larger view during raining. Hence, the next powerful Innovation Operator we want to use is “Irregularize” (also known as distort, randomize, make non-uniform, mess up, or create a dependency or relationship between two or more attributes). We should apply this operator to our salary and have management takes a greater percentage cut than the lower paid operation staff.

            To find out more ways for reducing costs, we now must look at the context or the environment where our business operates.

            Study the Context - Our Operating Environment

            A system, like our company, does not exist by itself. It exists within a context, or the environment. In the environment, we find, the customers, our suppliers, our competitors, the political, social, economic, technology, the natural environment and legal framework (PESTEL for short). We have mentioned the loss-making-customers in our context earlier.

            There are many opportunities that exist in our context and we should study them carefully. Very often, the solution to our problem exists in our context. As an example, the best way to remove the smell from our fingers after eating durian is to wash our hands in a bucket of water containing the durian crusts.

            In the context, we can find the great opportunities and threats of course. Let us take a detailed look at the elements in there. Firstly, let looks at our customers.

            Customers Psychology

            Customers make buying decisions at three levels with increasing degree of loyalty. Firstly the rational level that goes for performance and utility values i.e. better, faster, cheaper, safer and easier. Secondly at emotional level that goes for look and feel, lifestyles and status. Thirdly at the significance level that goes for meaning and enhancement of life, service to the community and protection of environment. We should reposition our offering to engage the customers’ emotion and sense of significance.

            We have a good example here locally, a company called Breadtalk. There are many bakeries around, but Breadtalk is different. We can know it from their mission and vision statements. It is not just about bread but about the hip lifestyle. Starbuck is more than just coffee but addressing the third space of social interactions. Apple iPod is not just about mp3 player. It is about music on the go with only the songs you like at 99 cents each and the mp3 player is just a means of delivery. Can we do like wise to our offering and look beyond functions and performance that addressing only the rational mind of our customers?

            Look Beyond Existing Customers – The Dimension of Space

            We can take a spatial or distance view of customers. We can classify them as existing customers, potential customers on the edge and non-customers. Potential customers on the edge could be our customers but due to some factors which we need to find out, like prices, distance, ease of use or time that prevent them from being our customers. We can examine those factors, the non-consuming context (please refer to the books of Clay Christensen for details), that prevents them from becoming our customers.

            We can also look at opportunity of converting the non-customers to become our customers.

            What innovation can we make in our offering that will bring them in? We will look into this in later part of this article that cover the meaning and scope of innovation specifically. Let us go back to cost cutting.

            We can use two other Innovation Operators to help do cost-cutting or look for future revenue opportunities. They are the Outsource (à) and the Adopt(ß) Operators.

            Outsource to Context/Environment Save Cost

            Another good way to reduce cost is to outsource certain parts of our operation. Things that others can do better than us, we should outsource to them to build for us. Overtime, the people in our context or our industry, improve and could catch up or even overtake us in providing the offerings. Geoffrey Moore in his book “Living on the Fault Line” spoke of the degradation of our core into context over time. He recommends us to outsource context and insource core.

            Adopt or Insource from Context/Environment to Save Cost or Increase Revenue

            Adopt or In-source is to take over the function formerly provided in our context. This is the opposite of outsourcing. It could be a cost-saving action by taking back what we give outsider to do or it could be a revenue generating opportunity by providing offerings that are available in the context-environment. This leads us now to cover Innovation as a subject matter per se and showing how we can increase revenue or save costs in our offering, our production and delivery process.

            Innovate for Increasing Revenues or Savings

            Innovation vs Creativity

            Innovation is more than creativity. Creativity is about coming with new and original ideas. Innovation is about converting new intangible ideas into tangible business offering that provide value. Creativity for new breakthrough ideas is only the first step. The subsequent steps are the development and the commercialization. There are two aspects of Innovation namely the invention and the process to make and commercialize the invention that results in business values and profits.

            Myths of Creativity

            Nevertheless, innovation begins with creativity. Many people have very wrong ideas about creativity and thereby limit their creative ability. Here are the Creativity Myths that need to be debunked so that we can be confidence that all of us are inborn with creative ability are able to be have creative ideas.

            Myth #1 Quantity gives Quality

            Most people believe that quality ideas come from quantity of ideas. This is wrong application of statistical analysis for population into ideas. The quality of ideas has more to do with the thinking methods rather than the quantity. In fact, quantity of ideas only leads to waste effort in evaluation and selection of better ideas. The creative thinking methods should lead our thinking to break away from our thinking inertia, blind spots and prejudices that blind us from seeing the breakthrough ideas.

            Myth #2 Creativity is a Gift

            Most people believe that creativity is a gift and people are born with or without creativity. Creativity has been wrongly associated with Fine Arts only and drawing is certainly a gifted talent. Study has shown that creativity increases with the subject’s IQ (Intelligence Quotients) until about 120 and after which there is no strong correlation. Normal people have IQ of about 100-120. Hence, we can conclude that normal people are creative. We can believe we are creative and are able to give ideas. The only requirement is that we must know how.

            Myth #3 Less Restriction means More Creativity

            It is conventional belief that the lesser the restriction, the greater the ability to be creative. Studies have shown that it was wrong. Ideas generation seems to be associated with restrictions. People need to be guided in their ideas generation process.

            Myth #4 Innovation Belongs To The R&D Department

            Most people in corporate believe that innovation belongs to those people working in the R&D department and their job need no innovation. However, there are many wonderful innovations that come from the people not in the R&D Department. The famous Tamagotchi was invented by former housewife Aki Maita.

            Myth #5 You Are More Creative When You Are Alone

            Evidences show that great inventors like Thomas Edison collaborated with other people for coming out with great innovations. While the world is flat, we find values creation tends to center on clusters such as the Silicon Valley, the Boston & New York areas in the US.

            Myth #6 Creativity Comes From Relaxing

            Ideas generation need to take place in an undisturbed and stress free environment. However, ideas generation is a systematic and intensified activity. Edison’s famous quote - “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration”.

            With the myths on creativity debunked, we are now confident that we are able to have creative ideas and all we need is to learn a thinking method to guide us where we can just exert our effort in systematically working through it. We have actually covered a subset of the Innovative Thinking Method which I called BVITS (Business Value Innovative Thinking Symbols). The steps start with defining the system, followed by defining the context, and then applying the operators like Take-out, Segment, Outsource, Adopt, and so forth on the elements in our system and our context generating many ideas, which are better known as provocative propositions.

            The Attitude for Ideas Generation

            Most creativity method teaches us to suspend evaluation. That is not positive enough and is not energizing for ideas generation. We must take on a more positive and support role. When an idea, a provocative position is made, we not only don’t criticize it, we come out with reasons to support and justify the ‘crazy’ ideas. There is not such thing as a useless idea; we only need to find the situation and the person that will find the ideas useful.

            Never Be Satisfied With Just The First And Only One Answer

            A simple rule of thumb for creativity is “never to accept the first answer or solution”. We must ask whether we have considered other solutions or possibilities. We must go for 2nd and 3rd answer.

            Innovation is More than a Product

            We need also to enlarge our understanding of the meaning of innovation. Most people think of innovation as just a product or a service. A typical way of growth is to extend our product sales to become a service-sale that engages our customer as at a closer level of relationship.

            Product to System to Platform

            We should extend our concept of innovation much further. From a product, we can produce a system of products and then go on to be a standardized platform where others can build additional products and thereby increases the market size for our category of products. From our service, we can go on to create a new customer experience. This is where the “Blue Ocean Strategy” of W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne can help. The customer experience is a function of multiple factors such prices, functions, emotional appeals, ease of use and so forth as described in the paragraph of Customer Psychology. We must create a new experience curve that is differentiated from our competitors and thereby create new market without competitors. Please read the Book for details. The book tells us about the six path framework, the product utility and life-cycle matrix to find the factors and then applying ERRC (Eliminate, Reduce, Raise and Create) operators on the chosen factors to create a differentiated strategy curve for a new blue ocean customer experience of uncontested market.

            Branding and Message.

            Innovation could occur in just the marketing message. We could create a new catchy tagline for our Brand. We have much examples like toothpaste for teeth protection or whiter teeth or gum that clean the teeth. Our product could be the same, but we can create a new branding by just looking at the new and special benefit that our offering could bring. We can look an our offering from a new angle. A very powerful message can be created by coming out with a metric of measure to allow our customer to decide for themselves what the good values are. In the computing field, there is the rating of MIPS, Clockspeed in GHz. In the digital camera world we have the megapixels. Photography professionals will tell you the quality of a photo is not just dependent on the megapixels-size of a camera nevertheless megapixel-size is such an easy can catchy metric. When our offering is particular strong along a particular dimension of value, then we can come out with such a metric or index to allow our customers to compare and then choose our offering.

            Innovation within the Company

            Innovation can also occur within our company. The common one is in process innovation when we develop a new process that is a lot more efficient or effective than the old process. We can also have innovation in our strategies such as doing new things that our competitors cannot follow. There could be innovation in our organization structure or management model. We know of innovative companies like Google and 3M that are organized and operated differently than the conventional ones. Much improvement can be made even by re-organizing our workspace. Depending on the nature of our work, we could have different work arrangement such as arrangement of tools for the production floor or greater meeting and contact space for the knowledge workers to exchange ideas.

            Partners & Category Supply Chains

            Innovation can occur in our relationship with our suppliers. Toyota is famous for involving their suppliers early in their planning and to even transfer technology to their suppliers to make them better. Very often, the competition does not occur among firms selling similar products but occur among supply-chains. We can recalled the history of how VHS defeated Betamax in the video recorder game and more recently the Blu-ray DVD over HD DVD.

            Business Model - The Rules Of The Game

            Much greater competitive advantage can be obtained by considering our company’s Business-Model. The Business Model is the way we make, deliver and earn our business values or simply how we make money. We have the famous success story of Dell Computers’ direct sales model and make to order business model out performing its industry.

            Social-network & social innovation

            Innovation can come from the new value of social-interactions. The success of Facebook is a good example. Earlier successes include the hotmail providing free email. New Web 2.0 technology open up new opportunities of making money. The use of internet forums, fans club help create better and cheaper support for our customers that increases royalty. The use of open-innovation where we engage our customers and suppliers to participate in helping us to innovate, to test, to evaluate and to enhance our new offerings.

            The Dimension of Time – the Life Cycle & Trends

            One of the most important factors in our business is future trend. Not only we need to know where we are, we need to know where the trend is going. Moreover, we need to pick the right new trend to follow. Geoffrey Moore’s Category Maturity Life Cycle (CDLC) & Technology Adoption Life Cycle (TALC) described in his book “Dealing with Darwin” tells us much. It tells us what we need to do at different stages of our offerings life cycle. If we introduce a new disruptive product, we must know how to cross the chasm. It teaches us how we can create Tornado to ensure our product make the rise to reach the main street and grow in the growth market. When we are at the mature market, we pursue innovations that engage our customers better and at the same time we go for operation excellence to scale up, minimize costs, increase quality and value. Then come the time of obsolesce and declining market. If we plot our offerings on the CDLC, it can tell us where we need put our effort. Do we have offering in the beginning stages, the main street, or do we just have offering in the dying stage of the CDLC?

            Watching the trend and identifying where our offerings stand on the curve are key to understanding our business over time. If there has been a very real shift in our economy or market, doing what we have always done give the impression of productivity but actually produces very little value for the new changed market. We can recall the sad stories of type-writer manufacturers loosing out the rise of PC, the film & analogue camera manufacturers loosing out the digital ones. We must always be on the alert to examine and face up with the realities of our offering in this ever and frequent changing world. We must be sure to change and innovate before we become the dinosaurs of our market.

            Imaging a Booming Time – The Invert Operator

            The most common Innovation Operator for all creativity techniques is the Invert Operator (also known as Reverse, Take the Opposite or make a U-turn). Instead of the economic recession, we now Imaging we are having an economic boom. We make a list of what we shall be doing during boom time, such as upgrading equipment, expanding, develop new things etc. We then prioritize the list and see how can we achieve the growth effects without increasing much costs.

            Innovation Must be Built in the Culture

            Innovation is not a one-off affair. We know that the market catches up fast with our innovation and will neutralize our differentiated advantage created by our innovation. Innovation strived best in an innovative culture. Culture is how decisions are made, how things are done and the actual behavior in an organization. It involves the mission and vision that the company is pursue in and the values that are hold dear by the people. It also involves the review and rewards systems. Culture is not what is said but what is done. Trust, Integrity, Openness, Risk taking Attitudes and action towards failure, the allocation of Time & Resources and management support all help in developing the innovative culture.

            Conclusion

            There are much to share about the BVITS innovation methods and the business of innovation, but due to limited space, we only cover some key items. More details of the BVITS method can be found at http://www.bvotech.com/BVITS.htm.

            Defeat this recession with a positive attitude and confidence that you can come out with innovative answers to that will grow the company. Look first at our System and then the Context of our business. Apply the Innovation Operators of Take-out, Divide, Outsource, Adopt, Irregularize, Invert, Multiply, Combine, Intensify and Drop-In to the components of our system and context over the dimension of Time, Space and Properties. We can then come out with lots of ideas, called Provocative Proposition, that challenge our thinking inertia and in the process, we may discover solutions for having breakthrough profits by increasing our sales and at the same time reduces our costs. We believe we can do it – we just need to learn it and systematically apply it.