19 July 2011

Learning Innovation from Jesus

Abstract: A study on the patterns of the healing miracles of Jesus and deriving the innovation principles of varieties, finding the needs, matching, personalization, knowledge base of physical and social laws, and motivation.
To many people, Christians are the straight jacket people and are not associated with creativity. The preaching of Ten Commandments and the requirement to follow the commandments has created a wrong impression and a wrong attitude. The Commandments are the principles for success and are not meant to restrict life. They are ways to empower you to live life successfully to the fullest. See Principles & Insights from the Ten Commandments.

Life is about creation, creation of new things, new meanings, new wealth, new conveniences, and prolong and enrich lives on earth. With such a positive and open mind, we can appreciate and learn innovation from Jesus. We just take a partial view of Jesus' work while on earth. We will look at the miracle healing incidents of Jesus.

One may think that since Jesus is God and he is doing miracle healing, he can just speak the word and all shall be done. But this is not how Jesus do miracle healing. There are many factors involved and miracle healing is not just a one way, God directed thing, because God has given man the free-will. We then can discover many interesting principles of innovations from the healing miracles done by Jesus.

Characteristics of Jesus' Healing Miracles

The Innovation Principles
  1. Varieties in Methods-  Ask "Beside this, what else have you considered?"
  2. Find the Needs  - What is the Need/Jobs you are targeting?
  3. Matching - Right Method for the Right Needs (SimplyDepth)
  4. Personalization to trigger the faith
  5. Universal Laws of Physical and Social Sciences(God Spiritual Laws at work)
  6. Motivation - Giving Credit even the source is actually Jesus Himself

1  Varieties in Methods - Ask "Beside this, what else have you considered?"

The first principle in innovation from Jesus is to have multiple varieties. Most of us tend to find the 1st possible answer or 1st solution and then stop there.
The secret of Apple Inc is not just early IBM's THINK but "Think Differently".

Jesus did not just use one method for all his miracle healing. He used different methods for different needs and for different people (we are touching Principle 3 Matching). Here is a mind-map of the methods and needs and the Bible reference for you to check up the details:

The most common method is by giving a command, followed by touching (Christians like to use the phrase laying of hands). But touching and commanding can be use in combinations. There is this weird method of spitting. Even spitting has different forms - spit on his eyes, spit on the ground to make clay, spit and touch his tongue etc. For the same sickness of blindness, there were quite a few ways. Read the mind map and surprise yourself with the varieties.

2  Find the Needs - What is the Need you are targeting?

There are great needs of different kind of sickness such as blindness, leprosy, deaf and dump, blood diseases, paralytic, and even death.

For your innovation, which particular area of needs are you addressing? What are the values you are providing to your targeted customers?

A good place to start is to look at the Jobs/Tasks that people do. Choose the tasks that are important, frequently done, and painful or tedious to do.

The killer application for the home PC is the word-processing and financial spread sheet computation, originally called vasicalc and is now popularly known as the Excel spreadsheet. The internet browser, website, the email, and the search are the killer apps for internet 1.0. The web 2.0 killer apps are the long tail peer to peer network that enables self-publishing of blogging and the new social network of Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Choose something that is meaningful, painful and frequently encountered to start on. If you are like Steve Jobs, then you do something that make dreams possible or even create new dreams that people never even ever imagined.

3  Matching - Right Method for the Right Needs (SimplyDepth)

We must use the right method for the right need and for the right people. Matching is a key issue in innovation. Some one say that you don't really need 500 TV channels for your to surf. You just need ONE channel, the one that you like to watch. This is a key principle. You don't want many choices to confuse people. You just need to make you choice obvious to those in need. Once they choose the right choice, you must do in depth so that he can have a wow experience. 'Apple designs for the dummies to use' says a famous person in Singapore. See The Message behind “Philip Yeo's Apple Aps' gullible ...

We must master the concept of "Minimize the Choices and Maximizing the Depth of Experience." I tend to use the term MiniMax. May be SimplyDepth is a better term - simplify the features and maximize the depth of the experience.

4  Personalization to trigger the faith
Jesus did not only use the right method for the right need but also according to the character of the person. We have the father with a demon tormented son who even said, "I do believe but help my unbelief!". To the Canaanite woman who asked for healing for her demon possessed daughter, Jesus gave the challenge, almost insulting, "It is not right use the Children bread to feed the dog"! If Jesus used such an insulting remark on the faithless father, there would be no healing and vice versa.

So, another key principle on innovation is Personalization. You try to serve the customer of ONE in the best possible way. With today digital technology, it is relatively easy to do a mass customization for one! A contradiction in term! But this is exactly what innovation is - breaking of contradiction or breaking of compromises.

I just want to add one more point that personalization experience is a journey of many contact or touch points. Taking a airplane is not just a in-flight experience but a total journey of searching, buying of ticker, going to the airport, boarding, in-flight, deboarding, customer clearance, taxi or bus, to hotel and so forth. Hence, it is not surprising that we may prefer to drive to KL rather than take a plane.

5  Universal Laws of Physical and Social Sciences- God Spiritual Laws at work
Jesus, even though as God, does not break His own rule. He has given man the free will to choose and need to response to God by faith so that His healing power could be released to man. Hence, he spent time reaching out to the heart of the people to trigger their faith. Such faith comes easily with certain people, like the woman with the issue of blood, she just heard about the miracles of Jesus and then she believed. Her faith is so high that she believe all she need to do is to touch Jesus' clothing. To get the electricity, just touch the power plug exposed wires!

Innovations does not violate the physical laws of materials and behavioral science. We make decisions not just economically but also socially. Even our social behavior can be predicted. See "Predictably Irrational" book.

Innovators must have a knowledge base of established laws of behavior of materials and people to draw from when innovating.

6  Motivation - Giving Credit even the source is actually Jesus Himself
Nothing motivates better than success itself. Jesus gave them the credit, "Your faith has make you well. Go in peace!" even though the source, the healing power, comes from Him.

Innovation is not an one-off thing. You need to create the environment, the atmosphere, the culture that encourage innovations - the openness, the trust, the appreciation of differences and view points, the risk taking, the courage to learn from failures, and so forth. Build the culture for sustaining innovation.

Lim Liat copyrighted 19 July 2011

16 July 2011

Enjoyment without Regrets - I-Ching #16豫 Enjoying – Yet Prepared

Chinese has a famous saying, 乐极生悲, meaning 'tragedy comes from extreme enjoyment'. When we are too happy we tend to forget about the danger and go overboard. That is not to tell us not to enjoy life and be happy. It is just that we need to be careful when enjoying. Joy is a powerful force. I-Ching has a Hexagram 16 that describe this situation well. It also tells us about how to truly enjoy without regrets.
The details of Hexagram #16 can be found in 16豫 Enjoying – Yet Prepared (subscription needed to view the details).

The summary is reproduced here with my additional comments.

Summary of #16豫 Enjoying – Yet Prepared:
Enjoyment and having pleasure is a gift from God.
Enthusiasm and joy are powerful forces for starting new and big projects.  There are ways to truly have the pleasure without the regrets.
  1. It is to be directed at enjoying and doing the right things; 
  2. having a meaningful purpose,
  3. accomplishing it with enthusiasm and 
  4. following the time and seasons.
The wisdom from the stage lines are:
  1. Don’t go wild.
    Take precautions first. Risk management is about preparing for the worse.
  2. Enjoy the right things.
    Sin is pleasurable for the short time but regretful for a long time.
    When you do the right thing, then there is no concern but just give of your best.
  3. Don’t flatter. Do real work.
    It is good to please your bosses. But flattering alone will not really work, at least in the long run. The sure thing is to excel in your work. Give of your best, make your boss looks good through real performance and successful outcomes like winning the contracts and awards.
  4. Joy and enthusiasm accomplish much and draws others along.
    Joy and enthusiasm have a virus like property of infecting others! Let your joy extends to others that the whole team may accomplish much much more. Joy enables you all to continue when others give up. Joy enables you all to have creativity and breaking out with new innovations when others remain stagnant.
  5. Don’t overdo and get sick.
    Nevertheless, watch your health and don't overextend yourself so as to get sick. Work hard happily but do take regular rest breaks. You rest so that you can walk further and longer.
  6. Don’t lose your sight while enjoying. Reflect on your life.
    Happiness, especially from the success of your enthusiasm, will at times make our head bigger than reality. We may lose sight of our limitations and dangers. It is a good time to reflect on your successes and happiness so as to repeat those successes again. There is methodology called "Appreciative Inquiry" that encourages us to study into our successes so that we can have bigger dreams and repeat the successes.  Do a google on the term and learn and apply it.
The keys for Enjoyment without Regrets are doing the right and meaningful thing heartily, don't go wild, don't try to flatter your ways but be really good in your work, enthuse others with your joy, remember to take a break, and at the height of your success do an "appreciative inquiry"!

Lim Liat copyrighted 16 July 2011

Update 29 March 2012

On further thought, I think this Hexagram Enjoying is more about Enthusiasm or the Passion that one has when doing the right things. It is more like Steve Jobs' "Follow your heart"!. 
So I would like to change its title to  "16 豫 Enjoying – Passion & Enthusiasm in The Right Things".

05 July 2011

Positive Interpretation, even a miss, is Good for Relationship Building

In a previous post Washing Away the Mud to Gain Clarity in Thinking
I presented that our opinions had 3 components of facts, interpretation and judgment. In this post, I will give another common example of fact and interpretation and suggest that a positive interpretation, even though if it were a misinterpretation, is good for relationship building.

The Event - You are late!

You and your wife had made an appointment. She came late. In fact, 30 minutes late. What is your reaction to her lateness? Your reaction tells you much about your relationship and your view of her.

Righteous Indignation!
For some people, if not most people, and definitely not you, their first reaction will be anger. Let's go through the 3 stages in one quick step,
  1. Fact: 30 minutes late. Supposed to be on-time. Failure to meet expectation.
  2. Interpretation: Inconsiderate. Never think of me. Just think of herself. Keep me waiting. No love.
  3. Judgment: This is bad. I am angry and every right to be so.
  4. Action: Scold her - let her know how I feel or be sarcastic and hurt her back.
  5. Reaction: Since she is hurt (not even allow me to explain), she would be upset and will hit back at earliest opportunity, e.g. last time you were late too....
Positive Interpretation and Positive Response

Why should we react in anger? If you have a positive image of your wife and know that she will only be late with good reasons, your reaction will be very different. Couples in love will be glad to meet even though late. You will respond happily and even forget about asking her reasons for being late. 

May be we are not that saintly. So we ask nicely for her reasons to be late. This should be minimum standard of proper behavior. Ask for information first before making a judgment.

Stay at factual level. Ask for the reasons for the lateness. The reasons could be:
  1. there was an accident on the way here and there was a big jam.
  2. boarded the wrong bus/MRT in a hurry and have to make her way back.
  3. made a wrong turn into the highway and was trapped there.
  4. chatting with old friend forgot about the time.
  5. She left early but her car was banged from the rear and have to settle the accident. (Are you happy she was ok or are you more concern about the damaged car?).
  6. just plainly forgot about the time.
Even for factual reason 6, would you be upset?
Would you like to interpret her intention as lack of love and concern for you and get upset. For good relationship building, psychological study tells us it is better to interpret positively. They have a term for it, "Positive Illusion". Let me quote a sentence from the post Just how positive are positive illusions?,
For example, Murray and Holmes (1997) found that “positive partner illusions predicted greater satisfaction, love and trust (as well as less conflict and ambivalence) in both dating and marital relationships” (Swami and Furnham, 2008 p. 3).
I don't like the technical term "positive illusion", a better and layman term is "Faith and Hope". I know you don't have it yet, but I am sure you can become and will make it. That is what vision and hope is all about.

(Note: as in the post, extreme positive illusions are also called madness. So do have a balance but balance on the positive side, they called it mild positive illusion)

That's Call Love.

In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13 gives a working definition of love. In particular,  verse 7 Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Your Success in Life - Career and Relationship depends on Your Positive Interpretation.

Between the vision and the present reality, there is a gap. We will always be facing the gap of expectation and actual reality. What do we do with the disappointments, even from our friends and loved ones, that happened to us?

Your interpretation, assuming the worse or believing the best, determine your response and future happenings.  It reminds me of Covey's 90-10 principle.

Your choice - assuming the worse or believing the best.

Hope you always make the right decision. This is the secret of staying in love and building of long term relationship.

04 July 2011

The Simple 4 Dimensions Measure of Leadership Qualty

In the previous post Levels of Leadership - Can We Measure Leadership?
I presented Lao Zi's measures of the quality of leadership from the followers' reactions. That was based on feedback from followers. Could we have a feed forward model first?

In this post, I present a simple four dimensional model of the quality of leadership. The quality of a leader can be measured and compared on the four dimensions of Height, Depth, Length and Breadth. This is an update on Leadership from the post Strategies and Presidential Election - Bill vs Steve ?.

Leadership of Height, Depth, Length and Breadth

  1. Height: Our leader should be able to stand at a higher plane than us so that he can bring us to a better place. Einstein says "The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

    Height is about being able to stand above the circumstances, think above the line to take positive actions rather than trying to blame others and give accuses; being able to overcome obstacles and challenges.

    It is positive and optimistic. It response creatively rather than react negatively to challenges. It is about courage and boldness to stand up and be independent of the crowd. It is about innovativeness.

  2. Depth: At the same time, he comes down to our level to understand our problems and to be one of us. Yet, he is able to go even deeper to find the root cause rather than look at the superficial and the symptoms only.I It is about intelligence and insights. Seeing things and making things work. Depth see the root causes. Height provides the innovative breakthrough.
  3. Length: He is able to see beyond the present, and look into the future. He is able to give us a dream and paint a clear vision for us to be inspired and to follow. It is about the ability to seeing things before we even notice it. Worry before we do and then be happy after we are.
  4. Breadth: His heart is wide to be able to accept and appreciate and hold at the same time, the diversities of viewpoints, priorities, opinions, desires of the people.

    He go one-step further to integrate them for a win for all. He does not use threat to stop people from having different opinions. On the contrary, he believes in diverse opinions because the greater the diversity the better is the solution.

    The greater the participation, the better the solution and the greater the support for the implementation. He love rather than he fear. He draw out respect and willing support rather than force people to follow them out of fear. Fear results in minimum standard of achievement. Love surpass the minimum requirement.
Based on the four dimensions, the leader is able to create a better vision that incorporates innovation, integration of diversities, love and care for people, insightful, farsighted and foresighted to rally the followers.

Here is the visual map for greater ease of understanding. 

You can apply it to compare leaders and even yourself to see the areas for improvement in your leadership.

Lim Liat copyrighted 4 July 2011

01 July 2011

Strategies and Presidential Election - Bill vs Steve - Part 2

Continued from previous post Strategies and Presidential Election - Bill vs Steve ?, we shall cover Principle 2 Minimax rather than Maxiall.

Principle 2 Minimax rather than MaxiAll
Minimax is about have a minimum of features set and maximizing the experience for the customers, maximizing the difference between yours and the those of your competitors in the experience of the customers. I think this a key lesson demonstrated extremely well by Steve Jobs in his Apple range of products.

Maxi-All is the conventional wisdom that more is merrier. People will buy those offerings that offer more features. More features is better is the principle of this Maxi-All thinking. I think this principle need to be qualified with if everything else is equal, then the one offering more features that the customers want will be preferred. There are two qualifications - everything else being equal and features that customers want. There is no use offering more features that the customers have no use for. Features that the customer want and not fully addressed by you will nullify all other added seemingly useful features. This is how I see iPhone and iPad are winning the battle against their competitors.

We have heard so often that iPad can't do this or that e.g. no USB, no flash support, no SD cards, no cameras (in iPad, not iPad2) etc. So they try to come out with products that do hoping to dethrone Apple. But iPhone and iPad provide the key things, the wow experience that customers want. They have better user interface experience (so far many reviews said that, there are some reviews that rate Android better). They have many more useful apps and those apps work better on iPhone and iPad. There apps developers are making the money according to the iTunes downloads and the revenues reports. We should be aware that every feature added will cost you more, create opportunity for bugs and reduces battery life. Study also shows that offering more choices will result in worse decision being made.

The lessons from Apple success is
  1. simplicity (built for dummies) and a depth for a meaningful and wow experience.
  2. you don't have to offer all the features at once. Do it as needed to maximize your profits.
    iPad without camera and without this or that took the world by storm because the competitors are even there. Now that there are some competitors, iPad2 was released with cameras, dual processors and so forth.
What about Presidential Elections?
The same principle of MiniMax applies. Pick a few key features that inspire and draw the hearts of the people and maximize the minimal list of features to deliver a powerful, unforgettable and attractive dreams (we are at the promises level now) with people asking for more.

There is only one main caution here. Don't give promises that you could not deliver. Great promises create great expectations and also great disappointment if you fail to deliver them.  Branding is not just marketing but the true experience of customers over time.

Sun Zi's Bag of Tricks Does Not work here.
Sun Zi's Art of War encourages the use of 'deception' to surprise the enemy. More of Sun Zi can be found here. You can surprise your competitors but you should never shock (negative surprise) your people. Exceeding the expectation of customers creates delights but under delivery of promises creates the feeling of betrayal and is very very painful. It will trigger revenge! Hence, while we try to promise as much as we can to be attractive and cannot over promise and under deliver. It is better to be transparent, honest and humble and qualify your promises as will try with best efforts. Nevertheless, people prefer an honest people to one that over promise and under delivery.

Principle 3 Communication that Captures Attention, Appeal to the Mind and Touches the Heart.
Any great vision and dream needs to be communicated. Communication take place as three levels, the body, mind and heart. So, have your dream
  1. Body: painted with an attractive picture, a sign, an action (a sequence of short movement), a video that can be associated with your dream.
  2. Mind: a good rational reasons for what and why it is good for you the people.
  3. Heart: a sentence or story that touches the heart.
Watch this video "Power of Words".

Guides for Your Choice of EP:
I posted the following guides in the TKL and TCB Facebook pages and also in response to a post in TT page. So I reproduce here with some modifications to complete this post:
Questions to Help You Decide
1. What values does he hold? Do you want those values? [Values]

2. What would he do if elected? Do you want that for Singapore? [Dream]

3. How capable is he? Evidences to support. [Leadership of Height, Depth, Length and Breadth]
Especially on Financial matters since he is support to guard the country reserves. Despite the availability of experts he need to know enough to decide independently.

4. Does he walk his talk? Evidences to support.
This is a key question. If he does not, all the talk means nothing.

5. Is he sensitive to the voices and needs of the people? Evidences to support.

6. How close is he to the present government?
This is not about anti-government for anti-government sake. It is about the impact of long term and close relationship results in people thinking alike. Is it about having an independent view and able to be different. This independent view could endorse the ruling government too.

Rank your candidate. Weight your questions. Hopefully, you can come out with the right choice.
June 23 at 10:57pm