I do not envy 21st century businessmen.
Since they are constantly exposed to competitive pressures for efficiency gains in order to survive in an internationally competitive environment, where it is not the question of the survival of the biggest or smallest but the fastest.
Only those who keep pace with the rapidly changing facets of processing, design and marketing survive.
Others fall apart.
Your business may be big. If you fail to keep yourself abreast of the latest changes gravitating in and around your products, you will make elephant walk.
A small businessman known for his rapt attention and apt response to changes, will climb the ladder of success and reach the threshold of competitiveness.
Once you reach the threshold of competitiveness, your growth will be explosive.
I take this opportunity to reflect on emerging ideas on the new business realities.
Opinions differ among leading opinion-makers.
Jeremy Rifkin, American Economic and Social Theorist and author of ‘The third industrial revolution” has said that in the next 20 to 30 years, business activities will be triggered by renewable sources of energy.
Popular Social Scientist Professor Peter Marsh, in his book, ‘The New Industrial Revolution’ wrote about technological marvels emerging as potential and new sources of dynamic growth.
Source of Innovation
The Economist Intelligence Unit comes out with occasional supplements to bear testimony to knowledge as a source and innovation as a force in propelling the wheels of dynamic business growth.
Mrs Robins, who developed the concept of ‘Open Innovation and Value Creation Network’ said that the virtual world will rule all business activities in the near future.
According to her, firms will disappear, supermarkets will disappear and even schools and colleges will disappear and everything will be triggered by the digital world.
A modern businessman trying to thrive in an internationally competitive environment cannot afford to ignore emerging challenges and opportunities. In business, each challenge is an opportunity. An intelligent businessman discovers the viable avenues of converting challenges into opportunities and opportunities into sustainable sources of wealth creation through a unique blend of both vision and action.
According to a Japanese proverb, vision without action is a daydream and action without vision is a nightmare.
The Chinese have now changed the second half of their famous proverb: It is no longer instead of giving someone fish, teach him fishing. The second half of the proverb is teaching him better methods of fishing.
Today, the process of wealth creation should have a pragmatic accent on economic efficiency, ecological compliance and social inclusion. This is what is called the current transformative shift from quantitative increase to qualitative improvement and to the task of fostering fast-growing, job-creating green industries.
In this context, national, sectoral and incremental innovation systems play a major role. In an ideal national innovation system, new knowledge is generated by institutions, exploited by laboratories and commercialized by dynamic firms. In sectoral innovation systems, product-specific innovative devices reach the frontiers of best practice in processing, design and marketing. Incremental innovation stems from a firm’s ability to acquire the right technology, assimilate, adopt, adapt and learn to invent something which suits the country-specific context. This is what is called effective transfer of technology.
What is needed is enhanced adaptive capability to use the modern technology and to commercialize new knowledge.
The development experience of dynamic industrial locations across countries gives us a clear message. Prosperity is essentially a matter of policy choice. Sequencing the policy matters.
The 21st century businessmen cannot afford to be a bystander at the global technological march. At least in terms of thinking, they should be one step ahead of the march.
Knowing the distance to the frontiers of best practice is important. Identifying viable avenues of reducing the distance to the frontiers of best practice is more important.
As mentioned, while each challenge is an opportunity in business, opportunities are not guarantees of prosperity. One’s personal and professional response to convert challenges into opportunities and opportunities into sustainable sources of wealth creation is a discovery process.
A good businessman will discover the process with good attitude towards facing challenges and seizing opportunities. It is not the aptitude that alone matters, but the right attitude which determines your business altitude.
Dr Jebamalai Vinanchiarachi is former Principal Advisor to the Director General of UNIDO based in Vienna, Austria. He is currently Chairman of Experience Foundation. He was a Guest of Honour at the Eighth Annual Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards Presentation Ceremony held on Monday, November 23, 2015 at Sky City Convention Centre, Auckland. The above was his speech at the event.
Former Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Dr Don Brash with (from left) Rachel, Rebecca and Reuben Pereira at the Eighth Annual Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards ceremony held on November 23 at Sky City Convention Centre, Auckland.