This one slide sums up a decade (2006-2016) of evolution in the areas of data processing, analysis, computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Clive Humby, UK Mathematician and architect of Tesco’s Clubcard, said in 2006 (widely credited as the first to coin the phrase): “Data is the new oil. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value.”
Doesn’t matter how many times I go there and look at the open sky and the amazing view, it always looks new to me. For quite some time I have been thinking about capturing the sun set – had to wait for the perfect day with clear visibility, without any fog or haze to get these shots.
I came across this article on HBR today which looks at the world’s best restaurants to find out how they balance Innovation and Consistency.
Here’s the summary :
Despite being able to charge hundreds of dollars for a meal and being fully booked months in advance, top restaurants often still have a hard time turning a profit. And they face an added challenge of maintaining flawless consistency, while simultaneously being innovative and cutting-edge. This requires dedicated time and space for research and experimentation, as well as a thorough process for both iterating on and standardizing new inventions. Examples of restaurants that have made both the Michelin Guide and 50 Best Restaurants of the World list show how they encourage creativity and learning beyond the leadership or lab teams, and generate, refine, and standardize ideas.
All the projects follow a specific development process, alternating between collective ideation or feedback and focused work by a small team. For restaurant dishes, the development team will quickly prototype and iterate through numerous versions of the dish and its components, either in the lab or if a lab is not available, in the main kitchen during slow hours. The trials can go over for months as numerous variations are tested in a race against seasonal ingredients.
This just goes on to prove that Consistency and Creativity are not mutually exclusive – restaurants need to be both at the same time. Innovation which is not a result of a set process will soon become unsustainable – one may be able to innovate even without process at times but no one can repeat the feat a number of times. That consistency is possible only with a process.
What differentiates an Entrepreneur from a Manager ? While I still do not have a definite answer to it, I do have an anecdote, shared by one of my mentors few years back.
A group of lumberjacks entered a forest with their manager to carry out a survey on how much wood log will they be able to generate from there. Few of them gave the feedback to manager that most of the trees they found till that time did not have good quality and the trunks were not all straight. The manager asked them to extend the area of survey.
They went back and carried on. Two days passed by but the results were not encouraging. Third day, manager’s boss, the owner of the small company (the entrepreneur) reached there and asked about the progress. The manager presented the report with number of trees his team had surveyed, how many trees were of good quality, how many hours did his team spend in surveying etc. along with explaining that he has now extended the survey area to find more trees with better quality. He listened intently and asked his manager if he already has an idea of the tallest tree his team has found in the surveyed area. Manager, beaming with a sense of achievement, said yes and offered to take him to the tree.
Once the boss reached there, he surprised everybody by saying he wants to climb the tree. Manager said that it is a bit risky, that he should reconsider it and maybe ask one of the team members to climb instead. He refused and started climbing. Atop, he spent about five minutes looking around in all directions, came down and asked the manager “Call everybody back, we are leaving”. The manager was dumbfounded, saying we have invested so many days already, maybe we should wait till we find better trees, that the forest is so big. Owner simply replied “Wrong forest!”.