Economist Debates: Education and innovation: Statements

Innovation that leads to increased productivity is seen as the most important way to generate economic wealth. No surprise, then, that so many people want to promote it as the Western world seeks to recover from recession. President Barack Obama has a strategy for innovation. In Britain there is a government department dedicated to championing it. Others think that innovation works best when government does least. Private companies establish skunk works in the hope of becoming more innovative. Others ask their employees to allocate time to thinking big thoughts. One popular strategy to promote innovation is to invest in maths and science.Maths and science certainly underpin many innovations—indeed, they are the basis for much of modern society, from the gadgets people use to the ways in which people interact with one another and the way in which they think. So close is the relationship that politicians seeking to persuade voters that they are promoting economic growth use “science” and “innovation” almost interchangeably. But, laudable as it is in its own right, does promoting maths and science represent the best way to stimulate future innovation?Yes, says Chris Budd, an applied mathematician at Bath University in Britain, and the defender of the motion. He points to the mathematical foundations of the commercial world: the internet, computers, mobile phones, modern medicine and even transport systems. These employ branches of mathematics that were considered obscure until recently but have found applications in areas such as building search engines, he argues. It is difficult to predict which new scientific advance will generate new economic activity but science nevertheless boosts productivity. And as governments have sought to promote business, they have encouraged universities to establish spin-off companies and to build partnerships with other fledgling organisations seeking to develop new products and new processes, which has helped to generate wealth.That may all be true, but it is not sufficient, says Chris Trimble, who co-wrote “The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge” with Vijay Govindarajan, both of whom conduct research into innovation at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in America. Of course maths and science can stimulate future innovation, but promoting these disciplines is not necessarily the best way of bringing about change. He cites targeted incentives, public and private spending and—most importantly, in his view—better management as more powerful alternatives. It is management education not technical education that is lacking, he argues. There is a surfeit of bright ideas but not enough wherewithal to implement them.Yet the ability to create wealth not only depends on using tools that were scientifically designed; it also requires people to think both creatively and in cold, calculating ways. To misquote Thomas Edison, innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Time then, mentally, to roll up your sleeves.

Economist Debates: Education and innovation: Statements

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Commercial TV!

My television. My rules.

Image by doegox via Flickr

Sometimes you’ve gotta bat for the other side to know what it feels like!

You’re watching Castle on Star World, and you are thoroughly engrossed but just when the tension is unbearable and you’re wondering what’s going to happen next, the ubiquitous commercial break kicks in. What a pain in the butt!

What do you do during the commercial break?

Read a newspaper?

Surf channels? – only to discover that the television networks are hand-in-glove with each other; they have conspired to inflict paid advertisements on you – the unsuspecting viewer – synchronized to be played out at the same time.

If you happen to be one of those unscrupulous (to the advertisers) techno-geeks (No, I’m not knocking technology or geeks!) and can afford these gizmos, you would either have TIVO so that you can watch your favorite  programs undeterred by the threat of commercial disruptions, or you may have switched to IPTV , where you watch your pre-recorded and time shifted programs when you please , at your leisure and convenience. Of course, you can always have your programs pre-recorded the old-fashioned way on your VCR or DVR. Or if you are the patient type,you can just catch them on YouTube or Lulu, just a bit later.

Quote of the day:
Defining and analyzing humor is a pastime of humorless people. – Robert Benchley

I , unfortunately, suffer from none of the above luxuries. And although I have a broadband connection, it is not truly mega-speed. And so, my usual reaction is to find something else to do during those three minutes of inanity simultaneously muting the set;my ears do not wish to endure the cacophony of pretty (petty?) housewives and even prettier (pettier?) models and actors intent on selling me soap,shoes, jewelry  and other FMCGs – they strive to invite, lure and seduce me into becoming part of their anesthetized, antiseptic,sanitized, made-for-TV world.

But then I get to thinking that surely there exist some viewers who prefer these very commercials that I dislike,deride and avoid with such antipathy. And if so, why should they be burdened by the interruption of content meant for mass viewers? Why can there not be a dedicated channel for commercials? A niche channel! I am, of course, not alluding to those annoying,pesky TV shopping networks that have half-hour long infomercials on which every product is touted as the panacea to your undreamed, unfulfilled desires – products that tout convenience and are anything but that. They just happen to be convenient means of relieving your pocket. And not with much finesse, if I dare say! (They prey on your insecurities and work best when you’re down in the dumps!)

MTV's original logo, officially in use from 19...

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How about a channel on the lines of an MTV , a VH1 or even a Channel V, dedicated to commercials and just commercials. Great commercials! Seductive commercials! Top 20 Commercials! Most Wanted Commercials!

Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking at the lighting...

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Maybe a program dedicated to those monstrous Hollywood commercials plugging Japanese and Korean products aired solely on East Asian networks. (The commercials aren’t monstrous; the premiums charged by the stars to endorse those products are! Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger! Just some loose change for pocket-money!)

Middle East Television

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Or those nauseous commercials made for the Middle East market that actors from Bollywood, Mollywood and Tollywood parade in selling, well, almost everything. Just goes to show that you could be idiotic on-screen and earn a lot of moolah – just elsewhere!

 How about some golden oldies added to the mix to indulge nostalgia? Create your own digital commercial contests?

Just picture it – a channel that does not have to bother with programming. Content will be served by the advertisers with no commercial breaks! The commercial is the program. What will advertisers not do for free air time?

In India, music channels – in the local languages – run themselves. Film music is the most popular form of audio/video entertainment. Reality shows are mostly song or dance based or both. Thus content is easily available and advertisers flock to these channels because of the sureness of eyeball capture. Mass media was never more mass!

Can something similar be done with TV commercials?

Is there an idea here somewhere? Or am I just rambling? Ranting? Or just being plain loony? Of course, this might not be such a great idea; all programming is now a long paid commercial – the deft/brazen product placements prove that!

Your thoughts?

Have a great day!

Disclaimer: I have not verified if any such channel exists! Pardon my ignorance!

Having a niche is not limiting yourself « Appletree Marketing ideas for successful businesses

They do exactly what they say on the tin. They supply and fit just tyres. Because they are so focused on one aspect of the market, they were able to efficiently collect payment online, allow us to select the tyre we needed, immediately source said tyre, have it ready for me at my convenience, wait for me to get there through the terrible afternoon traffic, quickly strip the old tyre from the axil, and replace the new tyre at lightening speed.No fuss, prompt delivery, efficient processes and excellent customer service. There wasn’t anything else to clutter up their performance. Their focus on delivering one product as best as they could in as efficient manner as possible was paramount. Now if their marketing was better they could become the top of their industry, outstripping their competitors through product, process and eventually price, not to mention convenience (a highly neglected factor many businesses choose to ignore).Excellent service in just one niche will enable you to increase your efficiency, status, expertise, credibility, trustworthiness, relationship with customers, perfect your processes, maintain your reputation – whereas an outfit that offers everything under the sun is bound to suffer, since where is their focus?

Having a niche is not limiting yourself « Appletree Marketing ideas for successful businesses

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Starting a New Business


Mr. Fix-It Ltd.

We treat your homes like our own!

Linus Fernandes/Kalliroi Patsali/Giorgos Elia/Petros Loizou


Confidentiality Agreement

The undersigned reader agrees that the information provided in this document is confidential and any disclosure of any information contained within, intentional or otherwise, may cause serious harm or damage to Messrs Linus Fernandes, Kalliroi Patsali, Giorgos Elia and Petros Loizou.

The reader is bound not to disclose this information without the written express consent of the above listed Messrs.

Upon request, this document is to be returned to :

Linus Fernandes/Kalliroi Patsali/Giorgos Elia/Petros Loizou.




Name (Typed or Printed)



This is a business plan. It does not imply any offerings.

Information of key contact person

Name: Linus Fernandes

E-mail: xxxxxxxxxx

Address: Cyprus International Institute of Management

21 Akademias Avenue

P.O Box 20378

2151 Aglandjia

Nicosia, Cyprus

Tel: +357 22462246

Fax: +357 22331121

Mobile number:

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Finance Quote

Finance Quote

What’s worth doing is worth doing for money.

– Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.

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Capitalism: Its Two Variants

A vector image of :Image:Capitalismlogo.

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There exist 2 variants of capitalism: Individual Capitalism and Communitarian Capitalism.

Individual Capitalism is epitomized by the United States. Japan , at the other extreme, exhibits a form of communitarian capitalism.

The 2 tables below outline the differences between the 2 systems.





How to optimize the performance of a system:

Cooperation at all levels will optimize the system.

Competition at all levels will optimize the system.

The key driving force in the economy:

The desire to build for the future.

The desire for current consumption and leisure.

Motivation for work:

Work provides utility. Individuals live to work.

Work provides disutility. Individuals work to live.

Responsibility for skills and training prior to employment:

Responsibility of society. Strong high schools and apprenticeship programs.

Responsibility of the individual beyond relatively weak high schools. Few apprenticeship programs.

Relationship between government and business:

Government supports and cooperates with business to optimize the system.

Government regulates business to promote competition. Click for Summary of the 2001 and 2005 ASCE Report cards on U.S. Infrastructure.

Government policy:

Promote growth in supply.

Promote growth in demand.






Dominant objective and focus:

Building for the future with long term focus.

Profit maximization with short term focus.

Organizational Structure:

Horizontal, flat or lean with relatively few layers of management. Bottom up consensus decisions.

Vertical with many layers of management. Top down autocratic decisions.

How profits are used:

As fuel to keep investing and building.

To increase consumption and leisure for stockholders.

Hierarchy of organization’s constituencies:

1. Employees
2. Customers
3. Stockholders
4. Suppliers

1. Stockholders
2. Customers
3. Employees

Employment and job security:

Lifetime employment promotes bonding.

Uncertain employment discourages bonding.

Responsibility for training after employment:

Companies provide cross training and job rotation.

Individuals are mainly responsible for their own skills.

Route to management:

Long multi-function internship.

From college, to single function specialization, to management.

Management attitude toward teamwork:

Teamwork and cooperation are essential for optimizing the system.

Teamwork is risky. Individual performance will optimize the system.

Management behavior in economic recession:

1. dividends
2. management compensation.
3. workers pay and jobs as last resort.

1. workers pay and jobs
2. management compensation.
3. dividends.

View of leadership:

A leader manages processes or work.

A leader manages results.

Management attitude toward problems:

Understands the variability within the system and tends to blame the system first.

Specialist has less understanding of the system and tends to blame employees.

Tools of management:

Employee empowerment, group praise and profit sharing. Statistical control. Managers facilitate, counsel, teach and provide resources.

Management by objectives, merit ratings, incentive pay, quotas, standard rates and quantities, piecework and annual ranking of employees. Count results.

So where do you think BRIC/BASIC countries place themselves?