Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Jobs Machine

The iPad has hit shelves this month, and looks to be leaving them just as fast. A Steve Jobs’ quote I relate to is “real artists ship”. It goes to the heart of making things happen. We’re seeing some encouraging signs in the global economy, (including bellwethers like Swiss watch sales) but an overall recovery will be slow and bumpy. At Davos in late January, Obama's chief economist, Larry Summers, said: “We are in a statistical recovery but a human recession." The social shock waves caused by downturns roll out devastation. Take downunder at end of 2009, New Zealand unemployment was the highest in a decade. A major 2009 spike in violent crime was fueled by family violence, up 18.6%.

I see creativity and innovation as the two powerful engines that will deliver a sustainable recovery. We need a recovery that delivers real jobs within a frame of sustainable living, and we have to breed attitude that delivers this. Reasonable people see a lot of doom and gloom, but, luckily, our fate is not in the hands of reasonable people. George Bernard Shaw said this: “Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.”

Unreasonable people have a fantastic record of innovating and cooperating to help get the world out of seemingly intractable places. We have faced huge challenges and prevailed over and over again. I am enough of a radical optimist to believe we will continue to do so.

One example: in the 1970’s and 80’s, bookshelves brimmed with bestsellers predicting that the world would run out of food by 1990. Given the limitations of our knowledge and imagination at the time, it was a reasonable proposition. Well, that’s not how it played out. The Green Revolution allowed us to double food production, thereby eradicating famine in many parts of the world. There are still stubborn pockets where failed states can’t feed their people, but agriscientists and innovators have brought about huge advances.

There is no short-cut to prosperity. We are in reset mode. Every business owner and leader needs to steer their organization in ways that add value to the world, not just to shareholders. Every field of enterprise needs to harvest courage and unleash the unreasonable power of creativity. We need bigger ideas, delivered. Here’s to the crazy ones, and more jobs.


methinksdifferent said...

Kevin, there are no more leaders or mentors steering the ship, passing on what is left of any companies history.

With corporate consolidation, business's are no longer about "pride of ownership", which does not exist....because there are no owners. Only stock holders.

If an ad agency or bank holding company etc.... still had partners and owners who had their personal finances and reputations on the line, we would not be seeing the total disregard and lack of value the system has for people.

People are no longer an asset, they are only a # in the accounting books.

My theory always was if you provided a great product or service, the rest will take of itself. Now, nothing takes care of itself. People don't feel empowered in their jobs and they act out of fear. Fear only creates uncertainty.

And...This is what we have today.

Larry Cole said...

Unreasonable people... Thank goodness for them. It is they who stand in the face of adversity and carry on. I think of greats like Thomas Edison who never seemed to falter in his pursuit of the light bulb. How I wish there were more like him today.

As much as I would like to disagree with MeThinksDifferent, I really can't. There simply isn't much legacy left in the world today. I have to believe that the multi-generational thinking of legacy builders would seriously contest much of our economic issues here in the U.S. today. I suppose all one person can really do is to step up... so with that let me say: "I choose to be a legacy builder!"

John said...

Then it's time to build businesses that are staffed by the people who own them and run by people who know and understand the business. Old-fashioned ideas but success may come from going back to the future.

nisha said...

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