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"Learning faster than your competitors is the only sustainable competitive advantage in an environment of rapid change."
Arie deGues

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Good evening from Air Canada 8280 to Prince Rupert, British Columbia. I trust this edition of Leadership Notes finds you well.

I've been reading an interesting essay in the April 17, 2010 edition of The Economist, about how innovaton is manifesting itself in the so-called developing world. I am intrigued by the idea of "frugal innovation"; automobiles that cost $2200, hand held ECG machines that give test results for just $1 per patient, or financial instiution branches being shruck, literally, to the size of a mobile phone. Now the idea of frugal innovation is changing the global economy as creative ideas from India and China change our ways of thinking about contracting out, using technology in new ways and using mass-production in new areas like healthcare -- imagine 1,000 bed heart hospitals where 600 surgeries occur every week at about $2000 per patient with results that are as good as the best North American hospitals!

This raises some intersting questions for business and work generally in North America. I submit we have been making a fundamentally flawed (if not somewhat racist) assumption that the people of the developing world were "stealing" our manufacturing jobs, but that of course we Westerners would retain the creative, and "more advanced" kind of work. The last 10 years have proven that assumption to be very flawed. Human beings are at our core creative beings, regardless of where we live, the colour of our skin or the size of our house. One of the biggest challenges we face in this part of the world in the next decade will be how will we in the west learn to share a growing sandbox of creativity?

And closer to home, what does creativity look like in our organizations? What new ideas are we trying? What new uses of established technologies are we exprimenting with? Who is making decisions, the purveyors of the satatus quo, or the people who challenge the status quo? What is the relationship between risk management and risk aversion?

May this week be filled with creative thinking for you and for your team, at the very least because there's a team in Bangalore that are experimenting right now!