Philosophy@Work – Thinkers50

Happy to be making my contribution to Philosophy@work ( by @Thinkers50 and @AndersIndset. This will be Smörgåsbord of interesting insights to encourage and enable people to make use of philosophy in business. 50 reflections on practical philosophy from the world’s leading thinkers.

Check out the book here:

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A mandarin narrative

Understanding the China effect on global innovation will be essential for companies that wish to compete in China, take advantage of China’s innovation capacity, and adopt Chinese approaches to innovation to improve their own performance. The overall effect is that more innovation will originate in China—from both Chinese and global companies—and more companies would adopt the Chinese style of innovation. What has helped many Chinese firms make remarkable strides—not just in the realm of innovation—is their swiftness in reformulating themselves, eschewing hierarchical structures, and adopting a customer-centric approach. Alibaba’s value-driven rather than control driven management and Xiaomi’s iterated development and quick upgrading of products are based on the logic of experimentation and quick learning cycles.

Read more: The Smart Manager

Innovation@Work – Thinkers50

Chinese business ecosystems developed and transformed from organic growth to rapid expansion by investment, incubation, innovation and internationalisation. What they have in common is an aversion to adopting the standard metrics structures used by most multinationals. Their unique ecosystem, under which suppliers, distributors or customers become partners, helps them achieve early success in a highly uncertain business environment. Gafa needs to be aware of BATX’s boundaryless business approach, leveraging a new way of organising and exploiting the benefits of both strategic planning and entrepreneurial decision-making. BATX’s business ecosystems are leading, creating and disrupting markets, not only in China, but in the rest of the world as well.

Read more: Thinkers50 Innovation@Work

China is leading digital – Europe prepare and leverage

China is more innovative than most people think. Europe is over-regulated while China is one large experimentation group for new companies, technologies and innovations. One of those areas of interest is digital technology, in particular digital payment. Despite – or because? – a centrally led economy, entrepreneurs are the digital innovators.

We have seen nothing yet: Malong Tech’s artificial intelligence, Lens Technology’s leading thin glass, Mobike’s bike sharing, Hikvision’s global market leadership in security technology and Zongmu Tech’s technology for autonomous driving. The list is long and expanding.

Read more (in Dutch): NRC

Agility in Mandarin

What can western leaders learn from the way Chinese companies are organized and structured? For a Spanish speaking readership, I wrote an article on how as large organizations with strong top-down leadership and fast execution, Chinese companies are at the same time highly innovative and adaptive to changing markets through swift project execution. The cases of Xiaomi, Alibaba and Haier illustrate how these Chinese companies organize and expand their businesses. In a new research project, we are exploring novel ways of organizing for uncertainty and complexity.

Read more (in Spanish): Executive Excellence

Digital China is coming to Europe

European companies need to act fast to define the best strategies to connect, partner or compete against Chinese players.  Often unnoticed by business leaders in Europe, Chinese technology companies are on the move. Hardly a week goes by without news that Alibaba has acquired a company in Southeast Asia, Tencent has invested in an Israeli startup or that Baidu is entering a new industry. Western onlookers may think that this is unlikely to have a direct impact on their businesses. And if they are concerned or interested, often the deals are more complex and opaque than first imagined. But, there are three important reasons why the rise of digital China cannot be ignored: the scale and speed of Chinese tech investments in Europe; the unique Chinese approach to organization; and the innovation imperative for Chinese companies leveraging a comparative advantage in technology rather than cost.

Read more: LSE Business Review

A deeper look inside China’s innovation boom

Columnist Micheal Kelly (dean of the Lazaridis School of Business) says two recent business books are must-reads for anyone who wants to understand how China’s tech renaissance is reshaping the world’s economy. My recent book Business Ecosystems in China is one of them. The other book is by colleague George Yip on China’s Next Strategic Advantage. Kelly writes: “In an increasing number of areas – including fintech, electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, gaming and more – China is becoming a world leader in technological innovation. Many of the trends emerging there are now beginning to have a significant impact on the global technology landscape.  If you still think of China as just a large unsophisticated market, populated by unprofitable state-owned enterprises and copycat companies, these two books will open your eyes to this new competitive reality.”

Read more: Ottawa Business Journal

Loneliness: the latest economic niche opening up in China

Young people in big cities seeking emotional outlets by embracing loneliness and consuming loneliness. A new type of Chinese consumer: well-educated, young and willing to spend – but spending alone. The empty nest youth is an emerging theme in China’s economy. Mini karaoke booths, one-pot hotpot restaurants and many mobile games to accompany the lonely. We may see a phenomenon, facilitated by technology, where young Chinese people, especially millennials, are looking for individual experiences and personalized services more than the previous generation; not unlike their peers in other countries. However, I’d argue that technology is facilitating loneliness rather than allowing Chinese consumers to embrace it. There is plenty of evidence that youngsters would rather spend time on their smartphones than on playing with friends, dating, working and just hanging around. The slightly addictive nature of certain social networks and the fact that a handful of technology giants control those information streams does make me worry about the long-term societal effects.

Read more: South China Morning Post

Can China’s poorest province achieve its dream of becoming the next big data hub?

Guizhou and its capital were put on the fast track to economic growth in 2013; growing over 10% in 2017. Big data is one of the focus areas for this once poorest province of China. Big data and artificial intelligence are considered as the technology to shape the future and thus make China the leading technology power. China has a clear advantage in big data because a lot of big data is collected, stored and analysed. With the average high acceptance and connectivity of mobile digital technology, the exponential growth of big data in China cannot be ignored. Not only the government support is there, but also, the market, technology and capital necessary for real big data technology innovations.

Read more: South China Morning Post

What Happens When AI Gets Real

Tying in with the World Economic Forum’s Industry and Business Agenda and Future Agenda, we ask about the impact of new technologies such as AI. What skills will organisations need to thrive and how can they best leverage AI to their advantage? How will AI impact business decision making?

See more: Thinkers50