Thursday, November 24, 2011

‘Creativity, leadership and problem solving skills’

The new World Bank report, Putting Higher Education to Work, says about the Philippines: “. . . [E]mployers and employees find . . . gaps [in the right skills] to be particularly severe in creativity, leadership and problem solving,” Manila Times, Random Jottings, 23rd Oct. The good news is we don’t have a monopoly of this problem. Progressive global enterprises have it in their crosshairs, and its constant fixing is part of the business. To develop an organization and its people and elevate their skills in creativity, leadership and problem-solving to world-class levels cost money. But it’s a must-do. For a business to be true to its role as a contributing member of society, it must be committed to the proposition that it is a sustainable, profitable enterprise! Yet it does not mean ‘rent-seeking’ oligarchy or inward-looking, underinvested uncompetitive enterprises out to make a fast-buck via “products” that insult Juan de la Cruz. It's the formula to sink a country like it did empires past, e.g., the Soviet’s. The good news is our furniture makers apparently have learned that to succeed in the global arena they have to move up the value-chain! Bravo!

It is encouraging to hear the views of the UST Rector: “. . . A sincere examination of conscience among our legislators” is called for, Manila Bulletin, 23rd Oct.Government funds allocated for [public universities] could have been better spent to improve basic education . . . Garbage in, garbage out . . . When I was a student in philosophy, one of my professors taught us the distinction between a product and a creation . . . A creation . . . is something that begins simple, even imperfect, and then evolves from simplicity to complexity, from imperfection to perfection . . . What we sorely need today is not the quest for perfection but for simplicity; not just the search for productivity but creativity . . . The government can lead the way towards this by being more creative in addressing problems in education.”

It appears the good rector is echoing the findings of the World Bank. “So why isn’t higher education fulfilling its potential? The main reason identified by the World Bank report is that higher education institutions have been managed as “disconnected” individual institutions. Governments have a fundamental role in making higher education work as a system where individual institutions are well connected among themselves and to firms, research institutions, and earlier levels of education.”

That is clearly easier said than done . . . unless we keep our nose on the grindstone – as one, not as disconnected parties! Even amongst the best in the private sector, they can’t simply raise their creativity, leadership and problem-solving skills – they work . . . and work . . . hard for it!

"I want them to meet this deadline, but at 31 hours from that deadline with 175,000 customers still out, I am skeptical," Malloy said of Connecticut Light and Power, noting that to meet the deadline the utility will have to restore power to affected customers at a rate of 5,500 residences per hour. [CNN, 5th Nov.] As a result, Malloy has directed CL&P to provide him by 10 a.m. Sunday with a town-by-town, hour-by-hour restoration schedule. They need to work through the night, they need to hold their crews, they need to have as many people as possible on the streets of Connecticut to meet that goal," Malloy said, adding that if by 10 a.m. Sunday the utility "knows it's not going to meet its goal, I want to know that . . . Malloy said earlier Saturday he is bringing in a consulting firm to do an immediate analysis of the power company's response, and legislative action is possible. Connecticut's attorney general has already called for regulators to investigate CL&P.”

Even the public sector can be hardnosed, committed to execution! Who will do what, why, when, where and how? Says President Aquino: “. . . Our administration, when we started, was bequeathed quite a whole set of problems, so much so that I won’t say that we’re the best experts—omniscient prognosticators of all of these problems—but it has given us a confidence in handling these problems to have an attitude that every problem presents an opportunity.” [Business Mirror, 5th Nov.] There is hope for Juan de la Cruz after all?

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