“So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!” – Ephesians 5:15-16
In February next year, it would be 50 years since I successfully defended my PhD thesis at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London. The title of the thesis was “Evolutionary stochastic optimum seeking methods”, but do not let that distract you.
The purpose of the research was to develop and discuss automatic computer simulation procedures for controlling variable factors (finding optimum conditions or “success”) when the response or output from the system is stochastic (real world, subject to random error, not deterministic), albeit from a theoretical mathematical and statistical perspective.
Over that time, I have often pondered how this research may be applied to solve problems of the Caribbean. These thoughts resurfaced once again over the last fortnight as Caribbean politicians, in general, and Barbados politicians, in particular, continue with their comical charades.
Until our politicians stop clowning around and seek problem solving advice to complement their own skills, it is unlikely that the haemorrhaging in the economic growth rate and in the happiness quotient of the populace will be arrested.
In the thesis, there is a common philosophy adopted which may be captured in the phrase “systematic and evolutionary approach”. It is recognised that the longest journey to success begins with the first step and that we should adopt a step by step approach (systematic) to progress. In addition, it is recognised that the information gleaned from the immediately preceding steps should be incorporated in the decision making process which determines the length and direction of the next step (evolutionary). This is referred to in industry as evolutionary operation but it can be extended to business and may be referred to as business optimization whether the business is that of government, the private sector, trade unions or civil society.
There are many concepts which are currently emerging which are grounded in the philosophy of evolutionary operation which optimize the use of our resources.
In Corporate Governance, we are engaging more and more in virtual meetings where a business discussion is conducted via Internet broadcast, videoconferencing, email, or a similar mode thus allowing the meeting to take place without incurring large sums of money in travel related costs and in travel time.
In Investment Finance, we need to consciously treat the business profit as a resource up front rather than as what is left after all expenses have been paid. As the profits accumulate in this way they may be used for future sources of investment to build the business.
To achieve Consumer Satisfaction we must evolve with the information age. Public Relations and Social Media Marketing must be effectively and efficiently merged with traditional marketing (e.g. advertising) to achieve synergies of interaction for the benefit of the consumer.
To achieve Operational Efficiency, here are examples of Disruptive Innovation Models:
(1) Uber competing with taxis; (2) Airbnb competing with traditional tourist accommodation models; (3) merging Political Parties with Civil Society in parliament; (4) combining Taxes and Private Sector Capital as a national resource; (5) Public Relations and Social Media Marketing to enhance the communications strategy; (6) Local Government; (7) inculcating the Abundance Mentality among individuals; (8) data storage in the Cloud rather than on terrestrial Storage Devices; (9) new high quality, affordable Healthcare Models; (10) pay out of Future Profits; (11) Virtual Human Resources working from home; (12) Sourcing Human Resources in different time zones and in countries which optimize value for money.
To achieve Productivity and Sustainable Success in business, introduce Shepherding, where there is a one-on-one relationship between the mentee and mentor, versus Training, a several-on-one relationship between the mentees and mentor. In the latter case, the transfer of information is not focused on the needs of individual business mentees and is more appropriate for the educational system.
Let us bury our egos (Edge God Out), be vigilant, use our heads, take advantage of every opportunity, make the most of every chance you get and optimize the use of our resources. These are desperate times!