Problems are Opportunities

Puzzle

I just got back from a two months trip visiting my home country, Indonesia, and Thailand. I should say, this trip was different, because I allow myself to be in the moment. Observing things around me. And let some things sink.

During my visit I had the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with my uncle, Prof. (Emeritus) Dorodjatun Kuntjoro Jakti, who’s created a ‘space’ in his field. He gave me one of the best advice that I’ve ever got from anyone! He said that I should look at ‘problems as opportunities.’ Because if you frame your mind that way, you’ll always look at things differently. Instead of problems, you see how and what can you do to help solve the problems.

This is not new stuff, I’m sure. Because you can look around and find good examples. Here’s an example: Singapore. They lack water resources. Currently, Malaysia (its neighbor country), supply them with clean water with contract expires in 2016. It’s a risky proposition. What about the geopolitical risk? We just saw how oil prices spike up because of turmoil in Egypt recently. What-if things happen in Malaysia that caused them to cut off their supply? So what Singapore does on the road to self-sufficiency (and less dependent on outside supply) is that they come up with a 50 year plan.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said: “With water demand forecasted to double in the next 50 years, Singapore plans to collect every drop of rain by expanding our catchments to 90 per cent of our land area. Water reuse and desalination will play a bigger role as key sources of water supply.” 

via ChannelNews Asia

That said, things that could pose a problem for some, like government’s regulations, world’s population growth, migration, global warming, etc., are opportunities either to be ahead of the game and/or innovate. The good thing about it is, all you need is an open mind, willingness to learn new things, and be creative.

Think about that for a second…

Management Creed Every Business Should Read

The opening in a book on a subject of success stories on niche marketing penned by Dr. Soichiro Nagashima, an APO (Asian Productivity Organization) expert, published by the same organization, is something that we don’t put too much emphasis over here. The author has been trekking clean productivity arena for 40-some years. Originally was written as a manual for seminars on niche marketing strategies in Japan. 

Coming by way of Asia’s productivity, here is the creed, via APO.

Management is the art of adapting to the business environment

Management is the art of adapting to the business environment, and the business environment is subject to a range of political, economic, technical and social influences. The art of adapting to the changing environment may sound easy, but change is not visible to the insensitive eye. People content to lead an inactive, idle life resting on previous successes cannot grasp the dramatic socioeconomic changes occurring all around them. For those who have achieved success in business and maintain an ongoing passionate commitment to further progress, however, contentment can be a form of poison. For individuals, stagnation means death; for a company, maintaining the status quo is equivalent to giving up and closing down.

Moving in a different directions than others can open up opportunities. A company should recognize that the sun is already setting upon a market when everybody is in a rush to move in the same direction. In other words, a niche strategy which exploits “blind spots” in a market, paves the way for a company with a unique product or service, superior intellectual resources, and extraordinary creativity. [emphasis added]

This is truly a different attitude (and mindset) towards change. We tend to run the other way when facing with change. When in fact, change is good for business. 

LEARN from the master. So no matter what size and stage of your business, learn from the master to help you carve out your ‘niche’ market. Japan is the master when it comes to manufacturing technologies and some other breakthrough technologies. Circumstances like scarcity of natural resources, 80% dependent on imports for its food supply, etc., forced them to find the way out. And it has made Japan as one of the economic powerhouses in the world!

For more inspirations, you can check out the rest of the book “NICHE MARKETING 60 Success Stories,” here. [pdf]

Food and Health Related Costs of Climate Change

The insurance industry is aware of the costs of climate change. After all, they’re in the business of insuring potential climate related damages. Under the scenario of German Institute for Economic Research, depending on when effective climate related policies are implemented, the damages could be worth up to $20 trillion by year 2100 if nothing is being implemented. Okay 2100 seems like a long time. You and I might probably not going to be around anymore, however, our kids, grandkids, and great-great grandkids – gonna be around – to witness the long-term implications of climate change, if we do nothing. Now.

More than 100 of the world’s top insurance companies have issued a United Nations-backed call for governments to use risk management techniques and insurance know-how to help developing nations adapt to climate change. [UN News]

The potential damages will be close to home, when it’s related to health and food security. So, take a look at the few images below.

Potential climate change impacts with temperature change

Climate_change_costs

Falling rice productions

Business as usual (left) scenario vs. if we take action to reduce the impact.

Falling_rice_yields

Potential health impacts of climate change

Potential_health_impacts_on_climate_change

[via Allianz Group]

For more climate related details, here.