Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies, a multibillion-dollar provider of IT services headquartered in India, has a few ideas about how to cure what collectively ails us.
Speaking at the HCL Global Meet conference in Orlando, Fla., Nayar says the world is witnessing the emergence of a perfect storm made up of the convergence of four megatrends that are conspiring to upend the way companies and people understand how the economy operates today.
The first trend is the simple recognition that the U.S. is no longer the dominant force in the economy it once was. Nayar says there is no leadership and that an organization based on the top Global 20 countries in the world is a poor substitute for the leadership that the U.S. once provided.
The second trend also stems from the rise of globalization. Companies within emerging markets are not only able to better compete for business within their own geographies, many of them can now compete with confidence in global markets.
The third megatrend is the change in the way goods and services are acquired. In the age of the Web, buying habits and patterns have changed, which creates new opportunities for companies that are tuned to compete in an environment where traditional investments in brands don't have as much value.
Finally, Nayar says that new entrants into the work force are detached from the organizations they work for. They don't respond to traditional command-and-control environments that are built around the idea that everyone is working in the same office. As a result, companies are finding it difficult to motivate their work force to come up with the innovative ideas they need to compete in a rapidly changing economic environment.
Nayar says the answer to all these ills is to invest in an "architecture of innovation" that encourages employees to contribute new ideas that push the business forward. It's only by constantly innovating that companies are going to be able to compete in a challenging global economic environment. For example, Nayar says companies should create the equivalent of a stock exchange for new ideas where the business value of new ideas are ranked by employees as part of an effort to surface ideas and concepts that have the most merit.
Ultimately, any culture is defined by the exchange of ideas. But before a culture can develop, there has to be a mechanism in place that makes it possible to easily share those ideas. Arguably, the most important thing an IT organization can then do in these stormy times is put the systems in place that will allow those conversations to take place.