Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Ponytail in the Ferrari

A phrase from tom friedman who is the master of the pithy catchphrase. Nasscom 2006 was about the rise of the Creative Class and how india has to innovate to succeed. But as a culture do we really respect the ponytail? outside of a few sheltered haunts like advertising agencies, Corporate India tends to dictate dress codes, what you can put up in your cubicle, how you write your emails, well pretty much anything. One can argue that these are not really critical to creativity and it can thrive even in these regulated environments, but i think what happens is that the creative person doesn't feel at home here and eventually migrates to a more in-your-face whacky set-up. Which is why the age-old cycle of hotshops to corporate megalith continues.

The majority of our schools don't push us to think either. You learn formulae not derive them. You conduct experiments but you don't actually experiment - what if it were to break something? You learn poetry but not how to write. You know how to answer questions (if they are in the syllabus) but not how to question. These skills can be learnt later - witness the success of indians educated here when they study abroad. But the majority of our institutions don't do so as they have not yet adapted to a reality where rule-based work is automated.

Our reward systems tend to be geared around the Left brain - those who do well in maths and science and have a good logical brain tend to succeed materially in India. So it is heartening to hear that this is the Creative Age. Are we finally going to see the Revenge of the Right Brain?

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