As we think about possible solutions, it helps to have some simple models in which one can fit things in. As Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathway said (Outstanding Investor Digest, December 29, 1997 my thanks to Chetan Parikh for pointing this out):
I’ve long believed that a certain system which almost any person can learn works way better than the systems that most people use. What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And you hang your actual experience and your vicarious experience (that you get from reading and so forth) on this latticework of powerful models. And with that system, things gradually get to fit together in a way that enhances cognition.
And you need the models not just from one or two disciplines, but from all the important disciplines. You need the best 100 or so models from microeconomics, physiology, psychology particularly, elementary mathematics, hard science and engineering [and so on].
You don’t have to be a huge expert in any of those worlds. All you’ve got to do is to take the really big ideas and learn them early and well.
It is very hard to do what Charlie Munger says. That is why there is only one Berkshire Hathway, only one Warren Buffet, and only one Charlie Munger.
What I’ve tried to do is to evolve a few basic principles for my work life (of which this writing is a key part of). These have evolved slowly over the past couple of years, and are probably evident in much of the Tech Talk writings. What I want to do in this series is to distill out the key elements of my thinking so that the context of what I write here and on my weblog becomes clearer. This also gives a framework on how to think about possible solutions on the two sets of problems of SME growth and rural transformation.
So, here is my thinking in one sentence: Creating disruptive innovations for the bottom of the pyramid requires ecosystems of integrated solutions with local distribution to bridge divides.
The words are not as complicated as they seem! Over the coming columns, I will explain each of the phrases I have used here in detail. Individually, they may mean a little. Taken together, they present I think a rich array of opportunities for envisioning and creating the future. They offer a platform for not incremental change, but a 10X revolution, which is what we need to make up for the lost time. Like the brave little hobbit, Frodo, in The Lord of the Rings, it is possible for a few to change the course of history. What is needed is a mix of vision and passion as we move into unchartered territory, equipped not with maps, but with a compass.
Next Week: My Mental Model (continued)
TECH TALK My Mental Model+T