How 30 innovators crossed boundaries to create enterprise worth and social influence

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Launched in 2012, YourStory’s Ebook Assessment part options over 280 titles on creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital transformation. See additionally our associated columns The Turning Level, Techie Tuesdays, and Storybites.

Innovation by a mix of views and cultures can spawn new kinds of worth creation. Strategies, theories, and tales of fusion innovation in motion are introduced within the must-read ebook Innovation Via Fusion: Combining Progressive Concepts to Create New Options by CJ Meadows.

This hefty 500-page ebook profiles 30 world-class innovators with a number of backgrounds. Every inspiring story relies on in-depth interviews with innovators in addition to their colleagues and relations, with hyperlinks to quick movies.

Nuclear fusion produces huge vitality from combining two nuclei – equally, cross-disciplinary fusion can result in new kinds of choices, organisations and enterprise fashions. The ebook combines tutorial analysis with inspirational storytelling for example these processes.

CJ Meadows is Director of i2i, the Innovation and Insights Middle of SP Jain College of World Administration in Singapore. She has a doctorate in enterprise administration and IT from Harvard Enterprise College, and has over 20 years of worldwide expertise as an entrepreneur and coach. She additionally based The Tiger Middle, a social enterprise in India.

Listed below are my key takeaways from the 39 chapters on this compelling ebook, summarised as effectively within the desk under. See additionally my critiques of the associated books The Seven Rules of Full Co-creation, Cross-Business Innovation, The Artwork of Noticing, Non-Apparent Traits, The Serendipity Mindset, and The Artistic Considering Handbook.

I. Foundations

The writer defines a ‘fusioneer’ as one who innovates throughout boundaries between business, subject, nation, or social class. They’re interdisciplinary creators, lateral innovators, borderless free-thinkers, and boundary-crossing integrators.

Fusioneers have T-shaped personalities, and are generally considered oddballs. They cross-fertilise concepts, synthesise fashions, and create mash-ups at intersections of various fields. Via the centuries, alternatives for creativity have mushroomed by mixing and marrying concepts from totally different industries and international locations, and we are actually in a brand new renaissance, the writer explains.

The 4 steps in a fusioneer’s journey are open, gather, sense and fuse, however there’s back-and-forth motion between these steps as effectively.

A fusioneer is outwardly open. They’re extremely conscious, nice listeners, and observant noticers. They’re additionally inwardly open, and are deeply conscious of their very own pursuits and skills whereas excelling in self-management, work-life integration and religious reflection as effectively.

A fusioneer develops an ongoing assortment of concepts, folks, experiences, expertise, certifications and levels for the “workshop of the thoughts,” the writer evocatively explains. To sense adjustments on the planet, the fusioneer cultivates a singular lens with out prejudice, and is ready to see, map and analyse issues others miss.

A fusioneer doesn’t simply make selections between options however combines or fuses approaches. They deconstruct and re-assemble, and the mix results in new worth creation.

A fusioneer embodies the several types of empathy: emotional, cognitive, and compassionate. They sense and resonate with others’ feelings, can perceive their perspective, and transfer to motion.

“Nice worth lies ready in undeveloped inter-spaces and new functions,” the writer observes.

Of the 30 fusion innovators profiled, most of them spent six months or extra in a number of nations, the writer observes. Crossing worldwide boundaries helps them cross different boundaries between cultures and disciplines as effectively, the writer explains.

They’ve psychological variety no matter superior levels, and don’t simply do jobs however create jobs. They’re self-directed and pushed by internal motivation fairly than exterior incentives.

Many of those sides had been found by the writer utilizing a software known as Multicultural Character Evaluation. An excellent desk within the ebook (Desk 3.1) summarises the innovators’ worldwide expertise, organisations, achievements, and influence.

II. 30 fusioneer tales

The majority of the ebook options illustrated tales of 30 fusioneers, with private {and professional} journeys. Sadly, a few of the figures are generic photo-stock pictures and there’s a disconnect between the captions, picture, and chapter textual content. Maybe leaving some pictures with out captions could have helped as an alternative.

References for every chapter are drawn from books, TED talks, HBR, and tutorial journals like Journal of Experimental Psychology and Journal of Character and Social Psychology. It will have been nice to have an built-in reference part on the finish of the ebook, pulling all these sources collectively.

Among the referenced books have been reviewed by YourStory as effectively, reminiscent of Twin Transformation, Gamechangers, and Innovator’s DNA. See additionally our critiques of Artistic Edge and Introvert Entrepreneur.

Samuel Gan is a scientist, product developer and educator, who converts a few of his data into cellular apps for mass audiences (e.g. DNAapp, VibraTilt). The artistic drawback solver additionally co-founded an instructional journal on cellular apps, and likes to hyperlink fieldwork with labs.

Jawahar Kanjilal pioneered a variety of cellular options throughout his Nokia days in India, such because the ringtone deal for Saare Jahan Se Accha, cellular insurance coverage, Visible Radio, and Life Instruments for rural customers.

Matthew Rooda, Founding father of the aptly-named SwineTech (‘Fitbit on a pig’), developed and mixed experience in agriculture, drugs and engineering to unravel the issues of pig breeders.

Robest Younger has received the title Malaysia’s Nationwide Inventor of the Yr, with a string of merchandise to unravel day by day issues. The tinkerer has give you mosquito glue (to draw and kill them, fairly than repel them), micro-fertilisers, mixed sink-cistern, smartphone equipment for the blind, and rubber stamp know-how impressed by the printing business.


Sister Cyril Mooney was Principal of the Loreto Sealdah College in Kolkata. She prolonged the non-public college’s amenities for underprivileged and disabled kids, combining instructional and social causes with a humanitarian mission.

Jack Sim is a serial and social entrepreneur in areas like sanitation, founding the Restroom Affiliation in Singapore, the World Rest room Summit, and BoP Hub accelerator. He was so talkative as a baby that he would usually be made to face exterior the category (“excellent scholar,” he jokes).

Margaret Connors prolonged the follow of city farming as a livelihood generator (“inexperienced collar labour”) for poor communities and meals safety for neighbourhoods within the US. She based Metropolis Growers and the City Farming Institute.

Raffi Rembrand is CTO of BioHug Applied sciences and an professional in autism prognosis, mixing audiology and contact know-how. His internal journey is formed by his personal expertise as a guardian of an autistic youngster.

Indian expat Krish Krishnan based technique consultancy Jeiva Worldwide, and is an advisor to healthcare agency ImmunoHeal. He developed know-how for over-clothing breast most cancers detection.

Ravi Kumar Banda based XCyton diagnostics to mix bacterial and viral testing in an inexpensive method for broader social profit. Scientist Adeline Sim specialises in computational structural biology on the Bioinformatics Institute in Singapore.

Drawing on his worldwide and multi-disciplinary background, Livio Valenti based Vaxess Applied sciences, which created vaccines that had been embedded in silk protein fibres. Med-tech developer Chin Sau Yin is President of Biotech Connection Singapore, and fuses polymer science with healthcare applied sciences.


Melissa Kwee is a social entrepreneur, mixing enterprise with social causes and philanthropy. She has labored on bettering the lives of imprisoned moms and their kids. This polymath additionally served as President of UN Girls Singapore, and co-founded One Diploma Asia and the Halogen Basis.

Grace Sai mixed co-working areas, mentorship networks, and occasions for enterprise and social causes. She based Books for Hope as a library community in rural Indonesia, and launched Impression Hub in Singapore.

Rick Smolan nurtured his childhood ardour for images and labored at Time, Nationwide Geographic and Life magazines. He mixed this ability with an entrepreneurial aptitude and launched bestseller books like A Day within the Life collection (Australia, Medication, One Digital Day, Huge Knowledge). He excelled in sensing and visualisation emotion – and discovering company sponsors for his tasks by sensing their wants and aspirations.

Ted Saad, of Palestinian heritage, made a mark within the US by combining a number of media companies; the Emmy Award winner additionally branched out into wellness merchandise. Chen Yi spent years doing laborious labour throughout the Tradition Revolution in China, however emigrated to the US and have become a profitable composer mixing Chinese language and Western classical music.

George Kolovos was an early e-commerce pioneer (MenuLog), and expanded into sports activities and the Quad Café enterprise as effectively. Chef Ryan Clift combines a number of cuisines and sciences into his collection of eating places; he started as a dishwasher, and insists that each one workers be revered.

Jack Cowin noticed a protracted line exterior a restaurant, which sparked him to launch a collection of fast-food eating places in Australia. He additionally launched a tourism enterprise for vacationers to climb atop Sydney Harbour Bridge.


Arun Abey is of Indian and Sri Lankan origin, and his expertise with hardship as an immigrant in Australia sensitised him to the empowerment of monetary providers. He fused macro- and micro-economic principle with progressive enterprise fashions in his firm, Ipac Securities.

Karen Stephenson, a pioneer in organisational social community evaluation and company anthropology, mixed views from quantum physics, ethnology, mathematical modelling, and administration consulting. The founding father of Netform Sources, she received an epiphany whereas watching folks motion patterns from an upstairs workplace on the mezzanine flooring.

Mihnea Moldoveanu based Redline within the early Web days, and made a mark within the ADSL modem area. He later based the Centre for Integrative Considering on the College of Toronto.

Parag Khanna is a founder (Factotum), technique advisor (Hybrid Actuality), writer (Connectography) and coverage specialist (Nationwide College of Singapore). He blends views from know-how, geography, and authorities.

Integrative thinker Edy Greenblatt fuses physique and thoughts by combining dance, ethnology and government teaching. She helps others give attention to the built-in self and built-in staff. Sean Leas mixed his data of intercultural contexts and company environments to turn out to be an professional in working worldwide joint ventures.

Sports activities scientist Kenneth Graham leveraged statistical insights to excellent his dives, profitable the perfect Olympic scores. He coaches throughout sports activities disciplines, viewing athletic performances from totally different views. He additionally invented a tumbling machine for coaches to higher analyse divers and gymnasts.

Rising up as a Turkish immigrant in Austria, Asil Toksal based Vitality Biodiesel, but additionally expanded into digital media and spirituality. He nurtured a love for experimenting,

Tal ben Shahar is Founding father of Potentialife, a management improvement programme. His work combines training, wellbeing, and private happiness, for youngsters in addition to professionals.

III. Classes from the fusioneer

The tales above are inspiring in addition to informative. The writer reveals how they provide classes such because the significance of asking what in addition to what if questions, why and why not. Seemingly random connections can really be helpful in the long term.

The fusioneer is hyper-aware with a robust sense of instinct, real curiosity, and fixed curiosity. They’re voracious and insatiable readers and soak up concepts like a sponge, thus studying broadly and deeply. Higher publicity results in extra dots to attach and patterns to emerge.

A few of them can spot deeper patterns underlying arts and science, and may filter various data and take selections to behave upon them. Some innovators additionally toss out concepts on social media for suggestions (“concept grenades”).

They “tune in” to environments and may see what others miss – and in addition see what’s lacking however needs to be there. They will see what’s subsequent, what’s across the nook, and what’s world wide.

They’re non-judgmental and don’t shut off concepts too early, earlier than their potential has been absolutely explored. As concept collectors, they don’t discard probably helpful concepts. As soon as they catch a dream, they move it on, the writer evocatively describes.


They will envision and extrapolate from the current. Fusioneers have psychological flexibility, and aren’t constrained by bins of the prevailing conference – they both don’t see them, or are conscious of them however know tips on how to breach them.

They gather and join dots, and respect the fuzziness and gray areas in cross-disciplinary pondering and collaboration. The fusioneer can talk utilizing analogies and metaphors to figuratively introduce rising ideas.

They’ve an innate capability to be taught, and a few of them had been gifted as kids whereas others had been even seen as ‘drawback kids’ for a while, the writer observes. Moderately than having failed at school, it was college that failed a few of them, she provides.

They withstood criticism from naysayers and detractors of their innovation journeys. They’re self-driven and strong-willed. Some are good mental “sparring companions” and even provocateurs; they get pleasure from “concept jam” classes.

A few of them took on jobs as waiters of their early years, which affords worthwhile classes in sensing, communication, and coping with troublesome conditions.

The innovator’s ardour for fixing issues and understanding prospects helps see what others don’t. In addition they probe for a brand new or higher strategy to resolve issues. Lots of them have further roles as lecturers or mentors, that are good methods to be taught as effectively. Working with youth can maintain the thoughts artistic and spirit younger.

The fusioneer combines need with drive within the bias to motion, and helps others by fixing their issues. They don’t simply discover issues however care sufficient to unravel them.


They join concepts in addition to folks of their journey, and are articulate and genuine in communication. They make clear concepts by drawing, visualisation and intensive note-taking. They’ve perseverance and take dangers, however are open to studying from failure, which they regard as “classes to be repurposed.”

They’ve a artistic sense of play and could be virtually child-like on this method. A few of them transfer rapidly from one concept to a different, handing them over to others. Others work on a number of tasks on the similar time. Some get tired of particulars and transfer on.

They encompass themselves with various artistic communities for ideation and co-creation. They’re dreamers but additionally assist others dream. They will sense different folks’s expertise and vitality flows in teams, and are open to partnering.

These curated communities assist by way of the “collision of concepts, conversations and connections (deliberate serendipity),” the writer reveals.

Fusioneers are catalysts and mobilisers, and “need to reside a helpful life.” They enlist, encourage and empower groups for his or her causes. They convey their entire self to work, and are available throughout extra as conductors than generals. They’re a ball of “contagious vitality” and nurture creativity among the many folks they work with.

“Maybe an important openness is to construct a dream with different folks,” the writer explains.

The fusioneer blends totally different influences whereas additionally respecting the unique sources. They’re expert in sample recognition and pattern recognizing, and are good organisers and fixers. A few of them have had experiences as a minority, which makes them delicate to the problems of different minorities.

On the similar time, in addition they reserve area and time for private reflection by meditation or swimming and taking lengthy walks (‘thinkwalking’). Such strategies even throughout ‘boring’ actions assist incubate, germinate, ferment and simmer concepts.

Openness may also create discomfort, dissonance, pressure, confusion, and knowledge overload. An excessive amount of empathy can result in burnout and lack of productiveness, the writer cautions. It’s subsequently necessary to know what are the drivers and limits of 1’s internal happiness.

The highway forward

It isn’t simply organisational variety, however social and psychological variety which are necessary for tomorrow’s leaders, the writer emphasises. Artistic capital is as helpful as social capital. This additionally requires being snug in troublesome conversations throughout the synthesis of intelligence throughout various communities and cultures.

“Fusion is totally different from residing two lives or having various pursuits,” the writer clarifies. For instance, TS Eliot was a poet and banker, and Franz Kafka was an insurance coverage clerk and author – however they stored these pursuits separate.

Fusion requires technology, not simply connecting. Creativity attracts from 4 roles: explorer, artist, decide and warrior, in keeping with Roger von Oech.

“Change into uniquely and intensely your self,” the writer indicators off. She asks: “As an alternative of fireside, why not create fusion?”

In sum, the insights and inspiration on this ebook can be worthwhile for aspiring entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, in addition to researchers and lecturers of innovation. It clearly reveals the worth and influence of the ‘entry, assemble and apply’ method to innovation.


The ebook is filled with inspiring quotes, and it might be becoming to finish this evaluation with the pattern under.

  • Creativity is simply connecting issues. – Steve Jobs
  • Innovation magic occurs at intersections. – Scott Anthony
  • Innovation comes from intimate data. – Jonah Gavrieli
  • Empathy is the engine of innovation. – Gary Hamel
  • Information speaks. Knowledge listens. – Jimi Hendrix
  • Actually progressive options to issues come primarily from the cross-pollination of disciplines. – Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • I be taught as a lot from painters about tips on how to write as I do from writers. – Ernest Hemingway
  • You don’t select your passions, your passions select you. – Jeff Bezos
  • The uninspired can’t assist you determine the unimagined. – Eddie Yoon
  • Probability favours the ready thoughts. – Louis Pasteur
  • Once you change the best way you take a look at issues, the belongings you take a look at change. – Max Planck
  • A map doesn’t simply chart, it unlocks and formulates that means; it types bridges between right here and there, between disparate concepts that we didn’t know had been beforehand related. ― Reif Larsen

YourStory has additionally printed the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a artistic and motivational information for innovators (downloadable as apps right here: Apple, Android).

OMG is consistently cementing what Social-First means, the way it positively transforms society over the long-term and most significantly, it have to be the business mannequin companies convert to. The ethics we reside by, form our values and tradition. We have now made nice strides due to the help we obtain from the general public.



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