We are coming to the end of our 21 days of Cynefin, and we are now on the last stop of our tour. In this session, we sit down for a chat with our friends from ThoughtWorks China.

With me on this session are Xiao Ran, who is the Head of Innovation, and David Wang, who is the Lead of Digital Technology Strategy. In our chat, we discuss how the manufacturer of the world is managing innovation and complexity. We discuss everything from how the One Belt, One Road initiative that will radically transform the face of global trade has implications on China’s need for greater enabling constraints with regional partners, as well as how Chinese technology companies are pivoting – from TikTok, to Douyin. During the corona lockdown, old grannies in remote farming districts famously took to TikTok to market their produce; and Douyin is a result of a pivot from a reality television programme on HipHop in China, and has now become a content app with 600 million subscribers.

The famous phrase that many have utilised to describe small safe-to-fail experiments, and how we function in complexity: “Cross the river by feeling the stones” originated from a famous speech by the Architect of Modern China, Deng Xiaoping, when he described China’s reform and opening-up (改革开放 pinyin: Gǎigé kāifàng). Deng has also become an interesting example for Asian leadership schools who are trying to teach young leaders how to lead without authority. He famously surrendered all his titles during the period of reform, and retained only one: “President of the Chinese Bridge Society” (he really enjoyed the game of bridge).

Please join us in our last stop on our Around Asia with Cynefin tour. I hope you had fun!


Banner image courtesy of Unsplash.com

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