READING PASSAGE 1
During the sixth and seventh centuries, the inhabitants of the modern-day states of Gujarat and Rajasthan in North-western India developed a method of gaining access to clean, fresh groundwater during the dry season for drinking, bathing, watering animals and irrigation. However, the significance of this invention – the stepwell – goes beyond its utilitarian application.
READING PASSAGE 2
EUROPEAN TRANSPORT SYSTEMS 1990-2010
What have been the trends and what are the prospects for European transport systems?
It is difficult to conceive of vigorous economic growth without an efficient transport system. Although modern information technologies can reduce the demand for physical transport by facilitating teleworking and teleservices, the requirement for transport continues to increase. There are two key factors behind this trend. For passenger transport, the determining factor is the spectacular growth in car use. The number of cars on European Union (EU) roads saw an increase of three million cars each year from 1990 to 2010, and in the next decade, the EU will see a further substantial increase in its fleet.
As far as goods transport is concerned, growth is due to a large extent to changes in the European economy and its system of production. In the last 20 years, as internal frontiers have been abolished, the EU has moved from a ”stock” economy to a ”flow” economy. This phenomenon has been emphasised by the relocation of some industries, particularly those which are labour intensive, to reduce production costs, even though the production site is hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away from the final assembly plant or away from users.
The strong economic growth expected in countries which are candidates for entry to the EU will also increase transport flows, in particular, road haulage traffic. In 1998, some of these countries already exported more than twice their 1990 volumes and imported more than five times their 1990 volumes. And although many candidate countries inherited a transport system which encourages rail, the distribution between modes has tipped sharply in favour of road transport since the 1990s. Between 1990 and 1998，road haulage increased by 19.4%, while during the same period rail haulage decreased by 43.5%, although – and this could benefit the enlarged EU – it is still on average at a much higher level than in existing member states.
However, a new imperative-sustainable development – offers an opportunity for adapting the EU’s common transport policy. This objective, agreed by the Gothenburg European Council, has to be achieved by integrating environmental considerations into Community policies, and shifting the balance between modes of transport lies at the heart of its strategy. The ambitious objective can only be fully achieved by 2020, but proposed measures are nonetheless a first essential step towards a sustainable transport system which will ideally be in place in 30 years‟ time, that is by 2040.
In 1998, energy consumption in the transport sector was to blame for 28% of emissions of CO2，the leading greenhouse gas. According to the latest estimates, if nothing is done to reverse the traffic growth trend, CO2 emissions from transport can be expected to increase by around 50% to 1,113 billion tonnes by 2020，compared with the 739 billion tonnes recorded in 1990. Once again, road transport is the main culprit since it alone accounts for 84% of the CO2 emissions attributable to transport. Using alternative fuels and improving energy efficiency is thus both an ecological necessity and a technological challenge.
At the same time, greater efforts must be made to achieve a modal shift. Such a change cannot be achieved overnight, all the less so after over half a century of constant deterioration in favour of road. This has reached such a pitch that today rail freight services are facing marginalisation, with just 8% of market share, and with international goods trains struggling along at an average speed of 18km/h. Three possible options have emerged.
The first approach would consist of focusing on road transport solely through pricing. This option would not be accompanied by complementary measures in the other modes of transport. In the short term, it might curb the growth in road transport through the better loading ratio of goods vehicles and occupancy rates of passenger vehicles expected as a result of the increase in the price of transport. However, the lack of measures available to revitalise other modes of transport would make it impossible for more sustainable modes of transport to take up the baton.
The second approach also concentrates on road transport pricing but is accompanied by measures to increase the efficiency of the other modes (better quality of services, logistics, technology). However, this approach does not include investment in new infrastructure, nor does it guarantee better regional cohesion. It could help to achieve greater uncoupling than the first approach, but road transport would keep the lion‟s share of the market and continue to concentrate on saturated arteries, despite being the most polluting of the modes. It is therefore not enough to guarantee the necessary shift of the balance.
The third approach, which is not new, comprises a series of measures ranging from pricing to revitalising alternative modes of transport and targeting investment in the trans-European network. This integrated approach would allow the market shares of the other modes to return to their 1998 levels and thus make a shift of balance. It is far more ambitious than it looks, bearing in mind the historical imbalance in favour of roads for the last fifty years, but would achieve a marked break in the link between road transport growth and economic growth, without placing restrictions on the mobility of people and goods.
READING PASSAGE 3
The psychology of innovation
Why are so few companies truly innovative?
Innovation is key to business survival，and companies put substantial resources into inspiring employees to develop new ideas. There are, nevertheless, people working in luxurious, state-of-the-art centres designed to stimulate innovation who find that their environment doesn’t make them feel at all creative. And there are those who don’t have a budget, or much space, but who innovate successfully.
For Robert B. Cialdini, Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, one reason that companies don’t succeed as often as they should is that innovation starts with recruitment. Research shows that the fit between an employee’s values and a company’s values makes a difference to what contribution they make and whether, two years after they join, they’re still at the company. Studies at Harvard Business School show that, although some individuals may be more creative than others, almost every individual can be creative in the right circumstances.
One of the most famous photographs in the story of rock’n’roll emphasises Ciaidini’s views. The 1956 picture of singers Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis jamming at a piano in Sun Studios in Memphis tells a hidden story. Sun’s ‘million-dollar quartet’ could have been a quintet. Missing from the picture is Roy Orbison’ a greater natural singer than Lewis, Perkins or Cash. Sam Phillips, who owned Sun, wanted to revolutionise popular music with songs that fused black and white music, and country and blues. Presley, Cash, Perkins and Lewis instinctively understood Phillips’s ambition and believed in it. Orbison wasn’t inspired by the goal, and only ever achieved one hit with the Sun label.
The value fit matters, says Cialdini, because innovation is, in part, a process of change, and under that pressure we, as a species, behave differently, ‘When things change, we are hard-wired to play it safe.’ Managers should therefore adopt an approach that appears counterintuitive -they should explain what stands to be lost if the company fails to seize a particular opportunity. Studies show that we invariably take more gambles when threatened with a loss than when offered a reward.
Managing innovation is a delicate art. It’s easy for a company to be pulled in conflicting directions as the marketing, product development, and finance departments each get different feedback from different sets of people. And without a system which ensures collaborative exchanges within the company, it’s also easy for small ‘pockets of innovation‟ to disappear. Innovation is a contact sport. You can‟t brief people just by saying, ‘We’re going in this direction and I’m going to take you with me.’
Cialdini believes that this ‘follow-the-leader syndrome, is dangerous, not least because it encourages bosses to go it alone. ‘It’s been scientifically proven that three people will be better than one at solving problems, even if that one person is the smartest person in the field.’ To prove his point, Cialdini cites an interview with molecular biologist James Watson. Watson, together with Francis Crick, discovered the structure of DNA, the genetic information carrier of all living organisms. ‘When asked how they had cracked the code ahead of an array of highly accomplished rival investigators, he said something that stunned me. He said ”he and Crick had succeeded because they were aware that they weren’t the most intelligent of the scientists pursuing the answer. The smartest scientist was called Rosalind Franklin who, Watson said, “was so intelligent she rarely sought advice”.’
Teamwork taps into one of the basic drivers of human behaviour. ‘The principle of social proof is so pervasive that we don’t even recognise it,’ says Cialdini. ‘If your project is being resisted, for example, by a group of veteran employees, ask another old-timer to speak up for it.’ Cialdini is not alone in advocating this strategy. Research shows that peer power, used horizontally not vertically, is much more powerful than any boss’s speech.
Writing, visualising and prototyping can stimulate the flow of new ideas. Cialdini cites scores of research papers and historical events that prove that even something as simple as writing deepens every individual’s engagement in the project. It is, he says, the reason why all those competitions on breakfast cereal packets encouraged us to write in saying, in no more than 10 words: ‘I like Kellogg’s Com Flakes because… .’ The very act of writing makes us more likely to believe it.
Authority doesn’t have to inhibit innovation but it often does. The wrong kind of leadership will lead to what Cialdini calls ”captainitis, the regrettable tendency of team members to opt out of team responsibilities that are properly their’. He calls it captainitis because, he says, ”crew members of multipilot aircraft exhibit a sometimes deadly passivity when the flight captain makes a clearly wrong-headed decision”. This behaviour is not, he says, unique to air travel, but can happen in any workplace where the leader is overbearing.
At the other end of the scale is the 1980s Memphis design collective, a group of young designers for whom ”the only rule was that there were no rule”. This environment encouraged a free interchange of ideas, which led to more creativity with form, function, colour and materials that revolutionised attitudes to furniture design.
Many theorists believe the ideal boss should lead from behind, taking pride in collective accomplishment and giving credit where it is due. Cialdini says:”Leaders should encourage everyone to contribute and simultaneously assure all concerned that every recommendation is important to making the right decision and will be given full attention” The frustrating thing about innovation is that there are many approaches, but no magic formula. However, a manager who wants to create a truly innovative culture can make their job a lot easier by recognising these psychological realities.