Building Ideas – Finger-post of Management
“Old gives way to the New” – the adage says.
I was fascinated to experience the revelation in the context of Management Education which formally took its birth in 1961 in our spiritual nation.
There cannot be any Management Forum; Conference; Convention; or Workshop without the terms ‘Critical Thinking’, ‘Analytical Thinking’, and ‘Creative Thinking’ being bandied about for decades in supernumerary terms specially since the late seventies !
I vividly remember the national Convention in Vignan Bhavan in our Nation’s Capital sometime in the mid 80s where I had the opportunity to speak about the changing facet of Management Education & Training arising out of the multiple disciplines, approaches, and perspectives laying open our concerns. It was ‘experimentum crusis’ for curriculum designers specially. I was just being baptized in the nuances of design in a small measure. It was like the first letter ‘O’ in ‘opportunity’ for me from the last letter ‘O’ in ‘zero’. I opened my book of propositions with three specific strategies that I learnt in my days as student in college : (a) Framing Questions and seeking answers (from Socrates’ teaching methods); (b) how to think imaginatively; and (c) how to think creatively. Believe me ! Despite the faculty repeatedly discussing these again and again, nowhere did anyone think of using the word ‘Management’. I used to term it an “Academic Precinct” then. The faculty spontaneously embraced those words as it signified a division within some boundaries. The boundaries of human Capabilities in this instance. But they were still branded as ‘old school education’ by experts and analysts even in those times. They were all part of Arts Education, was the dominant view they held. Little did anyone realize (faculty included) that the three frameworks will occupy an advanced and more critical role in our Business Curriculum in the later years and convention after convention the discussions will center around them . I also added that this framework prevailed on the students to sport a broader outlook to the problems on hand and to think holistically even while breaking the problem(s) into elements to lessen complexity. By the nineties it has become a Paradigm Shift. It was also felt that a fusion of the old with different perspectives drawn from different disciplines giving way to a new framework will be the answer to how curriculum could be redesigned in Business Schools. Till then all the management’s sacred lines touted :”Building Great Businesses from Great Ideas.” Fusion of the Old with the new perspectives of Analytical and Critical thinking gave way to the new sacred lines in : ” Building Great Ideas in the First Place.”
“Mobile wave”; “Big Data”; and “Cloud Storage” and the likes of newer developments bear strong testimony to “Building the Ideas” and ‘e-nabling’ a new way of life itself for all of us. Today’s generation (and every one of us in this gathering) will always stand proud of such brilliant minds as Bill Gates; Steve Jobs; Jeff Bezos; Larry Page; Watson; Sergy Brin; Elon Musk and the likes of them WHO MADE IT HAPPEN .
One Chief executive Officer of a mid sized manufacturing organization raised a pertinent question in the discussion that ensued. He asked me if I knew of any University practicing it to perfection in the World. I couldn’t give a direct answer but I did manage a near approximation. It was then Web was spreading its wings in many activities of our lives giving a tectonic push to the Business Models and Practices. Art and science of Building Models was in its infancy and Management imbibed the TOOLS so effectively to frame new Courses. This will only catch up with every University/Institution competing to make a mark in future and that will be good for the discipline as well as the practices it affords. And time will deliver the judgement. My answer was pithy and to the point. As we now see in this second decade of the new millennium, the developments have been mind boggling and a fair, just and well-grounded JUDGEMENT is seen clearly in the Horizon of education. The convinced Chief Executive Clearly nodded his head in Approval. I couldn’t have felt more happier even with pennies from heaven !
The Conference recommendations also carried the same view. This definitely was the beginning of the Fusion of “Art, Science and Management” which in later years was to expand the horizon of newer adoptions from every discipline without exception. Management Education has turned a new page.