What better to do than to record or give an account of some of the latest events that must have caught the eye of many in this world ? I just present below the two important events – as I see – since Sep 15 to Oct 15. Forgive me, if I have not mentioned any other event that remains close to your heart and I accept and respect everyone of them.
1. Dr Raghuram Rajan took charge as the Reserve Bank Governor of India on Sep 4 in turbulent times amidst huge expectations. He announced his “BIG INITIAL PACKAGE” on 19/20 Sep which received accolades from many Quarters of our Economy. Here are some excerpts from the Package :
(a) Shift in focus from inflation control to boosting growth; (b) Primary role of Central Bank is MONETARY STABILITY to sustain confidence in the value of Rupee; (c) Strengthening monetary policy framework, financial stability, financial inclusion, NPAs; (d) RBI to take steps to reduce SLR and introduce greater regulatory & supervisory control over domestic operations of Foreign Banks; (e) Freedom to banks to open branches without RBI permission; (f) Raise overseas borrowing limit of 50% of unimpaired Tier I Capital to 100% for banks; (g) Reduce the requirements for banks in Govt securities in a calibrated manner; (h) Enable foreign banks to set up wholly owned subsidiaries; (i) Panel of experts headed by Bimal Jalan, former RBI governor, to screen applications for NEW BANK LICENSES to be issued from January 2014, mostly; (j) Examine introduction of interest rate futures on overnight interest rates; (k) Enhance limits for exporters to rebook cancelled forward exchange contracts (50%) and open a special concessional window for swapping foreign currency non-resident (FCNR) deposits and dollar funds; (l) Introduce cash settlement in 10 year interest rate future contracts to develop the money & G-Sec markets; (m) resumption of stalled projects; (n) Attract funds from overseas by subsidizing hedging costs for banks making it easier for exporters/importers to hedge currency risk; (o) Liberalize markets, Lift restrictions on investment.
(2) Nobel awards ( $1.2 m; handed out since 1901) are being announced since 8th of Oct 2013. Here are the winners :
(a) Physiology & Medicine : James E Rothman; Randy W Schekman & Thomas C Sudhof for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells.
(b) Physics : Francois Englert; & Peter Higgs for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the Origin of mass of Subatomic particles.
(c) Chemistry : Mark Karplus (Harvard); Michael Levitt (Stanford Univ); and Arieh Warshel (Univ of Southern California) for developing Computer models that can predict chemical reactions for use in creating new drugs and other tasks.
(d) Literature : 82 year old Canadian author, Alice Munro, – “Master of the Contemporary Short Story” chronicled the lives of girls and women before and after the 1960s Social revolution including “The Moons of Jupiter”, “The Progress of Love” and “Runaway”.
(e) Peace : The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the investigation and enforcement arm for a 1997 treaty banning the use of Chemical weapons, – for its mission planning the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles and facilities in Syria, the most recent nation to accept the arms-control accord.
(f) Nobel Economics Prize ( to be announced yet, even as I post this) may go to Yale’s Robert J Shiller – a longtime favorite. He wrote a prescient book, “Irrational Exuberance” about Stock market in 2000 and followed it up with a second edition in 2005.
P.S. (The above is not complete and exhaustive. I intend to make this a weeklyy/monthly column with some interesting notes added. Need the blessings of everyone.)
“Dieu avec nous”
P.S. It is now 4.45p.m (IST). Economics Nobel just announced : Eugene Fama, Lars Hansen, and Robert Shiller win the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for their “Empirical analysis of Asset Prices.” “There is no way to predict the price of stocks & bonds over the next few days or weeks. But it is quite possible to foresee the broad course of these prices over longer periods, such as the next three to five years.”
I am not a tech savvy hipster designing or operating any cutting edge Tech gadget(s) but a ‘simple user’ of the now narcissistic “smartphone” that those tech savvy live through usually 24×7 for 365 days each year. It has raised the heat of Competition not just among the users of devices but more so among the ‘makers’ of those devices. The nearly half decade war between two dominant players in the category – Apple & Samsung – reels off unstoppable lessons in Management, Marketing, Design, Innovation and Retail all the time. I am neither an expert nor an enthusiast of Apple or Samsung but just a kibitzer in the sense of pointing details in an as is where is basis. Below is an abridged account of a diegesis ( for a gathering I presented a year and half ago) I trace here ex animo without taking sides or arguing the toss when that was made at the end.
1. Apple only thinks of lucrative new uses for other peoples’ ideas :
– Original iPod would not have been possible without TOSHIBA’s innovative 1.8″ hard drive ;
– iPod based on MP3 (creative RiO MP3) and not invented by Apple;
– Gorilla Glass (2006) – Steve Jobs learned of this and convinced Corning Inc. to revive the largely unused tech, so Apple can put it in iPhone.
– Palm, Pocket PC, showed up much before iPhone;
– Prada by LG showed up a year before iPhone;
– UI is the Nokia UI of 10 years ago – except that images are high resolution and better;
– Apple’s GUI idea is from PARC, Xerox and delivered a better, usable, efficient option to consumers;
– Apple also took the idea of Tablet PC from Microsoft which developed it in 2001 – 2002 but did not succeed in ‘Marketing’ it; In 2010 Apple came up with iPad from same idea.
Apple Family : iPod; iPad; iPhone 3G; iPhone 3GS; iPhone 4; iPhone 4S; iPhone 5; iPhone 5S 7 5C.
Samsung has Great meaning and experience in Electronics : Samsung always thinks what the phones embody.
Samsung Family : Galaxy Note; Galaxy Tab; Galaxy Tab 10.1; Phones : Galaxy S 4G; Galaxy S3; S Aviator; S Blaze; S Relay, Captivate; Continuum; Droid Charge; Epic 4G; Exhibit 4G; Fascinate; Galaxy Ace; Galaxy Prevail; GalaxyS9i9000); Gem; Gravity; Indulge; Infuse 4G; Intercept; Mesmerize; Nexus S 4G; Replenish; Transform; & Vibrant.
Samsung also supplies iPad; iPhone Flash memory; Main memory; & iPhone Application Processor as it has Business Partnership with Apple.
2. Steve Jobs’ utterances at different times : “We have always been shameless about stealing Great ideas.” (1996);
“I am going to destroy Android because it is a stolen product.” (2011).
“I don’t always steal shit. But when i do, I sue the inventor.”
3. In 2001 Apple was issued 10 design patents;
In 2001 Samsung was issued only 8 design patents.
In 2012 Apple was issued 160 patents;
In 2012 Samsung was issued 500 patents. (Samsung’s R&D investment is fortified)
Samsung has more 4G LTE patents than Apple maintaining a lead on this clearly.
4. Software & Hardware Integration Ecosystem of Apple (iPhone) is UNIQUE;
Software & Hardware Integration of Samsung lags behind Apple;
Apple’s mix of High Tech and High Touch is again UNIQUE;
Apple’s Brand Equity is Strong;
Apple satisfies the customers’ subconscious need(s) effectively all the time;
Apple’s credo : “Educate and Entertain – Enriching Lives.”
5. Apple’s iPhone can be described by a host of adjectives to make the owner proud : “Magical; Glorious; Beautiful; Heavenly; Revolutionary; Mystical; Gorgeous; Life-changing; Soul purifying; IQ enhancing; and the like.”
Many others have the following to say in praise of owning an iPhone :
(a) I got promotion at work;
(b) Neighbors idolize me;
(c) Strangers permit me to cut Queues;
(d) I get good discount at shops;
(e) I get preferred seating at sporting events.
SAMSUNG : Samsung’s naming process goes through stringent legal reviews;
Cultural and religious meanings of letters/names in other countries/societies evaluated thoroughly. “W” means Wonder; Phone is balanced between style & performance; “Y” means Young; Phone is chiefly intended to cater to Emerging markets and younger audience. “M” means Magical; High performance with economic price front. “R” means ROYAL/REFINED; Only Premium category models.
Samsung’s “S” is a product; Samsung owns the intellectual Rights; It is also a positioning statement in marketing terms; the letter is representative of what Samsung thinks the phone embodies; “S” is ‘Super Smart’ and is given to flagship devices only; “S” is also an excellent e.g. of Branding taught in management schools.
Samsung conducts “Extended Brainstorm and Evaluation process”,
(5 to 7 weeks) in SIX phases to select a name.
Samsung won “International Design Excellence Award” from Industrial designers’; Society of America in 2012. These constitute the pride of Samsung Phone owner.
In pirlicue, (finally), this for all : I have heard many say that the three main tasks that most people want from a phone are (a) to make calls; (b) to receive calls; and (c) to send messages. They also say that economy is a major point of consideration. For an equivalent model one has to draw more from the wallet for Apple’s iPhone.
Will you make your choice now or toss the coin ? “caveat emptor”
“buon giorno; buona sera”
Speaking of TRANSFORMATIONAL changes evolving from Tech advances in FUTURE has always been a fascinating experience for me. I am a big believer in Technology in every sector of human endeavor. Here I shall touch upon the Central point of Health Care.
I am delighted to cite here Four major advances in the recent past that will have a major impact on our longevity and improve our overall health outcomes.
1. Soon to come with a bang !! “ELECTRONIC SENSOR EMBEDDED IN A PILL.” Once it reaches the stomach the sensor draws its power from BODY FLUIDS making it self powered. No batteries needed. Uses WIRELESS TECH. Astounding ! This is not all. The device sends a signal that checks the ID and timing of drugs in the patient’s system. Can also collect other data such as Heart Rate, Body Position, and level of activity. Extremely useful for Diabetics. It can send an alert to the Doctor or loved ones (near and dear) as a safeguard for skipping the medicine that keeps them alive.
Breakthrough Tech performing at Breakneck Speed & Efficiency.
I am not kidding. “PROTEUS DIGITAL HEALTH Inc” is the Originator.
2. Darwin Evolution through Biochemistry : Burckhard Seelig, Team Leader of Seelig Lab Biochemical Research from the University of Minnesota has created a brand NEW ENZYME.
This is not routine Biochemistry – Observers opine and rave.
Seelig says that the substance resembles those that would have been on Earth billions of years ago when Earth just began to emerge.
No computer modeling in this work. Just a big batch of proteins to see how they form the building blocks of life. He terms the process “DIRECTED EVOLUTION.”
Refer : http://www.cbs.umn.edu
3. A research team at John Hopkins has for the first time IMPLANTED a device into the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient. It seems to cause DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION. It works like the pacemaker used in heart. In 2013 (before this year end ) about 40 patients will receive this implant under a FEDERALLY FUNDED trial. This is a novel, neoteric, & newfangled avenue to ENHANCE the function of the BRAIN MECHANICALLY.
Many may be aware of similar device(s) to cure Parkinson’s Disease received by over 80,000 patients in the last 15 years in U.S.A. alone.
So, this brain implant is a PROMISING and real value NEW TECH !!!
4. “A Universal Flu Vaccine made from Synthetic DNA.” – I sound whacky, isn’t it ? Far from it really !!
Ask the CEO of “INOVIO PHARMACEUTICALS Inc. (NYSE: INO) – Dr Kim – and he’ll give a smirking smile.
Everyone thinks that vaccines are grown in chicken eggs as in the 1930s. That is outdated, says Kim. He adds that it is much more safer to develop a new class of vaccines using ‘Synthetic DNA.’ Better still, with this one can vaccinate himself/herself against HIV; Cervical Cancer; Leukemia; & Hepatitis, soon into the future !!!
Kim avers, “Vaccines as a whole throughout our recent history have saved more lives than any other human invention.”
But most of the vaccines our kids take are developed 40, 50, or 60 years ago. He compares the scenario to watching a black and white TV. Synthetic DNA is different. It is pure DNA formulated in water. No Chemicals; No Additives; No Preservatives. THE DELIVERY MECHANISM IS ALSO unique. He calls it “ELECTROPORATION.” Injection coincides with an electric pulse. Cell membranes open up. Accepts DNA instead of fighting it. This is the “secret sauce” , he emphasizes. Trials on 500 people are over. Success spells/vouches for safe procedure and technology. Approval from FDA ? No one is ready to hazard a guess. May be even far into the future.
Since last October/November when info spread, his company’s share increased 30%. Could it go further ? One does not know.
I raise the questions which I raise often with new arrivals :
(a) Is it feasible or scary ?
That is it for now. And my chase will continue.
Good Luck and God Bless.
” bon ami “
I am a novice in the subject of Computer Science ( or by any name you may call this game changing discipline) , but that doesn’t stop me from adducing as proof the following -three- problems for the well initiated to ponder/solve. I place this here from the little nous I developed in this area during my research analysis years ago. But these are today’s problems and real.
1. Fact : You may all know that ALMOST 50% of all the Equipments that Companies in MATURE ECONOMIES purchase are “COMPUTER EQUIPMENT(S).”
Inference : So it is logical to conclude that it will increase the scale of IT Financial Expenditure. Again it is logical to infer that this will IMPACT the FINANCIAL PROFILE of the Companies.
Objective : How the Companies/organizations can combat this increase in expenditure even while sustaining or increasing their effectiveness and profits ?
Ideation : What will be the ‘mindset’ of the companies with “Big Analytics” as a key parameter ?
2. IT Process Automation : A few months ago (this year) I learnt that “ITPA” and “BRMS” are the hot buttons in the field and HP’s tactics and best practices for planning, developing and monitoring the ITPA strategy helped reduce costs and complexity. Rave reviews at a time when HP was slipping badly and urgently needed a strong boost (Boost Drink ? pun intended ) to overcome their slippery trajectory. It did improve since then although it is still to match its earlier highs. Worth making a story of resurrection !
3. What solution to this problem ?
– I am the CEO of a mid sized business that is close to my server end of life. My servers are almost fully depreciated.
– I have 150 end users who use e:mail and shared drives for client business. Storage of data is important.
– Much of my data is confidential. So I am in urgent need of security.
– I desperately need reduction in infrastructure expenses.
– I also need good performance and reliability.
What solution (easy though) . Also need evaluation of the pros and cons of the same.
P.S. It is a clear ‘ignore’ if not relevant; and a clear ‘Slainte!’ if beneficial.
” a bientot “
Previous History : At the end of a national Convention on Education in early 2000 I was among the group of organizers preparing for the next Convention a year from then. In the ensuing discussion, I pointed to the advent of “Computerized World” accelerating the pace of the transformational role in ‘Teaching & Learning’ process in Institutions of Education & Training. I added, ” Change beckons special expertise,manpower and infrastructure. The evolving challenges posed to the Educational Administrators, Faculty and Students are complex calling for fresh thinking and approaches. I suggested that the planned Convention should reflect the notion of GOOD-BYE TO THE OLD – Book (Print) learning of the last 500 years – and WELCOME TO THE NEW formats of storage,retrieval & interaction ON-LINE.” Everyone remained obmutescent for a moment.
Being all ears, Mike Oleson, the scatterbrained representative of the multinational firm that was an active promoter of the just concluded convention, solicited a tete-a-tete with me for his work on this issue. I was happy and apprehensive – happy that it was a big opportunity & apprehensive whether I can do real justice. Was it my talk in the just ended convention? Was it the fetichistic charm I exhibit in such an environment usually? Was it to test my knowledge & wisdom? I wondered. I consented nevertheless. We got on with the task immediately and detailed below is part of that :
Mike Oleson : I couldn’t be more excited to speak to you and you should be too.
Raja : Thanks. Glad to be with you.
MO : Please tell us what you see as the main change in the NEW system from the OLD.
Raja : The main change is the shift from ‘stable’ to ‘moving’ information. In traditional culture the info that stays the same is the KING. We read, memorize, and write from that. In the new culture it is the changing pattern of info – i.e. the most recent info; the one we seek to know; the one for which we are ready to pay that matters. Educationists and Administrators have to come to terms with this reality. One has to search for info, critique the info, and to make available changes that occur periodically. It is not unchangeable. It is just transitory.
MO : What is your opinion of the transition in the system for faculty or students ?
Raja : In the old system the teacher is regarded as the omnipotent, omnipresent, & omniscient (pun unintended) know-all on the stage passing the info. In the new system there is no distinction between teacher and learner OR expert and greenhorn. Both are participants. It is a mind-blowing transition. It is cyber education. The CRUSERS (my term for Creative users) will interact; do their own things; in their own time; at their own pace; with little control or order.
MO : Are there any trends you are tracking now that readers may like to know?
Raja : So far, students have been flocking to the university. Now the institutions will have to compete for students. Students will enjoy wide range of choices before them. More courses; Distant mode; Short/long-term; degrees in e:mail; on-line courses from prestigious institutions from the Globe. Education will be creative. The implication(s) will be – a huge reduction in the number of teachers; a huge increase in computer staff.
MO : What will be the nature of changes in the role of the faculty ? How will they need to adapt themselves to the new role?
Raja : It will be computer competence and not just computer literacy that will be the essential requirement. Every student will have a ‘personal digital knowledge system’. Faculty who once could be found in the library, staff/study rooms; preparing lessons or writing notes will have to create scripts; develop software; design/devise interactive games; or even deliver performance in studios. Adaptation to change will be the new “mantra”.
MO : With students having personal digital system and facility of access even in home environment, what opportunities you see unfolding ? What is its significance ?
Raja : We now live in a multimedia world. Future classrooms will witness a highly social environment; where students will be easily larking around; drinking coffee; even eating while working. These will become more common. New subjects will evolve. New forms of knowledge, study, critique, evaluation; Hypertext; computer games will emerge. Assessment will also see a significant change. Students’ “Interactive Competency” will soon become a key part of the assessment. What was transparent will become open, visible, and even subject to reflection in the new system.
MO : Finally, What kind of investment is essential to drive this form of education? What are its broader implications?
Raja : Administrators, faculty and students will have to function in a completely electronic environment. Everyone needs to be innovative too. Yes, it will need huge investment in infrastructure primarily. Courses have to be Global in nature; Quality needs to be guaranteed; Prices need to be competitive. “Education Industry” if I may use the term, will be an amazingly creative one with almost every country in the world participating in a decade or so from now. These are special times calling for special responses. We will also find educationists; computer specialists; artistes; and even media personalities forging alliances and transforming the very elemental composition of institution(s) in education. Education will be UNIQUE !
MO : Your views are quite stimulating, inspiring and revealing. Thanks for joining me, Raja.
Raja : It has been my pleasure.
“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.
Bon – ami !!
If the words of Churchill – “Blood, Tears, Toil, & Sweat” – stirred the blood of the Allies to face the enemies physically in the thirties, it is the Electronic Marvel (Internet of everything) that drives every knowledgeable man today to face the Zettabyte centric information explosion. Even while transforming our capabilities (the way we work, live, play, pray,buy, sell, till, plough etc.) it makes a Bigger impact in changing all the decades old TENETS & PRACTICES we held so far with such ease as never dreamt before. I remember my days in college when the word “e” used to be associated with Economy, Energy or Environment. Today it is all pervasive and is the most favored, most used, and most liked letter of ‘prefix’ for any activity. Everything is “e” now; ‘e-Commerce, e-Payments, e-Filing, e-ticketing, e-Governance, e-tailing (Retail) and the like.
I stated that this Electronic Marvel changes the tenets we have been holding for eons. Let me cite just three cases here to substantiate what I said :
1. During my primary school days whenever I am caught (by my parents) doing petty misdeeds or pestering playfulness causing annoyance the standard and familiar ‘toco’ used to be to get locked up in a room for a few hours with no lights; no water; no bed; no chair or table; no fan or any source of comfort. A real punishment in those days. But, if any family head wants to lock up his/her child for a similar misdeed today, the child will only be too eager to get into the room on his/her own. The child sure is aware that every room in the house has a nice bed; chair/table; Fan/AC cooled; computer/laptop; smartphone with Wi-Fi connection; and even a small fridge with enough edible food. Forget the aversion and unwillingness of today’s parents to even think of punishing the children they hold as their asthore(s).
It was, “Children, Obey your parents” then; and it is, “Parents, Obey your Children” now. Hail Technology and its way of changing the tenet.
2. “It is easier said THAN done” used to be the oft-quoted pithy maxim when any process of implementation seemed impossible. With today’s Marvel in our use it can easily be substituted by, “It is easier said AND done.” All one needs to do is to assemble a small cabalistic caboodle and give them the e-Tools of Benevolence OR Chicanery (as the case be), ask them to focus on the task; and ‘YES’, you (we) have changed the TENET before anyone can say Jack Robinson. Marvellous; Incredible; Amazing – One has only to look for FB monopoly of single words to describe the change ! (Benevolent High Net Worth transactions; Faster Communication; Building machine parts; .. OR .. Hacking; Other Cyber crime; Surveillance; glitches causing financial or even social turmoil and the like.)
3. It used to be “An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor away!”. It then became, “An Onion a Day keeps the Doctor away!” and now; Believe me! Our technological Marvel is trying to further modify it to, “A bit of Scorpion Venom a Day keeps the Doctor away!” You don’t have to pinch or flinch; “YES”; You read it Right; It is “VENOM from the STING of SCORPION”. A Seattle based BioTech firm is in the final stages of creating this. Initially it is expected to deliver LIGHT to some CANCER patients. It is only time before this tenet undergoes change. What change this will be !!
Let me conclude saying that these are not exhaustive but just some examples of how our ‘Tech Marvel’ breaks the mold and changes the long-held beliefs instantly. We are in a e-World now. Everything will ‘e-Ventually’ be ‘e-Vailable.” Huh.
Dieu avev nous !!!
Year : 2006. Place : Capital City of the State that is now on the threshold of getting bifurcated. Venue : Reputed Institute offering UG & PG Courses in Engineering, Technology, Management, and Arts. Current Trend : War on Retail takes the City by storm with big expansion plans of Organized Domestic Retail Players. Gathering : A mix of Graduate Students and Industry Executives from all over the nation. My Role : As one of three Speakers I had the privilege of addressing the Gathering with the specific intent of voicing opinions favoring FDI in Retail.
The Apex Industry then, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, (Assocham) had just endorsed Domestic Players in Organized retailing allowing 49% FDI in a calibrated manner. Also, they requested for 2 to 3 years to consolidate themselves to face competition from external players effectively.
The First Speaker dealt with the Bureaucratic hurdles faced by the Domestic Players, and emphasized that the enhanced Capital Cost pulled the domestic players down. He also spoke on Industry infrastructure falling short of expectations. In a nutshell, his narration centered around impediments to the growth of retailing in the State.
The Second speaker began his narration with a laudatory account of the India Inc. and the vista of opportunity before them coming to fruition now; need to develop a state-of- the- art supply chain infrastructure across the country; the different nature of services that they can engage in; and the various segments that the retailers can form to gain market share. He also made specific mention of the different players who’ll possibly roll out various formats in the hub and suburbs of the City.
It was my turn now and I decided that before professing I should get a firm handle on the mindset of the audience. I posed a direct Question to this effect to the audience : “Whether they viewed foreign participation in Organized Retailing as threatening the unorganized retailers ?” About 84% responded in the affirmative; 11% opined that they didn’t think so; and 5% did not have any opinion. I realised my task to be challenging to contend with in the face of those set in conflict; and pronto, I shifted my diegesis to the “Tech & Strategy” factor(s) where we are perceptibly short. I now badly needed to turn the tide in my favor to score my point.
About the strategy I adopted now: I first didactically oriented their outlook to the Retail Business in different parts of the World. Apodictically made them perceive the need for Collaboration with external players in Tech and Strategy initiatives. Once they got into my groove I started posing the following questions to them in an attempt to elicit their points of view.
First, I mentioned that “Tech has caught up to innovative ideas in every Business.” referring to the manufacturing/automotive/aircraft/energy & exploration and the like with examples. Everyone yielded and said, “Yes, Agree.” I said, “Retail will also witness a similar trend soon.” and Round One I Won.
Second, I mentioned that, “Tools enabling that have also begun n to grow on a rapid pace in every Business.” referring to the engines/pipes/Composite materials/software controls and the like with examples. Everyone agreed this time too with,”Yes, Agree.” I said,” It will be so in retail also soon.” and Round TWO I Won.
Third, I mentioned that “the above two put a greater need to get most out of them in every Business,” referring to the input-output dynamics to keep the business above water. Everyone agreed again with, “Yes, Agree” I said, “So will retail see a similar trend.” and Round Three I Won.
Fourth, I mentioned that, “Value, Strategy, & Process structuring occupied dominant positions in every Business.” referring to the stores structures/value for customers/ ritzy retailing and the like with examples. Everyone agreed with, “Yes, Agree.” I said, “So will it be in retail too.” and Round Four I Won.
Fifth and final, I mentioned that, “Every Country wishing to be bracketed along the developed nations embrace wholeheartedly all the above features.” referring to and reiterating all the sequence for the benefit of Retail Business. Everyone agreed with, “Yes, Agree” I said, “So also is our Nation and our Businesses, Retail included, to be bracketed along with the Best.” and Round Five I Won.
I summed it all up with the inescapable Future Trend where we’ll move towards a “Cashless Society” with more tech-based innovations; less Banking Intermediaries making the adoption of best practices from anyone, anytime, anywhere a NECESSITY. FDI is a step in the direction of this Transformation of Retail Business. This will make us win in a canter by earnestly gaining our spurs. Apagogically, I also showed them that by not engaging with the foreign players how we will concede our edge to them and let them occupy the Box Seat.
I closed my session shooting the same question I put to them in the beginning, “Whether they viewed foreign participation in Organized Retail as threatening the unorganized retailers ?” I saw almost all hands raised up with a firm, “No”. That it took just a little more than an hour to effect the CHANGE/TRANSFORMATION was extremely gratifying to me. I must confess here, honestly, that I didn’t expect the Change to be so sudden and convincing when I began. My joy knew no bounds and I could sense the glee and mirth in the face(s) of the Organizers too. My Strategy of “posing Questions and seeking Answers” paid off handsomely in the end. I also remained vindicated as a Management Expert with a judicious mix of Logic; Intuition; & Commonsense.
I am a Conservative basically and I felt happy that I can say something convincingly in support of FDI in Retail. Another lesson learnt in my LIFE through sheer Practice.
Albert Einstein’s famous Quote: “Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination.”
Einstein could not have been more accurate, absolute and actual in his assessment of the relationship between computers and human beings. Let’s try to advance this prediction in today’s context. I humbly submit this. Will the ‘varying velocities’ of the massive impetus that Tech advances help forge the way we live, work, and relax since his departure from this world make him change his assessment of the relationship today ? YES. If Einstein were to be alive today he will go a step further and add that “COMPUTERS and HUMAN BEINGS will BLEND TOGETHER.” Here’s why it could be so:
Tech advances in terms of 3D Printing (including tissues); Synthetic Proteins crossing the Blood Brain Barrier to stimulate thought, innovation, and memory; Computer chips implanted in brain and body to elevate Physiological functions; Agile robots with tissues and synthetic chips interacting on an even keel with human beings; – all these will make the FUSION of COMPUTERS and HUMAN BEINGS not just POWERFUL but take away all the COMMAND, AUTHORITY, and RULE enshrined in the Universe.
Can I say more ?
India is set to elect its next leader about eight months from now. Aspirations and expectations of the people are mounting. Their hearts and minds are filled with new Hopes and Dreams. Consistent with the newfangled enthusiasm and loads of information, quite unlike on many earlier occasions, Indian citizenry looks for a Leader with an innovative streak and a strong ‘work ethic’ this time. They also want in him/her lots of energy even if he/she lacks the natural authority. The playing field on the ground, however, presents clearly the following three characteristics : (a) Good leaders are becoming harder to find; (b) Engaging the diversity of people is becoming more challenging, testing one’s power and capabilities to the full; (c) Leading Change and Uncertainty in the present environment is getting intricate and confused.
Aspirants (candidates), though, are growing in numbers by the day. In this scenario, how an aspirant differentiates himself/herself from others will only make him/her stand apart to reach the winning post. What ‘yardstick’ citizen(s) should hold for the aspirants should also be clear to all. Here’s may take, just a skeletal framework without details :
Every leading aspirant to the Supreme Leadership Position of this Greatest of all Nations, INDIA, should pronounce a “Single Transformational Change that his/her team will set and achieve to position India Globally as the Leader in any specific sector, say, Technology & Innovation; Health Care; Education; Energy; or Defense with a clear road map of Vision, Goal, Objectives, Policies & Procedures, and Action Plans ” and lay it before the people. This will be the manifesto.
Should the elected leader fail ( for whatever reason) at the end of his/her term in fulfilling the promised Vision, he/she should be prepared to quit Politics, and lead his/her life as an Ordinary Citizen in a village inhabited by less than 2000 individuals for the next Five Years (as will be decided by the electorate/citizens of India) subjecting himself/herself to abide by the very laws the concerned party had enforced on the people during the term. This condition will be part of the oath he/she takes during his/her inaugural.
Every Indian Citizen should make this the “yardstick” for voting in favor or otherwise of the candidates in the Election process. This measure of capabilities shall remain sacrosanct. Let this not be dismissed as impossible. Remember, “Nothing is impossible for a willing mind; though a lot can be difficult.”
In about 25 years India will become a Real Superpower; and this constitutes our VISION 2040.