Reimagining India: MIT Sloan’s Prof. Yasheng Huang

India is known globally for the rise of its information-technology and software industry. Yet in this video interview, Yasheng Huang, a professor of global economics and management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and essayist from Reimagining India: Unlocking the Potential of Asia’s Next Superpower Simon & Schuster, November 2013, warns the country against becoming too dependent on those sectors. He argues India’s potential will only be realized if the country develops its manufacturing and services sectors, which requires labor-market reforms and significant investments in both education and social services. Without those, India will not only face growing social inequality but could also jeopardize its pipeline of college-ready students critical to the high-tech industry.

via Reimagining India: A conversation with Yasheng Huang | McKinsey & Company.

Indian Court Issues Warrant for Porsche C.E.O.s Arrest –

An Indian court has issued an arrest warrant for Matthias Müller, chief executive and chairman of Porsche, the German carmaker, and eight other executives from the company.

Another case of German high-handedness where they show little respect to Indian partners, knowing they can rely on their legal system to side with them.

Whether the arrests will happen or not, this action by the Jaipur court is a strong signal that Indian companies have come into their own and will not allow themselves to be walked all over.

Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Matthias Mueller, chief executive of Porsche, posing inside a 911 sports car, at the company’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany on Jan. 9.

via Indian Court Issues Warrant for Porsche C.E.O.s Arrest – Continue reading “Indian Court Issues Warrant for Porsche C.E.O.s Arrest –”

“Oh, so you think rape is okay …”

Pics from DNA

Incredibly lucid views by Ranjeev Dubey, summing up the goings-on in Delhi in response to the horrific gang-rape of a 23-year old physiotherapist on 16th December, 2012.

“Sunil, I think I said this on Twitter.

ONE, The violence against women on the street is only an extension of the violence in our homes. You can’t fix one without fixing the other.

TWO, in the specific case, these were criminals. To call them rapists is to mislead those responsible for dealing with the law and order challenge of an understaffed overworked police force permanantly subject to political pressures to say nothing of their obligation to provide security to these same politicians.

THREE, between the bizarre nature of popular reaction, our lumpen polity and our perverse political classes, existent or aspiring Kejriwal and Ramdev, every genuine protest will get hijacked unless we manage it very well which requires urban elites to be leaders, not those reeling under anger management issues.

FOUR, popular anger does start revolutions but careful analysis and the moulding of solutions creates new societies. It’s absurd that our urban elites should lead street protests. Who will now mould the solutions and drive change: the illitrates?

FIVE, the extreme inequities in our society encourges disempowered men one of them to do terrible things to women sometimes, it is one of us which is when we react, otherwise we let it go with the usual sympathetic noises and platitudes. Of course when one of us does terrible things to one of them, then it’s only some women trying to make money from one of us. We cannot create a new society without introspection and a fundamental change in our own attitude.

SIX, all this said and done, what has happened to this girl is terrible and unforgivable. Indians being a bit emotionally fragile as we are, the general reaction to anyone asking for a more nuanced and intellectually refined approach to public issues is then accused of promoting the opposite. In this case, it would be: “oh so you think it was okay for her to be raped, etc etc”.”

A reminder for us to exercise restraint and keep our animal instincts in check, whether in perpetrating crime or protesting against it. Moderation is what we need as we step into the New Year.

Ranjeev is an old friend and a good one at that. He’s also the guy that recently rocked the boat with his second (maybe third) book, Bullshit Quotient. A must read!

I cannot emphasize enough that “popular anger does start revolutions but careful analysis and the moulding of solutions creates new societies.”

It’s such a shame to see the age of unreason gripping the educated intelligentsia. Your helplessness is manifesting in your call for instant justice. The anger is justified but the means are not. Restraint doesn’t mean we’re giving up … by all means keep the intensity of emotion alive. An eye for an eye is not the Indian way.

Reminder that is the land where Buddha attained enlightenment and Gandhi won freedom. Ahimsa in thought, word and action. Happy 2013!

1. Stop Rape NOW – sign this petition by Namita Bhandare

Of Godmen & GUIs

The ‘Fast-unto-death’ theatrics of the past few weeks, allegedly (sic.) in a fight against corruption in India, have urged me to finally bring this article out of my closet. I wrote it fifteen years ago, almost to the day, for frogdesign‘s rana#3, a brilliant in-house publication that they shelved inexplicably. 

Godmen were around those days too, (their business model hasn’t changed) snaring people into their spiritual concoctions and exploiting India’s superstitious side. GUI was a term almost nobody had heard then. We in India still speak out the letters, not ‘gooey’ like the rest of the world does. Read it, like it, hate it, keep it, share it. Here goes …

India, at the end of History …

… is mystical and hi-tech.  Impoverished and affluent. A billion-strong society in a pulsating state of chaotic equilibrium. Cows and cars share city streets.  Superstitions abound and Godmen flourish.  We will show our palms to people who promise a peek at our destiny, or say they can chant away a terminal disease. We have much to learn, but the world can learn a great deal from us …  Continue reading “Of Godmen & GUIs”

Innovation 101 – The Jugaad phenomenon

This post is meant for those of you who have set up automated alerts for the new magic word ‘Jugaad’, the most fashionable innovation thread about India these days. Several innovation ‘gurus’, management experts, authors have latched on. The common thread – they’re mostly based in the US and are of Indian origin. The more equal of us. Keith Sawyer calls it a ‘fad from India’ and that’s exactly what  it is.

Business Week* reports on a management fad from India, that goes by a Hindi slang word, jugaad (say joo-gaardh). It means “an improvisational style of innovation”. It’s “inexpensive invention on the fly”. It sometimes has negative connotations, like cutting corners. The idea is that it doesn’t have to be perfect or fancy; it’s just good enough to satisfy immediate needs.

>>*See the comments at the end of the article.

Don’t be fooled – Jugaad is jugaad and innovation is innovation. Jugaad is a dangerous mindset – you heard right, a mindset. You ‘fix’ things by simply putting together bits and pieces, never mind that they don’t fit or that the final product is unreliable, unsafe, whatever. When something goes wrong, you can always use the excuse of not having time, resources, skills, etc. After all you did achieve ‘cheap’, didn’t you.

Maruti Gypsy 2020?

Continue reading “Innovation 101 – The Jugaad phenomenon”