Innovation 101 – Cost vs. Quality. Deuce.

To me it doesn’t matter whether India will be able to maintain its cost advantage. What does is sustainable and long-term value as a combination of cost and quality. In my view we are seeing the end of the traditional benefits of outsourcing. In whichever way customers were disguising their need to leverage lower costs, the only reason for outsourcing was cost arbitrage. We have seen that gap closing especially in the case of Indian talent. Squeezing benefit from outsourcing purely on a cost basis is clearly the last remnants of Industrial age thinking, which besides all other untenable factors, seems to think of human beings as alternatives to machines. I suggest for this reason alone, that we delete ‘outsourcing’ from business lexicon.

Joel Delman, Los Angeles design director for Product Development Technologies(PDT) points out

Having already gained the lion’s share of  manufacturing work, countries like China and India are now focusing on building  their capabilities in the innovation and design phases of product development.  While some may dismiss the seriousness of this trend, we’d be naive to believe  that the United States has a monopoly on a creative workforce.

(read Cost vs. Quality: The Dangers of Outsourcing Design Overseas) Continue reading

What do Birth control and Literacy have to do with Climate Change

The Pioneer plaque.

Image via Wikipedia

Now that you’ve fallen prey to my catchy title, don’t be fooled – the connections are not so remote as they appear at first glance. For those who have guessed, don’t spoil the fun.

Going by all known accounts, research information and the seemingly urgent political summits on the horizon – no points for guessing – climate change is being caused and accelerated only by one single species, humankind. So if stricter birth laws could be enforced, less human beings would be allowed to come into our planet and therefore would do less damage. (This would not hold if you included investment bankers and Nobel economists as being a part of humankind).

Here’s a sample from my proposed enactment
“The Birth Control and Literacy for Climate Change Act, 2009”.

Article 12: Whereas the minority religions of the world seek to remove all obstacles (including, but not limited to, the outdated institution of marriage) for bringing into this world;
(a) by conscious,  unconscious or accidental act of momental ecstasy, and

(b) performed between two or more persons of same (Section 377 of IPC) or opposite sexes; and  

(c) through physical or artifical means,

such an occurence may be permitted a maximum of 2 times in the lifetime of each of the persons involved, jointly or severally without exception.

And as for my literacy angle, it’s simple enuff … really! Continue reading

Paulo Coelho’s Counterpoint to my take on Climate change

Over the weekend, my wife was reading my last blog post [Climate Change Bollywood Ishtyle] and, at the same time, Paulo Coelho‘s – The Winner Stands Alone. I suspect she may have been hoping against hope that his literary talent will rub off on me through her! And guess what, she suddenly found herself reading about his take on climate change. Synchronicity? Disbelievingly I listened as she read out the following lines that, Coelho – through one of the central characters [Hamid] – professes. His take is quite the antithesis [counterpoint] of my view. It cannot be too good for my ego to even consider such a course but there’s something in there that’s worth a closer look. I have reproduced the lines here …

Paulo Coelho's latest book

Saving the earth? How can we be so arrogant? The planet is, was, and always will be stronger than us. We can’t destroy it; if we overstep the mark, THE PLANET WILL SIMPLY ERASE US from its surface and carry on existing. Why don’t they start talking about not letting the planet destroy us?

Hamid Hussein, The Winner Stands Alone

I know this sounds crazy guys, but I can’t help agreeing with him. Sorry Mr. Ego, you’ll have to eat humble pie this time!!

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Climate Change Bollywood ishtyle

Kyoto Protocol

Image via Wikipedia

Let’s use the standard Hindi movie formula of circa 1980 to script our earth’s climate story. Enter Superstar  US. The virtuous, street smart, Robin Hood inspired protagonist of our story, replete with his coterie of jazz dancers. And then there’s the poor guy, India. Always trying to emulate the “hero” and competing with him for the “herione’s” attention in college settings. Let’s throw in some masala – subplots, love triangles and the very popular song and dance sequences – with the extras doing their own thing while they dance in the third row.

Quick Gun Murugan

Now compare this with whatever we’ve been seeing in the Climate Change discussions. See the script accurately playing itself out? (Nobody seems to want to ask mother Earth for her point of view). Call it clairvoyance or just plain sensitivity, some of us have been seeing it coming since the mid nineties. Even we couldn’t have guessed the speed of deterioration, although fully knowing the bounty hunter tendencies of the US, we should have been able to. Easily. Shame on us!

Some simple facts from Prem Shankar Jha’s Tehelka article, An Earth On Edge.

1. Till as recently as five years ago, abrupt climate change was on the unthinkable fringe of possibilities predicted by climate scientists. In March 2009, 2,500 scientists from 80 countries assembled at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen. The congress concluded that the findings of the IPCC were out of date. The evidence collected since its fourth report was compiled showed that global warming was ceasing to be human-induced and was becoming self-reinforcing. Continue reading

The oxymoron called Political Innovation … or America goes bald!

bald-erdashI am at my hairdresser’s last weekend and request him to blow dry my hair. He looks at me quizzically and says, “Sure sir. But …”, he goes and points me to the mirror,  “you’ve run out of raw material. Hair!”. I look disbelievingly at the bald pate of the guy in the mirror. Shucks, I go to myself. The last time I gave myself the luxury of looking in the mirror, I had a thick mop. Where had it gone? And when?

I am immediately reminded of what’s been going on in the US the past few months – bailout, stimulus packages, printed money … whatever … and I go back to asking –

What are they trying to blow dry when there’s no hair left? Where’s the money?

Get my drift? When was the last time you looked in the mirror? Ever noticed that the US has gone completely bald? It can’t help if all they want to do is to wear a wig. They won’t be able to fool others, only themselves.

Here, see what Dr. Michael Hudson has for us.  Like you guys say – “Hey Mr. President, this ain’t no rocket science!”

More Links:

1. Obama’s Choice – Save the Economy OR Save the Bankers
2. The Crisis of Credit visualised – great visualisation
3. Printed Money, Gloom to Doom – My post of 18th Feb, 2009.
4. Political Leadership & Monetary Morality – Orrin Woodward’s blog post of 17th Feb, 2009.