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Indian Institute of Management Prof on Indian innovation

Wednesday 5 October, 2011

The Indian Society for Training & Development hosted Abraham Koshy, a professor @ India’s top-rated business school, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedebad who essentially talked about people development. As a pure thoroughbred marketing person, Koshy co-authored a marketing book with noted Kellogg marketing guru Philip Kotler. Additionally he noted that great organizations require solid foundations of people. He sits on the board of directors of 1 of the top 500 banks in asset quality as chair of the HR committee.
He discussed 3 themes:
1. Inevitable competition
2. The requirement for innate competence
3. Individual growth & organizational growth are inseparable
The landscape in India is changing. There is no growth in western markets, so international brands are coming to India & building their manufacturing bases here. The competition is becoming intense & cutthroat. Technologically, tablet computers& “the cloud” are taking over desktops & laptops. End-user applications are changing as the value creation chain changes. The rate of change in the last 3 years is even more rapid than 10 years ago.
The marketplace has changed & now requires a different set of competencies. The environment was predictable before, but no more. There is a real need to “sense” customers & base decision-making on those predictions. 3rd party research & opinion polls are just cold #’s. We must read consumers minds. Competitive mapping provides the capability to plot brands vs. brands visibly & alternative consumer behavior too. Nokia once led the mobile phone market & has since slid. Android has overtaken Symbian as the operating system of choice for mobile phones. Organizations need a competency in adaptability, but how is it measured? Individuals must adapt for organizations to adapt. Re: innovation capabilities, academics are outdated in 2-3 months, so their methodologies are misplaced. There are generational differences. Today’s students are a different species. We need to innovate with students & incremental/linear innovation won’t cut it. Organizations are simply the sum of their individuals.
We must invest in our intellectual maintenance. In investing in individual development, we need to change from the routine to the creative without responsibility for the organization necessarily. Further, we need to move from the mundane on to significant things by transforming from doing to thinking. We must also strive to push daily to change our state of mind from mediocrity to excellence & transition from being followers to leaders. New students @ the IIM’s are inexperienced & don’t even know the theories, so there is an absence to sense. They simply look for data to confirm their biases.
So what do managers do? Assess market opportunities & pursue those opportunities.
Q&A

  • There are many tools to assess individual competence. Assessment centers can identify gaps & even map organizational competency.
  • Koshy objects to the term “emerging” economy when applied to India. When did India emerge? It will be producing markets soon too & no longer just with cheap labor. The collective performance of the economy has a macro feeling of which Sensex (India’s stock market) is no indicator.
  • Most Indian companies have struggled to innovate because they are shy of experimentation. They expect the force of change to start @ the top & work it’s way down, but actually markets change from the bottom up, so leaders don’t actually need to lead these changes. But for the masses to change, it takes time.
  • Organizations do change. Even @ Indian factories, now 20% of their workforces are women. Jobs & workrules need to be redefined & organizations redesigned. It’s easier for service organizations to change. Training & retraining are important. There is a leadership role in change & that is in communications.
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