Archive for December, 2011


managing diversity panel discussion @ the National Institute for Personnel Management of India conference

Thursday 22 December, 2011

I was invited to moderate a panel discussion on Managing Diversity @ the National Institute of Personnel Management conference in Visakhapatnam, India.  I would have liked to have summarized it, but I was too busy moderating to take any notes.  So instead, here are 3 of the 4 presentations that were given:

  • mine, to introduce the topic ManagingdiversityinIndia
  • an examination of managing across cultures by P. Naresh Kumar, Director of people & culture @ Vestas managingacrosscultures
  • a different look @ managing diversity by Ananda Kumar Raju, Director of Human Resources @ Air Liquide Managing diversity
  • P.K. Joshi, Executive Director (HRD) of HPCL in Mumbai gave a presentation more focused on managing diversity in India, but I havent’ been able to get his presentation.

I’ve received some good feedback about the panel discussion.  If you have something to add, feel free to chime in.


managing diversity in Germany & India

Tuesday 20 December, 2011

I was recently invited by the National HRD (Human Resource Development) Network on the occasion of their Silver Jubilee celebrations to speak, & chose to talk about Managing Diversity-a cross cultural comparison between Germany & India.  I would report on it, but I was too busy talking to take notes.  Here’s the presentation, if you are so inclined:  Managingdiversitycrosscultural .  This was great preparation for my upcoming blog post.


the challenge of gaining world class university status

Friday 16 December, 2011

A Professor V.S. Prasad visited GITAM (where I teach) to discuss the Challenge of gaining world class university status.  There’s been a fair amount of discussion of this topic in the press lately.  For a country with the resources the size of India, 1 would think that India would have more universities recognized as world class.  Here’s how that could happen.

He 1st likened lecturing to continuous learning, then quoted Confucius stating, “When you aim high, you achieve the average.  If you aspire to no more than average, you land @ the bottom.  If you seek no more than the bottom, you end up with nothing.”  Philip Altbach says “India is a 21st century contradiction:  a world-class country without world-class education.”   Forbes lists 2 Indians in it’s list of the top 10 richest people on Earth, but none of the 1 or 2-ranked Indian schools listed in the world’s top 100 universities.  India does have the largest number of poor in the world.

Prasad broke his talk down into 3 areas:

  1. Why aspire to become a world-class university?
  2. What are the attributes of world-class universities?
  3. What are the pathways to become a world-class university?

1.  There are imperatives to develop knowledge, become globally economically competitive, create social transformation, & enhance learning.  There are 570 institutions of higher learning, 15M students, & 500K teachers in Andhra Pradesh.  But basing education on the profit motive is not the path to becoming a world-class university because the objective is profit & not fulfillment & achievement.  Universities should serve society for the common good.  There should also be a synergy between industry & the national interest.  There is also a relationship between knowledge creation, industry, & society which should lead to personal satisfaction which serves the public interest.

2.  Altbach says, “Everybody wants 1.  Nobody knows what it is or how to get 1.”  In 2009, the World Bank named complementary sets of factors to evaluate world-class universities:

  • concentrations of talent in terms of staff & students
  • resources in the learning environment & for advance research
  • governance-vision, flexibility, & the right economics

Many rankings exist, but how do we know when we’ve reached world-class status?  Malaysia fell out of the top 100.  There is the issue of teaching vs. a research focus, which implies a language factor, i.e. does only research in English count?  International student populations are ideally 18-25% of the student population.  International faculty should be 25-30%, but there are few in India.  Such universities should have:

  1. a clearly stated mission & values
  2. development of programs by its stakeholders
  3. infrastructure
  4. leadership idea centers
  5. quality systems for continuous improvement

3.  To become a world class university, schools should focus on all around development opportunities for all aspects of life with multidisciplinary faculty with no focus on any 1 area.  Their interfaces should enrich life.  The dynamic systems of universities should resolve contradictions & conflicts.  Universities help understand the universe & make human beings more humane.  External factors are the social context/the level of development; the role of government is to set a policy framework & provide funding to the student base through grants & loans; private initiatives.  Internal factors are leadership/vision; a strategic plan; a quality culture that is the defining element of all activities.

Caution:  Given a world-class university or the democratization of excellence, you need the latter to build the former.  To upgrade existing universities requires unlearning existing cultures & building anew.  Perhaps building new world-class universities works better.  Policies & the social context are interrelated.  There is another danger in that there are no results in the distortion of public resources-competition is required.

When the president of Harvard was asked what it would take to build a world class university 100 years ago, his reply was supposedly, “$500M (a princely sum then) & 200 years.”  It requires autonomy for the colleges-too much regulation leads to collective consciousness.  Universities need to be clear about their purpose.


Indian ministry of defence R&D opportunities

Monday 12 December, 2011

Dr. S Sundaresh of the Indian Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) gave a talk @ GITAM (where I teach) on opportunities in research & development with DRDO. He talked about 3 things:

  1. national r&d services
  2. an overview of DRDO
  3. academic interactions with DRDO

1.  India’s growth trajectory is 9%, fueled by the IT industry which is capturing world markets.  Investments in economic reforms are adding to industrial growth & employment.  An emphasis on manufacturing is enhancing exports.  But many of these exports are service-oriented & not producing new products.  Foreign companies are investing in design centers which are creating 3D modeling programs for UK firms, etc. for example.  India must be a leader to sustain this growth.  There are 6 industries where India has the potential to lead in new technologies:

  1. nanotechnologies
  2. bio-technologies
  3. robotics
  4. cyber-security
  5. energy
  6. space

2.  Ideas taken to DRDO often start @ universities as the seeds of ideas, such as UAV’s (unmanned  air vehicles) & LCA’s (light combat aircraft) in aeronautics.  DRDO works with 40-200 partners on these programs.  In electronics, they’re 3D CAR (control air radar).  They have 3 labs in naval systems for sonar.  They’re developing a number of missiles, such as AGNI & NAG which can carry 1-ton warheads & have ranges of 700-5K km.  They also work in materials, demand systems (tanks), & engineering systems (bulldozers, modular bridges, UMV’s (unmanned vehicles), URV’s (unmanned repair vehicles), & ROV’s (remote operated vehicles).  They even have created snow models to recreate avalanches.  DRDO’s partner ecosystem requires finances, domain knowledge, & established facilities, which includes research universities, industry, & users.

3.  DRDO has a directorate which deals with academic institutions for intellectual property rights issues.  Between 2006-11, they’ve had:

  • 20 directed research areas
  • 180 institutions involved
  • 350 ongoing projects
  • 250 PhD researchers
  • 150 crore Rupees funding
  • 10 patents filed
  • 2K papers published

They have 6 ER programs & 2 centers of excellence.  Their thrust (pardon the pun) areas are:

  • AR&D (aerospace) -1400 projects
  • NRB (naval)-198
  • LSRB (life sciences) -238
  • ARMREB-(armaments) 136

In sum, DRDO has lots of needs for R&D & there are lots of opportunities there.  India has had far fewer articles published than China.  The 19th century was Europe’s.  The 20th century was America’s.  The 21st century will be India’s.