Thursday, September 29, 2016

Six Sigma Workshop Sept’16

Mr. Mukesh Nauhar, Black Belt Champion from Indian Statistical institute, undertook a White Belt Six Sigma Workshop for INLEADers recently. During the workshop, he explained in great details the importance of 6 Sigma and shared examples of companies that have been using this quality tool for successful execution of their multiple projects. 

The session was very critical for students, especially since a lot of them have already been introduced to TQM and the various tools used. An introduction to 6 sigma opens their eyes to quality management.

The session commenced with Mr. Nauhar introducing students to the concept of total quality management. He then took them through various quality tools that are used in the industry like Lean Management, Just In Time & of course, Six Sigma.

During the workshop students got to know that, Six Sigma states that there cannot be more than 3.6 defects in a million opportunities. This implies that teams that want to incorporate this tool in their project execution strategy need to ensure that their team members are properly trained in statistics and have undertaken certain exams. This concept then brought Mr. Nauhar to talk about the various belts that a 6 sigma certified professional needs to have. The first being Green belt, followed by Black and then Master black.

He even showed many videos that highlighted the importance of 6 sigma and delved into greater details on the importance of the same.

The session wound up with a test that was taken by the students, and clearance of the same provides students with a White belt certification. 

Is WAR the answer?

It’s been over a week since the Indian Army Camp at Uri was attacked by Pakistani terrorists, and what has followed since is a situation of warmongerism across the country. There is tremendous amount of anger in India, specifically on social media; it possibly seems too easy for many to be simply sitting in the comfort of their living rooms, introspecting if the nation should go to war with Pakistan. The real standing question is: Could India and Pakistan really go to war?
After all, both countries have long been nuclear powers - a deterrent that encompasses the lives of a combined 1.4 billion people. And yet, hours after 18 were killed in an attack on an army base in Indian-administered Kashmir, the Director-General of Military operations for the Indian Army announced that the terrorists carried gear which had "Pakistani markings."

The allegation released a gush of fury on social media. "Pakistan is a terrorist state and it should be identified and isolated as such," tweeted Home Minister Rajnath Singh. This was followed by Bharatiya Janata Party's General Secretary  - Ram Madhav, who took to Facebook: "For one tooth, the complete jaw," he posted, implying a disparate retaliation.

On India's many TV news channels, a steady drum-beat calling for war gained momentum, reaching a crescendo of sorts in primetime. Arnab Goswami, the host of the country's most-watched English News Hour, expressed rage at Pakistan: "We need to cripple them, we need to bring them down on their knees." One of his guests, Retd. Gen. G.D. Bakshi went a step further: "We must be seen as inflicting punishment on Pakistan by non-terrorist means ... the nation needs a catharsis (cleansing)!"

The other side of the border has really taken this as a grave threat. The following excerpt from Washington Post’s news article on September 22 highlights the same:
“Military officials are calling it a routine exercise, but the thunderous spectacle of Pakistani fighter jets touching down on a major highway Wednesday and Thursday, with commercial flights suspended and traffic blocked for hours, has fueled public speculation that something much more ominous is afoot.

 The air exercise led to the closure of commercial airspace over several regions of the country and triggered a sudden drop in the nation’s stock market.”
Ground realities

It's easy to get carried away by the public rhetoric we're seeing. Uri attack is not the first deadly attack on Indian soil that New Delhi has accused Pakistan of having a hand in. While Indian officials continue to link those attacks to the Pakistan government, Islamabad has consistently denied any involvement. In each of these terror attacks, and others like them, there have been calls for a strong Indian response. According to an interview to CNN by the strategic affairs editor of Business Standard – Ajai Shukla, who is a former Indian Army Colonel, "When it makes decisions, the (Indian) government is guided by realities, not by a public outcry. They realize that if they attack Pakistan, it does not play out in India's favor. One also cannot ignore the fact that Pakistan has the 11th biggest army in the world. We're in a symmetrical relationship, the consequences of any form of attack are far worse than people realize."

As recent as last night, India has conducted surgical strikes along the LoC, which is being considered as a response for Uri attack. According to the Army, surgical strikes were based on specific intelligence input of terror groups ready to infiltrate into India and carry out terror attacks.“Significant casualties have been caused to terrorists and those trying to shield them. We don’t have a plan to further conduct such strikes. India has spoken to Pakistan,” DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said. 

- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty, Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hospitals- Go Green!

Gone are the days when hospital used to have a deadly atmosphere and an unpleasant odor being a pre-requisite of patient getting more ill during the course of treatment. With rapid development of technology, consumer awareness increasing to greater extent and hospitals taking a social responsibility of protecting environment and patient, Green Hospital concept came into being.

A green hospital is one that aims to be environmental friendly, utilizes renewable resources, reduces waste by implementing green practices and enhances patient well-being. The concept of a green hospital was perpetuated a few years back by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) through the release of their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for building construction. It works on the principle of the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. These hospitals are very innovative and reduce the emission of carbon to a large extent. Although the initial cost of construction for green hospitals are high, it has a long term effect in reducing energy cost by 20-40% and water saving upto 35-40%.

Hospital planning companies should plan and design hospitals in such a way that they maximize the utilization of day-light rather than artificial light. One of the critical factors to be considered is improving the quality of air by using an air sterilizer and certain species of plants, which absorb pollutants. Gardens and parks provide aesthetic beauty, increase patient delight and enhance their well-being thereby helping them feel better faster. Implementing various tools like lean management and Six Sigma would help in reducing waste.

Kohinoor Hospital, Mumbai is the first Platinum Rated Green Hospital in India. Many others have also come up to follow green concept in the past few years, such as Asian Healthcare, Matushri Monghiben Ramji Savla Hospital and Research Centre, Max Balaji Hospital, Fortis Hospital, Continental Hospitals Ltd, Lazarus Hospitals Ltd, Govt. Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College & Hospital, ESI Hospital, Medica Hospitals Pvt. Ltd.

As per Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), introducing green concepts in the healthcare facilities can help address National issues like infection, epidemics, handling of bio-medical waste, water efficiency, energy efficiency, reduction in fossil fuel use for commuting, consumer waste and in general conservation of natural resources. Most importantly, these concepts can enhance patients' health, recovery and well-being.

Hence, it can be rightly said, Green Hospitals are not future oriented but the only sustainable thing.

- Mr. Anurag Bora, Student, INLEAD 

Frothy Tales

Picture this… Buzzing club, people queuing up, huge steel casks, busy team members, pulsating music, animated conversations and the desire to quench that thirst…what are the options? Plenty is the answer, while H2O still remains the most popular thirst quencher. While an array of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic is available, beer continues to be the favorite among many.

There’s been a huge drift in how the good old bottles have transformed it from bottles to breweries and even microbreweries today. While there’s a wide variety of beer, it’s also found that if consumed in moderation, it has certain health benefits. After tea, beer is the second most popular beverage in the world. In a beer enthusiast’s expression it is also referred to as Adam’s new ale. Beer can be one of the most intricate and diverse drinks with a wide variety of flavors; it can taste like lemon or smoke, coffee or coconuts, banana or chilies. It can be earthy or acidic or it can be bitter or aromatic.

Indian Background

India’s association with beer goes back to the Vedas, which has a mention a drink similar to beer called as Sura, it also has a mention in Ramayana. Megasthenes, a Greek explorer has recorded usage of rice beer from his visit to India during the Maurya’s empire. Traditionally beer in India was prepared from rice or millet. India was introduced to European beer in the 18th Century. The first brewery in India was set up in Kasauli in 1830 by Edward Dyer; they produced beer by the brand ‘Lion’, which is still available. The brewery was bought over by H.G. Meakin and in 1967 was renamed as Mohan Meakin Breweries.

Current Scenario

It has expanded momentum during the last decade in India. It’s a lifestyle choice, which was considered frolicsome couple of years back. According to a report by NIIR project Consultancy Services titled India Beer Market – Industry Size, Share Trends, Analysis and Forecasts till 2017, suggest that though the IMFL dominates the alcohol industry, beer has been able to make its mark and its presence. A consumer nowadays looks at alternative from whisky and beer perfectly fit the bill. India is a huge market for beer and that explains the breweries springing up all over the country.

The Indian consumers today do not mind spending extra bucks for a good ambience and great beer, just as they would do for a cup of coffee. There are close to 300 establishments that sell imported beer and currently stand at 3-4 lakhs cases annually and are growing at 40 – 50% every year. In the last 18 months India has seen entry of around 35 brands. Half of the Indian beer market is controlled by UB group, SABMiller, which markets Fosters owns another 30%.

Keep watching this space for more, as I discuss more insights and upcoming trends from the brewery industry.

-Ms. Bindu Menon, Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rise of the Non-Executive Chairman

“Historically boards operated as friendly clubs, with everyone in each other’s good book. Not anymore”, so says MK Sharma, Non-Executive Chairman of ICICI, who has previously been the vice-chairman of HUL…..Economic Times, 22nd September 2016

Who is a Non-Executive Chairman?

Every organization has a Board of Directors (BOD) that directs the affairs of an organization on behalf of the shareholders and hires the executive managers. The Board approves or rejects proposals from executive management. The entire Board selects a Chairman. Technically the Chairman supervises the CEO. This is primarily to facilitate better decision making, most of which has to be for the welfare of shareholders, or rather of their investment. Not much, however, was expected from the Chairman. The CEO (Chief Executive Officer) would present plans and proposals to the BOD, but was empowered enough to move ahead with all major and minor decisions.

The Non-Executive Chairman of the board, by virtue of the fact that he/she wasn’t occupying a management position in the company, had little to contribute. Things, however, started to change after the early 2000s’ corporate, and especially the Enron, fiasco that left companies bankrupt. The United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission thereby, increased the legal liability of Boards and that of Chairmen. The same is now increasingly being followed by companies across the globe.

The New-Look Chairman

R. Seshasayee, CEO, Infosys, says the role of Chairman (who is not a CEO) is changing from that of a non-playing captain to that of a coach.

And rightly so, especially by virtue of the fact that they have decades of experiences that does make them wiser and knowledgeable. Their role has increased from just being a guide to that of being a philosopher, an ethical and legal watchdog, a mentor as well as that of a captain providing critical leadership and direction to the Board. They are expected to manage conflicts of interest and deal with them constructively. They now look into the organization’s succession plan as also participate proactively in all short term and long term plans of the company.

In many ways, the new age chairman represents true shareholder interests. They question decisions of CEO and advise them when required. They are facilitators and keep negativity at bay. They ensure that the Boards’ views do not demoralize the executive, and strive to build a great partnership with the CEO.

So, instead of the choice of a Chairman being the result ofsome long lasting camaraderie with other Directors of the Board, companies now yearn for the true coach who does not always provide solutions but engages in discussions to arrive at the viable solution.

Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman, Bank of Baroda says, “Many companies are facing disruption. The environment is different from 5 years ago. As a result Boards can no longer be passive and be in the thrall of a CEO.”

A non-executive Chairman, with the increased respectability, thus becomes liable for all wrongdoings of the company concerned, and therefore needs to exercise absolute due diligence.
Companies across the world are hailing the arrival of a new leader and hopefully we will be witness to better corporate governance and increased social responsibilities.

- Ms. Monica Mor, Sr. Faculty, INLEAD 

Monday, September 19, 2016

INLEADers @ Ambience Mall, Gurgaon

INLEAD recently facilitated an Industry Visit for the International Business Management students of Jul’16 batch to Ambience Mall, NH8, Gurgaon, in order to provide them a greater understanding Organised Retail, Mall Management and Zoning of stores in a Mall.

The mall is spread over 13 lakh square feet of space, and is often known as the 1 Km Mall. Ambience is a large real estate group with diverse realty interest like luxury residence, commercial towers and organized retail.

The visit to Ambience Mall, Gurgaon commenced around 3:30 pm, when the students where first asked to get a feel of the mall by just loitering around. Around 3:45 pm they were taken around the mall by the Mall Manager who started his tour from Gate No.1, also known as Zara atrium. He then took them for a guided tour across all floors, explaining to them in great detail the layout of the mall and the zoning of stores. They were made aware of the popularity of Mango store and therefore the naming of the frontage around the store as Mango atrium. Thereafter they were guided across different floors, and explained the unique aspect in each floor and the major anchor stores that help bring footfalls into the Mall.

Post the two hour guided tour, students then congregated at one of the Mall management office’s conference room for an interaction with the GM, Mall Operations. He handled all queries students had regarding every aspect of the mall from store location, to security management to parking requirements. Overall, students came out well versed with the detailing that goes in mall operations and store locations.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

River Cauvery in the eye of storm

#CauveryCauldron #CauveryProtest are just a couple of hashtags trending since the 12th of September. Miscreants or maybe even political workers have stepped on to streets and have set the city on fire. Vandalism has always been a part of any political dialogue that comes up regarding Cauvery dispute. A river that would be honoured to know that two states are fighting over it, but completely ashamed when she knows how!!

So what’s the Cauvery dispute all about?

Historically the dispute dates back to the British era. In 1924 an agreement was reached when Karnataka, then known as the princely state of Mysore reached an agreement with Tamil Nadu, then known as the Madras Presidency. Mysore was permitted to build a dam at Kannambadi village to trap 44.8 thousand million cubic feet of water, and let the remaining flow into the neighbouring state. The agreement was valid for 50 years and was supposed to be revisited. However, the two states were unwilling to accept the agreement and soon after independence, they took the dispute to Supreme Court. Karnataka wanted changes in the clauses of agreement after 12 years of independence, but Tamil Nadu wanted the agreement to last till the allotted 50 years, i.e. till 1974.

In the 1970s, Cauvery Fact Finding Committee found that Tamil Nadu’s irrigated agrarian land proportion had increased from an area of 1,440, 000 acres to 2,580,000 acres, while that of Karnataka stood constant at 680,000 acres. The water demand for Tamil nadu especially for irrigation increased multifold, but Karnataka refused to part with more than allotted, else there would be shortage of drinking water for its people. Karnataka is India’s second most arid state after Rajasthan and therefore extremely dependent on monsoon. Every time monsoon fails in the state, which it did this year, there is water shortage and this dispute erupts like volcano.

The way out of this dispute

SC’s solution which it provided by ordering Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs was modified to 12,000 cusecs over 15 days was apparently unacceptable to Kannadigas who then went on a rampage plundering public property in Bengaluru on the 12th of September’16.

The solution to water shortage has to be dealt with scientifically and not in the unruly manner that has unfolded in the city of Bengaluru. Buses being burned in a depot, trucks with TN registration plates being vandalised, young boys being attacked for their biased FB posts; all this is manifestation of a society going intolerant. Of course violence by miscreants can be controlled by the police force, but it wasn’t visible, and therefore what’s apparent is the political link to hooliganism. However, all of this remains a speculation unless politicians come together to find a rational solution.

Until then this dispute will fester like an old wound whenever one state is ordered to release water and the other one demands more so.

- Ms. Monica Mor, Sr. Faculty, INLEAD 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The festival of Eid-al-Adha (Bakra-Eid)

Eid-al-Adha also called the “Feast of sacrifice” is celebrated by Muslims worldwide each year. In the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid-al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. The word ‘Eid’ is found in al-ma’ida, the fifth sura of the Quran meaning “Solemn Festival”.   On this day All Muslim families, friends even the enemies come together & celebrate. They make especial lunch and late breakfast. They wear neat and clean clothes & celebrate Eid-al-Adha by giving gifts to each other as a token of love. They help the poor by giving money, food, sweetmeats and clothes in the name of zakath.     

The story of Ibrahim’s sacrifice

There was a man named Ibrahim known for deep faith in God and God also had immense faith in him. Ibrahim and his wife Sarah did not have any children. So, god promised to both of them that he would soon bless them with a child. After many years when Ibrahim was 100 years old and his wife almost 90, God fulfilled his promise and Sarah bore a son in her old age, at the set time God had told them. Ibrahim named his son, Isaac.

After many years, God tested Ibrahim (Abraham) by asking him to go to the land of Moriah; and kill his son for an offering upon one of the mountains. Subsequent day, Ibrahim woke up early in the morning, loaded his donkey, and took two of his two young men with his son Isaac and set out for the place God had told him about. His wife, Sarah had no idea about it. After three days, Ibrahim came upon the place. He asked both servants to stay with the donkey, and proceeded with his son to the sacred place.

When they reached the place, Ibrahim built an altar and arranged all the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, then took a knife to kill his son. At that very moment angel Jibra’il (Gabriel) of Lord called out to him from heaven and asked Ibrahim to not kill his son. They believed then that his faith in God was insurmountable. Ibrahim then looked around and in a bush saw a ram (Sheep). He then took the ram and sacrificed it as an offering instead of his only son.  The meat of ram was then divided into three parts, the family retained one third of the share, another third part was given to relatives, friends and neighbors, and the remaining third was given to the poor and needy.  

Eid celebrations

Muslims have thus been celebrating Eid all over the world since the time of Ibrahim’s act of sacrifice. They too on this day sacrifice ram, lamb, goat, sheep, cow, buffalo or camel just like Ibrahim did. They respect this pious day when Ibrahim (Abraham) was willing to sacrifice his only son, as an act of submission to Lord’s command.

Mr. Ravi kanth
Student, INBM

Jul’16 batch, INLEAD    

FICCI - HEAL Conference 2016

Indian healthcare sector is estimated to reach $280 bn by 2020. However, unprecedented demand due to demographic changes and disease patterns calls for a complete re-engineering of India's healthcare. The FICCI HEAL conference aimed to shift focus to re-engineering India’s Healthcare and also focus on innovation. The conference provides a platform for industry members to come together and deliberate on emerging trends and strategies. The ultimate goal is to move closer to provision of universal healthcare.

In order to keep our Healthcare Administration students abreast with the changing healthcare scenario of the country, INLEAD arranged for them to be a part of the FICCI HEAL conference 2016. The two day conference was extremely enlightening for students as they got to listen to a large number of business heads in the Healthcare sector.

The conference commenced with an opening session by Ms. Shobha Mishra Ghosh (Sr. Director, FICCI) which was followed by other members of FICCI.

Mr. J P Nadda(Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare) was the keynote speaker and he talked about giving importance to Healthcare system rather than Hospital care System and also National Indicators should successfully address both Communicable and Non-Communicable diseases.

Directors from Eminent Corporate hospitals like Max, Apollo, Fortis, Columbia Asia, P.D. Hinduja and other delegate members (Prof. Stephen D. Sisson, Ms. Sasa Bozic, Mr. Matthew Eliot, Dr. Peter Bauer) were present and panel discussions were conducted on important and emerging issues of Indian Healthcare.

‘Triple Aim or a Triple Threat’ by Prof.Stephen D.Sisson talked about increased Patient Satisfaction and Outcome with decrease in cost of healthcare. This was followed by a talk on Organ Donation by Dr.(Col)Avnish K.Seth) which  was a real eye-opener about the statistics of number of donors required in India.

Panel discussions were focused on important topics like re-engineering Indian Healthcare, Emerging Power of the Healthcare Consumer, Human Resources in Healthcare – Challenges and Solutions, Emerging Financing Models in Indian Healthcare, Technologies driving new models in Healthcare , unlocking India’s potential as the Emerging Hub for Healthcare Start-ups and Role of Innovations in Healthcare.

Towards the end of the two-day conference, INLEADers came back with truckloads of knowledge and a refreshed enthusiasm to do something concrete and meaningful in their field. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

2016 Paralympics: Spirit in Motion

The Paralympic Games, a major international multi-sport event, governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), involves athletes with a range of disabilities, including impaired muscle power (e.g. paraplegia and quadriplegiamuscular dystrophypost-polio syndromespina bifida), impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency (e.g. amputation or dysmelia), leg length difference, short staturehypertoniaataxiaathetosisvision impairment and intellectual impairment. The Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, start in 1988 as Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, are held almost immediately following the respective Olympic Games every four years.

This gaming event that started as a small gathering of British World War II veterans has grown to become one of the largest international sporting events by the early 21st century. Paralympians strive for equal treatment with non-disabled Olympic athletes, but there is a large funding gap between Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Today, the Seventh day of September 2016, marks the commencement of the 15th Summer Paralympic Games, to be held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which will conclude on 18th September 2016. These games will host over four thousand athletes from 160 countries for over 528 events during the course of 11 days and will yield 225 medals for women, 265 for men and 38 mixed medals. Some of the games are:

After cheering for the 2016 Olympics, it’s time to cheer for the Paralympics! We can catch all the action on Doordarshan!

- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty, Faculty, INLEAD 

Monday, September 5, 2016

The significance of G-20 Summit

G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation and aims towards global economic governance reform. It was initiated in 1999 with the coming together of 20 nations and economic powerhouses. It includes the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, , the United States and the European Union. Often whenever the Summit is hosted, invitees also include guest countries, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD).

Till 2008, when the global economic crisis had set in, G 20 members would just discuss about world economic development and international financial & monetary policies. Since 2008, when the first summit was hosted in the USA, discussions have veered around more reformative and proactive international economic policies.

The Summit this year was inaugurated on the 4th of September 2016 with ample fanfare along with spectacular fireworks and cultural performances, the grandiose that’s associated with China, was in full display. It’s a two day summit and culminated today on the 5th of September. 

The Summit this year

This is the 11th Summit which is being hosted in Hangzhou, China under the leadership of Xi Jinping. China has made “Trade” the theme of this year’s summit. World Trade Organisation is predicting this year’s global trade growth to be a very sluggish 2.8%, the fifth consecutive year with rate below 3%. Ironically, while China is the host, there are ample noises against the host for a majorly bloated steel industry leading to over production and for inundating the world market with low-cost steel, thereby adversely affecting production capacities of other countries.

India’s presence at the G20

India’s priority this year is to work towards Trade Facilitation Agreement for Services as also to be the voice of developing nations who need to be provided with level playing field. Separately PM Modi has had individual meetings with heads of almost all nations till now, including UK PM Theresa May, Saudi’s Deputy Crown Prince and French President Francois Hollande.

In addition PM Modi has been busy building international opinion on anti-terrorism measures as well as on Pakistan’s increased role in acts of terrorism. He even brought up the controversial China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which would be passing through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Terrorism was the central theme in his bilateral discussions with Chinese President Xi and Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull.

What do Indian’s expect from this Summit?

With trade as the theme and PM Modi focusing more on terror acts in his discussions, our hopes get substantially limited when it comes to fruitful discussions. A constant harping against Pakistan at every forum, I believe, diminishes our status as the fastest growing economy. Trade protectionism & dumping of commodities is a big area of concern, and India needs to proactively participate in such discussions, even if services tend to remain our largest component of export basket. The session will definitely be the harbinger for many productive trade related discussions and we have to be in the 
forefront to be able to benefit, however minuscule.

Till another year and another Summit…

- Ms. Monica Mor, Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Regret & Contentment- Counterfactual Thinking

How many times we have wondered what could have been the outcome if we had done/chose something else in life with respect to our profession or our personal lives. This ‘what if’ is part of Counterfactual thinking. It is a concept in Psychology that involves the human tendency to create possible alternatives to life events that have already occurred, something that is contrary to what actually happened. Counterfactual thoughts though have shown to produce negative emotions but can also produce functional or beneficial effects. These thoughts can affect people’s emotions. People can express regret, relief or contentment.

We feel regret/guilt when we do upward Counterfactual thinking which focuses on how the situation could have been. When a student achieves grade B instead of grade A, when an athlete gets a silver medal instead of gold-they tend to have upward Counterfactual thoughts that what 1 thing they could have done better that they could have achieved A grade or a gold medal.

When we think how the situation could have been worse, we are doing downward Counterfactual thinking. Bronze Medalists feel more contented than Silver Medalists as they are thinking how the situation could have been worse. When a student just passes his exams, he is contented that at least he has not failed. When somebody got saved in a fatal accident with minor injuries, downward Counterfactual thoughts bring a sense of relief.

Counterfactual Thinking actually helps in managing our thoughts/decisions/emotions. If a person is able to consider another outcome based on a different path, they may take that path in future and avoid undesired outcome.

It’s like if we see glass half-empty or half-full.

- Dr. Anupreet Vig, Faculty, INLEAD

How Innovative are we?

“India, Innovative? India’s 15 – place jump in a new Global Innovation index has to be taken with a pinch of salt.” Economic Times, dated 25th August 2016

Should this headline make Indians feel excited or make them wary of the fact that despite this positive jump, our innovations are still not world class? Let’s look into this story.

What is the Global Innovation Index?

The Global Innovation Index (or the GII) was launched in 2007 by Cornell University, INSEAD. It is published annually by INSEAD & World Intellectual Property Organisation, and does an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for success in innovation. The theme for 2016 is “Winning with Global Innovation” and is in its 9th edition. GII parameters & methodologies are tweaked continuously and hence could be one of the reasons why countries’ rankings keep changing. 

However, countries that are constantly investing in innovative research & development tend to retain their rankings. Switzerland has been ranked as number 1 for the past 6 successive years. Followed by Sweden, United Kingdom, USA & Finland, these countries wrap up the top 5 ranks. India is one of the countries with fluctuating positions, which is a reflection of constant changes the country is going through.

India’s story around Innovation

“There has been a significant broadening of the innovation ecosystem in recent years in India’”, says Nandan Nilekani, former Infosys co-founder. What is this ecosystem Mr. Nilekani is referring to?

The ecosystem comprises educational institutions, research output, patents, entrepreneurship, venture capital, government policies, etc. All of these contribute immensely to creation of new & innovative goods & services that enable better customer experiences, cost reductions, growth & development on the economy. Innovations needn’t always be radical like say an ATM; sometimes incremental ones too add value like say a solar powered ATM. Improvements in all the above mentioned areas are captured in GII sub-indices.

India is currently ranked at 66, a significant jump from last year’s 81. Prior to this in 2008-09 India was at its best at 41 and since then has been tumbling down. The upward movement is a big feather in our cap and we need to make efforts to keep up with the good, or should I say innovative, work. There have been over the past year significant positive achievements in human capital, research, market & business sophistication. Campus startups and incubators being funded by companies across diverse institutions have propelled the startup culture especially in the IT sector. This implies that India’s educational system has improved in the eyes of the global peers, even though our overall ranking in education field is 118.

Things are way better for India in R&D compared with previous years, as the country has been investing consistently in R&D. A major contributing factor to this has been the presence of top multinational R&D centres that have set up shop all across the country. Numbering close to 1000, these R&D centers have made India an innovation powerhouse.

What should we be wary of?

The GII report highlights some glaring inadequacies too in India.  Our biggest drawback is the absence of elite & world class universities that can add to India’s innovation capability. Investments need to increase significantly in education across the board be it primary, secondary or vocational. India has its IITs and of course the Indian Institute of Science (which incidentally comes in top 150 universities in the QS university ranking system) which are facilitating innovation, but scientific innovations are few & far in number, with maximum R&Ds focusing towards making existing products more affordable to the common man.

New initiatives by Government of India could lead to some improvements in the education sector and soon we may see ‘Innovation’ become embedded in the basic fabric of our society. Let’s wait for the day when India breaks into top 10 most innovative countries in the world and hope that it isn’t too far!

- Ms. Monica Mor, Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Text Widget 2