The Industry Perspective
“In the Future of Management Gary Hamel envisions a time
when the goal of management is to build nimble, lattice-based organisations
that energise and demand, that may be big yet personal.”
Olivier Serrat – Sparking Innovations in Management
After four decades of indifferent economic growth, we are now a nation of 1.2 billion people, striving to live up to the label - ‘Incredible India’. We have
weathered the South East Asian Economic Crisis, to achieve 9.5% GDP growth, but when the 2008 US Economic Downturn hit the global economy, we had to resort to a series of fiscal and other regulatory measures, to shore-up the economy. Now that Europe is passing through an extended economic slowdown, we are forced to follow stringent economic policies, which may lead to crucial cut-backs, in priority sectors. The Iranian puzzle is also adding to the complexities. In short, we are no longer an ‘insulated’ or ‘isolated’ economy, but an integrated and globally networked business dynamo.
As a globally integrated economy, we are open to the dynamic technological interventions, which are now common place in the ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) space. We are all familiar with Moore’s law that states, ‘The power of computers is doubling every 18 months’. What this means is that we are living in a period of exponential change and I believe that the Apple iPad, iPod and iPhone have succeeded in further shortening the ‘innovation cycle’, to just a few months. In 2010, the industry was talking about some 100,000 applications on the mobile phone, but now they may have crossed the 2 million mark, within a year.
Against this back drop of disruptive technological changes and complex socio-political-economic tsunamis, the contemporarymanagement practices fall short of the expected levels of delivery, thereby widening the gap between ‘promise’ and ‘performance’. This is because by the time modern-day managers have gathered themselves to address present-day issues the future has already intruded into their business space. There is little roomfor excuses andmargins, leaving no space for errors or experimentation. A closer scrutiny of the SME sector or even many of the so-called multi-nationals across sectors would bear out the fact that most of the entrepreneurs/industry professionals are walking the tight rope, facing a ‘make or break’ situation. In the ever changing business dynamics, if Indian business houses fail tomarshal their forces and harness their core strengths, it would, yet again, be one of best opportunities that it would havemissed. It would be akin to riding a ‘bullock cart in the jet age’. It is therefore the bounden duty of every stakeholder to visualise, evolve and deploy probably hitherto little known and out-of-box business/management practices, in the process sometimes even challenging the established western doctrines of structures and processes.
This necessitates total dedication and conviction on our part. It is critical that management institutions and the industry get involved in developing innovative solutions that are steeped in Indian thought i.e. the Indian way of overcoming the management crisis, through an unflinching professional commitment to success. In order to do so, the Indian enterprises cannot afford to stop at the water's edge. Instead, they ought to watch the ripples; spot the next big wave before it comes; anticipate the opportunities and ride that "next big wave". This, according to me, would be the true ‘Management Renaissance – the Indian Way’, through which Indian entrepreneurs/managers would have for once kindled a paradigm shift in contemporary management practices, by disrupting decades-old, hardened, western practices to the core.
It’s really heartening to know that ‘Management Renaissance - the Indian Way,’ can be a reality. In the fifteenth century, an aristocrat, heading the Medici family in Florence, assembled a congregation of writers, painters, sculptors, artists, scientists, architects, etc. and made a passionate plea, to change the way they looked at the world. This triggered a new wave of liberalised thinking and spurted innovation, across a broad spectrum of society, which was weighed down by the traditionalist thinking of the Middle Ages. Breaking away from the shackles of traditions and customs, writers, painters, sculptors, et al ushered in an age of renaissance, which led us to the industrial revolution; and the rest is history.
We in India had our brush with the Middle Ages - the License Raj, which stifled the economy. It is only the renaissance of liberalisation that brought in the new spirit of dynamic growth. Partly, this is captured in The India Way, authored by Peter Cappelli, who speaks about how India has laid down its own management rules that have been immensely successful, in ensuring the global success of Indian businesses. So also, success stories of companies like Infosys, the ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, Bajaj Hindustan, VSNL, Biocon, et al add to our pride. In fact, the motivating statement of Vijay Mahajan, Chief Executive of BASIX Group, sums up our renaissance spirit – “One can never underestimate the power of ‘jugaad’, an ability to manage somehow in spite of lack of resources,” which should be looked at as a lesson about ‘creative adaption’ and not as a sign of ‘weary resignation’.
Walking on the path to the ‘Management Renaissance - the Indian Way,’ it is important that Indian entrepreneurs/managers take a broad view of the future and likewise make concerted efforts, in diverse business areas: biotechnology, for enhancing food production; advanced research in genetics and gene manipulation, to help preventive and curative human and animal care; use of nanotechnology, to develop new forms of composites for human use; search for green technologies, to harness sustainable energy; development of artificial intelligence and robotics, to ensure safety, security and speed of transactions and mass movement, etc. It’s a fact that without a ‘Management Renaissance - the Indian Way’ there is every likelihood of Indian organisations losing their business edge, which would mean that they would ultimately perish in the world of fierce competition, whether locally or globally.
This would in turn imply that every Indian organisation needs to keep re-inventing itself, through innovations in varied areas, whether those innovations are completely original or tailored from existing ones, to suit the needs of the socio-cultural environment, in which the organisation finds itself. Any organisation of/in the future will be truly successful, only if it can identify, adopt and perpetuate innovative practices, either by itself or by emulating others, so that its survival and growth in this fiercely competitive world can be ensured. In doing this, Indian companies ought to focus on the five drivers that would make this exercise fruitful: customers, technology, competition, the business climate and last but not the least their employees.
In these challenging times, we, at MET, are gearing up to develop and deliver unique learning systems integrating innovative management thought and application processes. This is ensured through cases studies, scenario building, terrain appreciation and strategic response building exercises, experiential learning etc., which are being used to sharpen students, to meet emerging business challenges. Their managerial competencies are further enhanced by exposure to the latest digital business management tools, so that effective action, at the speed of thought, becomes a business reality. In the process of building techno-savvy, sharp and smart professionals, we are focussing on shaping individuals, who will build congruence and help build a seamless inclusive society, based on the Indian value system.
Welcome to MET, where we train students to become sharp professionals, to usher in ‘The Management Renaissance – the Indian Way’.
|Prof. Vijay Page
MET Institute of Management