Sunday, December 30, 2007

Innovation, can I too innovate ??

Innovation : what is it ??

This has been a question haunting me for years. Is innovation only for the clear and sharp minded ? What is the problem if I continue doing the usual monotonous things ? How will innovation benefit me, in my work, at my workplace ? Can it make me a better individual ? Does it help to motivate others to work better and smarter ?

I came across this simple definition to Innovation from www.johnstark,com - Innovation has occured when any aspect of a product, process or service provides an improved solution to a need. If the clerk in the bank where I go fir banking come up with forms which have been partially filled with dates for customers, I would say she has innovated. Incremental innovation is different from radical innovation. If one keeps a positive mind to innovate continuously, he/she can think of incremental innovation in he product or process or service he/she is carrying out.

We always have some need or the other, need for a product, a process to manufacture a product or carry out a task or service. We satisfy this need by some means by offering some solution. If we succeed in giving an improved solution to this need, then we are innovating.

Why do we innovate ?

The need for innovation is felt when we are under pressure to improve the output, reduce the costs, penetrate the market by offering a better product to the customer in terms of quality, reliability and maintainability, increased demand and less production capacity ( more items needed from a limited production capacity) , increased demand for a particular service ( more customers coming to a bank for withdrawing cash) and so on. Unless there is pressure we would not worry about innovation. Constant innovation by implementing new and updated technologies is another way by which companies are able to raise their output or productivity or reduce inputs. 

Can Innovation be a way of life ?

Yes, very much. If we understand what are the steps involved in innovating, we can carefully follow those steps and begin our very first steps in innovation.

Different stages of Innovation
Need to innovate : In our daily life we come across many situations where we have felt the need to do things and have products performing better. This is the basic urge which is the moving force behind any process of innovation.

Idea creation - come up with a idea on how to improve the product or process or service from the existing method. Unless one is open to listening to other people, watching others perform, being appreciative of others, we cannot really get any good idea of innovation.Having good empathy of the customer need in a product, process or service will help one to be very effective in generating new ideas.

Development  The next step involves transforming the idea into a practical proposition. This may involve thinking over and over again, regarding the inputs which go into it, the outputs, possible opposition, possible hurdles in implementation, top management support, public acceptance and so on. The idea will undergo major changes at this stages of iteration.

Commercialization  Once the idea has been developed into a pratical idea, seeing through its implementation and potential benefits is very important. Because ideas can remain brilliant and still remain on drawing boards unless they are put into action. This is a very critical area.

George Easaw PhD

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Obituary on Benazir Bhutto from BBC ..

Obituary: Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto
Ms Bhutto had a volatile political career

Benazir Bhutto followed her father into politics, and both of them died because of it - he was executed in 1979, she fell victim to an apparent suicide bomb attack.

Her two brothers also suffered violent deaths.

Like the Nehru-Gandhi family in India, the Bhuttos of Pakistan are one of the world's most famous political dynasties. Benazir's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was prime minister of Pakistan in the early 1970s.

His government was one of the few in the 30 years following independence that was not run by the army.

Born in 1953 in the province of Sindh and educated at Harvard and Oxford, Ms Bhutto gained credibility from her father's high profile, even though she was a reluctant convert to politics.

She was twice prime minister of Pakistan, from 1988 to 1990, and from 1993 to 1996.


On both occasions she was dismissed from office by the president for alleged corruption.

The dismissals typified her volatile political career, which was characterised by numerous peaks and troughs. At the height of her popularity - shortly after her first election - she was one of the most high-profile women leaders in the world.

Young and glamorous, she successfully portrayed herself as a refreshing contrast to the overwhelmingly male-dominated political establishment.

But after her second fall from power, her name came to be seen by some as synonymous with corruption and bad governance.

Asif Zardari going to court
Asif Zardari has faced numerous corruption charges

The determination and stubbornness for which Ms Bhutto was renowned was first seen after her father was imprisoned by Gen Zia ul-Haq in 1977, following a military coup. Two years later he was executed after a much criticised trial on charges of conspiring to murder a political opponent.

Ms Bhutto was imprisoned just before her father's death and spent most of her five-year jail term in solitary confinement. She described the conditions as extremely hard.

During stints out of prison for medical treatment, Ms Bhutto set up a Pakistan People's Party office in London, and began a campaign against General Zia.

She returned to Pakistan in 1986, attracting huge crowds to political rallies.

After Gen Zia died in an explosion on board his aircraft in 1988, she became one of the first democratically elected female prime ministers in an Islamic country.

Corruption charges

During both her stints in power, the role of Ms Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, proved highly controversial.

He played a prominent role in both her administrations, and has been accused by various Pakistani governments of stealing millions of dollars from state coffers - charges he denies, as did Ms Bhutto herself.

Many commentators argued that the downfall of Ms Bhutto's government was accelerated by the alleged greed of her husband.

None of about 18 corruption and criminal cases against Mr Zardari has been proved in court after 10 years. But he served at least eight years in jail.

He was freed on bail in 2004, amid accusations that the charges against him were weak and going nowhere.

Ms Bhutto also steadfastly denied all the corruption charges against her, which she said were politically motivated.

She faced corruption charges in at least five cases, all without a conviction, until amnestied in October 2007.

General Musharraf
President Pervez Musharraf granted Ms Bhutto and others an amnesty

She was convicted in 1999 for failing to appear in court, but the Supreme Court later overturned that judgement.

Soon after the conviction, audiotapes of conversations between the judge and some top aides of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were discovered that showed that the judge had been under pressure to convict.

Ms Bhutto left Pakistan in 1999 to live abroad, but questions about her and her husband's wealth continued to dog her.

She appealed against a conviction in the Swiss courts for money-laundering.

During her years outside Pakistan, Ms Bhutto lived with her three children in Dubai, where she was joined by her husband after he was freed in 2004.

She was a regular visitor to Western capitals, delivering lectures at universities and think-tanks and meeting government officials.

Army mistrust

Ms Bhutto returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007 after President Musharraf signed into law an ordinance granting her and others an amnesty from corruption charges.

Observers said the military regime saw her as a natural ally in its efforts to isolate religious forces and their surrogate militants.

She declined a government offer to let her party head the national government after the 2002 elections, in which the party received the largest number of votes.

In the months before her death, she had emerged again as a strong contender for power.

Some in Pakistan believe her secret talks with the military regime amounted to betrayal of democratic forces as these talks shored up President Musharraf's grip on the country.

Others said such talks indicated that the military might at long last be getting over its decades-old mistrust of Ms Bhutto and her party, and interpreted it as a good omen for democracy.

Western powers saw in her a popular leader with liberal leanings who could bring much needed legitimacy to Mr Musharraf's role in the "war against terror".

Unhappy family

Benazir Bhutto was the last remaining bearer of her late father's political legacy.

Her brother, Murtaza - who was once expected to play the role of party leader - fled to the then-communist Afghanistan after his father's fall.

From there, and various Middle Eastern capitals, he mounted a campaign against Pakistan's military government with a militant group called al-Zulfikar.

He won elections from exile in 1993 and became a provincial legislator, returning home soon afterwards, only to be shot dead under mysterious circumstances in 1996.

Benazir's other brother, Shahnawaz - also politically active but in less violent ways than Murtaza - was found dead in his French Riviera apartment in 1985.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pak Opposition Leader Benazir goes off ...

Quite sad and tragic. A burning torch of democracy is gone from us.

In about two weeks time there would have been a major change for democracy in Pakistan if Gen Musharraf had no plans to rig the elections in his favour. But fate had it another way.

She was brave and was the real promise for Pakistan to get back to democracy. Even though she and her husband were accused of bribery and corruption charges, she braved against all odds and returned to Pakistan. In the very firsy meeting itself in the first explosion about 140 people were killed.

She was not provided enough security, that is what we need to conclude. She did not die of bullet wounds but while ducking the bullets, the shock of the explosion was so much that her head banged against a lever of the window through which she made her appearance.

Sad for Pakistan and democracy ..


Thursday, December 27, 2007

St Pius X,कुत्तिकनाम,मरियन ऎंड MBC ..

Here are the snaps of St Pius X School, Kuttikanam, Marian College, Kuttikanam and Mar Baselios Xian College of Engg and Tech, Kuttikanam ( run by the Malankara Orthodox church), in that order..


Daughter and our dog , Silky ..

Silky, 1 year old  ..
Chinnu and Silky ..

Here is the snap of our Labrador Retriever female dog, Silky, taken at Peermade, Kerala on 26 Dec 2007.

The second snap is of Susan, our daughter with Silky. Susan is in the third standard in St Pius, Kuttikanam, Peermade. Silky is Susan's pet and Susan loves Silky very much ..

Silky is a pure breed Labrador Retriever, one year old, desert cream colour purchased from a dog breeder in Calicut, Kerala.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trip to Mullaperiyar dam, Xmas day, 2007 and boating..

Deer grazing i
an eagle perched on an old tree branch..
A bison ..
It was exactly a year back during the Christmas of 2006 that we went to Thekkady in Kerala, across the river Periyar, with the hope of going for a boat ride.. But the tourist rush was very heavy and we had to return after just seeing the monkeys, horses and so on. My co-brother Biju, sunila and kids also were with us. All had to return disappointed.

But that was not how the Xmas of 2007 was going to be. Invited by our neighbour Adv Sabu Thomas, we went out to Thekkady and this is the catchment area of Mullaperiyar dam.

At 3.30 PM in the boat jetty at Thekkady we met our host Adv Sabu Thomas, whom we thought had missed on the way from Peermade to Thekkady in the afternoon of 25 Dec 2007. Sabu and wife Maya then herded all of us, his friends and relatives too, to the entrance of the jetty. Adv Sabu Thomas has been winning a lot of cases in Kerala for the Tamil Nadu govt and he is their silver eyed boy. He gets royal treatment in Periyar sanctuary - in the bargain we too

We got into the small boat, about 15 seater of the Tamil Nadu PWD dept and were off on our wild animal view trip royally. The driver of the boat Murali was eager to point us to the herds of deers, bisons, wild boars, tortoises, otters, the water birds and its nests with baby birds inside it. The stubs of trees which were submerged about 112 years back provided the stem for the birds to make these majestic nests in the midst of water. A royal trip of about 10 nautical miles right upto the Mullaperiyar dam. There were lot of things which I did not know of. It was very pleasant sitting next to the driver of the boat and asking him all sorts of doubts and questions, like a child asking it's parents. It was an inquisitive session getting to clear all doubts which would help me write this blog very accurately.

It was in 1884, Penny Cuic, an Irish gentleman, who was working with the British govt who first spotted the potential of the Periyar wildlife sanctuary and planned the project to dam the river ( even though the concept of using it for power generation came later). PennyCuic's intention was to dam the Periyar river and use it for irrigating the water scare parts of Tamil Nadu and protect the wild life around it for posterity. The project conceived in 1885 got over in 1895 costing about rupees forty three lacs of rupees ( about Rs 1000crores in present value).

Unlike the Iduki dam built by the Canadians, the Periyar dam, has the dam and the sluice gates for letting out the water separate. While going in the boat we could first sight the sluice gates, through which water is released to TamilNadu and then the dam which stores the water. The reservoir varies in it's depth from 30 feet at the boat landing to 130 feet near the dam. When we went the water was about 134 feet. At 138 ft the sluice gates are opened. Else this is great risk for the 112 year old dam built using limestone.

This is the main point of contention between the governments of TN and Kerala. Kerala wants to protect the wildlife sanctuary and the people living downstream while TN wants the dam to raise the water level and store more water to be used in the summer months to irrigate agricultural lands right upto Madurai. Even after many Supreme court cases, the issue has been left to Kerala and TN governments to decide among themselves by discussions. See the predicament of Tamil Nadu, it has to fight with Karnataka for water from Cauvery and with Kerala for water from the Periyar, what a sad state of affairs !! But compared to all other South Indian states Tamil Nadu is one of the most fast developing states. That speaks about the enterprise of the people there..

The water in the dam is spread over 10.21 sq miles while the forests are over 770 sq
miles. The catchment area of the dam is about 220 sq miles. Before being submerged, the Periyar area was dense forest. The tall trees which got submerged in the water even today stand up in the water, telling it's story of a hundred and twelve years under water plus it's another forty fifty years above water !! How many people and boats has it seen and how many rains and summer has it weathered?

ThePeriyar sanctuary is also an elephant preserve. Elephants come down from the forest to the&nbsp ; water side during summer months to drink water. We were unlucky in December, but our boat driver was telling us how just two days back he was fortunate enough to see eight elephants swimming across the reservoir, from one end to the other, right in front of the boat.

After an hour of boating, we werefortunate enough to go right upto the Mullaperiyar dam, usually visitors are not taken up to that point, we returned to our starting point. By 5.30  PM we were back in our car heading back for home. It was a memorable trip.

There are two places in Idukki district which I wanted to visit badly, Munnar and Mullapriyar. Mullaperiyar I have already done now, only Munnar is remaining. Having come to Idukki I would have felt real bad if I had not visited even one of these places.

The kids were eagerly looking for an outing during their Xmas holidays and Anila and I were so happy that we could take them for this unforgettable boating experience. Snaps and video clips will follow on this site as soon as I am able to download them from our canon digicam.

If you find the information given here was good enough to motivate you to plan the next holiday to Thekkady, do drop me a line to collect more details.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Xmas celebrations at XIME.. 20 Dec 2007.

(The choir members - back row L to R, Neethu, Oliver, Vineeta, Shana and Priyanka, front row L to R, Preethi, Sukanya, Sue Ann, Shirisha, Miriam and Anju, the guitarist Anoop Samuel and me too..)

20 Dec 2007 was the day when Economics paper got over for the first year students at XIME. And it was the right day for them to celebrate Xmas with their friends and faculty.

The students were practicing the xmas carols for the past one week and were eagerly waiting for this day.

Finally at 4.30 PM , the President Prof Philip, Mrs Philip, Secretary Kuncheria and Mrs Kuncheria and Director Prof Panduranga Rao along with other faculty members and students got together in the auditorium.

The carol group started their songs.

All the usual numbers were there. After the cake cutting the carols continued. The favourite of the day was the masala dosa for the students. An automatic machine was brought from the city, which could make 6 dosas in 2 minutes.  Students had as much as three or four per student, no dinner please !!

It was a very enjoyable evening, with santa claus around, added to the cheer of the students.

The youngsters were very jolly and refreshed after the programme.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Common guidelines - SUPA at XIME ..

Socially Useful Productive Activities ( SUPA) at XIME is a valuable social training for the students. Among other things, the experience helps them to have a broad awareness of the effects of managerial decisions on the socially deprived communities. 

XIME is among the very few B-schools in the country to have such social work incorporated in the curriculum. This is because we believe that Managers have an obligation not just to the corporates but also to the society to which they belong. The training they get from the social organisations helps them to get a broad idea of the effects of their decisions on the socially deprived communities.  

The broad guidelines of what could be done during the three week period from Dec 30 to January 20 are set out below. 

1. Exploring potential for funding sources for the NGO or the Organisation concerned.

2. Meeting up with potential donors and explaining to them the benefits of donating.

3. Preparing documentation needed by the Income Tax department to consider exemption from IT of any donation made to the organisation.

4. Liasoning with government departments for relaxatation of any taxes/levies /duties levied on the organisation.

5. Improve public awarness by designing websites and registering e-mail ids, by training people to check their e-mails and reply to them, training people to update their organisation website and designing/DTP for pamphlets/handouts for the organisation.

6. Finding suitable job/productive work in surrounding areas which could generate revenue and promote a feeling of self respect for the inmates, given their physical and mental capabilities.

7.  Studying the organisation structure and recommending changes / revamp.

8. Try to redefine the objectives of the organisation and how much the present structure is able to achieve.

9. Finding out how much of each rupee is gainfully and wastefully spent - analysing overhead expenses and real benefits.

10. Scouting around for sources of lower interest rates for capital loans taken by the organisation.

11. Writing project proposal for funding critical activities by external funding organisations.

12. Write articles for publication in major magazines and newspaperes about the positive work being done by the organsation.

13. Organising recreational/cultural activities for the inmates of the organisation.

14. Procuring/training inmates to operate and maintain satellite TV/Computers/Internet etc.

15. Purchase/maintain indoor games for the physical well being of the inmates.

16. Streamlining / preparing documentation for adoption of children from the orphanages. 

The students are requested to take photographs of the organisation and it's activities and attach them to the writeups / reports which they are required to submit on their return to the Institute on January 21. Students are required to keep a daily diary of activities during the 3 weeks.  

A mid-term report (after one and a half weeks) of the work is also required to be submitted by the students to the e-mail id

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fighting to be called backward ..

' India must be the only country in the world where people fight to be called backward '

This was told by one of the top industrialists in the country, NRNM of Infy. Yes it is indeed a sad reflection of the state of our polity. The crave for government jobs which allow enough corruption and lethargy, ensuring security for a lifetime, is but a sad state of affairs.

There are very few forward castes in the country, all take pride in being called backward so that they can corner the benefits of reservation. They can ensure seats for their children in the best professional institutions in the country. Politicians also play the game targeting the voter base, getting the people continue or migrate to the lower strata.

The caste system is prevalent now but all castes are trying to go down instead of going up. They know that is where the dough is, not on top. Take pride in being a lower caste. How times have changed. Earlier only the scheduled and scheduled tribes formed backward castes, but now, even the more advanced castes in the states take pride in being called other backward castes (OBCs).

Finally we will have a system where almost the whole population would be backward, let us hope the nation still goes forward then..


Monday, December 17, 2007

A discussion with Prof Gopal Rao, XIME.

It was two weeks back, in early Dec 07, that I sat for a meeting with the French students Carol and Priyanka Shah from the Euromed Business School in Marseilles, France and Prof Gopal Rao. It was just a few weeks since Prof Gopal Rao had joined in the faculty of Finance at Xavier Institute of Management and En'ship , Bangalore.

Prof Gopal Rao is a PR of Singapore and a citizen of India. He graduated from IIM Bangalore in 1975-77 and has been working in different capacities in Singapore and US. His global reach is evident from the fact that he talks so flawlessly regarding international finance. His knowledge of the global financial system was simply marvelous. The way he talked of the US dollar and Euro significance, the financial system of the world which was going through one crisis to the next was interesting. How Japan made use of it's foreign exchange reserves to buy part of US and what China has started doing and what India should also be doing, was everything new to me. The discussion on the sub prime crisis in the US and it's impact of the housing system in US was very thought provoking. The comments on the French and European colonial mindset got me thinking read deep.

I enjoyed every minute of the talk and am thankful to Prof Rao for opening me to the exciting world of global finance, now that India has started playing an important role in the global economy.


Benefits of mild walking ..

There is no aerobic exercise like walking. Walking is beneficial to the human body.

Brisk walking is going to accelerate the blood flow and increase the heart beat and get the heart work better. Doctors say at least 30 minutes of increased heart beat lets the blood flow in the arteries with greater force, clearing up the arteries and in turn clearing the blood flow in the circulation system in the body.

Slow walking recommended for recovering patients and old people, besides keeping the blood flowing in the body, relaxes the muscles and ligaments at the joints helping in the responses of the body to improve. The flexibility also improves.

Ever since I started walking in the evenings or mornings, at least two to three kilometres at a stretch, I found that it gave me a terrific feel good feeling. Morning walks besides giving you that fresh feeling, also keeps one active throughout the whole day. It is like a hidden reserve of energy has been tapped and till the end of the day, we find the body is energetic and active. If the walking is in the evening, besides the feel good factor, it also gives a feeling of confidence in one self. I get time to go through the events of the day and introspect on them for the duration of the walk. It also acts as a big stress buster. The breath of fresh air and the breeze flowing over the body makes you feel relaxed and refreshed.

Always keep the pace of walking at the level you are comfortable. Do not strain oneself. It can be more damaging in the long run.

Enjoy the morning or evening walk. It can add years to your life and make life worth living. According to me it is not the pace at which you walk, it is the distance you walk which ensures you a healthy living and longevity of life.

If you haven't yet started enjoying this golden exercise, better late than never, start it straightaway.


An article from Times of India, 18 Dec 08.

Walking packs huge health punch..

NEW YORK: A brisk 30-minute walk 6 days a week is enough to trim waistlines and cut the risk of metabolic syndrome - an increasingly common condition that is linked to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, a new study indicates.

"Our study shows that you'll benefit even if you don't make any dietary changes," study leader Johanna L Johnson, a clinical researcher at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, said in a statement.

It's estimated that about one quarter of all US adults have metabolic syndrome - a cluster of risk factors that raise the odds of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a person must have at least three of these five risk factors - a large waistline, high blood pressure, high levels of harmful triglycerides, low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, and high blood sugar - and according to many studies, a growing number of people have these problems.

The new findings stem from the STRRIDE study - an acronym for Studies of a Targeted Risk Reduction Intervention through Defined Exercise - in which investigators examined the effects of varying amounts and intensity of exercise on 171 middle-aged, overweight men and women.

Before exercising regularly, 41 per cent of the study subjects met the criteria for metabolic syndrome. At the end of the 8-month exercise programme, only 27 per cent did. "That's a significant decline in prevalence," said Johnson. "It's also encouraging news for sedentary, middle-aged adults who want to improve their health. It means they don't have to go out running four to five days a week; they can get significant health benefits by simply walking around the neighbourhood after dinner every night."

The results of the STRRIDE study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, appear in the American Journal of Cardiology this month. People in the study who exercised the least - walking 30 minutes, 6 days a week or the equivalent of about 11 miles per week - gained significant benefit, while those who exercised the most, jogging about 17 miles per week, gained slightly more benefit in terms of lowered metabolic syndrome scores. People who did a short period of very vigorous exercise didn't improve their metabolic syndrome scores as much as those who performed less intense exercise for a longer period, the researchers found.

This suggests, they say, that there's more value in doing moderate intensity exercise every day rather than more intense activity just a few days a week.

All of the exercisers lost inches around their waistline over the 8-month study period, whereas the inactive control group gained an average of about one pound and a half-inch around the waist. "That may not sound like much, but that's just 6 months. Over a decade, that's an additional 20 pounds and 10 inches at the belt line," noted Duke Cardiologist Dr. William E. Kraus, the study's principal investigator.

"The results of our study," he added, "underscore what we have known for a long time. Some exercise is better than none, more exercise is generally better than less, and no exercise can be disastrous."

Is India bad for Jaguar or Orient Express ??

Is India Bad for Jaguar? (from Time Magazine)
Friday, Dec. 14, 2007
India likes to trumpet its corporate successes, and this week the emerging global power had plenty to shout about with the appointment of Indian-born Vikram Pandit to head troubled financial giant Citigroup. But even as it celebrated, India Inc. was also up in arms over perceived slights to its ability to run two of the world's most prestigious brands.
First, a group of U.S. Jaguar dealers said they opposed the possibility that Ford, Jaguar's owner, might sell the British luxury car brand to an Indian firm. Two of the three firms that Ford has shortlisted as potential purchasers are Indian: Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors. The dealers said that the sale to an Indian company would hurt Jaguar's image. "I don't believe the U.S. public is ready for ownership out of India of a luxury car make," Ken Gorin, chairman of the Jaguar Business Operations Council, told the Wall Street Journal. "And I believe it would severely throw a tremendous cast of doubt over the viability of the brand."
A few days later Indian Hotels, which owns the luxury Taj hotel chain and is itself a branch of the Tata empire, was told its overtures to New York Stock Exchange-listed luxury hotel and cruise firm Orient-Express were unwelcome and potentially damaging. Indian Hotels recently upped its stake in Orient-Express to 11.5%. But Orient-Express CEO Paul White, in a letter to Indian Hotels Vice-Chairman R. K. Krishna Kumar, wrote that "any association of our luxury brands and properties with your brands and properties would result in a reduction of our brands and of our business and would likely lead to erosion."
Indian Hotels' Kumar told TIME that his first reaction upon receiving the letter "was that Paul White could not possibly have drafted [it]... I came to the conclusion that the person who drafted this letter needs counseling." Indian Hotels, he said, had proposed a friendly partnership in which each company would take an equity stake in the other, share expertise but remain independent. "At no time did we moot the the idea of a merger," Kumar says. White's letter, he says, "will go down as one of the most uncivilized exchanges of views between two companies in the 21st century." Its sentiments, Kumar says, reflect "an era that is now prehistoric."
Many Indians shared Kumar's sense of outrage. Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath warned that, "There cannot be any discrimination against outward investment from India." In an era of globalization, he said, "trade and investment [is] a two-way street." Industrialist Venugopal Dhoot, who heads the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, told the Press Trust of India that Orient-Express had shown "arrogance toward one of India's most respected business houses." The discriminatory tone of Orient-Express's letter was "close to racism, barely camouflaged in the language of branding," opined an angry editorial (entitled "Racism Can't Halt Indian Takeovers") in India's Economic Times. The days of "white supremacy are disappearing rapidly, and white brand value with it," the piece went on. "When Arab financiers are needed to rescue Citigroup, notions of white cachet seem ludicrous."
Both Orient-Express and Jaguar's Gorin emphasize that their judgments were based on business strategy alone. Gorin told the Wall Street Journal that his sentiments also applied to a Chinese company buying Jaguar and should not be read as a judgment on Mahindra or Tata's management abilities. "My concern is perception," he said. "And perception is reality." Pippa Isbell, an Orient-Express spokesperson, says that "our letter was purely based on business rationale." Orient-Express, she says, owns properties around the world, and the company's decision to decline a closer relationship with Indian Hotels "is not related to the fact that the company is Indian but is based entirely on the rationale that their dominant business in India is not a strategic fit with our business."
To be sure, the image of a luxury brand requires delicate and careful grooming. And while Tata and other Indian manufacturers could soon be world beaters in producing ultra cheap cars, their track record in running a luxury auto brand is untested. At the same time, however, America's Ford has not exactly made a great success of Jaguar over the past few years: that's one reason the company is selling it. And when it comes to hotels, the Taj chain owns, among its wide range of properties, some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. It is also expanding: in the past few years it has snapped up properties in Boston, Manhattan and San Francisco. "It would be very easy for us to make an open offer [for Orient-Express]," says Kumar. "Except for our own restraint."
Indeed, if history is any guide, Indian companies take rebuttal as a challenge. When British-based Indian-born businessman Lakshmi Mittal first bid for French steel maker Arcelor last year, the company's French CEO said he was horrified by the idea of an Indian taking over, likening Mittal Steel to eau de Cologne and Arcelor to perfume. Within months, Mittal had won out. A century earlier, when Tata founder Jamsetji Tata suggested making steel for the colonial railway system, a British administrator dismissed the idea with barely concealed contempt. Earlier this year, Tata paid almost $14 billion to buy Corus, British Steel's successor. The moral of that story is not lost on India's corporate captains. They say that Western companies had better get used to the idea of Indians taking over.

Traditional colonial, racial discriminating mindsets getting exposed. Be it the British or the Americans, the fear of India and China overtaking them is very much staring at them in the eyes.

The letters by Orient Express and US Jaguar dealer's association is but a mere form of racial protest, but in vain. Why should a white man's company go onto coloured man's hands ?? BTW, Krishna Kumar, VP of India Hotels is a Malayali and the right hand man of Ratan Tata. I had the good opportunity to meet all of them in Mumbai. High calibre professionals, ethical to the core. That makes Tata brand valuable to the bankers of the world. No banker would hesitate to advance loans to Tata Sons, example of Corus steel. A David like Tata Steel, 5m T steel per year gobbled a Goliath, Corus Steel, 19m T steel a year, with help from International bankers. Even it be to purchase General Motors ..

The Chinese and Indian Juggernaut is already on the move and no force on earth can stop it.

The foray of Tata Sons to the outside world is indeed outstanding. Only Tata Sons is equipped to do that. Now it is Jaguar, then it is General Motors. Let Orient Express be not foolish to lock horns with India Hotels, lest they be eaten over, Paul White may lose his job even ..



Saturday, December 15, 2007

My first term of teaching at XIME gets over ...

It was pleasant. Could brush up on lot of basics regarding operations and operations management. The revenue management classes were very interesting. Very inquisitive and good students I did not have trouble in getting them to go for their group projects nor the final presentation of the reports ( eventhough the final presentation was a marathon session of two days of 4 - 5 hours each, a big learning experience for me too.)

Exams start on Monday 17 Dec and end on 21 dec Friday. On thursday evening we have the Xmas carols where the first year students are presenting the carols ( I also will be with them..) and cake cutting by Mrs Philip at 4.30 PM.

Leaving for home on 23 rd along with Prof George Kuryan and returning on 28 morning.

Till then, ciao,


Friday, December 07, 2007

Who will lead the Indian Industrial Renaissance ?

The Tatas, Birlas or the Ambanis ??

After reading a lot about Indian Industrail renaissance this question has always been at the back of my mind for many months. Who will lead India into it's twenty first century revival as a major industrial and economic superpower ?

Japan's competitive edge has been blunted in the past couple of years. Ever after coming up with Sony's walkman in 1979, which virtually shook the world of personal music listening and miniaturisation, Japan has not come up with anything worth the salt in three decades. While Apple has gone ahead with it's innovative ipod, itunes and more recently as four months back, the iphone, Japan is losing out in the race to establish technological superiority in the world.

This goes to demonstrate to the world that the slow Asian renaissance is shifting from Japan to the other Asian powers of China and India. In the 80s the Asian Tigers of Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea indeed did create a flutter, which was unfortunately shortlived, giving an impression of paper tigers fluttering around. But it did sensitise the world on what the Asians were really capable of. We have also been hearing of the BRIC - countries, Brazil and Russia included, who are also doing their part of the work  to build a better world.

It is in this context that we need to analyse the Industrial renaissance that is happening from this part of the world. We have the above three major Industrial houses, (family owned) besides the other professionally managed ones like Larsen & Toubro, Infosys and so on who are leading the charge from front..

( to be continued..)

Sub Prime crisis and opportunities in US..

The sub prime crisis in US is unfolding terrific opportunities for Indians to invest and buy property in US.

In a years time we can see lots of people defaulting in repaying the loans they have taken for buying property and this will result in lot of distress sales of housing property in US. Property will be available at dirt cheap rates.

Yesterday's declaration of a ban on mortgages ( and not allowing Banks to raise interest rates) for at least five years may easen out the Americans a bit, but Indians are just waiting for the right opportunity to buy into US.

Anybody with cash of about INR 40 lakhs ( US $100,000 / =) can be assured of double returns in five years flat.

Don't waste this opportunity if you are interested .. It will be a great opportunity for ordinary Indians to show their tenacity to the world ( and not only our great businesses !!)


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Being away from home !!

When i was carrying research at IIT Bombay, for the first three years my family also stayed with me, from July 1998 till 2001 June. After the study leave period got over, I had to join back the College of Engineering Goa and used to make visits to IIT over long weekends or by taking leave for a week or availing vacation periods etc. But the period of stay was never more than two weeks at a stretch. Goa and Mumbai was well connected with the Jana Shatabdi running for 8 hrs the distance of almost 550 kms. Since the journey was comfortable I used to travel quite frequently.

After shifting to Bangalore, it is just two months now and I have been visiting family only once in a month. The pressures of work and the good academic atmosphere here keeps me off thoughts about going to Kerala frequently. Anyway I do keep contact on a daily basis with my wife over telephone, getting to know about the happenings there and the studies of the kids and so on.

With another four months more to go before my family joins me in Bangalore, I do not really know how I will be able to cope with it.

But I consider myself very lucky when there are employees in the Gulf who meet with their families only once in a year or two !!

So till April 08, it is pulling along !!


Beer Distribution Game - How to play it .. !

Beer Distribution Supply Chain Management simulation game at Alliance University, Bangalore.

The Beer Distribution game is an interesting supply chain simulation game for the distribution side of the supply chain. It is interesting and students have already indicated that it is beneficial for them.

Here is the brief about the game. (click here for the game work sheet ..)

The Beer Distribution game is a management simulation game played by the participants to get a grasp of supply chain distribution side dynamics of a make-to-stock beer distillery supply chain. The game which originated in MIT in the 60s is very popular and can be suited to be played for any manufactured item which is a make-to-stock.

Details of the game : 

The Distribution side of the supply chain has retailers, wholesalers , distributors and the manufacturer. For example a distribution chain may have two retailers who are being supplied by two wholesalers who in turn are being supplied by a distributor and in turn by the manufacturer. All the players in the chain have their own stock of initial inventory and respective costs of holding and shortage for the inventory.

The moment a downstream entity, for example a retailer places an order on the wholesaler for stock, when he has already run out of stock or will soon in the near future, the wholesaler does not immediately replenish the retailer. Instead, depending on the lead time of replenishment for the wholesaler, the wholesaler replenishes the stock after those fixed time periods. During this time period the retailer has to wait and continue incurring the shortage costs. If the wholesaler does not have enough stocks to replenish the retailer with, he places order on this upstream entity, ie distributor and waits for the lead time period of the distributor to get stocks for him. From this stock he tries to replenish the retailer.

ALL UNMET ORDERS ARE BACK-ORDERED, ie. all unmet orders are met in the subsequent periods when there are enough stocks with the upstream entity.. The customers who are in direct contact with the retailers place orders with them and are immediately satisfied or replenished. The presence of leadtime for replenishment of stock and back-ordering, adds complexity to the game. The presence of holding costs for excess stocks and shortage costs for short stocks, leads to the entity incurring costs during each cycle of the game.

The game is played for a fixed number of cycles, approximately ten to fifteen, for different customer demand patterns and the total costs incurred by each of the entities is added to get the total supply chain costs.  During the entire duration of the game, the entities do not share their ordering or demand pattern with entities upstream or downstream.

A tabulation (click here for the tabulation chart) is made of the costs incurred and the variance of the orders placed by each of the entity on the entity upstream, is found out. Calculate the mean of the orders and the summation of the square of the deviations of each of the order placed with the mean order size, divided by (n-1) where n is the number of times orders are placed or cycles played..The last half an hour of the game is for discussion of the findings and the variance related discussions, which will help throw lot of light into the distribution side dynamics.

Have an enjoyable time playing the game.


Blogging via email..

Today I have found a way to blog via email. Go to settings and under email you add the email id.

Great experience.


George Easaw 

सत फ्रांसिस क्साविएर डे अत क्सिमे, बंगलोर ..

The Xavier Inst of Management and E'ship Bangalore celebrated th St Francis Xavier Day 2007 on 3 rd December 2007 in the Institute Auditorium at 8 AM.

The mass was conducted by Rev Fr. from the nearby Catholic Church.

The choir did a good job and accompanied the mass celebration well. The President, Secretary, Director, senior Profs and Deans attended the mass along with the students and other staff from the institute. The three french students from Euromed, Marseilles - Carol, Hector and Priyanka also attended the mass along with the students.

The breakfast which was served to the students after the mass was a treat with kerala style appam and vegetable stew.

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