The Nature of Nature:Community/Social/Intelligence/Learning, A Metasystem Perspective

Accelerated Community Learning

Most of us live in  a black or white, flat world. What do we choose to see, black, white, black and white, grey, green, grey and green ?

What we see is what we get. Intelligence is about seeing all of them and beyond. Seeing in pairs (the ark had its pairs) is inevitable since black is black in relation to white. We make sense by comparing. The quadrants pair, reflect each other, Q1 with Q3, Q 2 with Q4, Potential with Performance and Old with New

Potential = Performance + Waste + an Unknown Quantity, our raison d’être

All systems are purposive and reduction in waste is the super ordinate goal of the system

Growth is a process of positioning, fixing the direction (finding true north) and metrics of the  reduction in waste.

Red stands for decay and entropy. Green stands for continual learning and renewal

Community is about the commons, what we collectively share, value, enhance and preserve

More: FDF,  Knowledge Visualization,  

suggested reading :  An Outline of General System Theory (1950) Ludwig von  Bertalanffy

Year 2065

Creating the future now/Remote seeing  !

At times, on certain roads,  we can see to the front as much as we can see behind us if we look back. I am over 60 years and can ‘see’ into my past rather well for 55 + years. Assuming 55 years to be the radius of my mindscape I can see 55 years into the future too.

Due to prevalent mental models I do not see farther than 2024, life expectancy being 74 years in my context.  If I subscribe to this my planning horizon need be just another 14 years which in turn would certainly be influencing my decisions, the prime reason why managers tend to believe in the sprint rather than the marathon.

We believe we can ‘see’ even much farther. If we can see through our DNA  and our collective mind we can see much much farther. Everything about the past is mapped into us in so many different ways and we are as old as the universe. There is something immortal in all of us.

We have been using the following exercise in ‘remote seeing’ mostly with young MBAs in the age group, 22 – 26 years, since 1990 and this gets revised every year.

The mental horizons keep on expanding but what we see hasn’t changed much.

The trends became more pronounced. The majority was taking the exit and the new generation, homo novus, was taking over. The flooding started much earlier but was not recognized by many. The minority could not influence the general flow. They found it more sensible to conserve their energy; certain that time would solve the problem.
The markets were collapsing. Longer life-spans and decline in births changed the very character of demand. The seniors influenced the markets much more. Most products and services could not hold on to market share. People found them not giving any more satisfaction, that many of these were just substitutes, products of survival drive distortions and had no basis in reality. The gold and bullion markets had become part of history. The chemicals and fertilizer industry was putting up a stiff fight to stay afloat. The stock markets too were on the brink of collapse due to the upsurge of loosely held voluntary business associations of real stakeholders. The cities were facing a crisis giving way to communes and virtual communities living a life in communion with nature, part of a loose network of similar ones elsewhere. People often shifted residence from one to the other. People in the communes lived a different life in contrast to the majority who failed to grasp the philosophical backdrop behind such lifestyles.

The shift could, now, no more be ignored.
Marriage and family seemed to be the most affected. With adults freed of the long years of responsibility and investment of their time and effort on child rearing, marriage itself lost most of its relevance. People of similar interests seemed to band together into communities of practice for reasons of professional and personal growth. These networks were more like extended families. Life expectancy had crossed the 100-year mark but people were, surprisingly in much better health for their age than at any time before. The communities were self-sufficient in meeting most of their needs. Products and services were by-products of life rather than ends in themselves. Work, fun, learning and leisure merged to become an indivisible whole and expertise in various aspects of knowledge accumulated in specific communities. Established religions were giving way to a new spirituality focused on conscious evolutionary growth by design.

It appeared that Homo sapiens was being overtaken by Homo novus.

Whether you agree or disagree, future is influenced now.

We can choose the world that we want to be in.

Homo Novus

Is the species of the future?
Gathering the scattered remnants of humanness,  building the Noah’s ark of vestigial human qualities
To salvage Homo sapiens from extinction, the most threatened of all species
Sapiens worshipped the dead, never really buried them fully
Oblivious that they were stuck in the mud
They chanted Buddha and Christ for millenniums
Not wanting to go beyond them
Found immense pleasure in wallowing in the mud
Homo erectus never evolved fully
Never really walked erect, mentally or spiritually
Just another of nature’s game of dice
Now vanishing in the millennium flood
Killing each other in the name of God and Satan
By-products of ignorance, another gate to learning

Homo novus is the human of the future
To be one or not to be is one’s conscious decision
THE CHOICE
Homo novus is androgynous, trisexual
Building islands of sanity in the midst of chaos
Islands of love and connected-ness
Networked beyond borders
Of those who by choice, select the road not travelled,
The Road by Design

Potter at the Wheel

The river of life flows forever – renewing itself.

A drop from the ocean has the ocean in it

The body is a drop from the ocean of nature.

We are much more than our physical self.

The spirit clothes the physical, animating it.

Soul , the unifier , is yet to take birth, the second birth, more real than our first birth.

It is both a personal and COLLECTIVE CHOICE for true community to emerge.

The soul is the unifier that bridges the divides within and without, in us, amongst us.

Beyond time, without before or after and as ‘old or young’ as the universe.

The body, the physical, is just the potter’s clay, soul the potter and ‘time’ the potter’s wheel.

Potter fashions the pot in tune with his internal map

If the map is of death we die and if that of illness we become ill

We have programmed our – SELVES to die, to fall ill (what a fall?)

Life is anti-death and its only purpose is to defeat death

It is not the food or the medicines but the maps that make the difference

–         The biology of our belief

–         What we believe together is the reality we create

If the map is of health, renewal, the river of life, the body regenerates

In the flow of life, wrinkles vanish, skin glows, old cells flow out, new cells flow in.

Re- collecting the body that we had at 25 and improving it further

Perfect health is so natural and our ‘efforts’ make it unnatural

RE – ‘COGNISE’ the possibility allowing nature to express itself

Not standing against the flow of life, continual renewal
Eat just for the fun of it, fact is you don’t need to (see the blue ocean people) Eat what brings joy to you, drink what you feel like

For it is the soul that fashions the body

The unifying principle, the glue of life, that connects and binds everything together,

That which re – NEWS continually

(Context in which grown 50 + Couples)

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen. I want to live on in my apartment.”    Woody Allen

The singularity perspective

The Singularity Drive

The Singularity Drive

What drives the learning engine is the Singularity Drive.

How do we accelerate (CHANGE) continual improvement and align our SELVES to PERFORM?

Over 100 would be warriors wait to be tested in their skills of using the bow and arrow. The teacher asks the same question, what do you see? before they are allowed to let the arrow leave the string of the bow. All of them see different things. Arjuna is the only one who sees the bird’s eye, the target. He is poised to shoot and there is absolute silence.   Arjuna shoots and hits the bird’s eye. He only passes the test.

When we talk about singularity, the singularity is broken. The artist knows it which drives him to the visual medium. The silence is not broken when the painter or the sculptor achieves IT.

The child in the mother’s womb is in singularity. The singularity is broken at birth, oneness to duality. The newborn becomes more and more aware of its self , the process of taking birth of the self and grows into maturity (do we?) when it reconnects with the whole , Trinity, Singularity ‘ (singularity and singularity ’ !  ?  )

Up to the animal level there is a singularity, akin to that of the child in the womb

Freewill   comes with responsibility, informed choice, between the two arrows that branch out from the level of the animal in Q 3.  The animal pulls us down and the human attempts to break out of the ‘gravitational’ pull, to go into orbit something similar to a space vehicle. Once it goes into orbit it strives to break out from the monotony of repetition, being bounded like a clock.  The linear and static is transcended to the dynamic and real time.

BETWEEN THE TWO ARROWS IS THE UNREALISED POTENTIAL, THE WASTE IN THE SYSTEM, THE BLUE OCEAN SPACE.

Real improvements lead to narrowing the gap. Yet there will always be a gap like a road which unfolds as one move forward. The invariant lighthouse position (reference point), the direction of the journey, where we are now and true progress in relation to these three become measurable. The problem of metrics is resolved.    We now have the map for accelerated continual improvement.

If the periodic table is a map of the world of matter, this map is a navigational tool for the journey of life.

The singularity drive makes us leap for the impossible. It drives Bubka and Isinbayeva, to take those leaps again and again.  It drives us to sing, paint, sculpt, and create history

The singularity drive

That which drives the mystic

That which drives us to stories, folklore and myths

That which drives us to outperform, from our previous best

The fusion fuel for the learning engine that drives science, religion, art

That which drives us to take the leap into deep space, science fiction

That which drives us to aspire for community, immortality

That which will drive us out of the recession, from booms and busts, to the road of continual renewal and improvement.

What leadership is all about

What managers/institutions are expected to deliver but consistently fail to achieve. The disappointment comes when we park our trust and money elsewhere, much more than in our own SELF, in stocks, gold, god men/women, the consultant, prophets, the new President, at the top of the pyramid.

The foundation and the top needs to be in alignment for continuous improvement to prevail, the new habit, over the habit of precedence. Such alignment transforms the pyramids to continual learning communities.

The world is flatter but not flat.

A Nano to Immortality

David did a nano to Goliath

The Vietnamese did a nano to the US

Chandrayan did a nano to NASA, perhaps Virgin Galactic too.

Ratan Tata did a nano to automobiles

India did a nano to China in auto exports, by default

Raymond Kurtzweil is the champion of technological singularity who Bill Gates endorses as the smartest futurist around and Intel CTO, Rattner says ultimately machine intelligence could match human intelligence.  I wonder whether it would match the average intelligence of sapiens or the smartest human around, perhaps that of Ray. In both cases I am not very thrilled because the average and the exceptionally intelligent equally fail to trigger my curiosity.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/092109-intel-cto-interview.html?hpg1=bn

Ray predicts this to happen around 2029 when those who are 60 now will be able to live forever with the help of technology available by then. Perhaps nano robots will do the scavenging of your system and continually keep it in shape for ever. I am 60 now and had decided sometime in 1990 that singularity always existed and will continue to exist. Perhaps, ultimately when technological and human singularities are aligned we could design an ideal future and translate this into reality?

What would you choose?

Wait for 2029 or start living now on the assumption that eternity is now and whether you make it to 2029 or not I want to have the most of now?

Even if technological singularity arrives sometime in the future, I could be run over by a BMTC bus on the least walker friendly roads of Bangalore during my daily grind of 9 Kms in 70 minutes and take the exit route. It could be today or tomorrow. Since I believe in human singularity rather than technological singularity I would have lived my days till that inglorious exit with the satisfaction that I lived a full life

I wonder, assuming technological singularity to be a reality in 2029, what would Ray be doing for an eternity to keep boredom at bay. I have never been bored since my shift to human singularity and every one of my decisions since were governed by the eternity time scale rather than my bonus at the end of the quarter.

POSITION, FOCUS and the LEVER: Do you see all the three as ONE?

“Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.”

– Archimedes.

The Path

Abstract to concrete – Imagination, Intent, Manifestation (IIM)

Where are you?

Nishtha asks, “JM, Where are you?  “

Where am I NOW?  I am 20 years into the journey with Nishtha

In Sanskrit, Nishtha means,

Assiduity, great and constant diligence and attention,

Firmness

Steadiness

Firm devotion

Application

Position

Discipline comes very close to it. The question is about my position then, what is your “nishtha”, position,   in space and time, now?

My profile gives the location as Bangalore. So the question is not about my physical location. She must be referring to my growing up as a person, my journey. We need to ask more questions to give an answer to the question, Where am I ?   The first question on any journey- outside, inside, inside out, outside inside.   The second question is where do I want to go – the direction of the journey. The third is how do I make sure that I am on course – am I moving in the direction that I wanted to go and not speeding towards disaster. This is what a GPS or compass facilitates in our regular journeys.

So where am I now? I need to look back – where was I?  1949, physical birth, bullet that left the barrel of the gun – have written about it earlier, a low level system without self regulation. 1981, takes the lighthouse position, the invariant one, the Facilitator. I am my position (Peter M Senge) I have not shifted from this position since.  But I have other variant positions like the ship in relation to the lighthouse. 1981-90, I was busy making a map for the journey, a tool that help me answer the three questions, ‘The Map of Everything’.  From 1990, I am on the journey with that tool and a methodology to make the journey faster.

We are on  course, we believe.

That leaves room for more questions. Where were you before? Where will you be in 2049? – Centenary of the bullet?

Thank you, Nishtha. The universe must have conspired that we meet and you ask me this question.

The journey continues with nishtha – Discipline

The Path

The Path

Nature is perfect, beyond improvement. Nurture follows from history, institutions, assumptions, and habits- the knowledge hole.

Being from and of nature we too are complete and whole. From completeness arises completeness – being and becoming.

Why all the Ps ?

It was nothing but (was it?) synchronicity. It just fell in place. There are volumes  written on each of the Ps but the volumes will not give us the perspective that the visual gives.

Position, Align and Leverage

Sergey Bubka is my mental map for being positioned and ALIGNED for continual improvement.  http://www.sergeybubka.com/ The site has a visual of Sergey standing poised with the pole for the leap. We also have a female version of Sergey Bubka in the making in Yelena Isinbaeva. http://www.yelenaisinbaeva.com/ Sergey is not just another sports person. He continues to do what he did in the field in other realms. The pole vaulter leverages the pole against the threshold to cross over and does it over and over to set new heights of performance. He is positioned and aligned to perform.  Every pole vaulter does the same, but Sergey is the exception. So what goes into positioning and alignment and leveraging is much more than a question of mechanical advantage.We take our cars to check for alignment. One could think of a similar service for people, organisations, communities and community (for the species)..The top left quadrant represents the internal system, where perfect alignment between all the levels is feasible. The levels are that of Compass (Position), map, clock, thermostat, cell, plant, and animal, human, organisational and knowledge

The right down quadrant represents the external system, the world of results and performance – metrics. In an ideal situation levels will mirror each other in both the quadrants. Results will depend on how well the internal and the external are aligned across the different levels. The threshold level of performance is the benchmark against which positioning and alignment are tested and the proof of the pudding is in the eating – better and better results.

We can learn a lot from the animals about positioning and alignment. It is natural to them
http://www.physorg.com/news138902073.html http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061021115811.htm For us it is not natural, it is a matter of choice. Freewill has its disadvantages too.

The home position

Home

What is your home position? 6y4 ii3q qn320w3

I got the above gibberish when I shifted from my home position on the keyboard, F and J where I rest my index fingers.  When I move away from the home position, this is the result that I get. When I am at my home position, I can use appropriate levers- leverage me- to make improvements.  If I am not positioned, I create waste, a lot of hard work, stress and burnout and no improvements

Even if we are homeless we have homes on websites.  When we go off course, we can refer back home and navigate. We understand reality through our tools. It is a long time that I have used a pen or pencil and paper. I spend most of my working time in front of the monitor and the keyboard, PC, is my most used tool. When we were hunting and gathering, we would have used more of our hands and feet and less of these tools. With settled agriculture, we became more attached to a physical location so did our mental maps of the world. The fishermen are quite different since most of them gather and they use tools for gathering.  Their mental maps are different from that of the farmer. They use the compass or GPS since it is much more disastrous if they cannot locate their home position. They could drift off and never find the shore. When we got ‘educated’ we became language and ‘English centric’

Wanderer, see http://wanderer7.gaia.com/blog/2008/6/being_english-centric

The paradigms are changing as text is on the way out to the visual. Technology helps one to see reality as it unfolds. Reading gives way to browsing and if one wants to capture the flea span of attention of the reader, one has to use more of the visual, and you tube it.   Yet the deep structures influence comprehension of reality and to connect across divergences and barriers created by language and tools we need a ‘Babel fish’ which would reduce the noise and help navigate the semantic swamps.

In the last 100 years we have become less earthbound in our internal horizons as well as external. We cover much more distance in a day than ever before and this possibility continues to expand leaving behind a static linear world. Technology leverages these collective leaps of learning. Perspectives change with the position. The visibility is much more from the top of the mountain but the details get blurred.  Products and solutions are designed and positioned to meet the global and local requirements  of the users or a segment of the users.     Personal and organisational positioning precedes and influences the process.  The transformation of communities requires a critical mass of catalytic material – individuals and organisations.  Positioning is about those life changing decisions, the raison d’etre, like choosing a vocation and deciding to be best in that vocation, willing to sacrifice one’s life for it, work against all odds, make great sacrifices for a cause.

The child in the womb is blissfully unaware of its position. The terrorist is firm in his position that the enemy deserves death (you or me) The negotiator takes middle ground (yes and no, you and me) The catalysts take the fourth position, the home position or the lighthouse position. We feel at home and centred. One’s calling or vocation becomes expression of one’s self and work is transformed to fun. Here is the birth of the fully functional self, beginning of conscious evolution, characterised by dynamic mental maps, flow, synchronicity and continual renewal. Now, one can fix the direction for the journey (continual improvement) connect with the home position to the current stage (reflect) and be certain that one is on course. True community is in the making.

We check the design, when we are confronted with problems. If problems have no recession, we need to go back to the design and check our understanding of the design.

Nature has a design, a deep structure, which we have to live with. We continue to pay a price for our ignorance of the basic design. Our designs are but improvisations of bits and bytes of the basic design. Imagine billions of people continuing with a flat earth worldview and the reality we collectively create!

While we have ‘progressed’ a lot we have also ‘regressed’ in our connectedness with nature. Deep down we still hold on to the flat earth static models.  Better maps would facilitate faster and sustained improvements, accelerate the process of co-creating a more desirable present and future by leveraging technology and markets which work in real time and help us to make more intelligent use of these levers with lesser damage.

We have very sophisticated tools for navigation over the planet and beyond ranging from the compass/ GPS to satellites and communication systems and mapped our immediate environs to greater and greater precision.  We have managed to connect machines to communicate with each other across the planet in real- time and for the first time we can see the world as one in real time. Though machines can communicate to each other the man and the machine interface and communication within the human slow down the common journey ahead.  A real time evolutionary model of wholeness is one the requirements to bridge the divides and disconnects.

Employability and the War for Talent (WFT)

India is the top remittance receiving country in the world with annual remittances of 1, 28,500 Crores which is even more than the defence expenditure of the country. Kerala and Tamil Nadu account for half of the total immigrants. The bulk of remittances are from West Asia contributed by semiskilled and unskilled labour. The demographic profile of immigrants is in transition and the next generation of new entrants to the job market need skills and competencies of a different order to leverage the demographic dividend of the country and to move up the value chain Enhancing employability and quality are major issues to be addressed expeditiously.

Over 6, 00,000 B.Tech/ MCAs and 20, 00,000 other graduates pass out every year from colleges in the country. The number of engineering graduates is more than double that of graduates who pass out of all US universities. For many of these young people the lure of employment rather than aptitude influenced the decision to choose the course of study.  Even a professional degree is not always a passport to a certain job, more so in the global context that increasingly compels to focus on quality and productivity of human resources.

Employment in the government and public sector is down from 19.6 million in 1997 to 19.1 million in 2001.  Employment in the organised private sector increased marginally from 7.58 million in 1990 to 8.65 million by 1998. Corporates are shedding jobs and the potential for job cuts is increasing. Jobs in the service sector, hotels, tourism, financial services, insurance, trade, BPO and telecom, is increasing and the trend is likely to continue. The software sector, for example, is projected to grow at around 20-25% (?) and BPO at 70%. BPO alone is expected to account for around 2 million new jobs by 2010. But these new jobs are insignificant when compared to the 16 million people who are expected to join the workforce by this time.

Employability is the capability to gain initial employment, maintain employment and obtain new employment if required. The war for talent (WFT) model is elitist in character. It is assumed that there is only a limited pool of outstanding talent that becomes even more important as companies compete on innovation, knowledge and ideas. Employability is a measure of individual contribution.  It celebrates the Darwinian struggle for success and sees income in equalities as a fair reflection of market contribution. It assumes that organizations are driven by small elite of leaders that stand head and shoulders above the rest of the work force. It also supports the view that elite should be identified and developed at an early stage. Once selected their mobility is sponsored within the organization in preparation for the leadership roles they are expected to assume. The liberation of talent model is based on a different set of assumptions of the knowledge economy. It recognizes that the problems of intelligence and knowledge have changed. There is not a limited pool of innate talent. But rather the major problem today is how to utilize the capabilities of the work force. This calls for new ways of approaching the management of talent given the fact that the majority entering the job market will be university graduates, technical or non-technical.

From the perspective of employability of fresh graduates, there exists a wide gap between what industry wants and what educational institutions offer. The requirements of firms vary depending on their business areas.  No educational institution can meet the full complement of such dynamic and fluctuating requirements. While striving to meet the academic requirements of a particular programme, some other skills that are essential to survive and succeed in the work environment are left out. Though not deliberate, this emphasis on technical excellence alone ignores the human aspects that are increasingly becoming essential in the new workplace.  Employers usually have the following expectations from new recruits.1
Work ethic, including self-motivation and time management.
* Physical skills, e.g., maintaining one’s health and good appearance.
* Verbal (oral) communication, including one-on-one and in a group.
* Written communication, including editing and proofing one’s work.
* Working directly with people, relationship building, and teamwork.
* Influencing people, including effective salesmanship and leadership.
* Gathering information through various media and keeping it organized.
* Using quantitative tools, e.g., statistics, graphs, or spreadsheets.
* Asking and answering the right questions, evaluating information, and
applying knowledge.

* Solving problems, including identifying problems, developing possible
solutions, and launching solutions.

However during the selection process it becomes quite obvious that some of these basic, ‘soft’ skills are wanting in many new graduates. Industry sources point out that only 6 out of every 100 applicants finally make it through to jobs in the ITES sector, and that too only when the selection process is conducted in cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai or New Delhi!

For people working in technology the ‘hard’ skills include the technical competencies the individual possesses, skills that are obtained through formal education and hands-on learning which are measureable and learnable and need to be constantly renewed. ‘Soft’ skills on the other hand are generally interpersonal competencies that are more difficult to define and measure. While one may, for example, learn to make a bomb, even get some practical training in this respect and also get certified to the effect, no consideration is made as to the mental framework of the student. But it is the mental framework, the ‘soft’ skills and attitudes together that decide whether the bomb adds value or adds costs. (September 11).

Besides all this, there are the cultural aspects, embedded in each one which often stands in the way of creating and sustaining a high performance system. Consider for instance, something as simple as the ability to ask questions, a competence that is essential if one is to add value in a professional high performance organisation. Over a decade of working with B- School students, we have found them extremely reluctant to ask intelligent questions. The engineering graduates and graduates from the humanities stream who do not receive much of formal training in these areas are still down the ladder. There is a world of a difference between what students  are exposed to and what they are expected to deliver when they join professional organisations. And this difference can be quite a shock. Bridging this gap and reducing the impact of such shocks is essential to be globally competitive.

Competencies and Skills

Competency is the state or quality of being adequately or well qualified to perform a task. It is synonymous with ability. A person gains competency through education, training, experience, or natural abilities. Competencies are observable or measurable Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) that stand out in comparison to superior and ordinary performers. Performance is the accomplishment of a task in accordance with a set standard of completeness and accuracy. While a person may have the skills or knowledge (competency) to perform a task, does not mean he or she will have the desire (attitude) to do so correctly (performance). In other words, competencies give a person the ability to perform, while attitudes give a person the desire to perform.

To generate superior performance, job holders need core competencies that allow them to transition into other jobs, and distinctive competencies to perform in specific positions. This requires the development of a mix of several competencies:

  • The first is a set of core or essential competencies. These are the organizational competencies that all individuals are expected to possess. These competencies define what the organization values the most in people. For example, an organization might want each individual to possess teamwork, flexibility, and communication skills. The goal of the core competencies is for individuals to be able to perform in a diverse number of positions throughout the organization.
  • The second set is the professional or individual competencies. These distinctive competencies are grouped for each job within the organization. For example, a trainer requires a different set of competencies than an accountant, and a teller requires a different set than a maintenance worker.
  • Some jobs also require a third set of specialty competencies. For example, managers require the core and professional competencies discussed above, plus a set of leadership competencies since they occupy a leadership position.

Good generic qualifications such as a B. Tech or MCA are excellent starting points. Some students will acquire additional ‘hard’ skills, for example do a course in mainframe technology or pick up similar additional skills sets to increase one’s options.  Some of these skills are relatively more stable, but others are not as the industry requirements vary from time to time and from firm to firm. But the ‘soft’ skills are more or less set in the sense that all employers look for these skills. Outstanding success is related to these skills. With a combination of these two, the candidate’s chances of securing a job is enhanced.  We will certainly find that we have more growth opportunities in the context of a growing domestic economy and greying population in the developed economies.  It is necessary to hone ones aptitudes since the preliminary screening procedure most often, is based on these aspects and skills  such as verbal ability, logical reasoning, mathematical aptitude, data interpretation, details complexity, visuo spatial aptitude and so on, in addition to developing skills to handle GDs and interviews where the ‘soft’ skills come to play a decisive role.  Hard’ skills change from time to time especially with the rapid pace of change of technologies. There are obvious limitations to students being trained in technical skills that match the requirements of industry.  At the same time ‘soft’ skills do not find a place in the curriculum, and these become critical in the selection process and later success in the career

The strategy, therefore, should be to have the maximum options available – have a good professional degree, consistent performance and good marks, have one or more ‘hard’ skills that are currently in demand and simultaneously strengthen and develop your ‘soft’ skills. Over and above the technical competencies, organisations look for the following competencies at some stage of the selection process. These are skills that will decide the longer term career prospects of employees.

  1. Communicating ideas effectively: Most job openings today seek candidates with strong communication skills, especially public speaking skills.
  1. Team-orientation and emotional intelligence.  How well can one get along with others in the workplace? Most often it is not one’s intellect, experience or skills that make one successful, but the ability to connect reflect and be a catalyst in the process of continuous improvement that makes the difference.
  1. Creative problem solving. Is one a problem solver or worse a problem creator?
  1. Multi-tasking.  Can the aspirant perform a variety of separate tasks at the same time and do all of them well?
  1. Life Long Learning (LLL). Are you willing to keep on learning: How open are you to new knowledge and continuous self-renewal?
  1. Mental maps/ models: Each of us carries a mental map of the world with us. These internal maps are the software that influences performance.  In the context of the learning organisation or continuous improvement these maps are perfected with every improvement. There is also the possibility of being stuck in-between when there is no new learning and concurrent improvement.
  1. Active listening
  1. Managing time

Given the above context, it is an imperative to develop an accelerated learning and competency development framework and methodology to address these issues on a war- footing to ensure that the demographic dividend does no turn into a demographic liability. Over the years the ALCD approach has been tested and it appears that it is certainly feasible to evolve a fast track model with the involvement of all stake holders.

Beyond the Waves

Reinventing Work, Technology, Community and Governance*
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What one can be, one must be. Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970).What India (world) can be it must be, if it has to be at peace with itself. We need to reinvent technology, management and governance in the Indian/global context. if we need to be what we must be. We have come to a fork on the road wherein an informed choice is imperative.
When the Tsunami struck the southern coast of India on 26, December 2004, many fishermen on the high seas did not notice what was happening till they returned to the shore. They were awestruck with the devastation, an unpleasant surprise. The recession which is officially recognized as recession now, a year later, is something similar. It was in the making much before. The IT revolution that was driving much of the shine in the country and elsewhere was a similar wave. Many of those who were riding the wave failed to notice the eventual breaking up of the wave. The Enrons, Fannie May, Freddie Mac, Lehman brothers, Morgan Stanley, Madoff and Satyams should prompt us to reflect and go ahead with renewed vigor anticipating the future much better than in the past. What happened after the Tsunami was even more tragic. The relief measures were even more disastrous than the disaster itself, another wave which washed away the developmental lessons painfully accumulated over the years by new dependencies created in the wake of misplaced relief. Much of what we do in the name of bail outs will most likely be creating a similar impact.
The developed countries have been riding a wave for centuries. The emerging markets follow the trend. Since 1991, India has come to be reckoned as one of them. During this phase, bulk of the talent in the country gravitated to the IT sector at the cost of other equally or more vital sectors. Since most of them were riding a wave it was difficult to notice the eventual downturn of the wave and be prepared for the next.. The going was good, and adrenalin packed. By the time floodwaters find the level many will find it difficult to climb down and join the new wave to come, since in the first place they were not trained to climb up. We need to learn from the pitfalls that were swept under the carpet during the earlier waves. Only those fishermen, who manage the ups and downs, reach the shore with the catch, which is also true of farmers, institutions and communities.
The new India was born in 1991. She is past 17 now. As a child which stepped out of the confines of an over protected joint family, she took a few steps which gave it a feel of the world outside. During this adolescence, there has been some groundbreaking learning essential to face the challenges on the new road. We have a National Adolescence Education Programme (NAEP) which recognises the criticality of transcending the learning plateau during adolescence when young people acquire new capacities against the new challenges. A successful resolution is very critical to transformation as an adult. The country now needs to grapple with the issues of adolescence. The learning plateaus are different at different stages of life, as a child, adolescent, adult, the expert and the seniors. Lifelong learning (LLL) is even more relevant to communities, since continual renewal is the key to sustained improvements and performance, which decides the lifespan. Work is love expressed, (Kahlil Gibran). Peter Drucker continued at the forefront of management thought into his late nineties. Many of the corporations ‘built to last’ did not survive even the first wave that came up. Most MBAs do not survive one recession. If we have been expressing our love, through our work, do we stop loving during a crisis’?
There is no better time than a recession to plan for adulthood beginning 2012. Historians will call the period, 2008-12, as The Great Transition, if we do it right. I would like to believe that the country will do it though many adults do not do it. If we manage to pull it off that will be because of a rare maturity in the current leadership in politics and governance who went into these vocations when both were noble causes to fight for. Good politicians are better than bad bureaucrats in dealing with recessions since they go through a recession every 4-5 years. Let us not forget that all of them are in their late fifties to seventies. The recession and the terror strikes should remind us about the role of talent in governance which need to become fashionable once again. Branding is essential for IT, IITs IIMs and governance. There is a greater relevance for it in primary production, at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (Sic). The recession and the terror strikes keep us reminded of the role of good governance and developmental management. The shift needs to happen at the individual and the collective levels so that the paradigm of survival of the unfit changes to survival of the fittest

Re-Imagining an Indian/global Future
Nandan Nilekani’s Imagining India, is his portrait of the emerging India, from the vantage point of one of those who foresaw the future. To be an Indian is to be a global citizen. If there is one country which resembles the Noah’s Ark, that is India. Every species, every religion and every language is represented here in sufficient measure. It has the size and numbers in all dimensions that it is a veritable Noah’s Ark. It has withstood all the floods in the past and when one digs deep enough, one will find that what has been worth preserving over the course of history is very much alive here. This may not be true of other cultures and communities which have hardly any history to talk about at a large enough scale since nature does not go by our current human scale of time which seldom goes beyond five years. Solutions that emerge out of this context will have global relevance in addressing the single most important challenge of development and quality of life, as reflected in the Millennium Development Goals
More than economics, the demographic dividend is at work behind competitiveness. Whether this dividend turns into a liability or not will depend on how we respond to the challenge of learning and competency development.. While we are well aware of the state of our physical infrastructure and the recession might compel us to revisit the issue, we are yet to address the challenges of the people infrastructure which form the foundation to all other infrastructure. It is only recently that we have begun to see people as resources than a problem. The transformational issues involved in leveraging the advantage remain unaddressed. There is extreme urgency to resolve the challenge to make sure that the dividend does not turn out to be a liability.
I get weekly mail from the transition team of the US President elect. I fail to get a reply from the Head of Organisation Development in one of these ‘IT giants’ when I send them this mail, just to test the waters. The same is true of the NKC, the National Knowledge Commission. All four of these ‘IT giants’ from India put together would perhaps touch 20 % of IBM’s or HP’s global revenues and some of the domestic software outsourcing contracts that went to IBM India was roughly the same size as their individual revenues. My electricity bill is issued every month with a handwritten note on it by the service provider stating if there is any advance paid, pay the bill after deducting the advance and I am a resident of Bangalore city, the IT capital of the country. I am just giving a few examples of how people and institutions leverage technology. Obviously those who use technology as a lever will continue to move the world. For technology to be leveraged people behind the lever need to be in alignment with technology. To cite another example, much before the security agencies began deciphering the GPS, the ‘illiterate’ fishermen on the south coast of the country started using the GPS. Same was true of mobile phones too. Let us also remind us that IT did not save us from the recession, which is but a limitation of how we use technology which has by and large come to be understood as IT by our graduates in technology and the mainstream. Captains of Indian Industry with Ivy League MBAs who have the wherewithal to access the best of technology or management globally have more faith in their astrologers, an obsolete technology which did not do any good to the country for over tw0 thousand years, than in these disciplines. Most engineers too have more faith in the astrologer than in their own designs. In general we have more faith in default than in design. Even when there is a design and strategy, we would like to say “I have been lucky to be successful”. Design is still an infant discipline in the country and ambivalence rather than strategy appears to be a cultural handicap.

The human resource function became synonymous with recruitment and in a recession redefined as retrenchment or pink slips, and development came to be understood as software development. Till now an Infosys or TCS could afford the luxury of learning and competency development, stretching over years that would transform raw graduates to billable resources. The gates are now likely to remain closed for over three lakhs of engineering graduates, most of whom spend 4 years and over 7 lakhs in loans to earn an engineering degree without any assurance that they are employable – the ability to obtain and retain employment when the same is challenged during a recession. In place of the housing sub-prime we are likely to have a sub-prime in educational loans, though this may not be significant enough to cause similar repercussions. We have a system where the brilliance of the IITs and IIMs are outwitted by successful coaching shops which sprouted and established themselves as more successful business models than the IITs and IIMs without the huge investments to create such institutions. Most often, learning and competency development, the core of HR, came to be addressed at a very cosmetic level with theories and models of building the pyramid without a theory about the brick, the basic building unit. The function went through an inversion as reflected in the coinage of terms like hard skills for soft skills and vice versa sweeping aside the Moore’s law and the imperatives that follow from it. People who rode to iconic status on the upswing who had never survived a downturn came to don the hats of venture capitalists, mentors and management consultants. Management consultants downgraded themselves to client interfacing for IT services and software service providers attempted reinventing themselves as management consultants. Consultants talked about people process maturity in their thirties even before facing their own mid – life crisis. The shelf life of most managers came to be established as around 15 years, quite unlike a good professional who is governed by a code of conduct and practices his discipline for life. People who designed product obsolescence and product and organisational positioning could not walk their own talk. Graduates from professional courses could not answer the question as to what is it to be a professional. The cosmetic was taken care of but the content was not.
Finance Capital > Human Capital > Community Capital
Settled agriculture, followed by industrialisation and the information technology revolution were the prominent waves in history which lasted for around 10,000, 500, and 50 years. The fishermen and tribal communities, the eco-system people, belong to an earlier phase who live on community or common property resources. They have been pushed to the boundaries of ‘modern society’ which failed to recognise their silent but essential role as guardians of the eco-system against conventional norms of ROI. Most ot the fish we consume flow from the eco-system people, milk from the farmers, bottled water from industry and the software that keeps me connected from a proto knowledge community which has emerged  out of  the last wave. The fish and milk are cheaper than bottled water sums up the accumulated distortions in the system. While the meltdown continues, Ivy League B- Schools discuss ” If you are smart, why aren’t you rich?” and “How to Build a Professional Image” as if money is the only measure of intelligence and a professional image is more important than being a true professional. We don’t need lot of proof as to the degree of professionalism of the ‘smart managers’ who bothered more about their bonuses than the safety of the ships they were in charge of. As the product is in the process, it is time to revisit the B- Schools and the process through which managers are churned out. I pay $ 50, the equivalent of a month’s income at the “bottom of the pyramid’ for a best seller by an author who has been thrice on the New York Times best seller list. on application of systems thinking in an area of my interest to relearn  that the author’s understanding of the discipline is equivalent to that of a physicist who has only two dimensions to deal with physical reality. He is smart and he will be rich, but next time, I will be wiser. For two weeks, most of my time has been spent on dealing with two MNCs – global giants – to get some support for two of my gadgets that have failed. I keep getting calls to find out  the quality of  my service experience from some agency to which the work has been outsourced ,while I continue to deal with the agony of not able to work without these gadgets. The right arm does not know what the left arm does.
A recession offers a spell of time when we might listen well than when we are riding the waves. The four worlds need to come together as one, as a single eco-system, if we are to transition to the next phase of conscious and continual improvement / renewal, an economy of love’ (?), maturity and the highest respect for each other)
We now know the limitations of the overemphasis placed on finance capital when the paradigm had already shifted to human capital and now to community capital. Yet most of us are still stuck with the maps of these bygone phases, with obsolete maps and tools for a new generation of problems.
The demographic dividend of India is unmatched. The accumulated learning from all three waves need to be leveraged and aligned  for tthe emergence of a knowledge community to recession and future proof  against all the waves to come and to transition into a phase of  sustained continuous improvement. The metrics need to be against emergence of global community and achieving the MDG, decline of cross-border conflicts and terrorism in addition to conventional metrics of growth and development
One success story which demonstrated a very high degree of such integration has been the White Revolution in India though the learning could not be leveraged any further in other contexts. This is also the time to revisit the white, green, blue and the other ‘revolutions’ to bring them together into a rainbow of sustainability for the emergence of better ‘community’. The value of a new generation business plunges to insignificance when the last employee in the graveyard shift walks out of the campus. Microsoft or Infosys were founded more on human and community capital, leveraged by technology than on finance capital, by people who saw the emergence of the new wave three decades ago. Those of them who uphold community, the real value differentiator over short term profitability, will ride the next wave in the making. Most of the talent, who joined the tail end of the wave, went in for no other reason than that it was the in thing to do. There is no need to be perturbed by the recession, if we are able to visualise the unmatched opportunity that it offers. This is the time to move up the value chain as well as to address the challenges of employee productivity. Tools that could address these issues of leapfrogging the downturn could secure the competitive edge that would enable us to ride the next wave. The pink slip holders is an opportunity, not a liability, if we realise that, if we have the tools, they can be turned into resources with the least investment of time and resources because they had the benefit of some real context specific learning. It  is  ironic to use the term real learning, as we use the term real economy and toxic assets. A toxic human asset forms the best recruitment ground for terrorists. With an appropriate strategy, tools and methodology, designing a more desirable future would become feasible. Alternatively, the ‘Troubled Assets Rehabilitation Programme’ could easily become a TRAP. The ground is getting levelled and it is time to visualise the foundation and the superstructure that would be built.
Reality can be sliced in infinite ways. We show miniscule slices of this reality on the post mortem table or on the X, Y axis to the learner on the assumption that she would put them together into a whole. Had the approach been effective the present reality would be altogether different. We cannot expect that more of the same would lead to resolution of the crisis. What brought us here will not take us to where we must be.
The imperative is to evolve an integral pedagogy and practice to address these issues against challenges at the bottom, middle and top of the ‘pyramid’, a technology for Accelerated Learning and Competency Development (ALCD) for SHP. To the man who only has a hammer in his tool kit, every problem looks like a nail. (Abraham Maslow). We certainly need better tools than hammers and screwdrivers in our tool kits.

Limits to Growth OR Limits to Learning?

I would like to play god for a few minutes and in those few minutes I would globally find and replace the word teacher with student facilitator from the soft tissue memory banks of all humans and then go to sleep with the satisfaction of having done a good day’s work. The collective amnesia would make sure that the word is not revived from the storage devices, be it the computer hard disk or the hard copies of books and documents.

I wish teachers stop being teachers and bring back learning to the centre stage.  I thank the teachers who did it for me. I also thank those who drove me to write this piece. But for them I wouldn’t have. When I look out, I can see the Bangalore campus of the National Dairy Research Institute, which was once the Imperial Dairy Research Institute, started in 1923 by the British.   Mahatma Gandhi had been there, a student for a week. That was much before my time (1971-73). What he learnt in one week, I wouldn’t have learnt in two years. He would have foreseen the white revolution that would sweep over post independent India. The first learning point, the most important turning point in my life happened here. I discovered the fun of learning which had gone out during my formal education.  Having got disillusioned with the world of work I came back to Bangalore as a B-school student for another two years, 1981-83. What was then the outskirts of the city is almost the heart of the city now. I am once again in Bangalore, my third time. Where I live, the National Games Village used to be a marshy swamp. The locality around, Koramangala, is more than home to the techies in Bangalore.  In between, the IT revolution took off and reached its peak paving way for the next revolution in the making. I visualize Bangalore driving that revolution, emergence of a learning community which renews itself continually where work, learning and leisure come together as one so that work becomes its own reward. (Goodbye to incentives and stock options?)

Every time I am back in Bangalore, I get a fresh lease of life and at 60, it is happening once again

There is a campaign going on in Bangalore – ‘Teach India’. I wish they call it “Learn India Learn”. We put on our teacher’s hat all too often, at home, at work, on the road and even in our dreams

Often we kill the joy of learning when we set out to teach, more the teachers less the learning. (For me learning is purposive. It should lead to improvement. Otherwise it is not learning). The best of my teachers did the least teaching. They created the conditions for us to learn.  We had a wonderful pair, in B-School, who did the least teaching. We called them Laurel and Hardy. They allowed us to put on the teaching hats and listened to us. I was hooked to system thinking (not systems thinking) which was another learning /turning point in my learning curve. Habits seldom die. It took me three years of teaching to say goodbye to my ‘teaching career’- in 1984. I found myself unfit for the job, fished out my learner’s hat and got wedded to LLL, lifelong learning. When we do that growing old is something to look forward to. Julia Roberts, the pretty woman actress echoes it.

http://en.ce.cn/entertainment/gossip/200809/08/t20080908_16738880.shtml Growing old is becoming free. Development as Freedom (Amartya Sen) is true in this context also but it is dependence for those who do not, stuck at the learning plateaus.

I remember the learning plateaus during my formal education, adolescence, at work and after work. I am not one of those Rushdie’s midnight’s children. I was conceived and born in a free India (1949) a baby boomer. Like most baby boomers I too grew up/down as a confused child. My early reading only added to that confusion.  Those writers have now grown old and changed their positions many times over. Not many returned like the prodigal son to be connected to the roots. Most remain still confused and they go on confusing others.  The revolutions died very young leaving many casualties in the process. The orthodox Christian religious atmosphere, at home, school and all around also contributed to the making of the prodigal son. I was lucky to break out of that stifling world to rediscover the fun of learning, to get unstuck and move ahead from the plateaus of learning that came over the years at intervals.

The process is not always very pleasant. Bangalore is also the suicide capital of the country and the incidence is the highest among those in the age group 15-44.There is pain and suffering while we are stuck and the joy and freedom of getting unstuck from the plateaus are abundant compensation for the pain. Having gone through the process, it was a logical next step to take position as a student/facilitator of learning. One can certainly make the process easier for those interested in transcending the barriers to learning.

We started with facilitating children in schools and moved up the levels to the ‘top of the pyramid’ with our facilitation tools. Our prevalent notions of intelligence encourage and support the notion that a few are exceptionally gifted and fit to survive. For those who fail to be recognized as such the school can be a torture machine which kills the joy of learning, creating the first learning plateau. It is also the stage when adolescents are assumed to turn adults.   When the species in general does not encourage adult behaviour and maturity, transformation to the adult is a near impossibility.  The emphasis on teaching as against learning arises from the position that majority cannot learn and they need to be taught. It is self-fulfilling and the adult is less likely to take birth. The first and basic distortion of the meaning drive is already seeded which gives rise to the primary learning plateau

When we moved to the world of work with the facilitation process we found that the first plateau is instrumental in creating other barriers in the world of work. The formal educational system seldom meets the expectations of the employer. The employer has to create the conditions for continual learning, more so in the context of a ‘knowledge society’ in emergence. Work is seldom perceived as learning or expression of one’s self with the result that most get burnt out in the process. Once again it is only a minority who manage to break through the glass ceiling. For the majority another plateau is in the making. Meanwhile our young man/woman has become a parent and bogged down by more responsibilities and expectations at work and home. The context is ripe for the classic symptoms of the mid-life crisis to surface. Some transcend the plateau and continue to be productive beyond their fifties. The individual and society suffer from the consequences. In large hierarchical governance systems, it is tragic to see young bright outstanding individuals progressively grow out of touch with reality creating more plateaus /barriers to the collective journey of improvement and renewal.  The circle is complete

One can go on ad nauseum (the teacher is still alive). I would like to sum up

We have created a Giant wheel. A few drive the wheel.  They promise better and better rides. A few refuse to be taken for a ride.

Habit is thus the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent (William James-1890)

Our suggestion is simple. Limits to growth = Limits to learning

IPR, Intellectual POVERTY Rights?

The Chosen Few

Hitler is not dead. He has been renamed Intelligence. Fishermen and the tribal, the ecosystem people, are outliers to the mainstream society. The developing countries and the Slumdog Billions are outliers to the modern, industrialised, post industrial society. None of my success stories would pass an IQ test with flying colours nor would they be reckoned as success by the prevalent norms of success.

The Rosetto mystery challenges mainstream beliefs about health, points out Gladwell (The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, 2008, Penguin).  It is the quality of community among the Roseto that contribute to their health. If so, why are we not focusing our attention on successful communities rather than individual successes? The latter need not necessarily take us to the former.

Success in history is equated with aggression. Asoka’s choice of ahimsa over aggression changed the course of history for India.  After a very long interlude the country got into history through non- aggression in the struggle for political freedom under Gandhi.

Bill Joy, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs,  the ‘success stories’ of the current generation had many other things going in their favour in addition to above average IQ, advantages of an early start, practice, the time/location factor and opportunities. These are  the typical American success stories and when we put them together we have what we call the grand dream that celebrates the success of the individual rather than quality of the community.  What does it do to the collective human dream and the community at large? Has community been improving in sync with our other achievements?

Gladwell certainly debunks some of the popular myths. But the real myth is we attribute a few of the factors to conclude that we have a recipe for success.  The investment bankers who took the global community for a ride would have scored very well on a conventional IQ test and many of them would qualify to be in the Mensa club. The notion of the chosen few, that some are more equal than the rest, that some are infallible, that some can save the world is the grand myth to be debunked. Every prophet is a product of the community in which he lived and to believe that another prophet or a set of prophets will save the world is the grand myth that we have come to believe in. The CEO of an MNC, faculty of an Ivy League College or the supervisor on the shop floor attempts to create and continually reinforce the notion that you are something very special which has become integral to the motivational tool kit. If you are something special, I am something more special and I need to be rewarded more by the community, seems to be the prevalent logic of being civilized.  We have stretched the use of the tool way beyond sustainability.

The problem with metrics such as IQ is that they are blown out of proportion without regard to the limited context in which they remain valid. Most often we devise very complex filters to establish the superiority of a few to justify that they deserve very special consideration, to establish that they add much greater value than the rest. Abraham Maslow was said to be the second ‘most intelligent’ person in the world. He said “When the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail.” IQ is one of those hammers. IQ has evolved over time as in multiple intelligences, gender intelligence, and community intelligence and so on.  Nature has given all of us the same potential but the context varies widely. The Infosys founders or others heading the IT industry in India were born a decade later. The lag of ten years is the price one pays for taking birth in a developing country, ceteris paribus, in a flatter world in our times.

Are the fishermen or the farmer potentially less intelligent than the investment banker? We would like to create such a make-believe which goes into the valuation of their contributions. The same logic works for what we are prepared to part with in the exchange of goods and services. The more myths we create around them we are able to squeeze more out of the market.   This logic which has been stretched too far goes into the making of unreal goods and services, the bulk of the market and the value propositions behind them. The unreal has become more real than the real. There is no ‘connect’ between the head and the tail. During a recession these disconnects become too obvious. For some time, the tail wags the head and we come to believe in the shadow as the substance.

So is there some merit in the origin of castes – the four varnas- child labour and the craftsmens’guilds, the communities of practice?

When everybody is appropriately selfish and we celebrate it we don’t realise that this is at the cost of community and survival of the species, where we are stuck now. How much is too much?  Has success need to be in terms of market cap? Would Keynes be interested in Robinson Crusoe, who does not produce or sell, though he leaves no ecological foot prints, the key to sustainability which is still not part of the metrics of our collective IQ or ‘growth’?  Are we measuring growth or decay?

Your ideas are not your ideas

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. – Kahlil Gibran

Our thoughts are not our own. We gathered them on the way, picked pockets, robbed people of what that they wanted to say, did not or could not. We could  pick their minds.

Wright brothers took us flying and we have a DEBT TO PAY OFF in terms of IPR. They gave expression to a collective longing – Life’s longing for itself, our collective longing to take off, fly, and go out into space as expressed in our dreams.  Most of us had dreams of flight when we were children.  I still do. Last night I was travelling with Lizzie in our first car. We had a flat and then we were flying together to take a look at how bad the tyre was. The car went on and we kept on with it, flying.

If what we think is not our thinking but the universal mind thinking through us how do we OWN them, bottle them up, label them, and hire an agent to market them.  Change Masters!  Some say, change is the only constant and let us make a difference as if all change and all difference are in the right direction.

Changelessness too is a constant. (Values, thou shall not kill…). When we do not mean what we say, the intention is good but the effect is bad. More of the semantic swamp but appropriate to create “IPR and Knowledge Assets”. Those who walk and talk Kaizen, continuous improvement, surprise us, the ‘change masters’. We need to globally Find /Replace “change and difference” with IMPROVEMENT and walk the talk , paying  attention to improvement, so that real improvements happen because what we pay attention to GROWS

The words we use reflect the internal software, the deep structure and we don’t communicate – connect, improve, when the intent and the words are not in alignment.  We need a new language of performance and improvement.  We have gone to the extent of monetising the value of an additional year of life and medical expenses make sense if the returns are more than the cost! We need something similar for books, other IP too, that adds to the semantic swamp and contributes to global warming that only if they lead to net improvements, they be published. Most often they are a rehash of what you already know at the core of your own being which is always connected to the mind of the universe.  The rights if any should go to Nature – the source of all learning. Thanks to the web, by the above logic, this would never have been published.

Charity begets charity. “Guilt lubricates the economic engine and charity is the measure” – overheard.

News, Facts and Fiction

New IITs and IIMs and the Toyota Recall

(IITs, Indian Institutes of Technology. IIMs, Indian Institutes of Management)

I am anchoring a workshop on Accelerated Learning in one of the B – schools when the reports appear in the media that Toyota   recalls of 688,314 vehicles produced in China though no injuries or accidents have been linked to the recall. The recall amounts to more than a year’s sale of vehicles.

Dream:  I am waiting in front of my B-school which I graduated from in 1981. There is a huge crowd of alumni waiting for registration. The b-school has a great reputation and has discovered that there have been some major glitches in all their graduates throughout the school’s history. The graduates have been responsible for systemic failures of grave dimensions affecting the very survival of the planet. They are waiting to register for a remedial programme. Their licences to practice have been revoked.  I wake up from the dream with the fear of losing my job to realise that I do not have a job to lose and I don’t need a license to do what I do for a living. Thank god, it is only a dream.

We share our dreams and news in the morning. We will soon have more IITs and IIMs. We are wonderful when it comes to numbers.  The Toyota quality issue is pales in comparison when we look at what the top of the pyramid does to the bottom. (It is part of our programming to think of the world in terms of pyramids, or sometimes as a flat reflecting our own inner landscapes. We perceive ourselves to be standing  on the apex of the pyramid and from where we are rest of humanity are down there). We don’t just leave it at that. More questions follow: What is Indian about the Indian Institutes of Management? Are they B-schools or M- schools? If they are catering only to business why are they called management institutes? Is business not capable of meeting their own demand for managerial talent or otherwise?  Why should government indulge in this business where it has no competence to talk about? Why do we want more of them when they have failed in meeting our technology and management challenges ? Do US seeds germinate and take root in the Indian soil? Can copies be better than the original? Which Indian academic in management working in India has the highest recall rate? Why is it that we don’t even have a single technology or management breakthrough of world class scale and size in proportion to the scale and size of the country? Why are we so hung up on numbers and blissfully unaware of quality? You said quality, quantity and time goes into setting of standards and that standards though essential can also breed conformity and compromise on outstanding achievements, when you don’t have any standards of your own?

Is there a moral to the story? Accelerated learning and making people to ask questions is a tightrope walk? One cannot indulge in it without taking a position on some of these issues.

On August 25th 2008, we were witness to a different kind of Olympic event. Around 300 very young people, average age 25, were celebrating their outstanding achievements and performance at work in the Trinity hall of Taj Residency, Bangalore where I heard the following dialogue

“We are meeting here a day after the Olympics, an Olympics where China made its century and we got away with the ‘holy trinity’. It is appropriate that we meet in the trinity hall and discuss our performance, be it in Olympics or in our work. We need to celebrate performance even if they are not grand victories and we need to celebrate such winnings in the context of the community that made it possible. I congratulate all of you and those who have shown such a brilliant planning of the event that we could discuss these issues in the most appropriate context. I thank you for making it possible for me to be part of this celebration of community and performance. It is also the most appropriate time for us to discuss and envision, as a community of practice, the heights of performance that we would scale in the coming years

The average age of billionaires is 61. The Face book CEO, Mark Zukerman is the youngest of the lot at 23. Two out of every three of the billionaires are self made like the welfare mom JKR who made it to the list at 42.  So it is not always an inheritance of wealth that takes us to the heights but how we leverage our inheritance that nature and history has given us that take us to the history book. Our own Anil Ambani was the one with the fastest rate of growth. More of them from China and India are making it to the history book. The combined worth of around 1100 billionaires is around 3 trillion dollars.

Many of my millionaire classmates who were many times smarter than me are not around to talk about their performance.  I am sure each one of us would have a dream other than making it to the list of billionaires. If all of us have only billionaire dreams, it would be better to start looking for another planet.   This brings us to the issue of metrics and criteria by which we measure success, performance and achievements. Is wealth the only measure of success or should we have multiple criteria? While we celebrate performance we also need to remind ourselves that personal success needs to be balanced with lot many other aspects. One very important aspect among them is the improvement in community, which in the first place made these achievements possible, as this alone will guarantee sustained high performance (SHP)”
Abhinav Bhindra, 25, the lone gold medallist from > 1 billion Indians has been drilling holes on paper for twelve years. He was seven when he proved himself to be a sharp shooter. From taking the position to be a shooter to reaching the summit of achievement spans a journey of 18 years, many a set back and smaller wins in between. For Michel Phelps, focused effort started at 13 and the crowning event happened at 23. Mastering of the process takes ten years or even more. It is most often a lonely journey. What would be more interesting to watch will be how these people continue to perform and rewrite the story of human potential? Sergei Bubka continues to perform off the field. Mapping the human potential would require a closer study of the exceptions, not just in athletics, but from as many perspectives as possible at different levels, individuals, institutions, communities, globally, at the level of the species.

We will remember the events and forget the process. We have a built in bias to our birthdays, floods, festivals and feasts.

How did China top the 2008 Olympics? India too has a comparably large population. China won by design, India won by default. It is ironic that the same is true of performance in other areas too. If India does not perform, the world will not, because one in every six is an Indian and one out of every three of the poor in the world also is an Indian. While individual performance may happen in isolation, performing as a community involves complexity of a much higher order. Some communities have a history of continual improvement while others do not fare as well.

India offers complexity of the highest order which makes it all the more interesting to students of performance/ achievements. No other country has the same kind of complexity of colour, religions, languages and dialects. For over two thousand years it has remained in a slumber very often basking in the glory of a far too distant past.
Personal growth to performance as a single community is a continuum and at some stage in the process, the critical mass and velocity is achieved for the collective transformation. A small minority takes position as individuals. They decide early in life as to their purpose of being here. The direction of their journey is clear to them and they hang on tenaciously. Once they achieve that some of them redefine their goals to the next phase in the journey. Some others take a position much later during the course of the journey. Many do not take a position at all. They leave it to the astrologer, fate, destiny or default. As a nation, India prefers the astrologer to the management consultant.

Global standards apply to the metrics of performance as in the Olympics though the same is realized within the local context. The gardener needs to know the soil. Gardening skills from Silicon Valley would need to be localized for better results in Bangalore. Unless it performs better than Silicon Valley, it does not get into the metrics. Once you get in to the record books, there is the problem of continuing to outperform the competition. We have outlined the problem of SHP. The two B- schools that I attended and the work that I was involved with kept me reminded of the Indian and the developmental complexity, that one cannot imitate and compete with the competition since a copy can never be better than the original. Each one of us is in a unique situation or context and each one has to find choose his/her road. That applies to community too, regardless of the scale, be it organizations or nations. Yet some universals hold good which could accelerate the process. We are all trying to build a Cathedral or Taj Mahal. The story is all too familiar and with every retelling it could take in new perspectives. In the latest version, the supervisor on the spot is beheaded by the emperor. The logic had the supervisor been effective in his role the emperor would have heard the same answer from all the masons. (More on leadership in the Indian context http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5992.html) The challenge of creating community necessitates taking a common position, a coming together based on a shared vision. How do you create such a vision? Do we have something, a non-controversial reference point, around which communities can emerge?
We have very sophisticated systems to navigate the planet and beyond. Navigating through life is a more complex process where each one of us is left with multiple tools. For some it may be the astrologer or their particular brand of belief system. The multiplicity of the maps is one of the blocks to a common journey. I remember a starlit night, by the bank of the river. Looking at the sky my teacher asked me “What is the meaning of all this”? I had no answer but there was a wish at the time that someday I would find it out. It took 25 years to resolve the issue of making sense of the world, to make a map

The Chinese seafarers had better maps than Columbus. A good one will not take you where you never wanted to go and need not be revised too often. The FDF is a map to reduce the complexity of the developmental process across multiple levels and contexts. A map has to hold good at the local as well as global levels, something similar to the periodic table. The FDF has been in use since 1990, to accelerate personal and community learning
The 5 Ps of making sense of the world: Purpose, Positioning, Potential, Performance and Process, paying attention to improvements.
We are born like bullets going out of the gun. Who fired the shot? We did not unless you are a mystic who would say that you chose your time, parents and place of your birth. We have inherited a body, mind from our parents and the past, the product of a process as old and as young as the universe. How does one convert this inheritance – make it our own, own it? This is where the 5 Ps come in.

Can a 100 year old regenerate his body? Prior to regenerating the body one should regenerate the spirit, the meaning. The spirit is about the purpose. Why are we here? Is it just because we were born – by default? Or is there a design? One should be able to recognize the design, the purpose. The GOI has a department of Ayush, to my knowledge, the only one of its kind in the world. We had a science of life, Ayurveda, an inheritance from our past. The department deals with the science of life! The purpose is to live; defeat death the basic premise of Ayurveda. The philosophy is in stark contrast to the mainstream understanding of health and healing wherein to fall sick is an exception, the current mainstream belief being to fall ill is the order which is self-fulfilling. Once we have a purpose for which we are ready to die, take a position, we will not die unless the purpose is achieved. This is what it means to take a position. So have an impossible dream and take the position that this is the purpose of my being here if we want to outperform the competition, live longer, defeat death, gain market share, whatever. What do we learn from people with exceptional longevity, centenarians? Why do they go on? Many of them are healthier than the 20 + some things I mostly work with. They seldom go to the doctor and still have that sparkle in their eyes.

When the purpose is absent the potential of the body is not challenged and unless we challenge, stretch, we do not create the conditions for the potential to be expressed – Michael Phelps, Bubka, Isinbayeva, Bhindra – as individuals. Next step is to challenge these limits as a community of practice and pay attention to the process, the improvements that happen and the metrics. Improvements follow from new learning, LLL. The self, individual or community, is the learner, hence the first discipline.  The 5 Ps are in place. There are more Ps. The more perspectives we take we are in better touch with reality and our solutions are likely to be more effective.

True North

Animals align themselves to the magnetic poles of the earth

http://www.physorg.com/news138902073.html
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061021115811.htm. They have a built in compass/GPS function, courtesy of nature, to keep them aligned and tuned to nature. The human situation is more pathetic than that of the animals. We need to work at developing some of these skills, an obvious disadvantage in exchange of freewill and choice. It took us long to develop the compass to navigate the world. The technology has become very sophisticated and our maps of the planet and immediate neighbourhoods are near perfect. We can cover much more in a day than our previous generations, can even go for a deep dive into outer space and come back with pin point precision.
Though mobility has improved rapidly vast majority of us still do not move out of our places of birth. There is a different kind of a journey which all humans undertake, the one of personal and community growth and development. How well equipped are we for this journey which is many times more complex than a journey over space? Let us run a reality check.

What is the first requisite for a journey over space? We should make certain of our current position. Ask any number of people, you are not likely to get this answer. First things first- goes the saying but seldom does this happen. Let us ask the same question about the other journey that we discuss here, where are we now? What is our current position? Any error in estimating the position takes us on the wrong course. What makes us, the Human, uniquely different from the Animals, as a class? Ask yourself and arrive at the answer. Ask the same to another 100 people you come across. We play this game in our stretch workshops. We seldom get the right answer even with groups of people known for their brilliance. Quiz them on anything else under the sun you would get an answer though one can as well get these answers through a web search. It takes much more time to get the group to agree that our uniqueness as a class which makes us distinct from the animals is our ability to IMPROVE ourselves, the environment and community around us. If we don’t improve and improve continually, can we claim ourselves to be human, that we learn and evolve? If we do not we would be sub animal. The human is the most threatened of all species. S/he is a threat to he/r/self, to the environment and other life forms. The World without Us would be much better off.  Animals do not kill within the same species without any reason but we do. They don’t have cancer wards, asylums and old age homes. If we are to learn about community it is much better that we look at them than at us. So what has gone wrong with us? Is humanness / community improving or on the decline?
Are we civilized? If the emperor says he is the emperor we have reasons to disbelieve what we hear. Same holds true of claims of being civilized and developed. As a child I remember that most of the adults in my village used to carry a dagger with them, not to fight wild animals but to protect themselves from others. Hardly a week would pass without some news of a murder on some silly reason. Today they don’t but in some ‘more civilized, developed parts of the world’ nearly every other man owns a gun. Who is more civilized / developed?
Who performs and what are the criteria for measurement? The southern coastal state of Kerala in India, unlike many other parts of the country, has more or less the same quality of life as that of a developed country like Sweden, the major differentiator being it has a much lower per capita income. Should we measure development by eco illiteracy or eco literacy? Who leaves a bigger ecological footprint, the rich or the poor? Do we recognize performance? Farmers commit suicide in some parts of India. Fishermen of south India are probably the best of primary producers but even poorer than the farmers. Drinking water has become costlier than milk. Farmers and fishermen are poor not because they are not productive but because the markets and those on top of the pyramids respect and listen to those with muscle and not the unorganized. No wonder that we have a crisis of food security in the making.

Are we better off than the animals in terms of community?  Are we mature, adults? Hitler is not dead. He still lives in us. Listen carefully to the new age messiahs, gurus, change agents and leaders. Adults need only data, information and they can lead themselves. Compare the salary structure of CEOs in Japan vs. USA in comparison to the shop floor worker, which shows that we are willing to entrust our fate to the commander in chief, rest all our hopes on a small number of men and women. We have very little faith in the wisdom of community. We still would like to have leaders and followers, than self-manage. The result is Hitlers in camouflage. So do we learn, if we do there should have been improvements across multiple facets which ultimately will lead to oneness, better community, environment and the assurance of a secure future.
What is progress if in 2500 years we could not go beyond Buddha and Christ and in over 5000 years we could not improve on the wisdom of the Upanishads? From similar antiquity if we have to translate the Kama Sutra, a treatise on sex and sexuality into many languages what have we understood about sex and sexuality?
WANTED – A new language of Improvement
“Change is the only constant”. We have more change masters than masters of improvement. Change can be good or bad, superficial or substantial. Look at the semantics. If one observes the language one can see the positions which give rise to such views from which the language originates. From such positions improvements cannot happen. To cross over the semantic swamp we need a new language, a LANGUAGE of improvement and PERFORMANCE which we might call Inglish. Inglish is more than Indian English, which, thanks to the British, is spoken by more people than in Britain and USA combined. When one learns a language other than one’s mother tongue, every word is vey new whereas for the native speaker the very same words have lost their depths of meaning. Familiarity takes away the depth and might even breed contempt. Inglish is a requirement because we have used up the communication potential – most of it has been used up as advertising by-lines to promote shadows and substitutes (Brand X makes you a complete man and brand Y makes the complete woman) – of languages to connect people across the planet as a community. So we communicate yet do not enhance true community. Such communication is the noise, the major barrier to connect and build bridges. We need a common language to connect the world as a single community. We could make machines talk to each other across multiple platforms. Next step is to do the same with the human so that man and the machine are aligned. The graphic user interface took the computer to the masses, transcending the barriers of language. The visual has more bandwidth than any other stimuli and the NOW gen views rather than read. Inglish has to be a visual language.
This is just to trigger and continue the dialogue. This work is not meant to be full-fledged with self contained arguments. These are some very random thoughts on why we need a compass/ GPS to fix our position and direction for the journey – to show us the TRUE NORTH, one for each one of us, since we cannot use somebody else’s.

Sustained High Performance by Design

The Graphic User Interface (GUI) contributed significantly to the pervasive use of computers, PDAs, mobile phones and various other gadgets transcending barriers to the use of technology and thus accelerating the emergence of a more connected and flatter world. The GUI attenuated the complexity of the black boxes, hardware or applications software and facilitated self-navigation. A similar interface to the discipline of management would go a long way in bridging the even more challenging issues of transcending the divides and barriers to the emergence of global community

Management is relatively a young discipline with the potential to emerge as an integral Meta system to bring together various disciplines. However the student is often perplexed by the profusion of jargon resulting in a semantic swamp. The crossover seldom happens. The current context, of business, environment and development, raises serious concerns as to the relevance and validity of the practice. General Motors which provided the context to the Concept of the Corporation, (Drucker) has filed for bankruptcy. GM is not an isolated example. The best of talent which headed to the investment banks took decisions which they would have thought to be in the best interests of its stake holders which came to challenge the very foundations and premises of the discipline. Major growth stories of the IT era were mostly entrepreneurial and technology driven. This growth has peaked and in scouting for fresh growth the emerging markets have become the focus of attention. While China has more or less followed an aggressive path of taking on the competition, the Indian position still remains unclear and out of focus. For the student of developmental management India is unique in its level of complexity. It is what Galapagos was to Darwin in deciphering the story of evolution.  Solutions that emerge out of this complexity have universal validity that could meet the challenges of creating a more desirable future, both local and global. The GUIID is a map to make sure that we don’t miss the woods for the trees since in the final analysis we are as good as our maps since we know physical world through our maps of the world.

Reading the Map

The observer self at the centre attempts to make sense of the world looking inside and outside to fix its own position and evolve a map for the journey. The self can be the individual, organisational or community self. The map has four quadrants, directions, as in any other geographical maps. N stands for true north. The quadrants on the left are internal to the self and the right, external to the self.

At some stage in the process, the self positions itself for improvement and takes the invariant position, anchored at the centre. P is the present position, variant in time and F, the direction for the journey. Between the three, the common ground for all metrics is defined which can be made specific to each context, practitioner and domain. This is the solution space, the gap between potential and performance, the blue ocean space for the onward journey.

Quadrant NW is a map of the ideal, the deep structure, the conceptual, pure potential, design and the world of ideas .The order, hierarchy, complexity and potential increase with each level. The alignment and interdependence need to be recognised to understand the performance issues in the external world mapped in the bottom right Quadrant, SE. The four quadrants are analogous to the four wheels of a car, a learning engine, which continues to improve its past performance as it moves to true north. The eye at the centre represents the self, the observer and the driver of the car. The wheels must be aligned for the car to move on

There exists a conflict, misalignment, between quadrants NW and SE, ideal and the operational. The same goes for quadrants SW and NE, between internal self and the external social system. It is for us to create the alignment so that the car moves on. The first step is to see the interconnections and see the whole as one in process, evolving, in emergence from completeness to more of completeness. What makes the human unique as a class of systems is the potential to improve. There is ‘no’ gap between potential and performance up to the level of animals (see quadrant SW)

The gap begins after the level of animals. The gap can also be seen as the waste in the system, the unrealised potential, the root cause for problems. In terms of potential vs. performance, the human is sub animal. Corresponding to the total potential/performance gap, there exist a gap in every one of us which forms the personal sphere for improvement which would lead to the question, what are my potential and my performance?

Quadrant NW is the ideal, perfect, conceptual, pure potential in perfect alignment at all levels, from the maps to Meta systems.  Quadrant SE is the physical world of measurement, performance and mirrors NW, till the level of animals. The knowledge gap is the major reason for the gap. There will always be a gap but it is feasible to narrow the gap and bring about sustained and continual improvements.

Quadrant SW is internal to the self and NE represents the external social system. While learning is a pre-requisite to improvement, history and habits encourage conformity. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. Self could be the individual, team, organisational or community self. Complexity increases with levels, potential too.

The map facilitates positioning, fixing the direction for the journey and measurement of progress.  It is possible to visualise the nature of the journey as an ongoing process of continual improvement and renewal. The problem/solution boundaries help reduce the search effort, accelerate learning and reduce the risks of futile search. A map is a pre-requisite to any journey. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Confucius. To take that first step we need to know where our position is and the direction in which to take that step, to be on course.

The ideal of an integral and problem focused metrological pluralism suggests that we reflect on the way we use developmental metrics, in order to make principled decisions about which types of metrics are appropriate for which purposes. In order to do this we need to build validity and reliability profiles for existing metrics and begin to dialogue about the implications of what we have to work with. This rigorous reflection on metrics should be supplemented with reflections on the problem-spaces we face. What are we trying to do with the metrics we have? For example, it is likely that clinicians and coaches need different metrics than researchers, while educators require measures that differ from those used by organizational consultants. 2.  It is precisely this logic that has brought us to the current stalemate. All measures need to converge on the common ground of taking us closer towards true north rather than lead to greater chaos.

Using the map: A Simulation

Teaching is dead. Long live the Teachers – A Journey to the Centre for Accelerated Learning and Competency Development.

GS is driving.  Sree and Dinesh are new to the dialogues. JM and Sree are in the back. The mood is one of excitement. We feel as if we are going back to school. All of us had some experience in the past as regular teachers. Sree has recently taken up a teaching assignment in one of the B- Schools in Bangalore.  We are to meet forty Professors in one of the best seats of learning in the south. The University has around 14,000 students including a significant number of foreign students and 800 teachers on the faculty. We are to facilitate a dialogue on Accelerated Learning and Competency Development (ALCD), for eight hours.

Who said what is not very relevant. What is important is that the dialogue continues.

Welcome on board, Sree and Dinesh. First things first, the journey of 440 KMs starts with a single step

Confucius was wrong. There is something which is even more basic to the first step.

What is that?

Where are we now? Without knowing our position, we will not know where to point our first step to.

We are in Bangalore and we will be in Hosur soon and in another three hours we will be in Vellore, one of the earliest seats of learning, in the history of new India

What are you hinting at?

What is our position, I am talking about the invariant one? Are we teachers or students?

Students, yes, Teachers, not.  All of us gave up our teacher’s hats long long ago. We take the common position that we are facilitators, not teachers. This is what brings us together. Senge is right, we are our positions. The paradigm has already shifted. Teaching is dead, only learning matters.

But for your teachers you wouldn’t be here now. True. I hated most of my teachers and never wanted to be one.

But that is what you have become. Resistance creates resistance. You have become what you have hated most.

Yes, in a way. I was teaching for three years and I was burnt out. I walked away from the job.

That was because it was a job for you. What made the turnaround?

The bad teachers taught me the most, how not to teach and the best teachers did the least teaching. These were the ones who brought us to what we are doing now, accelerating learning and competency development. They facilitated. They did not teach

So teaching is not dead. Long live the teachers.

Hold on, there is a call from the University.

They are waiting for us. We are running late, stuck in the traffic. A garbage truck has had an accident, a multiple collision. The average effective speed of traffic on the road to Hosur is around 15 Kms, sans accidents like this.

GIGO, Garbage in Garbage out. In my hometown, the municipal tractors are on the road even at ten in the morning reducing the speed of traffic to the speed of the tractors.  Nobody seems to be bothered because things haven’t improved much in the last forty years of my flitting in between. The garbage inside is more serious than the garbage outside. The garbage is a toxic asset, we too need a toxic assets rehabilitation programme, TARP.

It could be a TRAP. You touch toxic assets and you too would turn toxic.

We will develop technology to handle it without getting toxic. If that is the case doctors would fall sick more than the patients.

Who says doctors are healthier than the general population?  There have been studies.

This is an occupational hazard. Once should know how to take care of themselves.

Hold tight, not to your hand rests but to your own positions. There will not be any risk. Risk is when we are not sure footed in our invariant position. Doctors fall sick when they shift from their invariant position, that of healers.  Catalysts are not burnt out in the process.

We will be late; the morale scale shows a low.

6.00 PM, we see the grand entrance and pass through the gates of learning.

A very lively campus, boys and girls crowding around the food courts …float over the magic carpets …walkways. There is an incredible feeling of lightness all around. We recollect the child in us.

The morale scale is up. We are transported back to our student days and memories of all the campuses we have been through, some of the best in the world. This too is a beautiful one, one of the very best. We are in awe of the grand vision reflected all around the campus.

The CAL team is waiting, patiently.   We have a wonderful dialogue. They have a great team and some veterans in the same domain. The morale scale registers VH, very high.  We present our game plan, agree and move on to the guest house, refresh our selves, impatient to move around and get a feel of the campus.

JM has a call from Shillong from Das whom he had met there during his last workshop on ALCD. Das wants him to meet his daughter, Madhu, a student here.  He lights up at the possibility of some market research, first hand. He promises to meet her after the workshop, the next day evening.

The dialogue continues late into the night.

9.00 AM.  The game is on

There is only one rule for the game. You are the prophet, I am not the one, and we are not the ones and perhaps the other way too.

Dialogue is possible between adults, in humility with the highest respect for the other. It implies that you respect your own self too.

We are 49 in all, professors, CAL facilitators and the four of us

GS presents the game plan. JM presents the framework. We do a simple metrics of where we are.  Activities and the process begin. Time shifts to timelessness. It is 4.30, time for the post metrics. The game is up at 5.00 PM. A good number of them would be interested in further dialogues. We sit together with the CAL team for stock taking.

We certainly learnt quite a lot and decide to meet again. The morale scale goes beyond VH

Madhu calls. She is coming over. JM has a long walk with her. His intuitions are validated. This indeed is the seat of learning in the south. He returns to the guest house.

The four of us take stock once again. We look at the times when we slipped from our invariant positions, a few, and retire for the night, pleased at a good day’s work.

Sreepuram is 6 Kms from Vellore. The temple is a very large magnificent structure, built at a cost of over Rs. 400 crores, a physical representation of the self on the ground, in the shape of a Sri Chakra. Sri Chakra and the Star of David are very similar. Sri is prosperity, goddess Lakshmi. There is a wait of three hours for the free darshan. We take the short cut option paying Rs 100 which still takes an hour. The sanctum sanctorum and the structure at the centre of a pond are plated in gold.   We attempt to connect our SELF to the structure and our own centres to the physical representation of it, the lotus flower on which the female principle of Lakshmi dwells. The soft music is pushed away by the silence at the centre. We return, more silent than when we went in

We drive back to Bangalore. The silence gives way. The dialogue picks up

So who is the driver of the car?  What drives us?

Are you referring to our car or the learning engine?

Even the car is not driven by GS because the CAL team were driving us to Vellore and now Giri is driven by his family because he steps on the accelerator to reach home by his regular dinner time with his kids before they go to bed.

If the car were a learning engine, which is defined as a system which continually improve on its past performance, I would say that the living matrix or the Meta framework is driving it

Why are you stuck up with frames and framework?

A movie is a designed collection of frames to evoke a deeply moving experience. This can work only if the design connects with embedded frames in the mind of the viewer.  The success of the movie will depend on how many are touched and to what depth they are touched. When one encounters a new situation, or makes a substantial change in one’s view of the present problem, one selects from memory a structure called a Frame. This is a remembered framework to be adapted to fit reality by changing details as necessary. (A Framework for Representing Knowledge, Marvin Minsky, MIT-AI Laboratory, 1974). He adds A Frame is a collection of questions to be asked about a hypothetical situation; it specifies issues to be raised and methods to be used in dealing with them.

The FD framework is an attempt to reach the common ground of such remembered frameworks.  That would accelerate learning and competency development so that we could achieve in three days much more than what may or not happen in the best MBA program in two years. Remember, some of us went through more than one.

Minsky further clarifies the distinction between the magician and the audience. For there exists a great chasm between those, on the one side, who relate everything to a single central vision, one system more or less coherent or articulate, in terms of which they understand, think and feel–a single, universal, organizing principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance–and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related by no moral or aesthetic principle.”–Isaiah Berlin {the Hedgehog and the Fox}

The difference between the magician and the audience is in their positions. The positions lead to a point of view.

Minsky goes on.

Questions arise from a point of view–from something that helps to structure what is problematical, what is worth asking, and what constitutes an answer (or progress). It is not that the view determines reality, only what we accept from reality and how we structure it. I am realist enough to believe that in the long run reality gets its own chance to accept or reject our various views. –A. Newell {Artificial Intelligence and the Concept of Mind}

What we are attempting through the framework is a Meta theory of problem solving to show the problem space which reduces the extent of the search effort and accelerate the pace of real learning.

The matrix, meta-framework points to the blue ocean space. Every achiever, manager, leader seek to grab a slice of this space.

Are you suggesting that the teaching paradigm has shifted to the learning paradigm?

It is just semantics. Chris says, the Welsh have only one word for teaching and learning, Hwyl!

Let us not forget Kuhn. Major changes result from new “paradigms,” new ways of describing things that lead to new methods and techniques. Eventually there is a redefining of “normal.”

We are in Bangalore. We have completed the circle. We are entering the dragon, back to the well.

We are not coming back to the same well. It is a different well. The ends will not meet since we are on a path of progress. It is not a recurrence to call it a circle.

Dinesh and JM get down, heading to the bar. GS and Sree head homeward. Both will make it to their dinner in time.