The transformation of academy to Economic and well-being clusters


We are in an age of complex challenges which demands a broader vision, capabilities in critical thinking and logical deduction without which we cannot have constructive progress.

Students are entitled to expect that they will succeed in learning something of value when they are groomed by schools and colleges. If they don’t succeed, they are entitled to know immediately that they have not. And when they have not succeeded, they have the right to expect that they will be involved in learning that makes success more likely on their next try. Education, which cannot subscribe to these ideas—neither in their words nor in actions—are not likely to manage effectively.

Young Kids should be more engaged in open possibilities with unbridled curiosity, passion for problem solving, taking risks and strong ethics. Present education and society’s wrong expectations are shifting them from those great characters which are the need of the hour.

Unpredictably is the norm of the day. The magnitude of cultural, societal, industrial, technological, environmental and other unforeseen events is so complex that, in order to handle those complex challenges we need to prepare this young generation very differently.

Here are the transformation steps we need in academy.

  1. Fitness first and then everything else falls in place. Academy should make it mandatory in keeping everyone in the society hale and healthy by introducing yoga, meditation, sports and community service. Transform universities, colleges/school campuses to have the required infrastructure and grade students accordingly.
  2. Citizen resources: Redesign the whole university, college/school campuses for active participation of Citizens, Professionals, scientists, businessmen, industry,  students or anyone who wishes to learn, experiment, tinker and create products.
  3. Wellbeing Centres: Redesign classrooms into wellbeing centres where anyone can use the resources for increasing their physical, mental and psychological fitness.
  4. Business Academic centres: Remove the legal and all boundaries of identifying academy and business separately. Every business activity should have participation from fresh minded students, faculty along with the employees of the business.  Many a times, Business experts are trapped by their own knowledge and fresh graduates creates innumerable possibilities for some real challenges business faces.  This will be a win-win situation for both industry and academy in areas of working in real world challenges and gaining skills and talents in sustaining business with low costs, higher profitability and new innovations.
  5. Clusters of Expertise:  All universities, colleges and schools should be grouped as clusters of specific expertise and that should be based on the knowledge, skills, talents needed in industries, software technology parks, special economic zones and other industrial clusters in and around the academic institutes.

For example if there are many pharmaceutical companies and Petrochemical industries in an area then the academic curriculum of that area’s colleges, schools and universities should be on those specific domains and also on emerging trends such as Robotics, artificial intelligence and data analytics ,drug discovery, Health innovations  etc. in the above sectors.  By clubbing universities, colleges and schools based on the specific domain expertise and emerging trends,  students, faculty will gain real time working experiences.

  1. Academic Project clusters: All government funded initiatives, projects , infrastructure developments and all kinds of commercial works of state and federal programs should be initiated in university clusters by making them as part of the stakeholders in that specific projects. This will erase the boundaries between Education and commerce. The initiatives will create employment for students who will be getting grading on their progress in real world work.
  2. Functional Degrees. Degrees should be awarded to students and remuneration and other rewards for faculty on the work accomplished in live projects. Those certificates should be based on the expertise gained in specific functional areas rather than general certificates such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering etc. These way each clusters of universities will be building on specific domain skills, talents which can be mapped to business requirements and other such needs.

The proposal is a major structural, legal and strategic change with immense benefits for the good of academy, business and Government.

Since a new business model requires disrupting the present, it’s important to be thoroughly conversant with prevailing model and how present system creates value.

There should not be any confusion about the new business model with changing the activities performed within the present framework. If it is done that way then its plain old business process reengineering. This inside-out view has the potential of labelling mere internal alterations as a new model. Don’t. Instead, academy, government and all stakeholders should take an outside-in view, focusing on outcomes, not activity, in addressing whether the business model is truly new. Internal activities will most likely morph as a result of addressing changes to strategic factors, but this is a second-order effect.

Comments, improvements, new ideas are always encouraged. Let’s make ourselves better with best practices.  Thank you for reading.

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Reverse engineering Resume


I was helping one of my master students with his resume preparation and felt that I should write a blog on how job candidates should make their resume appealing from an employer’s perspective.

Before you start your resume you should put your imagination to work. You should think you are the recruiter and interviewing a candidate. What answer are you expecting from the candidate. As recruiter you will ask questions to the candidate as follows

Why are your skills right for this position?

Tell us more about your last job?

How are you going to add value?

What is your work ethic?

Tell us three adjectives that would describe your attitude?

What about your weaknesses?

Why should you matter to us?

Where do you want to eventually live and settle?

Where else are you looking and why do we stand out in your set of choices?

Are there any reasons why you would not take this job if it were offered?

I have written a book “Interview questions with answers” which have 80 more questions with answers so that all branches of engineering and MBA candidates can use it to prepare their Resume.

When you are reading the questions your mind also thinks of what answer you expect from a candidate.

Now let’s take one question from the above Why are your skills right for this position? “

Depending on job requirements you can have variety of answers for the above questions. 

Let’s assume the position is a Software engineer and expected skills are soft skills , Java, web and mobile technologies. …

One answer is : “My skills of java code will enable a process and quality improvement,  if implemented in a manufacturing firm production facilities”

 

If a Mechanical engineer has to answer the above question he/she can  consider this sample answer: “my deep understanding of engine technologies (let’s say hyrdolics )  made me to come up with new engine improvement ideas that would be helpful to the company and my knowledge of software coupled with Domain knowledge makes me productive right away “

Look at the answers I wrote. These answers enables you to understand whether your skills and subject knowledge is enough to meet the expectations of the recruiter. In your skills and abilities section of resume you can put exactly what kind of end results you can provide by using your java or whatever you learnt. . By clearly reverse engineering the end results of your training’s and skills you can put the same in your resume and your resume stands out from other candidates very well.

By answering other questions that matches your skills and abilities you can make a resume with end results in mind to clearly mention the benefits you can provide for a recruiter.

If you want more advice you can contact me.. Happy job hunting…

 

 

 

 

Some interesting and useful tidbits for starting your own “startup ” or for your academic project submission


This blog post will be updated with commercial worthy Project ideas for those entrepreneurs and Engineering, Medical students who wish to develop localized solutions that might lead them to start their own company or develop real products as part of their Project work.

Medical technology offers immense potential for new business ideas and I will put some cutting edge information of what’s going on in that field. 

The  innovations of the world can be put to good cause of the society’s needs in Asian countries by localizing and cross implementing the ideas or generating new ones with the gained knowledge.

Cross pollinate the ideas that are presented here with your knowledge and skills and come up with something that can benefit the society in general.

You may use the comment section for floating your ideas to get feedback from international audience who read my blog.

Here is the steps to follow. Read this innovations. Think of how you can localize this ideas for commercial purpose or for your academic real project and work with your friends or teams that post their comments for this blog.

1. Carnegie Mellon’s Future Interfaces Group has developed a smart watch that had four micro lasers that are capable of emitting simple icon shapes. These icons can be home button for navigation, to play or pause controls for music, to push notifications for email, to rudimentary up and down arrows. At the same time, infrared sensors watch for when your finger taps a button, effectively turning your skin into a touch-screen display.  The link for more information on this is here http://www.figlab.com/

There are several interesting Projects at Fiblab  so go and check them out for details.

2. During a Doctor’s visit for symptoms like cough and cold we are prescribed antibiotics which do not have much effect in curing the illness but this antibiotics act as a Placebo  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo and by taking Antibiotics and other Medicines indiscriminately (prescribed by Doctors) we also end up developing resistance to diseases and next time that drug does not work on our bodies. So a group of physicians have come up with a number to find out how many times a drug will have good effect on a particular disease and this Number will help us or Doctors to decide whether to prescribe that drug to patient or not. Get more details on this here and pass on this information to Doctors so that they will prescribe the Drugs that are absolutely necessary for our treatments.  http://www.thennt.com/

Also those interested in learning more about high quality health information there is a great website. Here is the details of that site “The Cochrane Library is a collection of six databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making, and a seventh database that provides information about groups in The Cochrane Collaboration.”    http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/view/0/index.html

3. Gesture controlling technologies. Smartphones have multiple antennas that can take signals from our gestures. You can learn more about their uses and present state of what is getting developed here but there is no limit to imagination and I wish to see that this technologies are tapped  to come up with products that can be useful in operation theaters for doctors and in other industrial applications. Learn the present here and come up with your own project.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinect   2. http://www.washington.edu/news/2014/09/19/reflected-smartphone-transmissions-enable-gesture-control/   3. http://blog.leapmotion.com/

4.Smart connected Products (Internet of things). This is the next wave of big opportunity for creating new solutions, products by smartly leveraging the information of the products, sensors and other industrial equipment communicating via Internet. (Internet of things). In order to know what products, sensors and services are connected there is a search engine just like google  for that. Here is the link. https://thingful.net/  “is a search engine for the Internet of Things, providing a unique geographical index of connected objects around the world, including energy, radiation, weather, and air quality devices as well as seismographs, iBeacons, ships, aircraft and even animal trackers.”. Using this a company has created a product that helps asthma patients to identify which part of the US cities are causing asthma to them..Learn more here http://propellerhealth.com/   so why wait go ahead and think what else can be done.

5. Big data company Ayasdi is working with several Universities, companies to solve the problems of Brain and uncurable diseases such as Diabetes. Regarding type 2 Diabetes in their own words

“With Ayasdi Cure, Mount Sinai was able to gain new breakthrough insights that can dramatically impact how Type 2 Diabetes patients are diagnosed and treated. Based on the shape of the data, Mt. Sinai discovered that Type 2 Diabetes is not a singular disease. This breakthrough in Precision Medicine can lead to more effective treatment protocols and better patient outcomes for all Type 2 Diabetes patients.”  More here

http://www.ayasdi.com/company/media/pr-ayasdi-named-best-of-show-and-best-practices-winner.html

Come back to this blog for more such interesting posts in coming days

Uncommon Sense and Common Nonsense


“What the human being is best at doing, is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.”

The above statement reminded me the struggle I’m going thru to convince that there is a greater need of modernizing education to prepare our young  students to the fast changing corporate needs. All that I see with students and the college managements are that they make sure the old “Status Quo” remains in spite of knowing how technology is shaping our daily lives and how influential it is in learning new skills.  I tried to categorize the problems in to the following segments to go deeper into the main problem and understand the core issues rather than come to conclusions/answers to the problem.

Economic: Colleges divert scarce money to activities such as functions, worthless seminars, meetings and other unproductive activities just to garner media attention with an intention of getting more admissions for the college or making sure their photos and news about them is printed. There is no mechanism in place to check the return on Investments of Seminars, meetings and press releases etc.

If this money is used in building laboratory’s students can make something useful to society. The quality of the outcome from the practicals in the Labs will bring repute to the college and that will make the college the most sought after for student admissions. The path to reputation of quality education/college is hard and most of the college managements take the easy routes of popular unproductive mechanism to sustain.  .

Students on their part should make sure they are getting skills and education they deserve for what they pay the colleges. After all they are the customers of the college. Instead most of them are influenced by cinema, media and other factors that divert their efforts, creativity, and energy to wrong issues that won’t help them to acquire skills, education, and knowledge to succeed and have good life for long time. They struggle after college to get into jobs they love.  Most depend on luck to get jobs but later repent the life of working on something that they do not like.

Functional: The class room teachings, planning of syllabus are most unscientific and still continue traditional way. Today’s awareness levels of students , their interests, their attitudes towards life, their learning abilities and the students attentions should be considered while planning the syllabus and the way a professor teaches their students. Universities and Colleges should make it mandatory for students to learn from “Massive Online Open Course ware (MOOC’s) taught by top professors from elite  universities of the world. University and colleges should grade on practical projects that students work on to  solve the problems faced by society.

Students on their part should allocate proper time to learning vital skills required for their career;  not for tests and marks. They should realize that there is vast difference between reel life (cinema type life) and real life and without putting some efforts they cannot get the skills they need to succeed. For their projects they should look at the challenges the nation faces and provide solutions in the form of their project submissions.

Students should be encouraged to take challenges posed by global philanthropic organizations such as Bill and Melinda gates foundation http://www.gatesfoundation.org/ , Hult prize (http://www.hultprizesix.com/)   and http://www.xprize.org/

I wrote an article “chance favours the connected Mind” to elaborate on how technology is reshaping what we learn and how we learn.click here to know more https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/chance-favors-the-connected-mind/

Access: Colleges lack modern class rooms with fast internet connections, practical labs and other teaching aids. This is again due to the wrong priorities of the colleges to divert funds to other areas which won’t help in bringing quality education and skills to students. Even traditional libraries are not attracting enough students to reading because they are not treating that as priority and just act as record keepers of books.

Today the need of the hour is more practical labs and less class rooms. Traditional Class rooms should be replaced with Online teaching and online lecture videos. 

Colleges also bring some eminent scholars for seminars or meetings but it just concludes within that day and follow up on the seminars outcomes are rarely followed subsequently by staff and students. Most of the managements are more interested in media news of the activities on the next day. That is the only follow up I keep seeing.

Students on their part seriously lack interest in reading and attending Seminars. They should develop reading and listening habits to learn new skills. They should realize that reading good books, listening to a professional  is time well spent.

Students should network with the professionals that come to college for subsequent relationship buildings and getting to know what industry is expecting from them.

Social:  Parents and society is influencing colleges/school to a large extent in shaping how these colleges/schools function. In schooling parents are expecting their kids to get the best marks rather than worrying what their siblings are learning. Most of the parents don’t care whether their siblings are having physical exercises, knowing the importance of yoga and meditation and getting the right knowledge and skills to succeed in life and career.

At college levels most of the parents are forcing their kids to join what they think is right for the students instead of knowing the interests of their kids.

There is a dire need of constructive role for parents and society to play in shaping how we educate our youth.

First Parents, tutors should learn the trends that are happening in Industry and in particular how education is changing due to MOOC. Parents and all concerned authorities, business leaders should  closely work with colleges and help/force colleges to deliver what they are supposed to. Colleges on their part should work closely with Industry and constantly upgrade the syllabus to meet the modern corporate requirements.

Equal importance should be given for sports, Yoga and Meditation because this are more important in today’s corporate lifestyle for a balanced, healthy life.

Students on their part should realize that they should give equal importance to learning and acquiring new skills to take on the challenges of modern industries. They should realize that they are not only shaping their destiny but the overall destiny of the country and the quality of living standards of society.

The whole world is becoming competitive and many are looking at India because we the only nation with maximum young population with average age of 26 years.  Here are some links related to our state of education in India.

http://forbesindia.com/article/briefing/primary-education-in-india-needs-a-fix/35287/1

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/25/world/asia/indian-universities-still-lag-behind-in-world-rankings.html?_r=0

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/11/india-education-state-private-school

http://www.asercentre.org/Keywords/p/205.html

http://mhrd.gov.in/

http://www.articlesfactory.com/articles/education/higher-education-in-india-how-it-looks-and-where-does-it-stand.html

http://www.norrag.org/es/publications/boletin-norrag/online-version/a-world-of-reports-a-critical-review-of-global-development-reports-with-an-angle-on-education-and-training/detail/india-ranked-at-105-in-the-education-for-all-development-index.html

So my pursuit of bringing this kind of awareness will continue  to convince the college/school management and parents about the seismic shifts in imparting education to meet the modern society’s challenges. The most uncommon Sense of changing dynamics of education and skills enhancement to meet modern industry requirements, needs lot of attention but the challenge to eliminate  Common Nonsense of today’s educational institutes and students attitudes towards learning is a big challenge and i’m hoping to hear from you what we can do together. Comments are  much appreciated. Thanks