Chance favors the connected mind


In the fast moving digitally connected  and complex world-  our beliefs ,skills,  assumptions , our knowledge is constantly  challenged.  Willing to accept that we need to refresh our knowledge, skills and other matters makes us better positioned to take on any kind of new challenges that come across.

RICHARD GREFÉ  :   “You know, a few years ago, whoever had the knowledge had the power. But today, the power resides in those who have a sense of the way that knowledge flows. And that becomes critical because knowledge is growing at an exponential rate. So what does that mean? That means that for any individual to succeed, has got to go beyond just knowing things. They have to be curious, they have to be thoughtful. And that doesn’t come from social media and that doesn’t come form deep-diving in data. That comes from thoughtful conversations.”

We are in a  era and times that requires us to think differently. 19th and 20th century education has built invisible walls around everything. We are trained to see things, learn , watch and use things individually.  Students are trained to learn subjects individually.    Civil engineers focus more on their subject and less on other engineering branch knowledge and similar is the story with all other branches. Computers science students focus more on software and less on industry’s domain knowledge  which is more vital in today’s market place. There is no one course that combines all these knowledge from different fields and provide us the insights of how interconnected everything is and how to acquire the right knowledge to face today’s smart planet’s requirements to stay successful with the right skills for the rapidly evolving nature of corporate work and society’s cultural shifts.  I always used to stress this point to graduate, post graduate and PhD Students of engineering and MBA to come out of their  specific subject knowledge and look afresh by learning how all the subjects knowledge works together to create solutions and products we use everyday. (Think Apple I Phone’s focus on Design more technology less) . Today Technology has erased the boundaries of  all branches of sciences, agriculture, medical and even changed our daily life habits. Why then are we not understanding that we have to have a open mind and inclination to learn something unrelated to our subject matter?

I get inspired when i look at some smart companies combining cross platform knowledge from different industries and come with a radical design and products. One such company is Dyson. James Dyson is famous for inventing something new that we never think possible.  They don’t hesitate to take inspiration and knowledge from different sources to come up with  new product. Here is a Blades less fan they invented using principles or aerospace fans. Click here to know more http://www.dyson.com/Fans/FansAndHeaters/Fans.aspx

For those who have guts to think differently and achieve something Dyson innovation awards is the platform to take on the challenges. Here is the link

http://www.jamesdysonaward.org/Prize.aspx

Similarly Companies such as Toyota come with some amazing ways of improving quality in their products , minimizing waste in production process and reduce the cost of making high quality products for less.  We already learnt their best practices such as Lean manufacturing, Kan-ban, Kaizan widely implemented in different industries.  They now use a new method called Andon Cord.

” The andon cord is literally a cord that workers can pull – a cord they should pull – any time something in the manufacturing process goes wrong that would compromise the quality of the product or safety of the people. The line stops immediately. Everyone’s attention is turned to the problem. Everyone helps to solve the problem. And the line doesn’t restart until the problem’s been fixed, thus ensuring that zero scrap or defects are allowed to perpetuate.”

http://www.toyotageorgetown.com/qualdex.asp

So innovation don’t need to be complex. we just need to think different.

World’s knowledge levels today (mostly Industry) are so mature that we don’t need PhD’s anymore because industry’s maturity levels are so high that until we think differently and look beyond  PhD’s  knowledge;  sustainable solutions are not possible for the complex problems we face today. Medical field is one such area where sufficient knowledge is not there to solve diseases such as Diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer or parkinson’s etc in spite of having top notch scientists with multiple PhD’s.   The only way to go is look into a different field , combine your subject knowledge with it to create a new idea or a cool product or a new medicine for a deadly disease.

We have different lifestyles than our parents. Youth today are in a constant flux of adopting to new lifestyles with high connectivity to the entire world. Mobile connectivity, social media interactions, crowd sourcing for solving complex problems of the planet,  Internet of things, body connected intelligent sensors, health tracking devices like Nike shoes and many more new technology gadgets allow us to look different , work differently than our predecessors and acquire knowledge differently than what is taught in our colleges today (the good old style).

The reach of internet to every nook and corner of the world allows us to know any kind of information , acquire knowledge and skills needed. Technology as i said above , erased the boundaries of everything and i want you to remove the mental blocks (the artificial silos in your mind)   and train  your mind to look at things differently with a open mind. Today we are connected so closely via social media, tech gadgets that we can collaborate with the world’s  best  on a massive scale that is not possible in a physical form. One of the courses  I’m doing on Coursera ( https://www.coursera.org/course/strategy101)  has 90, 000 students from across the globe. We are learning by doing  , something new but connected to a single platform on coursera No class rooms to go,  only online practicals using technology and internet connection. Cool way of learning something new,  Right?   Colleges and Universities should focus on building Labs to help today’s students to experiment, tinker with tools and gadgets. Otherwise we only produce paper engineers ,  MBA graduates who are just fit to do a service job  , does not provide any competitive advantage to students nor to the country as a whole. Today we should worry that we bring out very insignificant percentage of  cutting edge products to market  in spite of one billion population and large number of PhD’s and Master students.

Do you want to be a listless person or want to impact the world with your knowledge.  Remember the title of this blog  “Chance favors the connected Mind”  That power of Connectivity should become your major weapon to acquire skills needed for 22nd century companies. Many of the problems industry faces will be solved by individuals  from across the planet. This is the future of work. People won’t be working for a single company. There will be problems that need to solved and if you solve it you get paid. That is what will happen in Job markets going forward.

So why waiting. Go get connected with the world’s knowledge. My Previous blogs have several world class resource links to start with . so check them..

As part of this Blog here are some useful links for you to get on the fast track of 22nd century learning… Enjoy and good luck to you..

Learn something new here https://www.coursera.org/  or here https://www.udacity.com/  or here https://www.edx.org/ or from the whole internet which is at your finger tips.

Good luck to you and do not hesitate to reach out to me through your comments in this blog…

Free Online courses from MIT, Harvard and others


Education is evolving rapidly and traditional methods of attending classes are replaced by online courses. There is a need for students to take advantage of attending these courses offered by some of the world’s top universities from across the world.

According to a New York Times article Harvard and MIT are joining hands to offer free massively open online courses, or MOOCs, as they are known, called edX.  edX will offer 5 courses for free to students . Courses will be in engineering and humanities.  Those who complete the course will get a Certificate of Mastery and Grade.  More details can be obtained here http://www.edxonline.org/

Meanwhile at another company called Udacity   http://www.udacity.com/ 20,000 students are taking online course on six subjects.

Not only Harvard and MIT are in the race to offer free online classes but universities such as Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan announced their partnership with a new commercial company,  Coursera  to offer online courses to students. https://www.coursera.org/

Coursera also offers free humanities courses . https://www.coursera.org/courses

Online education can affect local universities badly if they don’t reform their primitive way of imparting education to students. Technology is rapidly influencing everything and traditional Indian Universities are still lagging way behind in restructuring their courses, modernizing their labs, teaching methodologies to a generation of digital students who will soon abandon going to traditional colleges and adopt online courses which are mostly offered for free.

“Projects like this can impact lives around the world, for the next billion students from China and India,” said George Siemens, a MOOC pioneer who teaches at Athabasca University, a publicly supported online Canadian university.

“Online education is here to stay, and it’s only going to get better,” said Lawrence S. Bacow, a past president of Tufts who is a member of the Harvard Corporation.

Above are mentioned in New York times article.

More about online courses please click the links below

https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/free-education-from-mit-princeton-or-stanford/

https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/grass-root-student-to-global-standards/

https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/education-at-your-door-step/

https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/stanford-university-offering-free-online-courses-anybody-can-enroll/

https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/learn-anything-free/

https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/internet-resources-and-opportunities/

http://www.sr.ithaka.org/research-publications/barriers-adoption-online-learning-systems-us-higher-education

Free education from MIT, Princeton or stanford


 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is launching a online diploma courses under a new name called MIT.x  free of charge to anyone interested. Traditional education is becoming expensive and needs students to leave their native place in search of higher education. Technology is changing the game in such a rapid form and many   universities, colleges are forced to adapt to new way of teaching with less cost to students.  Many online courses are already available but there is a fee to be paid to get a certificate from reputed universities. MIT plans to teach free education online with a MIT certificate sent to you on successfully completing the course. Here is the link for more information.  http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/mitx-faq-1219.html

Already academic earth (http://academicearth.org/) is bringing education to masses thru online courses from universities like Princeton and Stanford and will be giving strong competition to MIT .

For those who want to know which university is good in US,  Kiplinger finance has come up with a list of 200 Best universities. Each year, Kiplinger’s assesses quality, cost of education  , the percentage of students who are admitted out of those who applied, the test scores of incoming students, the ratio of students to faculty members, and the four- and five-year graduation rates. Check for more details here http://www.kiplinger.com/tools/privatecolleges/

With  khanacademy (http://www.khanacademy.org/)   and youtube education (http://www.youtube.com/education)   , singularity university http://singularityu.org/  and flatworldknowledge http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/ there are plenty of opportunities for students and those who are interested to get a diploma or degree to pursue or learn a subject matter for free from some of the best professors and teachers online.

Save money on mobile use, Water news and 2011 world solar car race


We have different requirements when it comes to Mobile use. Don’t know which Mobile service plans is cheapest for your mobile use? Here is a app for andriod phones to know which plan is best for your kind of usage. click here to download the app.

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.threegsimplified.planhound

Planhound app secured third position in NASSCOM emerge contest. Click here to know more

http://emerge.nasscom.in/2011/08/nasscom-emerge-appfame-2011-%E2%80%93-and-the-winner-is/

 

In case you are using other kind of phones then click here to know which mobile plan suits your requirement.  http://www.3gsimplified.com/search/index

 

Water news

We are facing sever shortage of water and it could become worse as the days pass by. Fresh water resources such as lakes, rivers etc are polluted more and more by humans and industrial wastes that are allowed into them. The only alternate for abundant water is oceans. But separating salt and other chemicals from ocean water is very expensive and there is lot of research going on to reduce the cost of extracting pure water from oceans.

Reverse osmosis is the process of getting clean water from ocean is widely used method in the world. But it is expensive and extensive research to reduce the cost has reached their limits as per a report in science magazine. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6043/712

A team from Yale university are trying to change entire process, by making a series of membranes for the pre- and post-treatment stages of desalination. Click here to read more about this research.  http://opac.yale.edu/news/article.aspx?id=8775

If any of us come out with a cheap method of cleaning ocean water we could solve water crises not only for India but to many parts of the world. Israel is the country which pioneered water purification process so much and they are world leaders in preservation of water. Recently they built another purification plant at a cost of $423 million. Read more here.  http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/62884

2011 World Solar Challenge

This year’s World Solar car racing Challenge 2011 Darwin to Adelaide is the largest  and the stage is set for an adventure of epic proportions, contested by 21 countries. It’s a 1,800-mile solar car race through the Australian outback. Participants this year come from the U.S., UK, China, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia and more, to race their often student-designed solar car prototypes, each vying for their moment in the sun. The race stretches from Darwin to Adelaide, and according to the rules of the race, this distance must be cleared with at least 90 percent of the cars’ energy coming from the sun. More can be read here http://www.worldsolarchallenge.org/news_and_information

Some of the competitor details can be obtained here

http://mitsolar.blogspot.com/

http://www.sunswift.com/

http://solarcar.stanford.edu/blog

http://www.philsolarchallenge.org/pscs/projects/sikat-ii

http://www.cuer.co.uk/cars/endeavour/

Delhi Technological University’s Avenir is India’s contender in the race this year. It runs on a lithium phosphate battery, and has a cruising speed of 40 mph and a max speed of 52 mph. The team’s big sponsors this year include IndianOil and IndoSolar.

http://energy.einnews.com/news/india-energy-storage

GE and MIT medical Info graphic.


When we visit a doctor with a health problem they check your pulse, Blood pressure and sometimes ask you to get scanned. They sometime recommend urine, blood and other tests in order to diagnose what disease you are affected with.

GE with help from MIT SENSEable City Lab came up with a interactive map to show how symptoms are all connected so that it becomes easy at looking at a picture to arrive at the correct diagnosis.

This info graphic developed by GE and MIT are based on 7.2 million medical records gathered between 2005 to 2010. Using these data MIT students where able to identify how one symptom is linked to another symptom (symptoms of cough will follow with fever and body pains etc). Here is a cool graph of how all the symptoms are connected. The color coding has some significance too and related diseases are connected with similar color codes.

Link to the info graphs http://visualization.geblogs.com/visualization/network/