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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Stop building classrooms and focus on Wellbeing buildings and more Laboratories.


There is a lot of traction in imparting education using Massive Online Open Courseware (MOOC) where students can pick and choose what they like to learn. Today all top universities and colleges offer a wide range of subjects and also enable students to practice what they learn by making them to complete live projects.

As MOOC gained Momentum it erased the boundaries that only universities can impart education. Today we can see top companies such as Google, IBM , Ted Education, YouTube education , khan academy , Microsoft, Cisco to name a few who are  conducting professional courses that are aligned to what companies are expecting from fresh graduates when they join the corporate.

There are also wide range of offerings for students to pick up skills online for building products such as raspberry Pi projects  https://www.raspberrypi.org/resources/make/  Makezine  projects https://makezine.com/   , Projects made from Arduino chips https://playground.arduino.cc/Projects/Ideas to name a few examples.

One of my JNTUK petroleum engineering student even shared his practical experiences via blog here https://geethakrishnablog.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/fdp-an-experience/

All these events  point towards one trend which is that present and future belongs to learning whatever we want by just having high speed internet connection and knowing exactly what skills we want to acquire that makes us valuable and just join a course.

While technology is reshaping education and enabling students to acquiring most wanted skills on one hand, universities, colleges, schools, both private and public are investing massive amounts of money building classrooms.

All these empty classrooms will eventually become a burden on the sustainability of colleges and universities as they move their classrooms to online. What stays relevant is only labs that allow students to practice what they learn online.

There is still hope for those who have massive investment in Buildings and for those who are in the middle of building more educational institutes. Here is my suggestions for those to consider.

  1. There is a need to redefine the language of academics in order to create new possibilities and new way of positioning colleges and universities on a sustainable path.
  2. First and foremost re position universities and colleges as Wellbeing centres of Excellence.
  3. Those who are investing in building schools and colleges should construct more laboratories for students to do experiments needed in areas such as Artificial intelligence, Robots, IOT (Internet of things) , Bio technology , Bio Mimicry projects etc.
  4. Instead of classrooms, Universities, colleges and schools should focus on building Pyramid structures for Meditation  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_power , acquiring knowledge in Siddhi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddhi  , learning Yoga  so as technology takes over our jobs people will have to invent and create new products and services that need extra ordinary capabilities that can be achieved with a high level of meditation, yoga and siddhi
  5. Universities and colleges should also build world class sports trainings facilities, yoga and meditation centres. These efforts will sustain them long term profitably as citizens, sportsmen and people who wants to conduct experiments can use the facilities for a fee and overall this will be a win-win situation as universities and colleges playing a vital role in keeping the citizen healthy and spiritually rich and also playgrounds for inventions , scientific discoveries and Research.
  6. The boundaries between academics and business should be erased. Faculty should consider themselves as corporate executives and they have a role in developing new products and services just like any company does but one difference is that their focus should be towards wellbeing of the societies and environment friendly. The next big business opportunity comes from rebuilding environmentally friendly products and services.

Please enrich this article with your thoughts as Comments. Thanks for reading

Are we moving our young towards Pre historic basic instincts?


With rapid developments in Artificial intelligence and use of it in developing robots that can do almost anything what we are capable of doing we humans will be left with not much to do until unless we come to terms with our cognitive and emotional intelligence. In this next Machine age humans will be left serving the Machines , 3D printers and monitoring the distributed manufacturing facilities. Deep intelligence networks autonomously can start a war or robots can kill people if not programmed properly.  Nations and their policy for human development needs to have a vision 2050 and beyond , right now to prepare our younger generation (with their bodies implanted with sensors and other electronics that control their feelings and habits)  for co-existence with Intelligent machines which are capable to compete and win better over humans in terms of work , logic and processing power.

Roughly around 50% to 60% of planets population becomes available to do something drastically different than what we do presently by year 2050(May be earlier too). This mammoth population will have nothing much to do except eat and have fun when smart machines are doing everything that kept present generations busy with  work, family life and social engagements.

In spite of  living in the most advanced societies mankind will still need to deal with basic human emotions of greed, ego, desires, consciousness, primal instinct of survival, love, hate etc whether it is today or it is  year 2050 and beyond.  Evil characteristics are primitive in nature but always played a vital role and still will play a vital role. Interesting read on this here http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160401-how-did-evil-evolve-and-why-did-it-persist

Presently there is an attempt to redefine the fundamental ideas of exactly what it means to be a Human. We can witness unimaginable things happening due to huge investments that control the natural habitat of homo-sapiens and other species. These efforts will pave way of world dominance by a few big corporations and few people

So it is time for every nation to have a policy plan in place for Human Vision 2050 to keep human as humans with feelings, consciousness and intelligence to overcome basic negative instincts. Here are some of the ideas that I wish to propose to make mankind have a meaningful peaceful coexistence.

Academic.

Today’s education system leads to high stress, depression, anxiety and other neurological diseases. Kids Mental strength to withstand even small pressure is depleting fast in this digitally connected fast paced life style. So the syllabus should include developing good human emotions, empathy spirituality, yoga, meditation and how to lead a life rather than just live. Schools should start focusing on nurturing and imparting   human’s best practices, deep cognitive and emotional intelligence. The curriculum should be carefully drafted to make the future citizens to be intelligent enough to know what is good for their long term fruitful coexistence on the planet.

Corporations and Governments.

The smartest and most creative companies will never stop from being just a profitable company. They will strive to become dominant market player and try becoming dominant across multiple business domains leading to world dominance. The Most innovative companies are working on possibilities of making humans immune to diseases, stop aging and other unimaginable things to us today. (example : Calico project https://www.calicolabs.com/)

Powerful Government’s will attempt strategies to have control of natural resources thru world dominance militarily and thru other tactics.   These strategies should be carefully monitored by both companies and governments to avoid self-destruction on the long run. They should consider planet’s other living beings, natural resources as part of their planning for peaceful coexistence and to stay human as much as possible.  Company’s innovations or Government policy matters should enable all citizens to have equal opportunity. They should encourage and support individual’s cognitive and emotional intelligence for better life with best practices for themselves, society and their families for peaceful coexistence.

There is a trend to make humans half robots with body implants, which is so worrisome since these half human/half digital human beings will lose the abilities such as empathy, consciousness and other natural human feelings and finally end up destroying themselves and other living beings. This reminds me of the pre historic life styles where there is nothing much to do but to eat and fight to grab others territories.

Our kids with their soul mate, deserve a nice evening walk in a beautiful garden under the moonlight, listening to their favourite music and having memories that they can share and cherish with their near and dear.   Let’s nurture and nourish the planet with better practices and let our companies consider human feelings to be part of their Technology innovations strategies.

Flow


After a gap I have gone back accepting global assignments in ERP consulting again. Iám also studying MBA under Andhra University.  I accepted part time work  so that I can spare time for my passion for teaching. I was once a Mentor for MSIT (Master in science and information technology,   under “Center for Higher learning”) course,   in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (USA) at JNTUK campus.  Juggling between global software project work , studying MBA and teaching needs proper time management schedules and I  follow a certain flow  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology) for doing my best. I  love getting to my peak performance at anything i take up  pretty quickly. In other word I want to get back to flow. It took a while for me to find the rhythm I needed. But I felt that I should share my experiences with my students and others  who read  my blog. While interacting with students I  found that many are struggling to get the best out of their day  and to find success in whatever they dream of doing.  But many are not able to focus on neither studies nor in other positive actions, that contribute to their success due to lack of willingness to work hard towards their goal, lack of focus ,concentration and the facebook effect  (https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/facebook-or-other-social-websites-are-harmful-to-you/ ) .  If you are building a new machine or developing  software games or you are a software coder you cannot achieve peak performance at your work with just a couple of attempts. It takes some time and good effort to find a rhythm and consistency at your work. If you want to become expert in one area , it takes ten thousand hours of practice to achieve perfection in whatever you do. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/on-luck-success-and-10000-hours.html Here are some ways of getting back to your peak performance of whatever you want to do.

  1. Yoga, Meditation is a proven way of getting back your focus. Try learning the right way of yoga/ meditation and practice it. Yoga improves your health tremendously, and Meditation brings peace and tranquility to a turbulent brain.
  2. Visualization .Imagination.  Many from sports use it. It is mental rehearsal. It enables them to find some way of achieving what they want to. More about it here. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/sport_psych/a/aa091700a.htm
  3. Try doing something that scares you,  for example presenting in front of audience. It is emotional feelings  that have to be controlled to bring the best out of you.
  4. Your study room matters a lot. Keep your table tidy. Remove the mountain of books on the table. The more clutter you find on your table the less you ware inspired to study. Otherwise find a serene place where there is good lighting. Well lit parks are good places for yoga,  studies and physical exercise .
  5. Moods matter a lot in whatever you want to do. If the mood is not good then listening to music and going to gym or parks is a good way of relaxing your brain.
  6. For some,  Coffee gives the relaxation they need but too much of coffee is not good for health.
  7. Visiting temples, church or mosque gives the peace of mind you need so that you can come back with peace and work on your assignments. Try that out.
  8. Finding the best time of the day for studies also helps to prioritize what you want to do at that time.
  9. Everyday exercise , morning or evening walks in parks  helps to tone up your body. Prayer, meditation helps your mind.
  10. Doing what you love the most is what matters. So from early stage of life try finding what you love the most and develop the skills you need and find success.

Agile professionalism


Wrote a blog for employees on how to stay successful  in their career in my linkedin profile. Click on this link for the post

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140924055329-6970802-agile-professionalism

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

Let’s not do it better , Let’s do it different


“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

― Albert Einstein

Recently I started paying attention to connect different comments posted on Facebook to see if I can come up with a different insight and experiences that are different than routine. On Facebook I saw postings of joy and relief when exams are completed and students planning different activities to enjoy holidays before next semester starts. One was excited to go to Mumbai and some going back to their native cities and towns to hit the malls and cinema theatres. I saw posts from professionals who are planning of having trips to exotic places. I watch comments, likes flowing into photos posted on the face book. One of my friend posts about the songs he likes, another posts photos with beer cup in his hand.

My observations is that when we go to a farmers market we ask our mind questions related to food and when we are watching cricket game   in stadium we ask questions about the game to our mind such as where the fielding players are standing and what the scores are and who might win. We don’t usually think asking our mind  how to cool our tension with a nice and fresh fruit from a vegetable market when we are in a crowded cricket stadium or how to prepare for our next exams.

Our mind is processing thoughts and giving us answers to questions that we ask. The questions that you are asking are what drives your behavior and is the key for your success in getting better at everything you love to do. By combining the fun and excitement of game with a healthy drink of fruit juice instead of junk food makes your experience more memorable and keeps you healthy from nervous breakdowns but you did not ask you mind how to do that before going to the game.

We can maximize our fun, experiences, find new possibilities and enrich our lives if we can think of different things that can be done by asking the right question to our mind.  So if you are having holidays and want to have fun or great experience ask your mind what are the new options you have other than the predictable things you do during a holiday.   This is what is called an innovative mind set is. This kind of asking the mind, the right questions enriches your life with better experiences and may lead you to more opportunities that you have never imagined possible. I always ask this question myself at the end of the day “What is that one thing that you did differently today?”  The key to innovation is to connect unrelated dots from different things to come up with new experiences, new possibilities and new opportunities.  Good luck for a “ better life with best practices” (My company’s tag Line and vision)