Skilling for the digital future with Anant Maheshwari

Mr Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd deliberating on 'Skilling For The Digital Future’ at AIMA LeaderSpeak session

Mr Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd deliberating on ‘Skilling For The Digital Future’ at AIMA LeaderSpeak session

Every industry, every company, all of us have become more digital. Just to take a personal example imagine and remember what you were doing five to ten years back and your life today as an individual and as a professional and the number of skills that you have intuitively picked up over time in driving your own work today.

The big question around tech adoption is basically what platforms you use and how much do you use of those platforms? So if you ask how we think about tech platforms today, there are a lot of platforms available to simple ones that you use daily like social chat applications, maps, search that you use on the internet or it could be some applications that you use for your productivity or even to track weather data or any other news.

These are all platforms but at work in organizations also there are many platforms that organizations should adopt and therefore how much do you adopt what platforms you bring in. That’s the first question around tech intensity that each of us needs to ask as organizations and as individuals. The second question and then go into the second concept around tech capability. Now, this part of the equation is very critical as we say that every company is a digital company. Every organization actually has its own secret sauce of how they bring all these platforms that they may have all the ingredients they may have to create what’s unique about that organization.  Think of it as if you’re in the kitchen you can give the same set of ingredients to different people who may be cooking but it’s a secret sauce and the process that a lot of people have makes so much difference in terms of what actually comes out as the outcome. So similarly in organizations, you can provide the same platforms and same tools to two different companies or individuals doing exactly the same thing, it’s about the tech capabilities that they build uniquely of their own that distinguishes one from the other. Tech capability can have a multiplier effect on the tech adoption in the organization and go back to that point around the usage of data to really drive the organization and your own capability forward.

Let’s come to the third part of the equation. As I said earlier the equation is tech adoption multiplied by tech capability raised to the power of trust. Now one thing that has happened during the pandemic is that this element of trust has really got amplified. Trust is very critical not just in terms of adoption and building technology but also in how you use it. There are two aspects to the trust:

First trust in the business models and then when digital technology is transforming every industry and every part of our daily life trust starts shaving a lot of different dimensions. We all are aware of cybersecurity, the reliability of what you see on digital platforms and the data that you use. How do you comply with laws, everybody today is aware that privacy is a fundamental human right.

So the big question for trust is are you building a business today to stand the test of time on trust and to bring that analogy of what human history has seen already and what we are witnessing as we go through today is the best analogy. Now look at the digital world this will happen much faster in a very compressed time frame. All of us are doing a lot of these business models today the laws are still getting written around how you will manage your digital estate, how you will manage your digital capabilities going forward and in a way trust becomes central because the business models that you create today will get judged by the laws that are still getting written and within the next few years you will then ask the question am I compliant with the laws? So trust becomes very important in thinking through all the elements of digital skilling and digital capability.

Tech intensity is the foundation on which you assess digital skills. Therefore, what you need to do is a combination of tech adoption and tech capability raised to the power of trust. It’s not just about creating new skills but it’s also the up-gradation of skills continuously so it’s a continuous cycle of skilling and let me take it one by one. So first is how do you get started how to create digital skills in the first place if of course, you are training the schools and the people who have not used these skills before so even in our colleges in our training we bring this in and it has to be a 360-degree approach of skilling the ecosystem and it’s starting with schools and educators it’s starting with jobs that don’t have digital skills today but are beginning to have them to prepare a workforce in India for jobs of the future. It requires truly enabling every segment of the country to succeed in a digital economy and therefore it requires work between the governments, the industry, and the civil society to bring digital resilience in such a time of change to truly acquire skills. The next one is about the second bit which is upgrading and continuously working on improving our skills so it’s about creating a system of learning that helps empower everyone sort of pursuing lifelong learning and no single company or enterprise can close this skills gap alone. It’s truly a partnership that is required across the ecosystem across all stakeholders. So over a decade, we have been working very closely with the public, private and non-profit sectors in India to create a very vibrant skilling ecosystem in the country that prepares everyone for a tech-enabled future.

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Proactive thinking is critical in a downturn

This article by Sanjay Kirloskar, President, AIMA was published in ‘The Hindu Business Line’ on 26th October 2019.

Sanjay Kirloskar, President, AIMA

Sanjay Kirloskar, President, AIMA

Managing business has only gotten tougher, as the domestic economic slowdown has added to the challenge of technological and trade disruptions. India’s economy has been slipping for a few quarters, and expectations for the future are tinged with Worry. Quite a few sectors are feeling the pinch, and it has become a challenge to achieve growth or even sustain performance. However, bad times are good for house-cleaning and reorganisation. The pressure to survive can be used to become fit for growth.

It is instinctive to retreat into a shell now, but it is not a safe option with the business environment changing fast. A scramble to save money only fulfils the prophecy of doom. Worse, it damages the organisation’s vitals. As Warren Buffet said: “When others are fearful, be greedy”.

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Future Proofing Yourself – Catherine Wolfram addressing AIMA

Catherine Wolfram, Acting Associate Dean & Prof of Business Administration, Haas School of Business talking about Mentorship and Future Proofing Yourself at AIMA’s women-centric programme, PRAGATI 2019. Excerpts –

Catherine Wolfram at AIMA

Catherine Wolfram, Acting Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Cora Jane Flood Professor of Business Administration at Haas School of Business, University of California- Berkeley

I wanted to start by giving a little background on myself and then share a couple lessons. I’m an economist, I earned a PhD and I’ve been a professor for over 20 years. My research focus is on energy and I’ve done several projects in India, although much to my great regret I don’t have a current project ongoing in India. I’m moving into the role of associate dean which is about as close in academics as you get, to being in a management position. In general, academicians are kind of single-minded and they don’t have much taste for being managed. It’s a very non-hierarchical environment, but as I said the associate dean is kind of as close to management as you get. I wanted to share my experiences, though I know that since I’ve been in the US and I’ve been in academics and not in business my experiences have been different from yours, but I think there’s still some general lessons that I can share.

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Pole-vault in the age of disruption – Nandan Nilekani at AIMA

Nandan Nilekani, Co-Founder, Infosys & the catalyst of digitisation in India, addressing AIMA’s 63rd Foundation Day 2019. Read Excerpts –

Nandan Nilekani addressing AIMA's 63rd Foundation Day.

Nandan Nilekani addressing AIMA’s 63rd Foundation Day.

I think the topic – Innovation in the age of disruption – is very important. We tend to think that innovation is about 23-year olds wearing hoodies doing things, but in some sense, the innovation in India is happening by everybody at all levels. Innovation can happen in the private sector, the public sector, whether you are young, whether you are old, it really doesn’t matter. It is really the mindset of bringing new ideas into play. Ideas are really what makes a difference, and if you are able to get your ideas and get them embedded in the system, then anything can happen.

Innovation can come from anyone whether they are incumbents, challengers, young or old, in the private sector or in government; and I think that’s the spirit in which we need to think of innovation in this age of disruption because clearly disruption is a given, the velocity of change is unprecedented. Technology and many things are causing velocity, that we have never seen before, the knowledge accumulation is happening at a phenomenal pace, more knowledge was created in the last six months then the previous thousands of years, we are seeing the rise of data in unprecedented ways, we’re seeing companies accumulate huge amounts of data, thanks to smartphones they are using more data and tomorrow as we sensorize the world as every device every car everything has a sensor, then the data is going to be even further bigger than what it is today.

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Creating New Global Order based on Peace & Compassion

Sri Sri Ravishankar, Spiritual Leader and Founder, The Art of Living Foundation addressing AIMA’s 45th National Management Convention 2018 and sharing his views on how to create a New Global Order Based on Compassion, Trust and Peace. Read Excerpts:

Sri Sri Ravishankar addressing AIMA's 45th National Management Convention.

Sri Sri Ravishankar addressing AIMA’s 45th National Management Convention.

The word silence and listen has the same letters, just a little rearrangement from this side to that side. In today’s world, with such chaos, there are few listeners but many talkers. What we need to do today, first of all, is to cultivate the habit of listening to the other person. Listening to a different point of views, different opinions. Every day when you switch on your television at 9 in the evening, you can see how so many people talk simultaneously, and there’s hardly anyone to listen. This is the world that we are in. Today we think too much. 90% of the stress comes from overthinking. Can we take a few moments of silence and look at any incident with a clear mind. If we can create this habit, we can resolve many conflicts that we face in our lives. I know Sudhir Jalan ji for a long time. As Sudhir used to say how can businessman be quiet, Gurudev? I said, well, at least when he’s watching the stock market, the moment he’s quiet, he doesn’t want to be disturbed and has to watch what is happening. So this attitude to listen to others point of view is essential.

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Sanjeev Sanyal on Reconfiguring Indian Economy

Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Adviser, Government of India in conversation with Ms Supriya Shrinate, Executive Editor – News, ET Now on ‘Reconfiguring Economy: Coding a New Growth Algorithm: Reconfiguring the Economy’ at AIMA’s 4th National Leadership Conclave 2018.

Sanjeev Sanyal in conversation with Supriya Shrinate

Sanjeev Sanyal in conversation with Supriya Shrinate

The world is seeing a potential trade war in the making, do you believe those fears are for real? Do you believe India will have to take sides on this one, we can’t be a mute spectator?

As far as taking sides is concerned, I’m very clear on whose side we are on. We’re on India’s side. Coming to the question of protectionism and the emerging global scenario. Let me be clear while indeed there are all kinds of protectionist tendencies popping up around the world, we in India remain committed to the globalized system, we are old experimenters in import substitution so our own history should more than adequately tell us that if we overdo import substitution or isolationist policies it always ends in tears. So while it is fair that occasionally you use some sorts of incentives to protect certain industries from dumping or maybe even do some protection for infant industries. Different countries have their own dynamics but in general we do need an open globalized system and in the end, we have to be willing to do deals with the rest of the world and the rest of the world has to be willing to do deals with us. But yes, the old system as it seems may have come to its grinding halt and let’s not blame the individual political leaders. My view is that the old system has come to a creaking halt at multiple levels. In the US there has been a simmering discontent about Chinese imports for a while, the fact of the matter is that it has come to a halt now.

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Happiness is natural and stress is a disease

Brahmakumari Sister Shivani, Spiritual & Motivational Teacher addressing AIMA’s 4th National Leadership Conclave 2018 on the theme ‘Leading Self to be Innovative, Inclusive & Invincible’. Read Excerpts:

Brahmakumari Sister Shivani addressing AIMA's 4th National Leadership Conclave.

Brahmakumari Sister Shivani addressing AIMA’s 4th National Leadership Conclave

Last week in the Times of India, There was a proposal by the Government of Delhi saying that they want to introduce a subject called ‘Happiness’ in every Government school in Delhi, and they had asked proposals from NGOs and spiritual organisations to submit a curriculum that they would like to execute for school children in a subject called ‘happiness’. Most of us must have seen that page, but did we pause to reflect where are we heading? Our children have to have a subject called happiness because what they’re experiencing today is something different from happiness.

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WhatsApp and Google are Front-ending India’s UPI

Arvind Gupta, CEO, MyGov addressing on the theme ‘Reimagining the State: Government as Service’ at AIMA’s 4th National Leadership Conclave 2018. Read Excerpts –

Arvind Gupta, CEO, MyGov addressing AIMA's 4th National Leadership Conclave

Arvind Gupta, CEO, MyGov addressing AIMA’s 4th National Leadership Conclave

The whole concept of Government as a service is very new especially in a vast country like India, the learning from countries like Estonia with 1.3 million people and a few more million in Singapore are vast. But you know their digitization came before they tried to leapfrog into fourth industrial revolution. India didn’t have a choice, we are doing digitization and we are leaping into the fourth industrial revolution parallelly and in that parallel universe we have a citizen who is still not connected to the internet probably, has a basic mobile phone, lives in a remote corner of northeast, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir or in Kerela but what has connected all of them is this unique thing that we talk about, Aadhar. Today almost 99% of the adult population has Aadhar. Now we can keep debating its issues on the privacy and the security and that’s in the national interest and that’s the right thing to do but it is really enabling us to deliver the government as a service.

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Winning in the Age of Disruption – C P Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra

C P Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra shares his insights on Winning in the Age of Disruption at AIMA’s 4th National Leadership Conclave 2018. Read Excerpts below –

C P Gurnani at AIMA's NLC

C P Gurnani at AIMA’s NLC

We believe in the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh where. Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the sustenance and Mahesh (Shiva) is the destroyer. Now if the disruption is inevitable and it’s going to change the world. The question is who is going to be the creator? Will it be the millennials or startups or some of the larger companies re-inventing themselves? What is the role of the disruptor, what is the role of that Vishnu as a sustenance man or are these roles overstated? Maybe these roles don’t exist anymore. Maybe if I take Tech Mahindra as an example I mean I would strongly go back after this presentation and tell my Board that you should actually collapse all the three roles.

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Nandan Nilekani explains how India is going Digital

Nandan Nilekani, Non-Executive Chairman, Infosys and the chief architect of Aadhaar shares how India is going digital and transforming into a Post Paid Economy using Data at AIMA’s 62nd Foundation Day 2018. Excerpts –

Nandan Nilekani, Non-Executive Chairman, Infosys Ltd., speaking on 'Disrupting the Disrupter' at the AIMA's 62nd FoundationDay

Nandan Nilekani, Non-Executive Chairman, Infosys Ltd., speaking on ‘Disrupting the Disrupter’ at the AIMA’s 62nd FoundationDay

Today I’ll speak about ‘Disrupting the Disruptor: Finding the next Big Idea’ and I’ll try to give you an idea of what’s happening in India in the world of digital technology, and why is it so special and so unique and why it has such a big impact on our business.

I will talk about three fundamental trends and I would put the facts and figures at your disposal on how India is becoming digital, which means it is becoming paperless and cashless; how is GST becoming business compliant and why is it so strategic for the economy, what’s the impact of that; and what is the role of data in India’s future because data is the most strategic asset of the 21st century. Today, huge battles are being fought all over the world for data. The big issue is the rise of the internet Giants who have huge amounts of data and on that data, they are able to apply AI and keep getting better. So fundamentally what is India’s strategy in terms of data to be a powerful country in the age of data and AI and machine learning?
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