Sunday, April 14, 2013

Greening - stop talking, start doing.

For times immemorial, I have heard this about greening, environment protection etc. Corporates promote it, governments spend money on it. So, where is all the money going? I think it is only going towards the promotion of the issue. Corporates pass on these messages to their employees and sometimes use this as a concept to brand their image. Governmets run conferences of foreign delegates and then talk business on the same table I believe. So if I understand it right, money is spent on promoting the issue of greening/environment by corporates and by the government to promote brand. What is being done to actually address the issue? Maybe I do not have visibility there, but I have visibility about what we as individuals can do to addresss the issue of greening.

By the way, by greening i mean helping save the environment by optimally using its resources so that less of the trees are cut, less of the minerals are mined, less of oil wells are drilled and less of everything is produced. In a way, everything that helps save the planet.

Do you know that every second, the US consumes 1500 plastic bottles of water. Imagine if every plastic bottle is sent back to recycle, would it not result in cutting production of at least 75% of the bottles? Do your math. Similarly, you can look at any object that you use in your daily life. It will contain plastic, metal or paper or something else. The minute it is disposed off appropriately, it would get to recycling. So think of what can be recycled in varying percentages (all paper, all plastic, all metals) and how much of waste you can put back in to the economy without hitting the resources of the planet.

So this is the crux. Greening starts at an individul. The corporates and the government can use it as an opportunity and at best promote the cause and help guide you. They can discuss about formulatitng policies and regulations to help you. If you do not do, what can they do? They are legal structures, not people right.

So next time you are done using an object and think it no longer serves your purpose,  try doing this.
  1. Think of the raw materials used in the object.
  2. Do u have a trash guy who collects them from home. If so collate your trash for him. Remember, discipline in trash segregation will only help him. He will ultimately dump the trash appropriately and might make some mo ney from local recyclers.
  3. You can also earn money if u regularly use newspapers, plastic, or metals. collate them and sell it to local trash guys. Iron - Rs.20/Kg, Paper - Rs.8/Kg, Cartons - Rs.7/Kg etc. So find a local trash guy and dump ur trash.
At the end of it you will feel clean, responsible, satisfied and with some luck a little richer too.

So discipline your trashing and make the world a better place. Imagine if every one of the seven billion people of the world did this. I can only be hopeful for others but act on my end.

Trash rightly, Green rightly!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gadget savvy or gadget slaves?

The title might sound intimidating to people like me but sometimes I feel this is the case, at least with me. I am a gadget savvy person. I love reading, listening and discussing about the everyday gadgets that we use. The mobile, laptop, touchpad, smart phones et all.

On the first look these are the ones that make your life convenient. Now let's ask the question how? I will list down personal usage experiences as these are definitely professional productivity tools. Now that we have set the context, lets look at this.

Mobile/Smartphone: It is supposed to connect people but do we do just that or more than that. I actually think it superficially connects people. Smartphones of today do more than just connect calls. They let us think that it helps us stay connected. Connected on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Messengers of the varied kind etc. And on these, we are pouring details of our life. Think about it, how many meaningful one-on-one connections have we really made using these platforms. Of the 24 hours in a day, we spend almost 18 hours of our awake time checking status, sharing a post, tweeting an event or making a contact, who we don't know we will talk to again at least once in the next month. These platforms are like a bank that collect. A bank of our thoughts, emotions, relations etc. So, do we really need to be on the mobile and spend our time being connected and available to others and be diverted from the ground all times and also sometimes becoming an open book on the Internet. Who are u helping by making details of your bank open? Thats a question I ask.

Laptop: Laptop was and is a tool to help us be on top of things of the world when connected to the Internet. When not connected we do lot of productive usage of it. I remember when I had 2 hours of time with an X86 machine in school. I wrote code on PASCAL and COBOL. During college, I wrote the RAINDROP program (remember the falling letters...). Now I use computer for my work and I have connectivity everywhere. Now I do my work,which is productive. Rest of the time I browse. What do I browse? Articles, movies, songs, and the social media stuff reading about other's life. Do I really need to spend that time knowing other's life or is there something that I can do with that time?

Touchpads: I mean c'mon. I see kids having these in their hands playing digital games when there are other kids around them. I heard someone say that in the schools of the international kinds, they encourage kids to have iPads. I felt like slapping myself to do a reality check. Imagine a room with kids who are playing games on touchpads and not interacting with one a other. Not pulling other's hair, not getting into a fight, not screaming and yelling. Strange isn't it?

In summary, by using these gadgets, I stay connected with people on these media and I am telling them everyting abouy my life but rarely do I realise that I am not actually making any meaningful connection with atleast one of my friends (can u see the difference between a commodity and a product). No offence, but I have people on FB who I have not met in ages. True it helps connect but that's one part. My time is spent on smartphone and laptop and iPads to stay connected with all the people who do not really impact me or my life nor my virtual life impacts them in any way. Yet i am spending time in the virtual connect while there are real people around me all the time with who I can spend that time.

The day is not far when people will no longer laugh over a silly joke amongst strangers on a local train or any other public transport. All they would do is be connected virtually glued into their gadgets not concerned about people around. Imagine humans appearing as a network, the way internet is a network. In th ebeginning, we had laptops at the end of the network, and today we have people like me at the end of the network relaying every piece of information to the open world all the time. Dangerous, it is. What else can it mean?

I think we are losing the art of living (not Rajneesh) by being too much dependant on our gadgets. I may be one of those guys. Hence I say we have become slaves of gadgets. Cannot do a thing without it. Savvy is good. Slave, is it good?

Think about it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

25 Management Tools from Bain

I was going through a few searches for Strategy tools and hit upon the website of Bain. I learned that every year, Bain conducts a survey of the top strategy tools that corporations use to make their lives simpler. In the 2009 edition of the "Management Tools", Bain listed out 25 or so different management tools. 1. Balanced Scorecard 2. Benchmarking 3. Business Process Reengineering 4. Collaborative Innovation 5. Core Competencies 6. Customer Relationship Management 7. Customer Segmentation 8. Decision Rights Tools 9. Downsizing 10. Growth Strategy Tools 11. Knowledge Management 12. Lean Six Sigma 13. Loyalty Management Tools 14. Mergers and Acquisitions 15. Mission and Vision Statements 16. Online Communities 17. Outsourcing 18. Price Optimization Models 19. Scenario and Contingency Planning 20. Shared Service Centers 21. Strategic Alliances 22. Strategic Planning 23. Supply Chain Management 24. Total Quality Management 25. Voice of the Customer Innovation