A brief Video on Transformational Skills

On Sep. 4, 2021 Dr. Subramanian presented a Webinar under KITE Webinar series hosted by AMTDC at IIT Madras, Chennai, India. This is part of a series of Webinars https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb2CvpVcCQ_rgt3JwEjWuyA useful to young professionals to succeed in the 21st century workplace.

A brief edited version of the webinar can be seen at  https://youtu.be/_emiqz7yRx8

After a brief introduction (First 3 minutes), Dr. Subramanian takes the viewer through a series of episodes in his professional life, which required and shaped his views on System Thinking and Transformational Skills.

The second half of the video (about 20 minutes) uses a set of few slides and their description to make the concepts of ST and TS more concrete and easier to follow for any professional.

Enjoy the viewing and learning!

IT or DT is not the only “Technology”!

This morning as I was reading the following, I felt vindicated in some small scale! https://www.quora.com/We-know-the-wi-in-wi-fi-means-wireless-but-what-does-the-fi-mean We know the ‘wi’ in ‘wi-fi’ means wireless but what does the ‘fi’ mean?

WiFi is short for “wireless fidelity.” This is not the case. WiFi is simply a trademarked term meaning IEEE 802.11x. The false notion that the brand name “WiFi” is short for “wireless fidelity” has spread to such an extent that even industry leaders have included the phrase wireless fidelity in a press release. You’ll also find references to WiFi being short for wireless fidelity on a number of well-known and respected technology-focused publications and websites. The truth is, WiFi isn’t short for anything and it never was.

The above is equally true for the common use of the term “Technology”!

In a recent post https://stimsinstitute.com/2021/12/03/futureofwork/ we have mentioned the following:

Science, Engineering and Management — Integrating the above is Technology. 
Digital or IT is NOT the only “Technology”. It is just one form of Technology.
Using the word “Technology” and imply DT or IT is a very vivid example of lack in common language. This singular failure across the globe (of the word technology and its meaning) has made all education other than IT / Computer Science appear less relevant or valuable in public perception! It also illustrates a lack of discipline and in-depth knowledge across the media professionals, pundits, educators, policy makers and politicians who merely use the words for their sound bite and not as a means to communicate what they truly mean or understand.

This lack of common language permeates every where. Do we really know what the words Democracy, Conservative, Liberal, Safety-net, Religion, Spiritual, …. truly stand for?

Do we teach our students the difference between Science, Engineering and Management and their integration in STEM education? Or do we simply cloak the “T” in STEM for IT? The “M” in the STEM education stands for “Mathematics” or “Management”? How can you teach anything analytical without “M” for Mathematics? Why is that singled out in STEM? Management implied skills for Strategic thinking and operational excellence. What good is it to teach STEM, if such education does not contain “M” for Management?

#FutureofWorkforce

#Futureofwork

Yes, we are tired of Digital Technology and its onslaught on everything “normal”. Like the old battle cry leading to the revolutionary war – “the British are coming” – there is now a chorus saying “AI and Robotics are coming”. This change in the nature of work began in the the late 1970s. In the year 2000, our first book was published titled “The System Approach – A Strategy to Survive and Succeed in the Global Economy” https://stimsinstitute.com/20151207books/ where we stated “if you merely repeat what you have done before and there are others who can do the same, then the lowest cost person will remain employed. To Survive and succeed in this Global Economy, you need to be a System Thinker – figuring out what needs to be done and why and make that happen – and not merely a task oriented person (doing what you are asked to do without questioning)!”

Since then we have explored this need and the means for survival in professional life, with modest success. More than that, we have been able to mentor and train a large body of fellow professionals across the globe. This resulted in the summary – Transformational Skills – published in 2013 with co-author Prof. Rangan. https://stimsinstitute.com/20151207books/ The Transformational skills all are interconnected and not sequential or hierarchical. They are:

  1. Always develop a common language
    • Our biggest challenge today in our Digital world is that we are rich in words (information), poor in their meaning and common understanding. 
  2. 3D view of core capabilities:
    • Personal: Knowledge, Experience, Interpersonal skills
    • Professional: Science, Engineering and Management
      • Integrating the above is Technology 
      • Digital or IT is NOT the only “Technology”. It is just one form of Technology
        • A very vivid example of lack in common language.
        • This singular failure across the globe (of the word technology and its meaning) has made all education other than IT / Computer Science appear less relevant or valuable in public perception!
    • Enterprise: DT (Digital World), Physical Technology and Finance / Market Drivers.
  3. Always frame the situation / problem / opportunity as an “Input/Transformation / Output” system. 
    • The whole is always larger than and different from the mere sum of its parts!
  4. Emphasis on analysis, reasoning, data and inference
    • We are in a Knowledge Economy. Knowledge requires using our intellectual skills extensively.
  5. End to End Innovation: 
    • Solution and its impact matters.
    • But you can not get there without diligence
    • Nor can you get there without a shared vision and emotional intelligence (6 and 7 below).
  6. Develop and maintain a network for shared vision, goals and efforts..
    • Opportunities for collaboration and shared vision are limitless. All constraints in any form (nation, gender, family, self, rich/poor, have/have not, race, religion, intelligent/dumb, etc.) are all self imposed constraints.
  7. Emotional Intelligence.
    • Think and do good for others; it might be the only right thing for you to get better!
    • May everyone and indeed everything exist in peace and harmony!

Today I was watching a PBS episode titled: Future of work  https://www.pbs.org/show/future-work/
Using many visual examples the show arrives at a model for “Barbell Economy”, where the middle is depleted while strengthening of the two ends (high income jobs and low wage jobs). Actually this is a poor model of reality. The depletion in the middle is not equally pushed to either side like the barbell. See: https://stimsinstitute.com/2016/05/23/do-americans-really-miss-the-unions/
We have captured the changing nature of work more accurately as “Binary Economy” in our book titled “Thriving in the 21st Century Economy – Transformational Skills for Technical Professionals” published by ASME Press in 2013 – nearly 9 years ago:https://stimsinstitute.com/20151207books/

At the end of the PBS show, after an hour long lament on what is happening, the show leaves with a vague plea for change, with no formal or structured solution at the end! :-( Honestly, I felt depressed that at the end of the show there is nothing concrete to advance the society. But, this is nothing new. Most essays and movies on this topic rehash the past rather than leading the charge for change to the future. https://stimsinstitute.com/2020/11/22/commentary-on-american-factory/

Contrast that with our book where we lay out the Binary Economy model (the why?) in the first half, and we end with a clear set of Transformational Skills (the what to do about it) and the necessity for sustained education towards that in the second half of the book.
 The gravity of this issue and the solution have been further condensed into five simple illustrations:  https://stimsinstitute.com/2021/07/22/5-significant-lessons-for-any-professional-in-the-21st-century/

Will some one interested in workforce development (Educators, policy makers, parents, students) take a look at the Transformational Skills needed and adapt them as part of a sustained education and communication effort?

The forces of Digital Technology are the same in terms of challenges for companies to survive and succeed. The same Transformational Skills are also equally applicable to enterprises as they apply to individual workers.
#FutureOfWorkPBS

5 significant lessons for any “Professional” in the 21st Century!

STIMS Institute Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary – Part 1

On June 2021, STIMS Institute reached a significant milestone, its ten year anniversary! There have been many greetings and wishes for our continued success. We thank every one of our collaborators, friends and well wishers. To acknowledge this mile stone, we are pleased to publish a series of highlights summarizing the outcomes from the past ten years. Following is part 1 under the title: 5 significant lessons for any “Professional” in the 21st Century!

  1. Work and wealth Distribution are radically changing. Be aware and get prepared for it. Learn to swim through this sea change! The layers of work are increasingly separate, opaque and impermeable. The opportunity to grow from one layer of work to the next and thus climb the organizational hierarchy may no longer be valid.
  1. There is no “middle”, “learning curve” or “Safety net” unless you want to be dependent on the Government or Charity! Learn to deal with this critical reality of professional life. You can have the “Google jobs” creating a stream of new solutions or “McDonald jobs” which are low wage, plug and play activities. Every job will get pushed to either side, with a chasm in the “middle”.

See Thriving in the 21st Century: Transformational Skills for the “Binary Economy” model.

  1. Jumping across the chasm of the “middle” requires relentless practice of System Thinking for all professionals, at every level. Don’t do what you are asked to do (the task). Figure out what needs to be done, why and how? Then make it happen and rewarding!
  1.   System Thinking can be at three levels. Professional life today is not getting a college degree and then coasting in the job. Instead it is  a relentless search for new solutions everyday and in every job. Some professionals may not need that for their success or survival, if you have already made it or in a specialty area in hot demand. But your fellow professionals depend on you for your stream of new solutions for their success and survival! But, remember that the “hot area of specialty” don’t last as long as before. Their half life is increasingly short!
  1.     Growth in job and career is no longer a matter of how long you worked in a company, job or field of activity. See point 1 above and the impermeable layers in the figure. Every professional at every level of their job or career needs to be focussed on life long learning, contributing through a relentless stream of new solutions. Transform any job / assignment (activity) into a series of goals and their impact. In turn pave the way for the means necessary for sustainability. These are the outcomes of System Thinking and Transformational Skills. Practice them  relentlessly together with your academic education and industry/domain specific learning.

One final point: The Transformational Skills of End to End Innovation, Eco system Development and Emotional Intelligence rely more on the philosophy of thinking on behalf of others – using the heart and the mind in unison with that of every one and everything else. With this philosophic underpinning as a professional strength we can expect peace and harmony within each of us. It in turn will bring skills and resources to work with people and cultures across the globe. They can lead to solutions to meet the growing wealth gap, Climate crisis, racial and religious dissentions and other adverse effects of the 21st century society.

Will you be a System Thinking and Transformational technical professional as well as a Philosophic universalist? The power is well within each of us and collectively in all of us. Our decade of progress at STIMS Institute points out that there is indeed opportunity for both these pathways for evolution for all of us.