New book authored by Dr. Subramanian and Prof. Rangan has been published by ASME Press.

Thriving in the 21st Century Economy:
Transformational Skills for Technical Professionals

Dr. K. Subramanian and Prof. U. Srinivasa Rangan

Subbu Book 2Thriving in the 21st Century Economy: Transformational Skills for Technical Professionals, co-authored by Dr K. Subramanian, President, STIMS Institute Inc., USA and Professor U. Srinivasa Rangan, Luksic Chair Professor of Global Studies, at Babson College has been published by the ASME Press. Copies of this book can be accessed at any of the following links:

Below is the link for the image of the cover of the book along with reviewer’s comments:


The following is a short summary of the book:
Technical professionals, represented by the short hand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), face a crisis, especially in the United States. Fewer American students are interested in pursuing these disciplines in college. Even many professionals currently working in these areas discourage their children from following them into their profession, since they see few attractive and financially rewarding jobs and careers when compared to the IT or financial sector. As research budgets shrink in the public and private sectors, many professionals feel that their contributions are not valued. Some blame the outsourcing fad for this and some others believe that foreign professionals are taking their jobs. Amidst all this, senior managers in major industrial and technology firms expect technical professionals to manage their own careers rather than help the professionals to develop their abilities for such career management.
Drs. Subbu Subramanian and Srinivasa Rangan address these concerns through three critical and related questions:
1. What is the nature of the challenge facing STEM professionals in the twenty-first century global economy?
2. What are the reasons for it?
3. How should STEM professionals manage their careers in the future if they want to lead a professionally fulfilling and productive life?

At the outset, Subramanian and Rangan assert that, since the 1980s, the workplace in most industrial companies has been undergoing a rapid transformation largely due to two factors: globalization and business model revolution. Globalization is described as the outcome of Global Capitalism combined with evolutions in Digital Technology. The business model revolution is seen as the result of disaggregation of the value chain and its disbursement across the world. These new business models require a new type of professional skillset. The result of these two trends are pushing more firms to rely on a small cadre of high quality professionals to be problem solvers or solution providers and a much larger group of professionals (even with lower levels of technical skills as required), to be replicators of those solutions across the globe. As more firms across the world adopt this new model of workforce deployment, a binary labor force is emerging. The first part, consisting of leading technology professionals, specializes in creating and implementing new solutions. This is enhanced through the use of DT solutions, which aggregates information from across the globe. The other part of the labor force, required for lower skilled jobs, is finding their functions further de-skilled and de-localized because of DT driven automation and off-shoring. There appears to be no middle ground, which in the past employed a large number of technical professionals. All STEM professionals now face the challenge of adapting to this binary economy that is becoming the hallmark of the twenty-first century.

STEM professionals are experiencing angst because of their transition to new roles in this binary economy. Many who have invested years getting trained at advanced levels and acquiring specialized skills suddenly feel unable to create new solutions that are considered valuable.
Subramanian and Rangan argue that STEM professionals need to become exceptional and relentless solution providers. They must be able to identify new opportunities, convert such opportunities into complete and integrated solutions, and maximize the benefits from these solutions. These skills are not purely technical or managerial. Instead they are a combination of skills pertaining to Science, Engineering and Management. These Transformational Skills are:

• Identify a problem or opportunity and frame it as a “need”:
• Develop a Common Language
• Three Dimensional view of Core Capabilities and their deployment:
— As an individual
— As part or member of a team
— As part of the company or enterprise
— As part of the industry/community
• Develop the need into a “Solution”:
• Integrate Knowledge from all available sources (across the globe)
• Place emphasis on “Science”; Relentlessly use Portable Diagnostic Tools and methods, Analysis
techniques and Analytics
• “System Thinking”: Focus on the big picture and not merely on the pixels;
• Deploy the Science/Engineering/Management pertinent to the “solution” simultaneously (The
System Approach); Emphasize on mobile/portable diagnostic tools.
• Synthesize: Connect the dots leading to the “Solution”; Emphasis on Core Technology driven
• Exploit the “Solution” and maximize the benefits:
• Focus on “End to End Innovation” = Idea X Use X Impact
Measure innovation in a scale of 1 to 125 (= 5X5X5 and not 1 to 5 scale in isolated silos). “Branding” as an outcome of End to End innovation
• “Emotional Intelligence”:
Find ways to be useful to others, which in turn benefits you.
Co-create value; I open the door for you, and you let me in as well.
Focus on end user (Customer) benefits as the primary goal and driver for innovation and entrepreneurships.

The authors then describe the roles of individual professionals, organizations, management, the Government and the educators. Each player is called upon to understand these Transformational Skills and integrate them into education as part of a Life Long Learning strategy. The authors conclude that this education is the only reliable pathway enabling technical professionals to thrive in the 21st Century economy.

Manufacturing in India – View Points

Managing growth EM Magazine 04 13

Page 16-18_ViewPoint_EditorialAdvisoryBoard 04 13

The trade magazine on Efficient Manufacturing
Questions for Editorial Advisory Board comments
A view from abroad:
Changes in Indian Economy is often described as analogous to the movement of the elephant – slow, steady and often aimless!The slow and steady nature of the changes in Indian economy is often seen as a welcome and reliable opportunity, compared to the rapid and volatile changes elsewhere. However the aimless nature of the economic changes in India, often mask the gradual and sustained growth of the middle class in India and their growing consuming power. It is this internal capacity for consumption by the middle class that bodes well for the long term sustained growth of the Indian economy and in turn its manufacturing base.
It is doubtful if the manufacturers who are committed to this domestic consumption alone, can ever compete in the global market. There is a term used such as “best in class for India”, which suggests a lower level of quality, precision, reliability acceptable to the Indian market and its internal customers. “Good is good enough and best in class is for the imported items” mindset has to change, for the Indian manufacturers to compete in the global market place. While the US manufacturing is showing signs of improvement, there is a depleted manufacturing base thanks to relentless outsourcing and off shoring for the past three decades. This has created a void for precsion components, accessories, tooling and machine tools for many critical manufactured goods. While small and medium manufacturers in US will strive hard to regain this void, there could be an unique set of opportunities for Indian manufacturers with world class quality in their veins.
Dr. K. (Subbu) Subramanian
President, STIMS Institute Inc., USA.
(A Knowledge Integration Company).

The context
US manufacturing output has bounced back in February 2013, the latest signal of strength in an economy that is showing clear momentum after a near-stall at the end of last year. Industrial production grew 0.7 percent last month, as per the Federal Reserve. Economists expected industrial output to rise 0.4 percent. However, manufacturing output rose 0.8 percent during the month, snapping back from a decline in January.
Similarly, showing green shoots of recovery, Indian industrial production inched up 2.4 per cent in January mainly due to perk up in manufacturing output and enhanced power generation.The factory output, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had grown by 1 per cent in January 2012.
With these clear signs of recovery in the US & Indian manufacturing output, do you see India’s manufacturing furthering on a positive note in 2013-14?
Please reason your expectations & recommendations in about 200 – 250 words.