My dear young friends,
Last month we dealt with “out-of-the-box” thinking. At times we have to go yet beyond. We have to go for “Paradigm Shift” which means total change of philosophy. We will consider it through an example. Watermelons are round or oval shaped by nature. Japanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than shops in the USA and therefore don’t have room to waste. They discovered that if you put the watermelon in a square box when they are growing, the watermelon will take on the shape of the box – and grow into a square fruit. They decided to use this technique amass for space economy, optimizing at the source itself.
Let us take lessons from the square watermelons and apply them to all areas in our life (work, finances, and relationships). Let me cite an example from NPTI. When I took over charge of this institution I found that it was a sinking institution in terms of its training load and revenue earnings. It was in 2000 when I looked at the performance graphs all going down consistently during the 1990s; I inquired about it. The answer was that NPTI was meant to train engineers from the electricity boards which were consistently making loss becoming bankrupt. They had no money for training. Even in-house their Chief Engineer (Training) was a punishment posting, training getting no priority at all. The mindset of entire power sector was so disappointing.
This being the scenario we at NPTI decided for a paradigm shift. Taking permission and direction from the Ministry of Power we started drafting “National Training Policy for the Power Sector” making provisions such as Mandatory Training of one week in a year for every person working in Power Sector, Mandatory budgetary provision for Training as a percentage of Salary budget and so on. We had a dynamic Power Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu who got it passed by the parliament, and a training load of 100,000 Trainee-weeks was generated spontaneously, 100,000 odd people working in the power sector those days. Then came the question of payment for training, any cut on the budget being first on Training. We organized a National Meet of Regulators under the chairmanship of CERC and got a resolution passed that Training Expenses would be a part of O&M budget which gets built up in tariff and the moment tariff is realized, there is cash available for transfer against Training Dues.
On the other hand, we sought clarification from the Ministry of Power whether NPTI could train “power engineers of future” besides those already working in the Power Sector. On getting their nod, we started courses like B.E. / B.Tech. (Power Engineering), PGDC (Power Systems/ Power Plant O&M), MBA (Power Management) etc., integrating backwards power training experience with academics.
With the above two dimensional paradigm shift, there was a large work load created with consequential earnings making NPTI totally self-sustained and at the same time making it the largest power training organization in the world. The wind may blow from any direction, but the direction in which you go depends on how you set the sails.
Another example is from “Electrical Conductors”. It was believed that electricity flows through round wires. Copper being expensive, aluminum wires were used but reinforced with steel conductor at the centre for adequate strength, all circular; which was known as “Aluminum Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSR)”.
Later it was realized that substantial space was being wasted in between the wires, all being circular. By fundamental change in approach, round aluminum wires were replaced by trapezoidal segments reinforced by the central circular steel conductor which emerged as “ACSR Compact”. Using trapezoidal wires, a smaller- sized compact conductor can handle the same amount of power as a larger-sized stranded conductor that uses round wires. Space economy is to the extent of 25-30% to accommodate more conductive aluminum.
Thus, you will find that by applying the watermelon principle, you can improve several aspects of your business life and also your personal life.
Have courage to change the fundamentals and to go for Paradigm Shift !!
Satyamev Jayate !!!
Best wishes and Regards,
M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI Scholar, D.Engg.(Calif), FNAE
Hon.D.WRE (ranked amongst 30-most eminent scientists in the world)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI / REL), Ex-Director (REC)/ Executive Director (IREDA)
No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)