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Hot Spots Newsletter: tales from India

Thank you to everybody who has submitted ideas and comments – it adds a different dimension to the Newsletter! Please keep them coming to Tina.

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Tales from India: part one

The Hot Spots team has just come back from India, where they were working with 25 members of the Future of Work Consortium representing seven different companies: TCS; Wipro; Infosys; Mahindra Mahindra, Standard Charted, Unilever and Airtel.

Many of you will know that Lynda feels a real infinity with India, with the pockets of game-changing innovation (like the one lakh car from the Tata Group) as well as how well companies there have embraced technology, outsourcing and virtual teams.

At the heart of recent economic success, and the primary driving force of future expansion, is India's demographic vitality. With a rapidly expanding working population, India is becoming one of the most formidable talent pools in the world. Today, 80 per cent of Indian children are enrolled in secondary education and there are now more Indians in tertiary education than Americans.

Furthermore, gender inequality in the Indian education system is rapidly disappearing, with female enrollment in secondary education projected to overtake male enrollment by 2025. By this time, India will have educated more than 28% of the world's working population.

Max Mockett from the Hot Spots team has put together some facts and figures about India's economic future, which make really interesting reading. You can click here to read more.

Part two: the rise of the Indian creative class

This was the first trip to India for some of the team, so we asked for their feedback on this vibrant nation. Marzia gave us her first reaction: "Chaotic, charming, eclectic, inspiring, and I immediately fell in love! I come from Sicily so felt quite at home, immersed in the buzz of the country that hits all of your senses."

As well as working with FOW members, and a big face-to-face event hosted by TCS in Mumbai, the team was invited for a tour of the Wipro and Infosys campuses in Bangalore – a real chance to understand first-hand what is happening in the "Indian Silicon Valley".

We know that India is the world's outsourcing centre and the world's second-largest software industry: its tech outsourcing accounts for more than half of the $300billion global industry. So, it wasn't a surprise to find highly advanced centres, huge but beautifully organised hubs specialising in "information technology systems integrators".

What was news, though, was the existence of a rising Indian creative class.

Click here to read Marzia's insights into this booming economy.

  • You can read more on Marzia's blog. We are creating a gallery of images from India, which we will share with you in a later newsletter.

Upwardly mobile? Or just mobile….

The movement of human capital is something we have been looking at – staff turnover, in particular, as it is an issue faced by every company. It poses a challenge on so many levels: resources; effectiveness; and knowledge transfer / drain.

This topic has been consuming us this week, ever since Lynda spoke to a business head from one of the multinationals in Shanghai, who said turnover rates for young people in her business is approaching 80%.

Imagine for a moment the consequences of 80% turnover: constant recruitment and induction combined with massive overwork as others (the 'survivors') plug the gap. And that's not even taking into consideration the longer-term impact on succession planning and leadership development, or indeed the possibilities of hanging on to intellectual property or signature processes.

Lynda's first instinct was that they were moving for higher salaries. Click here to see if the business head agreed with her.

Engineering precision – built through collaboration

During our work with corporations, we get real insights into how they deal with the particular challenges they face in their industry and insights into how these lessons can be translated for other companies. Companies in engineering, or those with a high level of focus on technology and specialist manufacture provide their own challenges, which we are enjoying! This month, Andreas Voigt, Research Director at the Hot Spots Movement, looks at a market-leader in the marine industry, which creates propulsion engines for naval vessels.

To set the context: each of those engines consists of a whole host of components. While each of the components is relatively straightforward from an engineering point of view, what makes the propulsion engine complex is how the components hinge together. This is where the tacit knowledge of engineers, accumulated over years of experience in designing those solutions, comes into play. And yet, it is exactly this arrangement of components that requires engineers with very different areas of specialisation to work hand-in-hand with each other to create value in the solution they come up with.

How do these teams collaborate across boundaries of specialisation, in many cases virtually? Click here to find out.

The Future of Work – the final phase

We are entering the final phase of the Future of Work Research Consortium, where we have built a roadmap for members to make the most of the findings to date, to enable them to write the blueprint for the 2015 version of their own company, focusing on the particular challenges, outcomes and action points.

This roadmap – covering eight weeks – is based on building blocks for the blueprint, with the FOW team working closely with consortium members at this vital stage. The building blocks include: future signatures; creating external foresight; building internal foresight; and strengthening adaptive capability.

We see this as "crunch time" in the consortium, as we pull together everything we have uncovered about what the company of the future will look like, and turn it into clear goals and a strategy for change. We'll write more about this in the coming Newsletters.

Who’s in our network?

Professor Jeffrey Sachs is back in the news this week, and for good reason. He wrote an opinion piece in the Financial Times about the huge economic and social challenge posed by food shortages.

We have known Professor Sachs for some years now, and he really crosses boundaries – an economist, special advisor to Ban Ki-moon at the UN, and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He was delivered the Reith Lectures for the BBC in 2007 and if you haven't heard them, we would urge you to have a listen – you can find them here.

The Earth Institute site is also an excellent resource for articles and videos.

Blog watch – websites we like

It can sometimes feel a bit American-centric, but the Huffington Post really does provide stand-out content, as well as attracting some of the biggest names in the world to write opinion pieces (George Lucas, Deepak Chopra and Dominique Strauss-Khan have all authored pieces today).

It also has plenty of less serious articles, including What Michelle Obama Wore Last Night (Prabal Gurung, apparently).

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