Sunday, October 30, 2011

'competitive intelligence' is essential to manage competition

One group  working on competitive strategies in the 'War  Game'.
Prof. Prakash Sai (IIT) and Prof. Murali Dharan (MGSM) looking on
Department of Management Studies (Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai) jointly with Madras Management Association and Macquarie Graduate School of Management (Macquarie University, Sydeny) organised a two-day workshop for the senior corporate executives on 'Business and Corporate Intelligence" on 28th and 29th October 2011.  

In the highly competitive world, all the companies are required to compete globally to fight for their space.  Before preparing for the competition, the companies need to spend enough time to know about their competitors also.  This is known as 'competitive intelligence'. It should be done in a legal and ethical way.  It is reported that many of the Indian Corporates do not take the 'competitive intelligence' seriously and hence they lose many good projects. China is one of the good examples of using competitive intelligence and hence, they are dominating in the world as a powerful nation. 

Probably for the first time in India (since no data is available), IIT has organised this workshop to create an awareness about 'competitive intelligence among the Indian Corporates. .

As part of the workshop, they also organised a 'War Game'.  They divided the participants into four groups.  Each group represented one major existing company viz. Infosys, TCS, Accenture and IBM.  The groups were given before hand the real profile of each company and they were also advised to collect more details about their company and their competitors through various other sources.  

An Imaginary Government e-Health project worth of 10 billion dollars, spread over 10 years was given as the project for 'bidding'.  The groups have to prepare their competitive strategies based on their strength and the competitors' strength.  

Finally, all the groups were made to present their strategies for evaluation.  The concept of 'War Game' can also be used in the training workshops.  It is reported that some of the major MNCs use this 'War Game' concept within themselves, to understand more about their competitors.  Some of their own employees will be made to represent their competitors in their 'in-house war game'. 

At this stage, I am reminded of a Thirukkural, by Saint Thiruvalluvar who wrote this following couplet 2000 years back.  This Thirukkural summarises how modern day corporates can manage the competition.

வினை வலியும் தன் வலியும் மாற்றான் வலியும் 
துணை வலியும் தூக்கிச்செயல் -  Thirukkural 471

(Before undertaking any task, weigh judiciously (1) the nature of the task on hand, (2) your own strength, (3) Competitor's strength and (4) the strength of your support team, allies and partners.)

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This Thirukkural shows, how important is the 'Competitive intelligence' before undertaking any task.  Please watch 8 minutes interview on this workshop.

This video may also be watched from

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sabarmati Ashram, the key place where Mahatma Gandhi took historic decisions

Mahatma Gandhi's room, where he used to meet
the visitors.  Only in this room many historic decisions
relating to freedom struggle were taken

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After returning from South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi  set up a Satyagraha Ashram at Kocharab at Ahamedabad on 25th May 1915.  The Ashram was then shifted to the banks of river Sabarmati on 17th June 1917.  At that time, Mahatma said,  "This is the right place for our activities to carry on the search for truth and develop fearlessness, for on one side are the iron bolts of the foreigners, and on the other the thunderbolts of Mother Nature."
As predicted by Mahatma, this place proved to be the most significant place during the freedom struggle.  Many national leaders like Pandit Nehru, Vinobha ji, Sardar Patel, Rajaji have visited this place and took historic decisions.  
Mahatma lived in this Ashram till 12th March 1930.  On that day, he started his famous Dandi Salt Satyagraha Yatra from this place with 78 freedom fighters protesting against the tax levied by British rule on Salt.  This Dandi March and the simultaneous march led by Shri Rajaji in the South were important events in ths history of Indian freedom struggle and galvanised the people.  More than 60,000 freedom fighters courted arrest and their properties were seized by the British Government.
Mahatma Gandhi decided to disband the Ashram on 22nd July 1933, as many of the freedom fighters were in Jails.  Thereafter, the local people, took the initiative of preserving the Ashram as monument.  On 10th May 1963, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the Gandhi Museum and it was made as a National monument.  Till date, this historic place is being preserved well, in the original condition, to provide inspiration for the future generation.
When Mahatma left this Ashram on 12th March 1930 for Dandi Yatra, he vowed to return to Ashram only after India's freedom.  Unfortunately, due to partition and communal riots, Mahatma could not even participate in the Independence day celebrations at Delhi.
Since he was assasinated in 1948, he could not visit the Sabarmati Ashram again during his life time.
Sabarmati Ashram is an important place, which provided inspiration to Mahatma Gandhi to plan and initiate the freedom movement.  Every Indian citizen should visit this place atleast once in his life time.
Please watch a brief video (6 minutes) on the Sabarmati Ashram.

This video may also be viewed from

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