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Asia 2050 – Realizing the Asian Century

August 4th, 2011 No comments

 

Asia Must Take Bold Action to Realize Full Potential – Asia 2050 Book

Date2 Aug 2011

http://beta.adb.org/news/asia-must-take-bold-action-realize-full-potential-asia-2050-book

TOKYO, JAPAN – Asia’s leaders must take bold, innovative action to sustain rapid growth and tackle growing inequalities, as well as address environmental challenges and the rising tide of urbanization if the region is to reach its full potential by the middle of this century, says a new book commissioned by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Asia 2050 – Realizing the Asian Century challenges the perception that Asia’s rapid rise is inevitable. It urges leaders from the region, which is home to over half of the world’s population, to confront a number of longer-term challenges if Asians are to take their place among the ranks of the affluent in Europe and North America. The study contends that Asia’s continued rise is plausible, but by no means pre-ordained.

 

The book warns that fast-growing economies like the People’s Republic of China, India, Viet Nam, and Indonesia could fall victim to the “middle-income trap”.

“Prosperity is earned. Asia has indeed done well over the past 40 years. Let us work together to ensure we stay on the path over the next 40 years,” said ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda in launching the book at a seminar in Tokyo organized by the Emerging Market Forum and hosted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

Mr. Kuroda stressed that regional cooperation and integration are central to Asian prosperity. Greater cooperation can help protect hard-won economic gains from external shocks and strengthen its voice in an ever evolving global system.

Improving governance and strengthening institutional architecture, which are Achilles heels for development, must also be high on the policy agenda. An expanding middle class, the communications revolution, and changing demographics will exert pressure on governments to demonstrate greater transparency, predictability, accountability, and enforceability in their decision-making. In turn, this will strengthen the policy and governance foundations of Asia’s economic growth.

As Asia’s affluence rises, competition for the world’s finite natural resources will become increasingly intense.

“How we handle vital resources such as water and food will determine whether we stay on the path of economic growth and development, or stumble into conflicts of scarcity,” said Mr. Kuroda. “Asia must take radical steps now toward investing in innovation and clean technology. This will ensure that our quest for prosperity for all does not end in environmental gridlock.”

Asia’s re-emergence as an economic powerhouse will bring with it new responsibilities, particularly in helping to manage the global commons, such as free trade, climate change mitigation, and financial stability.

“As an emerging leader, Asia must lead by example, by being a responsible global citizen,” Mr. Kuroda concluded.

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Chinese Premier's speech at University of Cambridge

June 16th, 2011 No comments

 

Chinese Premier's speech at University of Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE, Britain, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) –The following is the full text of Chinese Speech at the University of Cambridge Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

2 February 2009

Vice Chancellor Alison Richard, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to come to Cambridge, a world-renowned university that I have long wanted to visit. Cambridge has produced many great scientists and thinkers Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Francis Bacon, to name but a few, and made important contribution to the progress of human civilization. This year marks the 800th anniversary of the university. Please accept my warm congratulations.

This is my fourth visit to your country. Despite the great distance between China and Britain , the friendly exchanges between our peoples have been on the rise. The successful resolution of the question of Hong Kong and fruitful cooperation between our two countries in areas such as economy, trade, culture, education, science and technology have cemented the foundation of our comprehensive strategic partnership. Here, I wish to pay high tribute to all those who have been working tirelessly to promote friendly ties between our two countries.

The title of my speech today is "See China in the Light of Her Development".

My beloved motherland is a country both old and young.

She is old, because she is a big Oriental country with a civilization stretching back several thousand years. With diligence and wisdom, the Chinese nation created a splendid civilization and made significant contributions to the progress of humanity.

She is young, because the People's Republic is just 60 years old, and the country began reform and opening-up only 30 years ago. The Chinese people established the New China after unremitting struggles and ultimately found a development path suited to China's national conditions through painstaking efforts. This is the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Following this path, our ancient civilization has been rejuvenated.

The key element of China's reform and opening-up is to free people's mind and the most fundamental and significant component is institutional innovation. Through economic reform, we have built a socialist market economy, where the market plays a primary role in allocating resources under government macro-regulation. We have carried out political reform, promoted democracy and improved the legal system. People are the masters of the country. We run the country according to law and endeavor to build a socialist country under the rule of law.

The essence of China's reform and opening-up is to put people first and meet their ever growing material and cultural needs through releasing and developing productive forces. It aims to give everyone equal opportunities for all-round development. It aims to protect the democratic rights of the people and promote stability, harmony and prosperity across the land. And it aims to safeguard the dignity and freedom of everyone so that he or she may pursue happiness with ingenuity and hard work.

Over the past three decades, more than 200 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, the average life expectancy has increased by 5 years, and the 83 million people with disabilities in China have received special care from the government and the society. All this points to the tremendous efforts China has made to protect human rights. We have introduced free nine-year compulsory education throughout the country, established the cooperative medical system in the rural areas and improved the social safety net. The age-old dream of the Chinese nation is being turned into reality a dream to see the young educated, the sick treated and the old cared for.

I want to quote from a Tang Dynasty poem to describe what is happening in China , "From shore to shore it is wide at high tide, and before fair wind a sail is lifting." The Chinese people are working hard to modernize their country. This is a great practice in a large developing country both ancient and new. The Chinese people, with destiny in their own hands, are full of confidence in their future.

My beloved motherland is a country that stood numerous vicissitudes but never gave up.  Earlier in my career, I worked in northwest China for many years. There, in the boundless desert, grows a rare variety of tree called euphrates poplar. Rooted over 50 meters down the ground, they thrive in hostile environments, defying droughts, sandstorms and salinization. They are known as the "hero tree", because a euphrates poplar can live for a thousand years. Even after it dies, it stands upright for a thousand years, and even after it falls, it stays intact for another thousand years. I like euphrates poplar because they symbolize the resilience of the Chinese nation.

Over the millennia, the Chinese nation has weathered numerous disasters, both natural and man-made, surmounted all kinds of difficulties and challenges, and made her way to where she proudly stands today. The long sufferings have only made her a nation of fortitude and perseverance. The experience of the Chinese nation attests to a truth: what a nation loses in times of disaster will be made up for by her progress.

I am reminded of the experience that I had in Wenchuan, Sichuan Province after the devastating earthquake there last May. That earthquake shocked the whole world. It flattened Beichuan Middle School and claimed many young lives. But only 10 days after the earthquake, when I went there for the second time, I had before my eyes new classrooms built on debris by local villagers with planks. Once again, the campus echoed with the sound of students reading aloud. I wrote down 4 Chinese characters on the blackboard, meaning "A country will emerge stronger from adversities." I have been to Wenchuan seven times since the earthquake and witnessed countless touching scenes like this. I am deeply moved by the unyielding spirit of my people. This great national spirit is the source of strength which has enabled the Chinese nation to emerge from all the hardships stronger than before.

With hard work over the past half century and more, China has achieved great progress. Its total economic output is now one of the largest in the world. However, we remain a developing country and we are keenly aware of the big gap that we have with the developed countries. There has been no fundamental change in our basic national condition: a big population, weak economic foundation and uneven development. China 's per capita GDP ranks behind 100 countries in the world and is only about 1/18 that of Britain .

To basically achieve modernization by the middle of this century, we must accomplish three major tasks: first, achieve industrialization, which Europe has long completed, while keeping abreast of the latest trends of the scientific and technological revolution; second, promote economic growth while ensuring social equity and justice; and third, pursue sustainable development at home while accepting our share of international responsibilities. The journey ahead will be long and arduous, but no amount of difficulty will stop the Chinese people from marching forward. Through persistent efforts, we will reach our goal.

My beloved motherland is a country that values her traditions while opening her arms to the outside world.

The traditional Chinese culture is rich, extensive and profound. Harmony, the supreme value cherished in ancient China , lies at the heart of the Chinese culture. The Book of History, an ancient classic in China for example, advocates amity among people and friendly exchanges among nations.

The Chinese cultural tradition values peace as the most precious. This has nurtured the broad mind of the Chinese nation. The Chinese nation is generous and tolerant, just as Mother Earth cares for all living things. She is in constant pursuit of justice, just as the eternal movement of the Universe.

In the 15th century, the famous Chinese navigator Zheng He led seven maritime expeditions to the Western Seas and reached over 30 countries. He took with him Chinese tea, silk and porcelain and helped local people fight pirates as he sailed along. He was truly a messenger of love and friendship.

The argument that a big power is bound to seek hegemony does not apply to China . Seeking hegemony goes against China 's cultural tradition as well as the will of the Chinese people. China 's development harms no one and threatens no one. We shall be a peace-loving country, a country that is eager to learn from and cooperate with others. We are committed to building a harmonious world.

Different countries and nations need to respect, tolerate and learn from each other's culture. Today, 300 million Chinese are learning English and over one million of our young people are studying abroad. The cultures and arts of various parts of the world are featured daily on China 's television, radio and print media. Had we not learned from others through exchanges and enriched ourselves by drawing on others' experience, we would not have enjoyed today's prosperity and progress.

In the 21st century, economic globalization and the information network have linked us all together. Different cultures live together and influence each other. No culture can flourish in isolation. How much a country or a nation contributes to the culture of humanity is increasingly determined by her ability to absorb foreign cultures and renew herself. That is why China will remain open and receptive, value her own traditions while drawing on others' successful experience, and achieve economic prosperity and social progress in a civilized and harmonious way.

I stress the importance of seeing China in the light of her development, because the world is changing and China is changing. China is no longer the closed and backward society it was 100 years ago, or the poor and ossified society 30 years ago. Thanks to reform and opening-up, China has taken on a new look. What the Beijing Olympic Games showcased is a colorful China , both ancient and modern. I therefore encourage you to visit China more often and see more places there. This way, you will better understand what the Chinese people are thinking and doing, and what they are interested in. You will get to know the true China , a country constantly developing and changing. You will also better appreciate how China has been tackling the ongoing global financial crisis.

This unprecedented financial crisis has inflicted a severe impact on both China and Britain as well as other European countries. The crisis has not yet hit the bottom, and it is hard to predict what further damage it may cause. To work together and tide over the difficulties has become our top priority.

I believe that closer cooperation is needed to meet the global crisis, and the level of cooperation hinges upon the level of mutual trust. The Chinese Government maintains that countries should: first and foremost, run their own affairs well and refrain from shifting troubles onto others; second, carry out cooperation with full sincerity and avoid pursuing one's own interests at the expense of others; and third, address both the symptoms and the root cause of the problem. A palliative approach will not work. We should not treat only the head when the head aches, and the foot when the foot hurts. As I reiterated at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, necessary reform of the international monetary and financial systems should be carried out to establish a new international financial order that is fair, equitable, inclusive and well-managed. We should create an institutional environment conducive to global economic growth.

Let me talk briefly about how China has been responding to the crisis.

The fallout of the financial crisis on China 's real economy is becoming more evident. Since the third quarter of last year, our exports have declined sharply, economic growth has slowed down, and the pressure on employment has been rising. In the face of the grim situation, we have acted decisively. We have made timely adjustment to the direction of our macroeconomic policy, promptly introduced ten measures to expand domestic demand, and formulated a series of related policies. Together, they make up a systematic and comprehensive package plan aimed at promoting steady and relatively fast economic growth. Its main contents are:

First, substantially increase government spending to boost domestic demand. The Chinese Government has announced a two-year investment program that will generate, through fiscal spending, a total investment of RMB 4 trillion nationwide, equivalent to 16% of China's GDP in 2007. The money will mainly go into government-subsidiz ed housing, projects related to the well-being of rural residents, the construction of railway and other infrastructural projects, social development programs, environmental protection and post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction. The Chinese Government has introduced a massive tax-cut program, which will reduce the tax burdens on businesses and individuals by about RMB 500 billion each year. We have also cut interest rates by a large margin, increased liquidity in the banking system and adopted a range of financial measures.

Second, implement a large-scale industrial restructuring and rejuvenation program. We are pushing forward industrial restructuring and upgrading across the board and formulating plans for the restructuring and revitalization of ten key industries, including automobiles and iron and steel. We will take economic and technological measures to boost energy conservation and reduce emissions, and promote merger and reorganization of enterprises to raise the level of industry concentration and the efficiency of resource allocation. We encourage and support the extensive application of new technologies, techniques, equipment and materials and the development of marketable products by enterprises.

Third, make energetic efforts for progress and innovation in science and technology. Science and technology are of fundamental importance in overcoming the financial crisis. A major crisis is usually followed by a revolution in science and technology, and no economic recovery is possible without technological innovation. We are stepping up the implementation of the National Program for Medium- and Long-Term Scientific and Technological Development, with special emphasis on 16 major projects including core electronic devices, development and use of nuclear energy and advanced numerically controlled machine tools. We will strive to make breakthroughs in a host of core technologies and key generic technologies to support sustainable economic growth at a higher level. We will promote the development of high-tech industrial clusters and cultivate new economic growth areas. All in all, we will rely on major breakthroughs in science and technology to foster new social demand and bring about a new round of economic boom.

Fourth, significantly raise the level of social security. We will continue to increase basic pension for enterprise retirees and upgrade the standard of unemployment insurance and workers' compensation. We will raise the level of basic cost of living allowances in both urban and rural areas and welfare allowances for those rural residents without family support. We are advancing the reform of the medical and health system and working to put in place a nationwide basic medical and health system covering both urban and rural areas within three years and achieve the goal of everyone having access to basic medical and health service. We give priority to education and are now working on the Guidelines of the National Program for Medium- and Long-Term Educational Reform and Development. We are following a more active employment policy with special emphasis on helping college graduates and migrant workers find jobs. We are endeavoring to create more jobs and lessen the impact of the financial crisis on employment. The aforementioned measures will help us boost domestic demand, readjust and reinvigorate industries, enhance the support of science and technology and strengthen social security all at the same time. They will stimulate consumption through increased investment, drive economic growth while improving people's livelihood and creating more jobs, and see us through current difficulties while also improving the long-term prospect of the Chinese economy. They will not only benefit China 's development, but also bring enormous business opportunities to other countries, Britain included.

This once-in-a-century financial crisis is truly thought-provoking. It reminds us of the need to have serious reflections on the existing economic systems and theories.

For many years in the past, China practiced a highly centralized planned economy and regarded planning as being absolute. This hampered the development of productivity. The ongoing financial crisis has made it clear to us, however, that the market is not a cure-all, either. A totally laissez-faire approach will inevitably lead to economic disorder and unfair social distribution, and will eventually take its toll. A credible market-oriented reform should never set the market against government macro-regulation. The invisible hand of the market and the visible hand of government and social supervision should both act, and act vigorously. Only in this way can resources be distributed according to market rules and distributed in a reasonable, coordinated, balanced and sustainable manner.

The international financial crisis once again shows how dangerous a market economy without regulation can be. Since the 1990s, some profit-driven financial institutions in economies lacking effective regulation have raised massive capital with a leverage of dozens of times. While they reaped huge profits, the world was exposed to enormous risks. This fully demonstrates that a totally unregulated market economy cannot work. We must strike a balance between financial innovation and regulation, between the financial sector and real economy, and between savings and consumption.

To effectively meet the crisis, we must fully recognize the role of morality. Nothing is greater than morality. It shines even more brightly than the sun. True economic theories will never come into conflict with the highest moral and ethical standards. Instead, they should stand for justice and integrity, and contribute in an equal way to the well-being of all people, including the most vulnerable ones. Adam Smith, known as the father of modern economics, held the view in The Theory of Moral Sentiments that if the fruits of a society's economic development cannot be shared by all, it is morally unsound and risky, as it is bound to jeopardize social stability. The loss of morality is an underlying cause for the current crisis. Some people have sacrificed principle and sought profits at the expense of public interests. They have crossed the moral baseline. We should call on all enterprises to take up their social responsibilities. Within the body of every businessman should flow the blood of morality.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Britain is the last leg of my European trip. I have gained a deeper understanding of Europe through this visit. China-EU cooperation is now standing at a new historical starting point and I am all the more confident about the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. There are no outstanding issues left over from history or conflict of fundamental interests between the two sides. What we have is a solid foundation and a bright future for cooperation. As the first industrialized country, Britain has accumulated rich experience in economic development and environmental protection. We hope to learn from your experience and strengthen exchanges and cooperation with you.

The future belongs to the younger generation. It is incumbent upon you to build an even more splendid future of China-Britain relations. Here and now, I cannot but mention Dr. Joseph Needham, a Cambridge alumnus who made important contribution to cultural exchanges between China and Britain . With his monumental masterpiece, Science and Civilization in China , he built a bridge between the two great civilizations of East and West. To honor tradition and innovation is the outstanding character of Cambridge . I hope more of you will turn your eyes to China , see my country in the light of her development, and act as ambassadors of China-Britain friendship. I believe that as long as you, the young people of China and Britain learn from each other and strive for progress hand in hand, you will add a brilliant new chapter to the annals of our relations.Thank you!

Categories: Motivational Tags:

Recovering from information overload

May 31st, 2011 No comments

Recovering from information overload
https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Organization/Talent/Recovering_from_information_overload_2735

Always-on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity, and making us unhappy.

January 2011 • Derek Dean and Caroline Webb

Source: Organization Practice

For all the benefits of the information technology and communications revolution, it has a well-known dark side: information overload and its close cousin, attention fragmentation. These scourges hit CEOs and their colleagues in the C-suite particularly hard because senior executives so badly need uninterrupted time to synthesize information from many different sources, reflect on its implications for the organization, apply judgment, make trade-offs, and arrive at good decisions.

The importance of reserving chunks of time for reflection, and the difficulty of doing so, have been themes in management writing for decades. Look no further than Peter Drucker’s 1967 classic, The Effective Executive,1which emphasized that “most of the tasks of the executive require, for minimum effectiveness, a fairly large quantum of time.” Drucker’s solutions for fragmented executives—reserve large blocks of time on your calendar, don’t answer the phone, and return calls in short bursts once or twice a day—sound remarkably like the ones offered up by today’s time- and information-management experts.2

Yet they are devilishly difficult to implement, and getting more so all the time. Every challenge recounted by Drucker in 1967 remains today: an unceasing rhythm of daily meetings, a relentless expectation of travel to connect with customers and far-flung reaches of the organization, an inordinate number of opportunities to represent the company at dinners and events. Add to these challenges a torrent of e-mail, huge volumes of other information, and an expanding variety of means—from the ever-present telephone to blogs, tweets, and social networks—through which executives can connect with their organizations and customers, and you have a recipe for exhaustion. Many senior executives literally have two overlapping workdays: the one that is formally programmed in their diaries and the one “before, after, and in-between,” when they disjointedly attempt to grab spare moments with their laptops or smart phones, multitasking in a vain effort to keep pace with the information flowing toward them.

Better solutions exist, and they aren’t rocket science.3 What we hope to do in this article is help executives, and their organizations, by reminding them of three simple things. First, multitasking is a terrible coping mechanism. A body of scientific evidence demonstrates fairly conclusively that multitasking makes human beings less productive, less creative, and less able to make good decisions. If we want to be effective leaders, we need to stop.

Second, addressing information overload requires enormous self-discipline. A little like recovering addicts, senior executives must labor each day to keep themselves on track by applying timeless yet powerful guidelines: find time to focus, filter out the unimportant, forget about work every now and then. The holy grail, of course, is to retain the benefits of connectivity without letting it distract us too much.

Third, since senior executives’ behavior sets the tone for the organization, they have a duty to set a better example. The widespread availability of powerful communications technologies means employees now share many of the time- and attention-management challenges of their leaders. The whole organization’s productivity can now be affected by information overload, and no single person or group can address it in isolation. Resetting the culture to healthier norms is a critical new responsibility for 21st-century executives.

The perils of multitasking

We tend to believe that by doing several things at the same time we can better handle the information rushing toward us and get more done. What’s more, multitasking—interrupting one task with another—can sometimes be fun. Each vibration of our favorite high-tech e-mail device carries the promise of potential rewards. Checking it may provide a welcome distraction from more difficult and challenging tasks. It helps us feel, at least briefly, that we’ve accomplished something—even if only pruning our e-mail in-boxes. Unfortunately, current research indicates the opposite: multitasking unequivocally damages productivity.

It slows us down

The root of the problem is that our brain is best designed to focus on one task at a time. When we switch between tasks, especially complex ones, we become startlingly less efficient: in a recent study, for example, participants who completed tasks in parallel took up to 30 percent longer and made twice as many errors as those who completed the same tasks in sequence. The delay comes from the fact that our brains can’t successfully tell us to perform two actions concurrently.4 When we switch tasks, our brains must choose to do so, turn off the cognitive rules for the old task, and turn on the rules for the new one. This takes time, which reduces productivity, particularly for heavy multitaskers—who, it seems, take even longer to switch between tasks than occasional multitaskers.5

In practice, most of us would probably acknowledge that multitasking lets us quickly cross some of the simpler items off our to-do lists. But it rarely helps us solve the toughest problems we’re working on. More often than not, it’s procrastination in disguise.

It hampers creativity

One might think that constant exposure to new information at least makes us more creative. Here again, the opposite seems to be true. Teresa Amabile and her colleagues at the Harvard Business School evaluated the daily work patterns of more than 9,000 individuals working on projects that required creativity and innovation. They found that the likelihood of creative thinking is higher when people focus on one activity for a significant part of the day and collaborate with just one other person. Conversely, when people have highly fragmented days—with many activities, meetings, and discussions in groups—their creative thinking decreases significantly.6

These findings also make intuitive sense. Creative problem solving typically requires us to hold several thoughts at once “in memory,” so we can sense connections we hadn’t seen previously and forge new ideas. When we bounce around quickly from thought to thought, we know we’re less likely to make those crucial connections.

It makes us anxious and it’s addictive

In laboratory settings, researchers have found that subjects asked to multitask show higher levels of stress hormones.7 A survey of managers conducted by Reuters revealed that two-thirds of respondents believed that information overload had lessened job satisfaction and damaged their personal relationships. One-third even thought it had damaged their health.8

Nonetheless, evidence is emerging that humans can become quite addicted to multitasking. Edward Hallowell and John Ratey from Harvard, for instance, have written about people for whom feeling connected provides something like a “dopamine squirt”—the neural effects follow the same pathways used by addictive drugs.9 This effect is familiar too: who hasn’t struggled against the urge to check the smart phone when it vibrates, even when we’re in the middle of doing something else?

Coping with the deluge

So if multitasking isn’t the answer, what is? In our conversations with CEOs and other executives trying to cope, we heard repeatedly about some fairly basic strategies that aren’t very different in spirit from the ones Drucker described more than 40 years ago: some combination of focusing, filtering, and forgetting. The challenge for these executives, and all of us, is that executing such strategies in an always-on environment is harder than it was when Drucker was writing. It requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline, and we can’t do it alone: in our teams and across the whole organization, we need to establish a set of norms that support a more productive way of working.

Focus

The calendars of CEOs and other senior executives are often booked back-to-back all day, sometimes in 15-minute increments. Gary Loveman, CEO of Harrah’s Entertainment, describes the implication: “You have to guard against the danger of overeating at an interesting intellectual buffet. I often need to cover a lot of functional terrain over the course of a day, but I’m careful not to be too light on deserving topics and to make the time to get to meaningful depth on the most important ones.”10 Digital information overload compounds the peril of “overeating” by flooding leaders with a variety of questions and topics that frequently could be addressed by others, thereby distracting those leaders from the thorny, unpleasant, and high-stakes problems where they are most needed.

Many executives respond through the old strategy of creating “alone time.” Applied Materials CEO Mike Splinter, for example, finds time between 6:30 and 8:00 AM; Dame Christine Beasley, England’s chief nursing officer, uses her traveling time; Brent Assink, executive director of the San Francisco Symphony, schedules any time he can find in the middle of the day. Bill Gross, chief investment officer at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), takes an extreme approach: “I don’t answer or look at any e-mails I don’t want to. I don’t have a cell phone; I don’t have a BlackBerry. My motto is, ‘I don’t want to be connected; I want to be disconnected.’”11

None of this can work, says Assink, unless the management team knows it must keep moving throughout the day without rapid-fire input from the top. Assink has been explicit with his staff: “If they want an immediate response, it will have to be a phone call. If they send an e-mail they will get a response at the end of the day.”

What about the relentless barrage of information that pours in? Managing it may be as simple—and difficult—as switching off the input. Shut down e-mail, close Web browsers, have phone calls go automatically to voice mail, and let your assistant and team know that you are in a focused working session. Christine Beasley says, “If you’re really addicted and can’t be trusted not to check the BlackBerry when it’s in your pocket or bag, you just have to leave it behind.”

Filter

Of course, turning everything off just means that your inbox will be overflowing when you reconnect. And there’s a danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater: no one wants to lose the ability to stay in touch easily with the organization, customers, and other stakeholders or to “give a short and direct answer to quick questions,” as Mike Splinter puts it, adding that “you don’t want to be the blockade in the business cycle.”

A good filtering strategy, therefore, is critical. It starts with giving up the fiction that leaders need to be on top of everything, which has taken hold as information of all types has become more readily and continuously accessible. Rather, plain old delegation is as important with information as it always has been with tasks. As Gary Loveman says, “Keeping current on what is going on takes a lot of my time, but I only engage in depth personally on those issues that are best served by my involvement and are critical to the company’s performance, either now or in the future.” Christine Beasley has a similar view: “You cannot read everything. The things that I do look at are the things that matter, the things I really need to make a decision on.”

Some leaders now explicitly refuse to respond to any e-mail on which they are only cc’d, to filter out issues that others think require no action from them. You also may need to educate the people around you about what deserves to fill your limited time. Gary Loveman explains that “there is a substantial ante to get my time—you need to do some work, provide me with data and insight, let me read something in advance. That simple bar keeps a lot of the items of lesser importance off my calendar.”

Winning respect for your in-box, though, won’t get you all the way there. Establishing an effective, day-to-day information-management support structure has become a critical success factor for senior executives. This structure may be elaborate, including a chief of staff for the CEO of a major organization, or as simple as a capable assistant who “is fantastic at managing some of my e-mail traffic, weeding out the things that I don’t really need to see,” as Christine Beasley says.

Forget

It bears repeating that giving our brains downtime to process new intellectual input is a critical element of learning and thinking creatively—not just according to researchers, but also to corporate leaders. Bill Gross says, “Some of my best ideas literally come from standing on my head doing yoga. After about 15 minutes of yoga, all of a sudden some significant light bulbs seem to turn on.”12 Mike Splinter also sees value in physical exercise: “I find that just staying in shape helps me be more mentally crisp every day.”

Getting outside helps—recent research has found that people learn significantly better after a walk in nature compared with a walk in the city.13 And emotional interaction with other people can also divert attention from conscious intellectual processing, a good step toward engaging the unconscious. Sheri McCoy, chairman of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals Group, explains, “When I go home at night, I like to just say, ‘OK, I’m not looking at my BlackBerry for two or three hours.’ I’m just relaxing. I feel like that lets me conserve my energy and focus later.” Christine Beasley has rules that protect her personal time at weekends, reasoning that “people can always get hold of me if it’s urgent.”

A responsibility to hit the ‘reset button’

All this was easier back in Drucker’s day, when we couldn’t talk on the phone during the daily commute, we didn’t bring multiple connectivity-enabling devices with us on vacation, and planes didn’t have Wi-Fi. The strategies of focusing, filtering, and forgetting are also tougher to implement now because of the norms that have developed around 21st-century teamwork. Most leaders today would feel guilty if they didn’t respond to an e-mail within 24 hours. Few feel comfortable “hiding” from their teams during the day (or on the drive home or during the evening) in order to focus more intently on the most complex issues. And there is the personal satisfaction that comes from feeling needed.

But there is a business responsibility to reset these norms, given how markedly information overload decreases the quality of learning and decision making. Multitasking is not heroic; it’s counterproductive. As the technological capacity for the transmission and storage of information continues to expand and quicken, the cognitive pressures on us will only increase. We are at risk of moving toward an ever less thoughtful and creative professional reality unless we stop now to redesign our working norms.

First, we need to acknowledge and reevaluate the mind-sets that attach us to our current patterns of behavior. We have to admit, for example, that we do feel satisfied when we can respond quickly to requests and that doing so somewhat validates our desire to feel so necessary to the business that we rarely switch off. There’s nothing wrong with these feelings, but we need to consider them alongside their measurable cost to our long-term effectiveness. No one would argue that burning up all of a company’s resources is a good strategy for long-term success, and that is equally true of its leaders and their mental resources.

Second, leaders need to become more ruthless than ever about stepping back from all but the areas that they alone must address. There’s some effort involved in choosing which areas to delegate; it takes skill in coaching others to handle tasks effectively and clarity of expectations on both sides. But with those things in place, a more mindful division of labor creates more time for leaders’ focused reflections on the most critical issues and also develops a stronger bench of talent.

Finally, to truly make this approach work, leaders have to redesign working norms together with their teams. One person, even a CEO, cannot do that alone—who wants to be the sole person on the senior team who leaves the smart phone behind when he or she goes on vacation? Absent some explicit discussion, that kind of action could be taken as a lack of commitment to the business, not as a productive attempt to disconnect and recharge. So we encourage leaders and their teams to discuss openly how they choose to focus, filter, and forget; how they support each other in creating the necessary time and space to perform at their best; and how they enable others, throughout the organization, to do the same. This conversation can also be the right starting point for a deeper look at the information and technology needs of all the company’s knowledge workers. (For more on how to tackle this thorny problem, see “Rethinking knowledge work: A strategic approach.”)

The benefits of lightening the burden of information overload—in productivity, creativity, morale, and business results—will more than justify the effort. And the more we appreciate the benefits, the easier it will be to make new habits stick.

About the Authors

Derek Dean is an alumnus of McKinsey’s San Francisco office, where he was a director; Caroline Webb is a principal in the London office.

The authors would like to acknowledge the important contributions that Matthias Birk, a consultant in the Berlin office, made to this article through his research on cognitive sciences.

Back to top

Notes

1 Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive, Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1967, pp. 28–29.

2 For example, compare Julie Morgenstern’s advice to “control the time nibblers,” in her well-regarded book,Never Check E-mail in the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making your Work Life Work (Fireside, 2005), with Drucker’s statement that “to be effective, every knowledge worker, and especially every executive, needs to be able to dispose of time in fairly large chunks.”

3 For another view on today’s information challenge and some potential solutions, see Paul Hemp, “Death by information overload,” Harvard Business Review, September 2009, Volume 87, Number 9, pp. 82–89.

4 Christopher L. Asplund, Paul E. Dux, Jason Ivanoff, and René Marois, “Isolation of a central bottleneck of information processing with time-resolved fMRI,” Neuron, 2006, Volume 52, Number 6, pp. 1109–20.

5 Eyal Ophir, Clifford Nass, and Anthony D. Wagner, “Cognitive control in media multitaskers,” PNAS, 2009, Volume 106, Number 37, pp. 15583–87.

6 Teresa M. Amabile et al., “Time pressure and creativity in organizations: A longitudinal field study,” Harvard Business School working paper, Number 02-073, 2002.

7 Sue Shellenbarger, “Multitasking makes you stupid,” Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2003.

8 David Bawden and Lyn Robinson, “The dark side of information: Overload, anxiety, and other paradoxes and pathologies,” Journal of Information Science, Volume 20, Number 10, pp. 1–12.

9 Edward M. Hallowell, MD, and John J. Ratey, MD, Delivered from Distraction, Ballantine Books, 2006.

10 All unattributed quotes are taken from interviews conducted by the authors.

11 Alex Taylor III et al., “How I work,” Fortune, March 15, 2006.

12 Alex Taylor III et al., “How I work,” Fortune, March 15, 2006.

13 Matt Richtel, “Digital devices deprive brain of needed downtime,” New York Times, August 24, 2010.

© Copyright 1992-2011 McKinsey & Company

Categories: Management Tags:

Drain or gain?

May 31st, 2011 No comments

 

Poor countries can end up benefiting when their brightest citizens emigrate

May 26th 2011 | from the print edition
http://www.economist.com/node/18741763?story_id=18741763&fsrc=rss
 

WHEN people in rich countries worry about migration, they tend to think of low-paid incomers who compete for jobs as construction workers, dishwashers or farmhands. When people in developing countries worry about migration, they are usually concerned at the prospect of their best and brightest decamping to Silicon Valley or to hospitals and universities in the developed world. These are the kind of workers that countries like Britain, Canada and Australia try to attract by using immigration rules that privilege college graduates.

Lots of studies have found that well-educated people from developing countries are particularly likely to emigrate. By some estimates, two-thirds of highly educated Cape Verdeans live outside the country. A big survey of Indian households carried out in 2004 asked about family members who had moved abroad. It found that nearly 40% of emigrants had more than a high-school education, compared with around 3.3% of all Indians over the age of 25. This “brain drain” has long bothered policymakers in poor countries. They fear that it hurts their economies, depriving them of much-needed skilled workers who could have taught at their universities, worked in their hospitals and come up with clever new products for their factories to make.

Many now take issue with this view (see article). Several economists reckon that the brain-drain hypothesis fails to account for the effects of remittances, for the beneficial effects of returning migrants, and for the possibility that being able to migrate to greener pastures induces people to get more education. Some argue that once these factors are taken into account, an exodus of highly skilled people could turn out to be a net benefit to the countries they leave. Recent studies of migration from countries as far apart as Ghana, Fiji, India and Romania have found support for this “brain gain” idea.

The most obvious way in which migrants repay their homelands is through remittances. Workers from developing countries remitted a total of $325 billion in 2010, according to the World Bank. In Lebanon, Lesotho, Nepal, Tajikistan and a few other places, remittances are more than 20% of GDP. A skilled migrant may earn several multiples of what his income would have been had he stayed at home. A study of Romanian migrants to America found that the average emigrant earned almost $12,000 a year more in America than he would have done in his native land, a huge premium for someone from a country where income per person is around $7,500 (at market exchange rates).

It is true that many skilled migrants have been educated and trained partly at the expense of their (often cash-strapped) governments. Some argue that poor countries should therefore rethink how much they spend on higher education. Indians, for example, often debate whether their government should continue to subsidise the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), its elite engineering schools, when large numbers of IIT graduates end up in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street. But a new study of remittances sent home by Ghanaian migrants suggests that on average they transfer enough over their working lives to cover the amount spent on educating them several times over. The study finds that once remittances are taken into account, the cost of education would have to be 5.6 times the official figure to make it a losing proposition for Ghana.

There are more subtle ways in which the departure of some skilled people may aid poorer countries. Some emigrants would have been jobless had they stayed. Studies have found that unemployment rates among young people with college degrees in countries like Morocco and Tunisia are several multiples of those among the poorly educated, perhaps because graduates are more demanding. Migration may lead to a more productive pairing of people’s skills and jobs. Some of the benefits of this improved match then flow back to the migrant’s home country, most directly via remittances.

The possibility of emigration may even have beneficial effects on those who choose to stay, by giving people in poor countries an incentive to invest in education. A study of Cape Verdeans finds that an increase of ten percentage points in young people’s perceived probability of emigrating raises the probability of their completing secondary school by around eight points. Another study looks at Fiji. A series of coups beginning in 1987 was seen by Fijians of Indian origin as permanently harming their prospects in the country by limiting their share of government jobs and political power. This set off a wave of emigration. Yet young Indians in Fiji became more likely to go to university even as the outlook at home dimmed, in part because Australia, Canada and New Zealand, three of the top destinations for Fijians, put more emphasis on attracting skilled migrants. Since some of those who got more education ended up staying, the skill levels of the resident Fijian population soared.

Passport to riches
Migrants can also affect their home country directly. In a recent book about the Indian diaspora, Devesh Kapur of the University of Pennsylvania argues that Indians in Silicon Valley helped shape the regulatory structure for India’s home-grown venture-capital industry. He also argues that these people helped Indian software companies break into the American market by vouching for their quality. Finally, migrants may return home, often with skills that would have been hard to pick up had they never gone abroad. The study of Romanian migrants found that returnees earned an average of 12-14% more than similar people who had stayed at home. Letting educated people go where they want looks like the brainy option.

 

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Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places

November 24th, 2010 No comments

http://hbr.org/2010/12/branding-in-the-digital-age/ar/pr
by David C. Edelman

The internet has upended how consumers engage with brands. It is transforming the economics of marketing and making obsolete many of the function’s traditional strategies and structures. For marketers, the old way of doing business is unsustainable.

Consider this: Not long ago, a car buyer would methodically pare down the available choices until he arrived at the one that best met his criteria. A dealer would reel him in and make the sale. The buyer’s relationship with both the dealer and the manufacturer would typically dissipate after the purchase. But today, consumers are promiscuous in their brand relationships: They connect with myriad brands—through new media channels beyond the manufacturer’s and the retailer’s control or even knowledge—and evaluate a shifting array of them, often expanding the pool before narrowing it. After a purchase these consumers may remain aggressively engaged, publicly promoting or assailing the products they’ve bought, collaborating in the brands’ development, and challenging and shaping their meaning.

Consumers still want a clear brand promise and offerings they value. What has changed is when—at what touch points—they are most open to influence, and how you can interact with them at those points. In the past, marketing strategies that put the lion’s share of resources into building brand awareness and then opening wallets at the point of purchase worked pretty well. But touch points have changed in both number and nature, requiring a major adjustment to realign marketers’ strategy and budgets with where consumers are actually spending their time.

Block That Metaphor

Marketers have long used the famous funnel metaphor to think about touch points: Consumers would start at the wide end of the funnel with many brands in mind and narrow them down to a final choice. Companies have traditionally used paid-media push marketing at a few well-defined points along the funnel to build awareness, drive consideration, and ultimately inspire purchase. But the metaphor fails to capture the shifting nature of consumer engagement.

In the June 2009 issue of McKinsey Quarterly, my colleague David Court and three coauthors introduced a more nuanced view of how consumers engage with brands: the “consumer decision journey” (CDJ). They developed their model from a study of the purchase decisions of nearly 20,000 consumers across five industries—automobiles, skin care, insurance, consumer electronics, and mobile telecom—and three continents. Their research revealed that far from systematically narrowing their choices, today’s consumers take a much more iterative and less reductive journey of four stages: consider, evaluate, buy, and enjoy, advocate, bond.

Block That Metaphor (Located at the end of this article)

Consider.

The journey begins with the consumer’s top-of-mind consideration set: products or brands assembled from exposure to ads or store displays, an encounter at a friend’s house, or other stimuli. In the funnel model, the consider stage contains the largest number of brands; but today’s consumers, assaulted by media and awash in choices, often reduce the number of products they consider at the outset.

Evaluate.

The initial consideration set frequently expands as consumers seek input from peers, reviewers, retailers, and the brand and its competitors. Typically, they’ll add new brands to the set and discard some of the originals as they learn more and their selection criteria shift. Their outreach to marketers and other sources of information is much more likely to shape their ensuing choices than marketers’ push to persuade them.

Buy.

Increasingly, consumers put off a purchase decision until they’re actually in a store—and, as we’ll see, they may be easily dissuaded at that point. Thus point of purchase—which exploits placement, packaging, availability, pricing, and sales interactions—is an ever more powerful touch point.

Enjoy, advocate, bond.

After purchase, a deeper connection begins as the consumer interacts with the product and with new online touch points. More than 60% of consumers of facial skin care products, my McKinsey colleagues found, conduct online research about the products afterpurchase—a touch point entirely missing from the funnel. When consumers are pleased with a purchase, they’ll advocate for it by word of mouth, creating fodder for the evaluations of others and invigorating a brand’s potential. Of course, if a consumer is disappointed by the brand, she may sever ties with it—or worse. But if the bond becomes strong enough, she’ll enter an enjoy-advocate-buy loop that skips the consider and evaluate stages entirely.

The Journey in Practice

Although the basic premise of the consumer decision journey may not seem radical, its implications for marketing are profound. Two in particular stand out.

First, instead of focusing on how to allocate spending across media—television, radio, online, and so forth—marketers should target stages in the decision journey. The research my colleagues and I have done shows a mismatch between most marketing allocations and the touch points at which consumers are best influenced. Our analysis of dozens of marketing budgets reveals that 70% to 90% of spend goes to advertising and retail promotions that hit consumers at the consider and buy stages. Yet consumers are often influenced more during the evaluate and enjoy-advocate-bond stages. In many categories the single most powerful impetus to buy is someone else’s advocacy. Yet many marketers focus on media spend (principally advertising) rather than on driving advocacy. The coolest banner ads, best search buys, and hottest viral videos may win consideration for a brand, but if the product gets weak reviews—or, worse, isn’t even discussed online—it’s unlikely to survive the winnowing process.

The second implication is that marketers’ budgets are constructed to meet the needs of a strategy that is outdated. When the funnel metaphor reigned, communication was one-way, and every interaction with consumers had a variable media cost that typically outweighed creative’s fixed costs. Management focused on “working media spend”—the portion of a marketing budget devoted to what are today known as paid media.

This no longer makes sense. Now marketers must also consider owned media (that is, the channels a brand controls, such as websites) and earned media (customer-created channels, such as communities of brand enthusiasts). And an increasing portion of the budget must go to “nonworking” spend—the people and technology required to create and manage content for a profusion of channels and to monitor or participate in them.

Launching a Pilot

The shift to a CDJ-driven strategy has three parts: understanding your consumers’ decision journey; determining which touch points are priorities and how to leverage them; and allocating resources accordingly—an undertaking that may require redefining organizational relationships and roles.

One of McKinsey’s clients, a global consumer electronics company, embarked on a CDJ analysis after research revealed that although consumers were highly familiar with the brand, they tended to drop it from their consideration set as they got closer to purchase. It wasn’t clear exactly where the company was losing consumers or what should be done. What was clear was that the media-mix models the company had been using to allocate marketing spend at a gross level (like the vast majority of all such models) could not take the distinct goals of different touch points into account and strategically direct marketing investments to them.

The company decided to pilot a CDJ-based approach in one business unit in a single market, to launch a major new TV model. The chief marketing officer drove the effort, engaging senior managers at the start to facilitate coordination and ensure buy-in. The corporate VP for digital marketing shifted most of his time to the pilot, assembling a team with representatives from functions across the organization, including marketing, market research, IT, and, crucially, finance. The team began with an intensive three-month market research project to develop a detailed picture of how TV consumers navigate the decision journey: what they do, what they see, and what they say.

What they do.

Partnering with a supplier of online-consumer-panel data, the company identified a set of TV shoppers and drilled down into their behavior: How did they search? Did they show a preference for manufacturers’ or retailers’ sites? How did they participate in online communities? Next the team selected a sample of the shoppers for in-depth, one-on-one discussions: How would they describe the stages of their journey, online and off? Which resources were most valuable to them, and which were disappointing? How did brands enter and leave their decision sets, and what drove their purchases in the end?

The research confirmed some conventional wisdom about how consumers shop, but it also overturned some of the company’s long-standing assumptions. It revealed that off-line channels such as television advertising, in-store browsing, and direct word of mouth were influential only during the consider stage. Consumers might have a handful of products and brands in mind at this stage, with opinions about them shaped by previous experience, but their attitudes and consideration sets were extremely malleable. At the evaluate stage, consumers didn’t start with search engines; rather, they went directly to Amazon.com and other retail sites that, with their rich and expanding array of product-comparison information, consumer and expert ratings, and visuals, were becoming the most important influencers. Meanwhile, fewer than one in 10 shoppers visited manufacturers’ sites, where most companies were still putting the bulk of their digital spend. Display ads, which the team had assumed were important at the consider stage, were clicked on only if they contained a discount offer, and then only when the consumer was close to the buy stage. And although most consumers were still making their purchases in stores, a growing number were buying through retail sites and choosing either direct shipping or in-store pickup.

The research also illuminated consumers’ lively relationships with many brands after purchase—the enjoy-and-advocate stage so conspicuously absent from the funnel. These consumers often talked about their purchases in social networks and posted reviews online, particularly when they were stimulated by retailers’ postpurchase e-mails. And they tended to turn to review sites for troubleshooting advice.

What they see.

To better understand consumers’ experience, the team unleashed a battery of hired shoppers who were given individual assignments, such as to look for a TV for a new home; replace a small TV in a bedroom; or, after seeing a TV at a friend’s house, go online to learn more about it. The shoppers reported what their experience was like and how the company’s brand stacked up against competitors’. How did its TVs appear on search engines? How visible were they on retail sites? What did consumer reviews reveal about them? How thorough and accurate was the available information about them?

The results were alarming but not unexpected. Shoppers trying to engage with any of the brands—whether the company’s or its competitors’—had a highly fractured experience. Links constantly failed, because page designs and model numbers had changed but the references to them had not. Product reviews, though they were often positive, were scarce on retail sites. And the company’s TVs rarely turned up on the first page of a search within the category, in part because of the profusion of broken links. The same story had emerged during the one-on-one surveys. Consumers reported that every brand’s model numbers, product descriptions, promotion availability, and even pictures seemed to change as they moved across sites and into stores. About a third of the shoppers who had considered a specific TV brand online during the evaluate stage walked out of a store during the buy stage, confused and frustrated by inconsistencies.

This costly disruption of the journey across the category made clear that the company’s new marketing strategy had to deliver an integrated experience from consider to buy and beyond. In fact, because the problem was common to the entire category, addressing it might create competitive advantage. At any rate, there was little point in winning on the other touch-point battlegrounds if this problem was left unaddressed.

What they say.

Finally, the team focused on what people were saying online about the brand. With social media monitoring tools, it uncovered the key words consumers used to discuss the company’s products—and found deep confusion. Discussion-group participants frequently gave wrong answers because they misunderstood TV terminology. Product ratings and consumer recommendations sometimes triggered useful and extensive discussions, but when the ratings were negative, the conversation would often enter a self-reinforcing spiral. The company’s promotions got some positive response, but people mostly said little about the brand. This was a serious problem, because online advocacy is potent in the evaluate stage.

Taking Action

The company’s analysis made clear where its marketing emphasis needed to be. For the pilot launch, spending was significantly shifted away from paid media. Marketing inserted links from its own site to retail sites that carried the brand, working with the retailers to make sure the links connected seamlessly. Most important, click-stream analysis revealed that of all the online retailers, Amazon was probably the most influential touch point for the company’s products during the evaluate stage. In collaboration with sales, which managed the relationship with Amazon, marketing created content and links to engage traffic there. To encourage buzz, it aggressively distributed positive third-party reviews online and had its traditional media direct consumers to online environments that included promotions and social experiences. To build ongoing postpurchase relationships and encourage advocacy, it developed programs that included online community initiatives, contests, and e-mail promotions. Finally, to address the inconsistent descriptions and other messaging that was dissuading potential customers at the point of purchase, the team built a new content-development and -management system to ensure rigorous consistency across all platforms.

How did the CDJ strategy work? The new TV became the top seller on Amazon.com and the company’s best performer in retail stores, far exceeding the marketers’ expectations.

A Customer Experience Plan

As our case company found, a deep investigation of the decision journey often reveals the need for a plan that will make the customer’s experience coherent—and may extend the boundaries of the brand itself. The details of a customer experience plan will vary according to the company’s products, target segments, campaign strategy, and media mix. But when the plan is well executed, consumers’ perception of the brand will include everything from discussions in social media to the in-store shopping experience to continued interactions with the company and the retailer.

For instance, Apple has eliminated jargon, aligned product descriptions, created a rich library of explanatory videos, and instituted off-line Genius Bars, all of which ensure absolute consistency, accuracy, and integration across touch points. Similarly, Nike has moved from exhorting consumers to “Just Do It” to actually helping them act on its motto—with Nike+ gear that records and transmits their workout data; global fund-raising races; and customized online training programs. Thus its customers’ engagement with the brand doesn’t necessarily begin or end with a purchase. And millions of consumers in Japan have signed up to receive mobile alerts from McDonald’s, which provide tailored messages that include discount coupons, contest opportunities, special-event invitations, and other unique, brand-specific content.

These companies are not indiscriminate in their use of the tactics available for connecting with customers. Instead they customize their approaches according to their category, brand position, and channel relationships. Apple has not yet done much mining of its customer data to offer more-personalized messaging. Nike’s presence on search engines shows little distinctiveness. McDonald’s hasn’t focused on leveraging a core company website. But their decisions are deliberate, grounded in a clear sense of priorities.

New Roles for Marketing

Developing and executing a CDJ-centric strategy that drives an integrated customer experience requires marketing to take on new or expanded roles. Though we know of no company that has fully developed them, many, including the consumer electronics firm we advised, have begun to do so. Here are three roles that we believe will become increasingly important:

Orchestrator.

Many consumer touch points are owned-media channels, such as the company’s website, product packaging, and customer service and sales functions. Usually they are run by parts of the organization other than marketing. Recognizing the need to coordinate these channels, one of our clients, a consumer durables company, has moved its owned-media functions into the sphere of the chief marketing officer, giving him responsibility for orchestrating them. Along with traditional and digital marketing communications, he now manages customer service and market research, product literature design, and the product registration and warranty program.

Publisher and “content supply chain” manager.

Marketers are generating ever-escalating amounts of content, often becoming publishers—sometimes real-time multimedia publishers—on a global scale. They create videos for marketing, selling, and servicing every product; coupons and other promotions delivered through social media; applications and decision support such as tools to help customers “build” and price a car online. One of our clients, a consumer marketer, realized that every new product release required it to create more than 160 pieces of content involving more than 20 different parties and reaching 30 different touch points. Without careful coordination, producing this volume of material was guaranteed to be inefficient and invited inconsistent messaging that would undermine the brand. As we sought best practices, we discovered that few companies have created the roles and systems needed to manage their content supply chain and create a coherent consumer experience.

Uncoordinated publishing can stall the decision journey, as the consumer electronics firm found. Our research shows that in companies where the marketing function takes on the role of publisher in chief—rationalizing the creation and flow of product related content—consumers develop a clearer sense of the brand and are better able to articulate the attributes of specific products. These marketers also become more agile with their content, readily adapting it to sales training videos and other new uses that ultimately enhance consumers’ decision journey.

Marketplace intelligence leader.

As more touch points become digital, opportunities to collect and use customer information to understand the consumer decision journey and knit together the customer experience are increasing. But in many companies IT controls the collection and management of data and the relevant budgets; and with its traditional focus on driving operational efficiency, it often lacks the strategic or financial perspective that would incline it to steer resources toward marketing goals.

More than ever, marketing data should be under marketing’s control. One global bank offers a model: It created a Digital Governance Council with representatives from all customer-facing functions. The council is led by the CMO, who articulates the strategy, and attended by the CIO, who lays out options for executing it and receives direction and funding from the council.

We believe that marketing will increasingly take a lead role in distributing customer insights across the organization. For example, discoveries about “what the customer says” as she navigates the CDJ may be highly relevant to product development or service programs. Marketing should convene the right people in the organization to act on its consumer insights and should manage the follow-up to ensure that the enterprise takes action.

Starting the Journey

The firms we advise that are taking this path tend to begin with a narrow line of business or geography (or both) where they can develop a clear understanding of one consumer decision journey and then adjust strategy and resources accordingly. As their pilots get under way, companies inevitably encounter challenges they can’t fully address at the local level—such as a need for new enterprisewide infrastructure to support a content management system. Or they may have to adapt the design of a social media program to better suit the narrow initiative. In the more successful initiatives we’ve seen, the CMO has championed the pilot before the executive leadership team. The best results come when a bottom-up pilot is paralleled by a top-down CMO initiative to address cross-functional, infrastructure, and organizational challenges.

Finally, a company must capture processes, successes, and failures when it launches a pilot so that the pilot can be effectively adapted and scaled. A key consideration is that although the basic architecture of a CDJ strategy may remain intact as it is expanded, specific tactics will probably vary from one market and product to another. When the consumer electronics firm discussed here took its CDJ strategy to East Asia, for example, its touch-point analysis revealed that consumers in that part of the world put more stock in blogs and third-party review sites than Western consumers do, and less in manufacturers’ or retailers’ sites, which they didn’t fully trust. They were also less likely to buy online. However, they relied more on mobile apps such as bar-code readers to pull up detailed product information at the point of purchase.

The changes buffeting marketers in the digital era are not incremental—they are fundamental. Consumers’ perception of a brand during the decision journey has always been important, but the phenomenal reach, speed, and interactivity of digital touch points makes close attention to the brand experience essential—and requires an executive-level steward. At many start-ups the founder brings to this role the needed vision and the power to enforce it. Established enterprises should have a steward as well. Now is the time for CMOs to seize this opportunity to take on a leadership role, establishing a stronger position in the executive suite and making consumers’ brand experience central to enterprise strategy.

Block That Metaphor
Then: The Funnel Metaphor

For years, marketers assumed that consumers started with a large number of potential brands in mind and methodically winnowed their choices until they’d decided which one to buy. After purchase, their relationship with the brand typically focused on the use of the product or service itself.

Now: The Consumer Decision Journey

New research shows that rather than systematically narrowing their choices, consumers add and subtract brands from a group under consideration during an extended evaluation phase. After purchase, they often enter into an open-ended relationship with the brand, sharing their experience with it online.

Consider & Buy

Marketers often overemphasize the “consider” and “buy” stages of the journey, allocating more resources than they should to building awareness through advertising and encouraging purchase with retail promotions.

Evaluate & Advocate

New media make the “evaluate” and “advocate” stages increasingly relevant. Marketing investments that help consumers navigate the evaluation process and then spread positive word of mouth about the brands they choose can be as important as building awareness and driving purchase.

Bond

If consumers’ bond with a brand is strong enough, they repurchase it without cycling through the earlier decision-journey stages.

David C. Edelman (david_edelman@mckinsey.com) is a coleader of McKinsey & Company’s Global Digital Marketing Strategy practice.

Categories: Strategy Tags:

The Star-Telegram – The Shia you dont hear about

July 16th, 2010 No comments

The Shia you don’t hear about
By ANTHONY MANSUETO
Special to the Star-Telegram

2007

Wednesday marks the Golden Jubilee of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, global leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community.

At a time when the news is dominated by sectarian conflicts between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq, the jubilee offers an opportunity to learn about a very different, little-known but quietly powerful current within Islam.

Like the vast majority of Iranians and a significant majority of Iraqis, the Ismailis are part of the Shia branch of Islam. Shiism emerged from an early dispute about leadership in the ummah, or Islamic community.

The Sunni argued that the caliph, the successor of the prophet Muhammad, should be elected. The Shia argued that succession should remain within the direct line of the prophet’s closest relatives.

But this division also reflected profound differences regarding the nature of leadership within the Islamic community. The Sunnis, stressing Islam’s historic emphasis on effective political engagement, opted for caliphs who were primarily political and military leaders; the Shia looked for leaders known for wisdom and spirituality.

Eventually the Shia themselves divided. The vast majority (those we hear most about in Iran and Iraq) believe there was an unbroken line of 12 imams — the last of whom, Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Ali, was born in 868 and was hidden by God in 939 rather than dying. Twelver, or Imami, Shia believe that he eventually will return to usher in a reign of justice.

The Ismailis trace their own leadership from the seventh imam, Isma’il bin Jafar (721-755), and believe that the law, embodied in the Quran and the sayings and practices of Muhammad, is accompanied by a mystical teaching passed from one imam to the next. The current Aga Khan, who as a 20-year-old in 1957 succeeded his grandfather, is the 49th hereditary imam of the Shia Ismailis.

The Ismailis’ belief in a deeper, mystical approach to the faith meant that they played an important role in the intellectual history not only of Islam but also, indirectly, of Europe.

Ismailis were crucial in translating the Greek texts of Plato and Aristotle, which were lost to Western Europe, into Arabic. It was in this language that most were passed on, via Jewish translators in Muslim Spain, to Christian Europe.

Ibn Sina (980-1037), known in the West as Avicenna, came from an Ismaili family. His text on medicine was used not only in the Islamic world but also in the West up until the 17th century, and his philosophy profoundly influenced that of Thomas Aquinas and thus the whole Roman Catholic tradition.

Ismailis established the great university of al-Azhar — one of the world’s oldest, dating from 971 — and effectively built the city of Cairo, Egypt.

Important beneficiaries of Ismaili patronage include the mathematicians al-Haytham and Nasir al-Din Tusi and the poet and philosopher Nasir e-Khusraw. Although I am not an Ismaili, I have an unusual connection to the Ismaili tradition.

My family comes originally from Sicily, an island that has known many conquerors — most of them brutal exploiters. But the era of the Ismaili Fatimids, who governed Sicily for much of the 10th and 11th centuries from their capital at Cairo, was Sicily’s golden age. Agriculture, commerce, the arts, the sciences and philosophy flourished.

Today, the Ismailis are but a small minority of Muslims, numbering about 20 million out of roughly 1.4 billion Muslims and 120 million Shia worldwide, but their presence continues to be felt.

They are concentrated mostly in Central Asia, western China, parts of the Middle East, India, Pakistan and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the United States, Canada and Western Europe. They are actively engaged in the struggle for social justice and human development.

They work locally, through active participation in civic institutions, and globally, through the Aga Khan Development Network.

The network is involved in an extraordinary range of activities from disaster relief, basic healthcare, rural development, microfinance and the promotion of private enterprise to architecture, culture and the revitalization of historic cities.

The organization operates more than 200 health centers, including nine hospitals, in Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Pakistan and Tanzania.

It is at the forefront of disaster relief efforts worldwide, focusing its humanitarian efforts on long-term capacity building. The network has been involved in microlending for more than 25 years — long before it became popular — and currently has a portfolio of more than $52 million in outstanding loans to more than 97,000 people in 12 countries. This is in addition to more traditional economic development projects involving more than 90 companies employing more than 30,000 people and generating more than $1.5 billion in revenue annually.

The network’s education programs encompass more than 300 schools with 54,000 students across East Africa and South and Central Asia — most of which emphasize education for girls and women and focus on academic rigor and leadership development — as well as two universities: the University of Central Asia with campuses in the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan and the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan.

One project especially dear to me is the Aga Khan Humanities Project, which developed an undergraduate humanities curriculum for Central Asian universities that tapped into and helped conserve local traditions while preparing students to engage a broader intellectual universe.

All of the network’s hospitals, schools, development projects and humanitarian assistance programs are open to people of all faiths and origins.

The tension between Islam and the West reflects deep-seated economic, political and cultural contradictions. But when one looks at the Ismailis and understands their history, and their current contributions to human development and civilization, it becomes clear that relations between Islam and the West cannot be summed up simply as a clash of civilizations.

We have learned too much from Islam — and much of that with the assistance of the Ismailis.

Islam — and especially the Ismailis — has engaged and learned from the West. Let us make this century not one of new crusades but rather one of dialogue and collaboration in healing and building up our common home, the Earth. Let it be the time when we make it a true house of peace.

Anthony Mansueto holds a Ph. D. in religion and society from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. He is dean of communications and humanities at the Spring Creek Campus of Collin College in Plano.

Categories: spirituality Tags:

Sanson Ki Mala Pei by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

July 16th, 2010 No comments

“Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Urdu: نصرت فتح علی خان) (October 13, 1948 – August 16, 1997) was a musician from Pakistan, primarily a singer of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis (a mystical tradition within Islam). He featured in Time magazine’s 2006 list of “Asian Heroes”.[1]”

More information on him through the wikipedia link below.

Here are links to his song – Sanson Ki Mala Pei. The first two are his rendition in public; and the third is his studio recording.

Enclosed herein the lyrics so that you would be able to appreciate the song:

Sanson Ki Mala Pe
saaNsoN kii maalaa pe simruuN maiN pii ka naam
apne mann kii maiN jaanuuN aur pii ke mann kii Ram
With every breath I take, I chant the name of my beloved
I know of my heart, and God knows of the heart of my beloved

yahii merii bandagii hai, yahii merii puujaa
This is my salutation [and] this is my prayer.
ek thaa saajan mandir meN aur ek thaa pritam masjid meN
par maiN prem ke rang meN aisii Duubii ban gayaa ek hii ruup
One lover was in the temple and another in the mosque
but to me, immersed in the joy of love, both seemed same

prem kii maalaa japte japte aap banii maiN Shyam
Chanting on rosary, the name of Shyam [Lord Krishna], I become him.
Note: A Hindu God sung and revered by the patrons of love.

ham aur nahiiN kuchu kaam ke
matvaare pii ke naam ke, har dam
I am worthless except that
I surrender to the name of my beloved, all the time.

priitam kaa kuch dosh nahiiN hai vo to hai nirdosh
apne aap se baateN kar ke ho gayii maiN badnaam
My beloved is not to be blamed, it is no fault of his
I became infamous only because of talking to myself.

Who is Nusrat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nusrat_Fateh_Ali_Khan

Categories: General Knowledge Tags:

Dukh sukh tha ek sabka (Sorrow and happiness were one for all) – by Pankaj Udhas

July 16th, 2010 No comments


About Pankaj Udhas; http://www.pankajudhas.com/
Dukh sukh tha ek sabka
(Sorrows and happiness were one for all)
Apna ho ya begaana

(whether it be your own or some one else’s)

Ek woh bhi tha zamaana
(That was that era)
Ek yeh bhi hai zamaana
(Now this is this era)

Dukh sukh tha ek sabka
(Grief and happiness were shared)
Apna ho ya begaana
(Whether it was your own or someone else’s)

Ek woh bhi tha zamaana
(That was that era)
Ek yeh bhi hai zamaana
(Now it is this era)

Dada hai aate the jab
(In the era of the grand dad)
Mitti ka ek ghar tha
(Had a house made of mud)

Choron ka koi ghatka
(No incidents of thieves)
Na dakuon ka dar tha
(No threat of thugs)

Khaate the rookhi sookhi
(Used to eat whatever meagre we got)
Sote the neend gehri
(Used to sleep peacefully)

Shaamein bhari bhari thi
(Evenings were full of events)
Aabaad thi dupehri
(Noons were fruitful)
Santosh tha dilon ko
(hearts were always satisfied)


Maathe pe bal nahi tha
(There were no worries)
Dil mein kapat nahi tha
(No one was spiteful)

Aankhon mein chhal nahi tha
(No one had any thoughts of revenge)
Hain log bhole bhale
(Every one was naive)

Lekin the pyaar wale
(But full of love)
Duniya se kitni jaldi
(So quickly from this world)
Sab ho gaye ravaana
(Hasverything departed)

Dukh sukh tha ek sabka
(Everyone shared the grief and happiness)
Apna ho ya begaana
(Whether it was your own or another’s)
Ek woh bhi tha zamaana
(That used to be the time)
Ek yeh bhi hai zamaana
(Now it is this era)

Abba ka waqt aaya
(Then came the era of the father)
Taaleem ghar mein aayi
(Education/wisdom came into the house)
Abba ka waqt aaya

(Era of grand dad came)

Taaleem ghar mein aayi
(In came education)
Taaleem saath apni
(Along with it, Education)
Taaza vichaar laayi
(Brought new ideas)

Aage rawayaton se
(To be more successful than others)
Badhne ka dhayaan aaya
(was the aim/ came into consideration)

Mitti ka ghar hata to
(The mudhouse got replaced)
Pakka makaan aaya
(By a solid house [of iron/brick])
Daftar ki naukri thi
(Used to work in the office)

Tangah ka sahara
(Depended on carriages)
Maalik pe tha bharosa
(Fully trusted the boss)
Ho jaata tha guzara
(Could easily saffice)

Paisa agar chekam tha
(Even with a little money)
Phir bhi na koi gham tha
(Even then there were no worries)
Kaisa bhara poora tha
(How it was fruitful/ full of achievement)

Apna gareeb khana
(Our house of poverty)
Dukh sukh tha ek sabka
(Grief and happiness were shared)
Apna ho ya begaana
(Whether it was your own or someone else’s)

Ek woh bhi tha zamaana
(That was that era)
Ek yeh bhi hai zamaana
(Now it is this era)

Ab mera daur hai yeh
(Now it is my era)
Koyi nahi kisi ka
(No one is anyone’s)
Ab mera daur hai yeh
(Now it is my generation)

Koyi nahi kisi ka
(No one can be trusted)
Har aadmi akela
(Everyone is on his own)

Har chehra ajnabee sa
(Every face is like a stranger’s)
Aansoon na muskuraahat
(Neither tears nor full of smiles)

Jeevan ka haal aisa
(This is how life is)
Apni khabar nahi hai
(Don’t even know oneself)
Maya ka jadoo aisa
(Such is the magic of illusions)

Paisa hai martaba hai
(If one has money, then there is status)
Izzat wikar bhi hai
(Respect can be bought)

Naukar hain aur chaakar
(There are servants and valets)
Bangla hai car bhi hai
(There are mansions and cars too)
Zar paas hai zameen hai
(Have gold and land)

Lekin sakoon nahi hai
(but no peace)
Paane ke vaaste kuch
(To attain something)
Kya kya pada gavaana
(What all has to be lost)

Dukh sukh tha ek sabka
(Grief and happiness were shared)
Apna ho ya begaana
(Whether it was your own or someone else’s)
Ek woh bhi tha zamaana
(That was that era)
Ek yeh bhi hai zamaana
(Now it is this era)

Aye aane wali naslon
(Listen! the future generations)
Aye aane wale logon
(Listen! the people of tommorow)
Aye aane wali naslon

Aye aane wale logon
Bhoga hai humne jo kuch
(The suffering we have gone through)
Woh tum kabhi na bhogo
(may you never have to suffer)

Jo dukh tha saath apne
(What grief we had with us)
Tumse kareeb na ho
(may it not come near you)

Peeda jo humne jheli
(The pain we went though)
Tumko naseeb na ho
(May you not get them)
Jis tarah bheed mein hum
(The way in the crowd, we)

Zinda rahe akele
(survived alone)
Woh zindagi ki mehfil
(That crowded life [of togetherness]
Tumse na koyi le le
(may no one snatch from you)

Tum jis taraf se guzro
(Whatever way you pass through)
Mela ho roshni ka
(May there be lots of light)
Raas aaye tumko mausam
(May you adjust to the atmosphere)
Ekkiswi sadi ka
(Of the 21st century)
Hum to sakoon ko tarse
(I have yearned for peace)

Tum par sakoon barse
(May peace shower upon you)
Anand ho dilon mein
(May you be happy)
Jeevan lage suhaana
(may life be beautiful)

Dukh sukh tha ek sabka
(Grief and happiness were shared)
Apna ho ya begaana
(Whether it was your own or someone else’s)
Ek woh bhi tha zamaana
(That was that era)
Ek yeh bhi hai zamaana
(Now it is this era)
Dukh sukh tha ek sabka
(Grief and happiness were shared)
Apna ho ya begaana
(Whether it was your own or someone else’s)


Ek woh bhi tha zamaana
(That was that era)
Ek yeh bhi hai zamaana
(And this is another era)

Ek woh bhi tha zamaana
(That was that era)
Ek yeh bhi hai zamaana
(And this is another era)

Ek woh bhi tha zamaana
(That was that era)
Ek yeh bhi hai zamaana
(And this is another era)

Pankaj Udhas (born 17 May 1951) is a ghazal singer from India. He is credited in the Indian music industry, along with other musicians like Jagjit Singhand Talat Aziz, with bringing the style to the realm of popular music. Udhas rose to fame for singing in the film Naam (1986 film), in which his song Chitthi Aayee Hai became an instant hit. Following that, he has also performed as a playback singer for numerous films. He has recorded many albums since then and tours the world as an accomplished Ghazal singer. In 2006, Pankaj Udhas was awarded the Padmashree.

Categories: General Knowledge Tags:

More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Through His Daughter’s Eyes

May 10th, 2010 No comments

The following incident took place when Muhammad Ali’s daughters arrived at
his home wearing clothes that were not modest. Here is the story as told
by one of his daughters:

When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila,
and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door
waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could
possibly give in one day.

My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said
something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and
said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and
hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground,
covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the
ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find
gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock.
You’ve got to work har d to get to them.”

He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more
precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

Source: Taken from the book: More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons
Through His Daughter’s Eyes.

http://www.amazon.com/More-Than-Hero-Presented-Daughters/dp/067104236X

More Than a Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Presented Through His Daughter’s Eyes (Hardcover)
~ Hana Ali (Author)
To the world, three-time heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is known as “the Greatest.” To his daughter, Hana, he is simply known as Daddy. Now in a heartfelt tribute, Hana Ali shares the life lessons she learned from her father, and offers an intensely personal look at one of the most revered men on the face of the earth.

Sprinkled among her insightful anecdotes, Hana Ali presents a collection of Muhammad Ali’s most provocative and profound poetry and quotes — spanning from the turbulent 1960s to today — as well as classic and never-before-published photographs. She also confides the wisdom and understanding of a cultural icon whose battle with Parkinson’s disease has not stopped his commitment to African-American pride, nor his ongoing fight against poverty and racism. Lovingly conveyed through Hana’s unique perspective, More Than A Hero is more than just a rare glimpse inside the Ali family — it is an inspirational reminder that we can all achieve greatness.

Meri Maa pyari maa mama by Khailash Kher (Dasvidaniya) – Video, Lyrics and English Translation

May 10th, 2010 No comments

Thought you might enjoy this …

Click youtube link to listen to this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c7VKHszuq4

—-

Maa… Meri Maa..
Pyaari Maa…Mamaa
hoo
Maa… Meri Maa..
Pyaari Maa…Mamaa

(English)
mom, my mom, lovely mom, mom
ho o mom, my mom, lovely mom, mom

Haatho ki lakerien badal jayengi
Gum ki yeh zanjeerein Peeghal jayengi
Ho khuda pe bhi aasar
Tu duaon ka hai ghar

(English)
the lines of my hand will change
the chains of grief will melt
your influence is on god also, you are the house of prayers/wishes

Meri Maa..Meri Maa..
Pyaari Maa…Mammaa
hoo

Maa… Meri Maa..
Pyaari Maa…Mammaa

(English)
mom, my mom, lovely mom, mom

Begdi kismat bhi sawanr jaayegi
Zindagi tarane khushi ke gayegi
www.Lyricsmasti.com
Tere hote kiska dar
Tu duawon ka hai ghar

(English)
my bad/spoiled will recover
life will sing the melody/harmony of happiness
i don’t have any fear as you are here, you are the house of prayers/wishes

Meri Maa..Meri Maa..
Pyaari Maa…Mammaa
hoo
Maa… Meri Maa..
Pyaari Maa…Mammaa

(English)
mom, my mom, lovely mom, mom

Yun tu mein
Sab se nyara hoon
Tera maaa mein dulara hoon

(English)
that way i am different/great than everyone, o mom i am your dear

Duniya mein jeene se jyada uljhan hai maaa
Tu hai amar ka jahan

(English)
instead of life there is much twist in life o mom, you are the world of immortal

Tu gussa karti hai
Bada accha lagta hai
Tu kaan pakati hai
Badi zor se lagta hai
Meri Maa

(English)
when you become angry with me, i feel good
when you clench my ear, then it hurts a lot o mom

Meri Maa..Meri Maa..
Pyaari Maa…Mammaa hoo
Maa… Meri Maa..
Pyaari Maa…Mammaa

(English)
mom, my mom, lovely mom, mom

Haatho ki lakerien badal jayengi
Gum ki yeh zanjeerein Peeghal jayengi
Ho khuda pe bhi aasar
Tu duawon ka hai ghar

(English)
the lines of my hand will change
the chains of grief will melt
your influence is on god also, you are the house of prayers/wishes

Meri Maa..Meri Maa..
Pyaari Maa…Mammaa
hoo
Maa… Meri Maa..
Pyaari Maa…Mammaa

(English)
mom, my mom, lovely mom, mom

Dasvidaniya Movie Review
November 15, 2008 12:03:29 PM IST
By Martin D’Souza, Bollywood Trade News Network

Vinay Pathak is peeling off layer after layer to reveal the talent he is. Frankly, I expected a typecast performance from him but the man completely blew me away with his picture perfect characterization of Amar Kaul. There’s not a flaw you can detect in this standout act, which deserves a standing ovation. Take a bow, Sir. In fact, every character in DASVIDANIYA fits the script to the ‘T’. Be it the boss Saurabh Shukla, his mother Sarita Joshi, his brother Gaurav Gera, his guitar teacher Joy Fernandes, his best friend Rajat Kapoor, the car sales woman Purbi Joshi, or his first and only love Neha Dhupia. They all combine to lend meaning to this movie, which has a story that will connect with every human being.

It’s a marvelous movie, which takes you on a journey of self. A roller coaster of emotions. Every moment matches the mood. The office decor, the house where he lives, with its middleclass look, Rajat’s posh bungalow in Russia or even Neha’s stylish home. The detailing is in sync. Music by Kailash Kher leaves a lasting impression. Check out ‘Alvida’ and ‘Meri Maa’

What’s more important, much after the movie is over; you play some parts in your head and then realize that director Shashant Shah has smartly linked some scenes, which, when you see at first, have no meaning. But when seen in retrospect, you marvel at the genius of Shah. Take the first scene for instance, where Rajat is handing over a parcel to a Russian girl or the scene where Amar comes across a fuming customer when he is buying a car. Their eyes lock, recognition flickers but it’s only later you learn who the person actually was.

Amar is leading a mundane life. He is dutifully taking care of his mother who has a hearing problem and topmost is his ‘to do’ list which he faithfully fills every morning. A timid fellow, he accepts without murmur whatever life offers. He is not able to voice his feelings or opinions and hence is bullied by his boss. But life deals him a severe blow when he learns he is dying of cancer and has only three months to live.

Jolted into now living life, he decides to live it up. He now has another ‘to do’ list. Top most among the list is to own a car and learn to play the guitar besides meeting his sweetheart Neha and buddy, Rajat who he has not seen in 12 years, and who lives in Russia.

Watch out for the scene when he buys the car and offers the sales woman (Purbi Joshi) a ride. Check out the emotions when he learns she is meeting her boyfriend. Purbi gives off a powerful performance. Also watch out for the scene when he meets Neha and she takes him home and out runs her little daughter. Catch the moment when he goes back to tell her that he loves her. A poignant moment delivered with finesse. Shah calls ‘cut’ at the right moment and how you wish he hadn’t, because you want the two to embrace. Neha’s is a small role but she packs in a punch. The actor has evolved. The scene where he reminds his brother that he too has to take care of his mother is outstanding. And when he learns that his best friend’s wife Suchitra Pillai actually thinks he has come all the way to Russia to use his friend is overwhelming and heart wrenching. Rajat underplays his part to give it a natural feel, another super performer. The scenes with his guitar teacher are a riot

Actually, I’m running out of adjectives. Because I could go on an on about the actors and their performances and the handling of situations by the director. But I’ll stop here and just say one more thing: Do a favour to yourself, please watch DASVIDANIYA. It’s a memorable experience, one that will leave you richer. Amar does not set out on a journey of self-pity when he learns that he is dying; he sets out to set things right with self and in doing so impacts the lives of those nearest to him in a way you cannot imagine.

The BHEJA FRY team gets back again, this time too for another Box Office surprise. Content, execution, performance and presentation are top class. The makers will have to increase the shows because I’m afraid, word-of-mouth will have the cinemas looking at this movie with a little more respect.

Categories: General Knowledge Tags: