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Need for a tailor made strategy!

By Syed Adeel

Is your business failing to capture full potential of a lucrative market?

Does your “One size fits for all” strategy not working?

Have you got an organization structure which is aligned with latest trends and technologies?

Is your overall business strategy well connected with real world?

If you are a business executive, such questions would pop up in your mind almost on daily basis. Sometimes you figure out the answer and other times you find yourself in doldrums, struggling to find the right direction to channelize your resources. This is where you need the services of strategy consultants who will aid you in connecting and shaping your thoughts and vision with the real world through a game plan.

In Pakistan, the role of strategy consultants has long been neglected and as a result businesses often fail to scale up to their full potential due to absence of any clear tailor made strategy. But gradually, with businesses getting more mature and the market dynamics fast changing; executives are realizing that they need companions to help them sail through uncharted waters.

Let some of your brainy work be outsourced and go for a tailor made strategy to fit your vision and needs.

Three internal forces which can make your employees work your way !

Employee Motivation

TOP LEADERSHIP

  • It should be much more interactive and formulate a strong system which shouldn’t rely too much excessively on personal opinions.
  • Bring more hope and more certainty by continuously interacting with employees, even working down the level; otherwise you will only be left with mediocre talent.
  • They should also realize that things have changed (both internal and external environment) from the time they were in a low cadre position. They should no more be looking for their own reflections in their sub-ordinates.
  • Bring Young Leadership up. Formulate interdepartmental teams of youngsters, to interact with Top Leadership directly; this will not only keep top management well informed of the ground realities but will also make youngsters feel more involved.
  • Create a culture of respect.
  • Build a mentoring a culture.

HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT:

  • Identify and train well educated employees as leaders with a positive attitude having diversity.
  • Interdepartmental transfers to be encouraged, as employees having alacrity for learning don’t like to get stuck with one dimensional routine job for years.
  • Money / Benefits are not the only source of motivation.
  • Salary Comparability / Benchmarking to be performed + Benefits like corporate memberships of Clubs etc. to bring more charm to the lives of employees and their families.
  • HR should have direct personalized/confidential level of communication with employees. How would I see my future here? It seems that much of it isn’t in my control. Should I keep waiting for the upper hierarchy to have some movements or vacancies; should business figures be the only criteria for promotion (even if I don’t have any contribution in formulating a clear strategy) and keep waiting for the crop to grow even from a dead land; should I keep worrying about ways to please bosses, even if I know at times it isn’t in the interest of company.
  • Formulate a talent Management program.
  • Make interdepartmental teams of employees and assign in general tasks like canteen management or any event management etc. This will keep them more involved and will give them “Sense of Achievement” (as if they may not get it from their immediate leaders). Such activities will also help HR in identifying talent.
  • System should be made stronger and too much reliance shouldn’t be placed on perceptions formed; as it happens that the preceptor has only “Hammer” in his/her tool box and every problem he/she perceives to be a “Nail”.
  • HR should be well aware with the capabilities (in terms of Knowledge, skills and attitude) of employees. It’s difficult but not impossible especially when employees are to be considered as customer from HR’s point of view, to serve in the best possible way.
  • Create a culture of respect.
  • Give Sense of Recognition/Achievement to Employees.

IMMEDIATE LEADERS:

They have a vital role to play as far as motivation level of employees is concerned.

In this role priority should not be given to such people who have this organisation as their only source of learning in their lives – as such people cannot bring change and their capabilities remain a subset of their previous bosses. Such people don’t bring change and don’t encourage change. They want to make the ball role as it has been rolling since their time.

Give Sense of Recognition/Achievement to Employees.

Create a culture of respect.

Build a mentoring Culture.

Need for a balanced organization: Thinking + Doing

Henry Ford once wondered querulously, “Why is it that whenever I ask for a pair of hands, a brain comes attached?”

Imagine if Wright brothers had to take approvals from their manager, General Managers etc. to build an airplane; or Thomas Edison had to first satisfy his bosses for his 1093 patents. They would have never been able to contribute to this world what they have given with their crazy unique ideas rather their jobs could be in threat on account of insanity and stupidity.

There exists a dilemma for many Business leaders to tackle. Whether they should proceed and organize their resources in a well disciplined (Army like) way or they should compromise all this on account of openness. There are pros and cons for both the approaches and none of them can be termed as perfect.

Discipline, Chain of command is good enough and in a way it is necessary; especially when you compare your organization with an armed force. But such an organization can not be a source of generating unique crazy ideas. In such organizations, targets/objectives (one form of it is MBO- Management By Objective) are highly regarded by management. As a result, you will find many of the employees running after a piece of paper (i.e. target form) for the whole year; irrespective of the fact they may miss many other breakthrough opportunities by just limiting all their attention to a piece of paper; which may lead to lack of self initiative by the employees and they may consider themselves only as a tool for management. This sort of feeling can especially be prevailing in first line employees. In such an organization, best business is usually handled by the best personnel and the business with less attractive figures is handed over to someone less talented.The leader of such an organization likes to remain at shore, so as the sub-ordinates. As Einstein once said, “A ship is safe at shore, but this is not what it is meant for”. Toyota (being considered as one of the best practicing management organization) did not consider only objectives to be the path to success and believed that first-line employees could be more than cogs in a soulless manufacturing machine. If given the right tools and training, they could be problem solvers, innovators, and change agents. For organizations, who consider innovation as their critical success factor, it is indispensable that they should bring openness in their culture. But on the other hand, there is too much of risk involved in allocating resources to any crazy unique idea.

Before we move on to find out any solution, lets first take a glance of how Breakthrough Ideas get obstructed (you can add some more bullets).

How do Ideas die out?
Lack of Openness
Lack of Culture of respect
Idea generators not properly managed.
Experience given much more preference over Imagination.
‘Doers’ are given preference over ‘Thinkers’.
Employees threatened of failures.
Figures/Numbers are given more preference over capabilities.
Performance considered only for short term results.

Ideally, an organization should be where ideas get promoted and at the same time there exists discipline and a chain of command. The foundation for such an organization is laid by segregating Primary Thinkers and Primary Doers in your organization.

Start changing the roles of people to get different ideas across the organization.

Trust – building block for an enterprise !

It all starts with a raw idea in mind then you connect this raw idea with the real world and think how different pieces (just like in a puzzle) would join together and form a complete picture? It’s a matter of climbing mountains after mountains and keeping an eye on your next target. But building a bigger enterprise can never be a one man show.

We must be pragmatic to realize that for doing bigger things in life, we can’t deliver alone. Connecting with like minded people is important and it is important to gain their trust for having synergy. Dreams become realities when you have passion to go forth with wisdom and confidence. We have to conquer our fears and have the guts to explore those avenues which have never been seen before. Trust connects people heart to heart and when this level of bondage is established, materialistic considerations become secondary. People start supporting you and become willing to move forth with you even in some cases regardless of any materialistic benefits in return. We must be pragmatic to realize that for doing bigger things in life, we can’t deliver alone. Connecting with like minded people is important and it is important to gain their trust for having synergy. Dreams become realities when you have passion to go forth with wisdom and confidence. We have to conquer our fears and have the guts to explore those avenues which have never been seen before. Trust connects people heart to heart and when this level of bondage is established, materialistic considerations become secondary. People start supporting you and become willing to move forth with you even in some cases regardless of any materialistic benefit in return.

Embedding Sustainability !

Sustainability has already become a widely talked about agenda globally. CEO’s around the world continue to face pressure from responsible investors and societies regarding the way they conduct business and how they interact with the stakeholders.

For those who hate personnel working in Corporate World and studying in Business Schools even to the extent of abandoning them should learn that Corporate world ain’t that selfish anymore and pupils studying in the business schools are not just concerned about wealth generation rather they too have a heart for the betterment of humanity.

At the heart of sustainability, lie two basic concepts:
1) Businesses assuming responsibility for the sake of betterment of society
2) There is a business case for sustainability when businesses invest in those areas for the betterment of society, which are linked with its own value chain.

In developing countries like Pakistan also sustainability is gradually coming to limelight in the corporate world with few companies taking responsibility and striving to take lead in pushing the Sustainability agenda. These companies include Engro Corp and its investment companies, Lucky Cement, Attock Cement, Crescent Steel and Allied Products and others. These companies have not only focused on the reporting aspect of sustainability rather they are keen to embed sustainability within their organization by assigning targets and also by inculcating it into the day to day routine and habits of their employees. Such embedding of sustainability will ensure that sustainability should not only be forced from the top of hierarchy rather it should also evolve from the bottom of organizational hierarchy.

Now the question is what sort of tool is appropriate to embed sustainability into an organization? Well, one can also think about using the flexible tool of Balanced Scorecard to embed sustainability targets and commitments. What Robert Kaplan and Norton came up with was Balanced Scorecard, a tool with four dimensions i.e. Customers’ Perspective, Finance Perspective, Internal Perspective and Learning Perspective. Using the tool, measurable targets are assigned to individuals and departments. If this tool can be slightly modified to include sustainability aspect, it can be helpful in cascading down the overall sustainability strategy of an organization to operational level.

The fifth perspective should be included in the tool as ‘Sustainability’ – this will include targets and commitments pertaining to the areas of:

  • Environment – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) covering this aspect include Emissions intensity (e.g. tons of CO2 equivalent per unit of production), Energy intensity (e.g. Giga Joules of Energy per unit of production), Water footprint, waste, material consumption;
  • Occupational Health and Safety – KPIs covering this aspect include Total Recordable Injury Rate, Number of lost days, work-related fatalities;
  • Community investments’ impact – KPIs covering this aspect include number of children educated, number of patients treated;
  • Economic aspect – which not only ensures financial stability of the Company but also how the company can have a positive impact on the society. The KPIs pertaining to this aspect may include total amount spent on local suppliers engaged, number of employees hired from the local community, total payments made to the exchequer;
  • Labour and Human rights Practices – KPIs covering this aspect include employee turnover rate, top talent ratio, time to hire new employee and also ensuring that no child labour or forced labour incidents occur;
  • Product responsibility – KPIs covering this aspect include reduction in energy requirement for using a product, number of new sustainable products and ensuring no banned product is sold.

By embedding these aspects in the organization using Balanced Scorecard and by also making relevant KPIs part of the job description, will invigorate employees as they will now be held accountable and their career growth becomes dependent upon becoming truly responsible in their behavior and conduct.

We also need to move beyond restricted sustainability, this requires inculcating in the habits of employees to not only display responsible behavior within the organization but also in their personal lives. The employees should be recognized for displaying a responsible behavior in every walk of life – this recognition can be in terms of any award or incentive. This is an ideal state where employees develop a conscience which intrinsically holds the employees responsible for displaying a behavior of responsibility.

Romance in Business !

Often in business schools and professional training we learn to be diplomatic with whoever we are dealing with, in our job role – be it employees for HR professionals, sub-ordinates for team leaders or customers for sales professional. It is good to be diplomatic but not with the side-effect of becoming heartless to the extent that we become so much accustomed to dealing with them diplomatically that growing more senior we only master the art of giving justifications for everything we come across. We play using our mind and forget to put our heart into our tasks and that is when we forget the art of touching heart i.e. romance.

It is not just academics or number of years of experience that help you excel in your career – if you focus in just these things then you may succeed in learning the art of keeping your chair hot but not the art of touching heart. For touching heart of your customers, employees, sub-ordinates etc.; you must learn to walk the talk, putting yourself in their shoes and feeling their pain.

Last but not the least, for a successful romance (don’t take in the other sense that your wife would start raising eye brows while seeing you reading this article) in business, keep in mind the golden words of Steve Jobs:

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Pricing: It is all about hitting the nail!

As it is said, strategy is not an exact science; there exist multiple possibilities and ways to reach the target goal post. For as long as you are moving in the right direction, you have to keep on figuring out ways to reach the goal post and do not in any way succumb to the pressure of scoring own goal (kidding :)). This holds true for strategies devised in various fields; be it war, sports, medical treatment, IT or business. Overall business strategy also encapsulates pricing strategy and there are certain areas which need to be kept in mind before deducing the final answer. It is tantamount to solving multiple equations with various variables, simultaneously. For others, it may seem just a simple answer as E=mc2 but deducing this conclusion involved playing with a list of variables. Few of the variables to be considered for deducing a meaningful price are mentioned below:

Products and services are made for generating value for customers

The ultimate purpose of any enterprise to exist is to generate value for its multiple stakeholders (not just shareholders). When products and services are formulated to deliver to customers, the ultimate aim should not be just profit making rather it should be delivering value to the customer. Say, a product which costs you $80, sold at a price of $100 should deliver value to the customer at $100+.This is cost plus pricing, an example can be an electrical component in a panel which may cost you $80 and you sell it to your customers at $100. But the true worth of that component is $100+ in the sense that if the component is not timely installed; it may result in a total shut down of the plant which may cost the customer millions of production loss.

Align product and service portfolio with market needs

Innovation is useless, if it cannot serve to enhance value for stakeholders. You have to understand the market and get a good grasp of what your target market really needs then align your portfolio of products and services with the market needs. Such analysis will assist in devising a better game plan and you can either adopt a market based pricing approach or economics driven (demand and supply based) pricing approach.

Understand your niche (target market)

To understand your niche, you need to have a good street smart mindset which would enable you to have first hand sense of the market. Based on that sense, you can develop a holistic approach for designing your product and services portfolio at an appropriate price. It is just like hitting the nail with a hammer.

Understand substitutes and competing products

If you do not have a good understanding of your competitors and substitutes, you would never be able to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You have to think what they think and how do they evaluate different options? From my personal experience, when I was leading the launch of Busway Systems in Pakistan for Siemens; I not only had to have good understanding of our competitors in busway system but also grasped a good understanding of substitute products i.e. cables. By doing so, I was in a better position to answer the concerns of persons sitting on the other side of the table.

Hope this helps you in framing a better strategy and spotting the right opportunities.

Time to move to a post-carbon world: ANU VC Professor Ian Young responds to criticism over divestments

Australian National University’s decision to divest from some companies due to concerns mainly related to environment or carbon pollution. The decision has sparked fury from some business and political interest groups.

Responding to the allegations, Professor Ian Young wrote on ANU’s website and The Sydney Morning Herald.

According to Mr. Young :

Just over a week ago, The Australian National University decided to sell shares worth approximately $16 million in seven companies, representing just one per cent of our investment portfolio, and a fraction of the market worth of the companies involved, which has sparked an extraordinary reaction.

From one side it has been attacked by elements of industry, media and some political figures as reckless, cowardly, superficial, anti-business, poorly conceived and as destroying jobs.

On the other side, my email account has melted down with emails of support, congratulating the University on its action, and the University’s Facebook page is awash with positive comments.

The reason for this extraordinary response is because the ANU decision is seen as another domino in the divestment-movement effect, involving individuals and institutions deciding to sell their holdings in fossil fuel-producing companies.

He further said:

There has been growing sentiment from our community to not just get a good financial return from our investments but also to invest in companies which would have activities consistent with the goals of the University, and do not manifestly cause social harm. For instance, the University for many years has not, and would not now, invest in tobacco

The initial calls were to divest from all fossil fuels. This is difficult in Australia, as many of our companies are diversified. They may produce coal, oil or gas but they also do many other things. And given the world’s necessary dependence on such fuels for a long time to come, the ethical issues involved are complex. To address these issues ANU established a socially responsible investment policy.

Not only Mr. Young conveyed his view point on the criticism but also provided a broad picture about the debate:

The real debate for Australia should be about jobs in a carbon-constrained world. What will our industries be in 20 or 30 years’ time? I am confident they will not be in producing fossil fuels. Australia should not be an adopter of alternative energy, we should be a producer.

The real debate in climate should be about producing cost-effective alternative energy. Sticking our collective heads in the sand and ignoring a changing world will ensure we do destroy jobs. Universities like the ANU should be the powerhouses to produce the new technologies for such a world.

The key here is for the various parties not to go to their collective corners and throw stones, but rather for us to work together and use the window of transition to ensure Australia is a technological leader in the post-carbon world.

In an email to Alumni, The ANU VC also urged former students to take part in the debate and give their views:

Dear student

As you may be aware, last week the University Council decided to sell a relatively small number of shares in seven companies. The decision has sparked an extraordinary reaction. I’ve written about the matter in an Op Ed published today.

ANU invests for the betterment of its community – students, staff and researchers. The returns on these investments fund scholarships, staff salaries, research projects and new infrastructure. The University has a responsibility to invest wisely but also in a manner consistent with the desires of our stakeholder students, alumni and staff.

To this end, the decision to divest was made after a review commissioned as part of our Socially Responsible Investment Policy. The review was undertaken by the independent Centre for Australian Ethical Research (CAER) and provided Environmental, Social and Governance Ratings on ANU-held domestic stocks. Using an internationally recognised methodology, our investments were assessed against environmental, social and governance criteria.

The ANU community – staff, students and alumni – has been very engaged in the debate about divestment. As the national university, we have a role to play in national and global debates of this kind.

As always, I welcome your views.

Professor Ian Young AO
Vice-Chancellor

The main post is available on ANU website link: http://vcdesk.anu.edu.au/2014/10/13/time-to-move-to-a-post-carbon-world/#comment-8291

Source: ANU

Fast, cheap, and under control

New book argues that inexpensive, employee-driven business experiments can help drive innovation.

By Peter Dizikes


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – When it comes to prescription drugs, patient “compliance” is a concern: Are people, especially the elderly, taking their medication on the proper schedule? While pharmaceutical firms focus on the research and development of drugs, knowing more about patient habits might, at a minimum, help those firms make the case for the effectiveness of their products.

Perhaps, then, some firms could benefit from a few experiments designed to help them learn more about their end-users: low-cost interventions that might involve, say, giving customers the opportunity to provide useful feedback about their habits. Indeed, small-scale business experiments designed from within might be the most valuable innovation investments most organizations can make, according to a new book on the subject.

“The purpose of an experiment is not to solve the problem, but to generate insights,” says Michael Schrage, a research fellow at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a member of the school’s executive education teaching faculty. Moreover, Schrage claims, some businesses may discover a kind of power law of experimental knowledge: “If you design your experiments [to be] simple, frugal, and fast, you frequently can capture 80 percent of the useful insights you need for 20 percent of the time and money you’re used to investing.”

Now in his new book, “The Innovator’s Hypothesis,” published this month by the MIT Press, Schrage fleshes out the idea of “5×5” experiments as a useful tool for business innovation: having a diverse team of five employees come up with five experiments that can be tested within five weeks, for under $5,000 each.

“I’m not saying, get rid of your planning, get rid of your analytics,” Schrage says. “But when you look at your portfolio of innovation options, you should have some sort of serious investment in fast, simple, cheap, scalable, experiments.”

Airline test cases

To be sure, the notion of the 5×5 experiment bears some relation to famous business practices of the past, such as Toyota’s effort to implement “continuous improvement” from within, or more recent tech-sector initiatives to give employees a portion of work time devoted to firmwide innovation. But Schrage wants to go beyond the incrementalism of continuous improvement.

In his book, however, Schrage focuses on the specific parameters of the 5×5 idea, contending that many business practices can be tested effectively, and relatively cheaply, using this specific model. For instance, the idea of persuading airline passengers to volunteer to be bumped from their flights, for compensation, he notes, dates to at least 1968, when an economist first suggested it — but the practice wasn’t widely implemented until the late 1970s. Small-scale tests could have shown the value and feasibility of the idea much sooner than that.

But for a specific 5×5 experiment to have value, Schrage notes, it needs to yield useful information, no matter what the result is. As Schrage describes in the book, he himself thought it would prove valuable for airlines to charge more to passengers who wanted to sit together in groups of more than two — but in online-booking tests, air travelers resist paying more for seats in order to be grouped together. Still, that’s a useful and practical piece of knowledge for airlines and travel companies to have.

In that vein, getting employees to see that their own ideas might not reach fruition, Schrage believes, may be the most difficult thing about getting the 5×5 method to take hold within a firm.

“It’s hard because people want their hypothesis to be the business plan,” Schrage says. “They want to prove their hypothesis. We’re just as interested if the hypothesis doesn’t test valid.”

To make the 5×5 effort work, Schrage also recommends that employees think specifically about which executives might be most receptive to certain innovations, or the experimental method as a whole, while trying to affect change at their firms. No innovation methodology, he believes, can escape corporate politics and culture.

“The not-so-hidden agenda [of the method] is to provide a new opportunity for alignment between the visions and aspirations of [executives] and the people who actually do the work and interact with clients and customers,” Schrage says. “It creates an opportunity to engage with top management.”

The general approach, Schrage thinks, can also improve a firm from within in other ways, by further tapping the insights and talents of a firm’s employees, and perhaps even help morale in the process.

“The real value isn’t just in terms of innovation portfolios,” Schrage asserts. “It’s in helping boost the human capital, the creativity, the innovative capacity of individuals who participate,” Schrage says.

Source : MIT News Office

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Science, Economy and Peace: A study focusing Pakistan

Syed Faisal ur Rahman


 

 Abstract: A key difference between the first world and the third world is their progress in the fields of science and technology. Pakistan is mainly known as an agricultural economy but agriculture sector does not contribute much in shaping the modern global economy. We will analyze how science and technology helped in improving the lives of people but also will see its role in the economic development of countries. In the age of conflicts, war and economic rivalry, it is often hard to find common grounds for humanity to proceed for common goals. Fortunately, some big science projects have proved to be a beacon of hope for humanity in pursuing a better peaceful and prosperous future for this world.We will give an overview of some of the projects pursued by countries who are normally rivals at military and economic fronts, but for pursuing science goals they have to join hands, giving a better hope for peace and economic development. We will also see how Pakistan can learn from the experiences of other countries and regions to build a better future for it’s people.

 


 

Introduction

Last century saw enormous developments in the field of science and technology, which also helped countries to rapidly develop their potential in industry, medical sciences, defense, space and many other sectors. Countries which made science and technology research and education as priority areas emerged as stronger nations as compared to those who merely relied on agriculture and the abundance of natural resources.

We can also see that big science projects, involving one or more than one country, have served our society through spin-off technologies, human resource development, boosting up economic activity and cooperation. Also, we will study the role of some big science projects in promoting peace and stability in the world.

Global Economy and Pakistan

According to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) world factbook public data [14], global economy has a size of 71.3 trillion dollars if we look at Gross Domestic Product (GDP) based on official exchange rate and 83.12 trillion dollars based on GDP purchasing power parity (PPP).

The contribution of different sectors based on CIA world fact book 2012 estimates, is as:

Agriculture- 5.9%

Industry -30.2%

Services- 63.9%

Pakistan which comprises of ~2.5-2.7 (2011 World Bank Data) percent of world population, only has 230.5 billion dollars GDP (official exchange rate) and 514.6 billion dollars GDP (PPP) which makes it around 0.32 % of the world economy based on GDP (official exchange rate) and 0.62% based on GDP(PPP). This shows a serious gap in income scales of some of the developed countries of the world and a relatively poor economy like Pakistan. This high population and low GDP mean less money available to individuals living in the country. GDP per capita (PPP) of the world is 12,400 dollars based on CIA world factbook 2012 estimates and for Pakistan the figure is 2,900 dollars.

Pakistan is also relatively more dependent on the agricultural sector. Pakistan’s labor composition is estimated in 2012 CIA world fact book as:

Agriculture- 20.1%

Industry- 25.5%

Services- 54.4%

If we look at the labor distribution, then according to 2007 estimates, Pakistan’s ~45% population is involved in the agricultural sector, which is more than industry (~21%) and services (~34%).

 Science, Technology and Global Economy

Below is plot of World Bank 2011 data [13] for countries with highest Gross National Income (GNI) per capita:

gnipercapita

Fig. 1: GNI per capita for 2011 based on World Bank Data

If we look at figure 1 then we can clearly see that most countries in top 20 GNI are knowledge based economies and some represent natural resource or energy based economies. In comparison with these economies, Pakistan’s GNI is 1,120 dollars based on the same criteria.

A more direct comparison can be given between GDP and science output is the table below showing top scientific and technical journal producers and their GDP rankings:

Rank(based on column 3) Country Scientific and Technical Journal Articles (2009, World Bank Data)[13] GDP Ranking ( based on 2011, World Bank Data) Human Development Index(HDI, based on 2012 UNDP Data) [11] Category
1 United States 208,601 1 Very High
2 China 74,019 2 Medium
3 Japan 49,627 3 Very High
4 United Kingdom 45,649 7 Very High
5 Germany 45,003 4 Very High
6 France 31,748 5 Very High
7 Canada 29,017 10 Very High
8 Italy 26,755 7 Very High
9 South Korea 22,271 14 Very High
10 Spain 21,543 11 Very High
11 India 19,917 8 Medium
12 Australia 18,923 12 Very High
13 Netherlands 14,866 16 Very High
14 Russia 14,016 9 High
15 Brazil 12,306 6 High
16 Sweden 9,478 20 Very High
17 Switzerland 9,469 18 Very High
18 Turkey 8,301 17 High
19 Poland 7,355 21 Very High
20 Belgium 7,218 22 Very High
46 Pakistan 1,043 45 Low

Table 1: Pakistan and the top 20 Sci-tech journal articles producing countries and their GDP rankings (based on the World Bank data). Also we have presented the Human Development Index (HDI) categories of these countries based on the 2012 United Nations Development Program’s HDI data.

Figures in table 1, clearly shows some relation between scientific output and the size of the overall economy. There are few exceptions like Saudi Arabia, which makes regularly into the top 20 economies and is not one of the top producers of scientific and technical journal articles. We can find such inconsistencies as there is more than one factor which contributes to the size of the economy like exploitation of energy resources, minerals, large size of populations and various other factors.

Also we can see that most sci-tech journal articles producing countries are in very high HDI countries with 3 in high and 2 in medium categories. We can see two medium category countries are two of the largest populations on earth i.e. China and India. HDI of a country depends on the access to health, income, access to education and living standard of the citizens of that country. This indicator provides a more realistic picture as compared to GDP for measuring quality of life as countries with large populations like China and India can have high GDP despite lower average income or can have a higher number of sci-tech publications or output despite not doing well in per person averages. In comparison to these countries, Pakistan is in the low HDI category which shows the low quality of life for the citizens of Pakistan.

Pakistan and comparison with India and China

We further narrow our comparison with countries having similar regional and economic history. For this we select India and China. India and China reside in the same region as Pakistan and got independence in the same time period of the late 40s. China has the largest population in the world and India has the second largest population having relatively high population density.

If we look at the historical comparisons after the separation of the East Pakistan from the federation, we can see we were well ahead of both China and India, in terms of GNI per capita and the economic freedom, for a good part of our history. Apart, from being relatively free market economy, Pakistan also did well in the development of techno-industry. Almost all major scientific organizations related to heavy industries, space, nuclear, agricultural and other areas developed in earlier decades of Pakistan. In later years, Pakistan was left behind in development by the two countries. One of the main reasons behind this is Pakistan’s lack of interest in the science and technology sectors and the inability to keep up with the pace of science and technology development in India and China. We can see historical GNI comparisons between Pakistan, China and India.

China adopted a focused techno-industrial development approach. According to Campbell, 2013 [3] paper, China developed its industrial base on Soviet lines till 1959 focusing on heavy industries. After that, till 1976 ideological domination of economic projects and economy didn’t progress much.  Then China adopted a more independent technology research policy with a relatively liberal economic agenda and in 2001 with further Chinese shift towards a market economy from a controlled economy, these policies started to give results as the involvement of private sector in such projects ensured the translation of technology research into commercial success.

Similarly, India focused strongly on science and technology from its early days and also started to initially focus on heavy industries on Soviet lines. Later, especially in early 1990s, with the liberalization of the economy and the policy shift towards more market economy, India started to promote small technology based industries. A good focus of India was on software industry which not only helped India in bringing more export revenues, but also helped improve corporate governance in India (Arora et al, 2002)[1]. This led to more productivity in many industries of India and with gradual shifts towards a market economy India also saw rapid economic growth.

Fig. 2: GNI comparison between Pakistan, China and India (World Bank 2013 Data)

Collaboration in Science and World Peace

Apart from economic development, science projects have also contributed in promoting peace and collaboration among many countries including many rival countries. The lead in promoting scientific collaboration for peace was taken by Europe. After the World War II, Europe learned to promote economic cooperation instead of unnecessary rivalry. This cooperation in economic areas grew further and expanded in other areas like science and technology. Launch of The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN[4] in 1954 was a huge step in promoting scientific collaboration among European countries in post-World War II scenario. This spirit continued even in Cold War days (Gillies, 2011) [6] as the idea of exploring the nature of matter and energy proved to be bigger than the prejudices and blind nationalism.

This spirit continued further in other big sciences and we now see countries like USA, China, Russia, UK and others doing collaborations in space sciences, particle physics, astronomy, medicine and many other areas. Some of the examples in this regard are Square Kilometer Array (SKA), Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), International Space Station (ISS) and other projects are forwarding such spirit.

Apart from this many countries are involved in other collaborative projects as well. These projects are always welcomed in civil society and the scientific community as a way to promote peace.

Pakistan is also involved in some of these projects like CERN and SESAME. Pakistan’s collaboration with CERN formally started in past two decades. Pakistan’s connection with CERN is even older than Pakistan’s formal entry in this collaboration. This connection was established through Pakistan’s Nobel Laureate, Dr. Abdus Salam. Still a lot is needed to be done by Pakistan to get the best out of these collaborations with CERN.

In SESAME, Pakistan played a key role by becoming a founding member. The idea is a brain child of Dr. Abdus Salam and Middle East based MESC (Middle East Scientific Cooperation) group headed by Sergio Fubini, a theoretician at CERN, who aspired for a synchrotron radiation source in the Middle East (Historical highlights, SESAME website) [10]. SESAME shares the same spirit of science for peace with CERN as it is helping to bridge the gap between historically rival nations and in improving people to people relations between countries like Pakistan, Iran, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Turkey and others who are often involved in heated conflicts in the region. The project was shown full support by 45 Nobel Laureates in a joint declaration which also demanded friends of science and peace to support the project (Declaration, PETRA VI meeting, June 2008) [5].

Pakistan is still behind many countries of the world in space sciences despite being among the first few countries to launch a space rocket in the 1960s. Similarly, Pakistan has not played a significant role in any significant collaboration related to the promotion of astronomy. Our neighboring countries are playing key roles in projects like SKA (skatelescope.org, participating countries) [8] and are also expected to join ISS in the future (Spacenews, 2010) [9].

Big Science and Economic Development

Big science projects have not only played a crucial role in bringing peace or satisfying human curiosity to know more about the nature and origin of matter, energy and the universe, but the path to achieve such scale of science has led to many spin-off technology developments.

Development of World Wide Web (WWW) is a result of data sharing architecture designed for CERN (webfoundation.org, history of the web) [7], Wi-Fi is a result of CSIRO’s efforts to develop better techniques for radio astronomy (csiro.au, outcomes)[12], research in radio astronomy has also played a key role in developing techniques for locating cellular telephones, location for faulty transmitters (Bout, 1999)[2] and various other technologies.

The key here is to understand the importance of basic and fundamental sciences, and understanding the importance of adopting the right strategy for using the resulting science and technologies for economic and social development.

 Pakistan and Suggestions to Develop Science and Technology for Economic Development

The purpose of presenting various examples, data and figures is to show the necessity of developing a solid foundation for science and technology in Pakistan. We are a country with significant potential in minerals, energy and agricultural resources. Also, we have developed some advanced technology base in the defense sector. We also have a small but energetic Information Technology industry, which is growing well despite difficulties due to law and order situation, and electricity crisis in the country.

Below are some of the steps we can take to promote science and technology in Pakistan and then use it for developing Pakistan’s economy.

a) We need to improve basic science education in the country. The school level curriculum is way behind as compared to other parts of the world. We need to produce students who can think big and even if they do not pursue science as their career, they should be at least educated enough to appreciate the importance of fundamental research. Even if students end up pursuing management studies or end up as key decision makers in government or private sector offices then they will be better equipped to realize the importance of science and technology research in the progress of our country or to come up with business idea which will exploit scientific knowledge.

b) We need to promote research and development in the universities by encouraging industry-academia linkages by providing tax incentives for industries involved in promoting research and development in the universities of Pakistan.

c) We need to share the technology base developed in defense sector with the private sector so that it can be used for peaceful commercialization of technology.

d) We need to give tax and reward incentives to the private sector for contributing in fundamental sciences.

e) We need to promote collaboration between universities and strategic national organizations like SUPARCO and NESCOM.

f) The most important thing which is needed to be done is to give the leading role in policy making to the civilian scientists with sound academic and research background. Currently, institutions like SUPARCO, NESCOM and other institutions are under the direct or indirect control of military personnel who usually do not have enough academic and research background to make the right decisions and set the right priorities in the key areas of science and technology.

g) Another thing lacking in Pakistan is active inter-university and intra-university collaboration for science projects related to interdisciplinary sciences.

h) We also need to give priority to the science and technology collaboration in academic and fundamental research areas when planning our foreign policy. Currently, our foreign policy is security focused with no serious efforts to strengthen academic ties with other countries. Our embassies are needed to be run by people who understand how important it is to interact with the academia of the country they are serving in and how important it is to help our universities in making right relationships in foreign countries for scientific research. This will again be dependent on how good we will do in producing non-science graduates who understand the importance of science and technologies as most foreign office employees come from the arts departments, the business schools etc.

i) We finally need to start playing an active role in major areas of science and technology like particle   physics, astronomy, high performance computing, quantum computing, nano-technology and other areas where we have a potential to go ahead but lacking any serious progress due to lack of proper policy making and interest.

We also need to identify our strengths and weaknesses in various areas of technology and divide our science and technology base in:

a)      Commercial

In this category we can place technologies like information & communication, agricultural, pharmaceutical etc.

b)      Defense

Pakistan has done a significant investment over the past few decades in the development of nuclear, missile, fighter jets and other technologies. We can use these technologies for commercial purposes like producing energy or developing civil aeronautical industry.

c)       Strategic

Not all science and technology research produces immediate results but, their long term impact can be seen in other developed countries and some of them are mentioned above. In this category we can place big sciences like space, radio astronomy and high energy physics or even areas like quantum computing, geophysics etc.

d)      Fundamental or Basic

Fundamental or basic sciences help in creating the grounds for developments in other area mentioned previously. Physics is considered as the most fundamental science and in relative broader terms special sciences like chemistry and biology are also often made part of this category. In more liberal definitions, people also include mathematics, statistics and economics in this area as well. We need to improve research in this area and also we need to improve the teaching quality of these subjects in primary, secondary, higher secondary and tertiary level education systems.

This categorization will help Pakistan in better prioritizing the areas based on need and capacity.

Conclusions

We discussed the importance of science and technology in the economic development. We also presented a comparison between Pakistan and other countries, including neighboring China and India. We also discussed the role of science and technology in promoting peace and collaboration. We also discussed how big sciences can contribute to the economy through spin-off technologies. In the end, we also discussed some  suggestions for developing science and technology in Pakistan.

References

  1. Arora A. and Athreye A.,2002. The Software Industry and India’s Economic Development. Information Economics and Policy 14 (2002) 253-273.
  2. Bout P. V., April, 1999. Recent Examples of Technology Fostered by Radio Astronomy (Document).
  3.  Campbell J.R.,2013. Becoming a Techno-Industrial Power: Chinese Science and Technology Policy. Issues in Technology Innovation 23 (2013).
  4. CERN official website – http://home.web.cern.ch/
  5. Ely Wiesel Foundation Declaration, June, 2008. Declaration accepted by the Plenary Meeting of the Nobel Laureates at the PETRA IV Meeting on 19 June 2008 and released by Ely Wiesel Foundation.
  6. Gillies J., 2011, CERN can be model for global co-operation, http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/477/cern-can-be-model-for-global-co-operation
  7. History of web-Web foundation website http://www.webfoundation.org/vision/history-of-the-web/
  8. Participating Countries, SKA website- http://www.skatelescope.org/the-project/history-of-the-organisation/participating-countries-2/
  9. Seilding P.B. , Feb. 3, 2010, http://www.spacenews.com
  10. SESAME official website- www.sesame.org.jo
  11. United Nations Development Program (UNDP) HDI http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/hdi/
  12. Wireless LANs, CSIRO website- http://www.csiro.au/en/Outcomes/ICT-and-Services/People-and-businesses/wireless-LANs.aspx
  13. World Bank’s World Development Indicators (WDI) – http://data.worldbank.org/indicator
  14. World Fact Book, CIA-https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/‎