Gone are the days when B-Schools were populated only by the city-bred. Several students from smaller towns in India are now occupying top slots in India’s Ivy League Business Schools. What explains the increase in the number of students, hailing from smaller towns, joining elite B-Schools across India?? Although we are tempted to attribute such encouraging phenomenon to the success of the LPG -Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation- path embraced by India post 1991, they dont really help us find accurate answers.
However, if we begin to distill across the huge impact created by these phenomena in our society, we realize how information revolution has brought about a radical shift in our society from the old world to the wired new world order. The Old world was built over hierarchies which thrived on the asymmetry of information. With passage of time, businesses realized that these hierarchies no longer produced the desired results. Hierarchies had, as Ricardo Semler put it in his best-seller, turned businesses into a traffic jam. The traffic jam became messier with smash-ups and accidents as decision makers climbed up the organizational pyramid. Things however began to change for the better.
With the advent of networked technology, information began to open up a whole world of opportunities. Information was no longer shackled by the dictates of power. Information revolution seeped into the lattices of corporation and severed the hierarchies built within. Companies like Google, Linux, with their democratic genes intact, grew up to inherit the fruits of this information revolution.
Information Revolution: Opportunities unlimited
It often gives us an ineffable feeling when we watch white-collar wish-fulfillment fantasies like ROCK ON. These movies equate happiness with throwing away boring jobs in our career and follow what we are passionate about. Our hearts explode in joy to see hearts ruling the roost in silver screen. In case , if you are one of those who believe that such romantic schmaltz can only happen on screen, then wait for IIMs' placement sessions to get over. You are sure to read news snippets of B-School graduates throwing their MNC offers to become entrepreneurs.
What explains the audacity of such brilliant minds of our country who dare to throw away their coveted high salary jobs and pursue their passion?
Information revolution has made all the difference. It has provided accommodative infrastructure to start business in no time. New ventures are being experimented. The Gen-Y folks, who grew up amidst this technology, are more confident and dare to take such challenges. The growth in such businesses has brought ample cash flow to goad them to explore millions of opportunities lying around.
The World’s best strategist
Who is the best strategist in the world? Ask this question to a manager. He will point out at several management gurus who have created several management abracadabra- powerful magic spells that can intimidate lesser mortals in planet earth and help a manager to throw his weight around. Ask this question to the religious folk. They will point out to their gods in their pantheon. How many of us would look at Nature as the best strategist in the world? Our pavlovian reaction would probably say "How is it possible, with all the mess happening around rising temperatures and depleting natural resources" “Isn’t nature a panaromic picture of chaos, with several mysterious phenomena being reported every day, much to the delight of TV Channels? No wonder, some scientist called it “ The Chaos Theory” , in a futile attempt to theorize nature’s puzzling behavior.
Is this what nature is all about? Wait, Let us pause for a while to filter these noise signals and look at nature deeply to get right answers.
Although it might seem the opposite at first glance, nature reveals us that chaos isn’t actually chaotic but perfectly strategized to the highest order. It is indeed hard for us to believe that nature, with her benign and soothing presence, could hold infinite intelligence in her bosom. Blame it on our fast track lives, we never pause to be amazed at her intelligence in designing a small seed, fully loaded with all the information necessary to determine the size, shape and colour of the leaf that would emerge and the right timing for the flower that would bloom.
Scientists have tried hard to understand the intricacies of Nature. The more they researched; they realized that they are only going deeper down the rabbit hole. However the truth is simple to fathom. Nature works on instinct. We humans also have access to this powerful tool, as long as we trust it. What really prevents us from using this tool is our conditioned brain which drives us to analyze things. How could we trust such decision which comes from literally nothing? Our mind often doubts the veracity of such decisions. Managers have often been caught in this dilemma between analysis arrived from facts and gut feeling landed from nowhere.
However history has several evidences to showcase the greatness of instincts. **In the 1950s, Ray Kroc decided to buy the Mc.Donalds brand because "my funny bone instinct kept urging me on." The rest, as they say, is history. Against all odds, his company became the icon of fast food across the entire world. Businesses have now begun to appreciate the power of intuition. R.Gopalakrishnan, in his beautiful book” The Case of the Bonsai manager” talks about how leadership, in these changing times, have begun to demand more of intuitive rather than analytical skills.