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Saturday, January 4, 2014

How to use Enlight framework to diagnose in career?

I met Niraj last week.

Niraj is a Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer from Nasik, a town 200 kms from Mumbai in India. Loves Robotics. So he went to Mumbai to work in a Robotics company for 2 years. Then went to Germany to do Masters in Robotics. He plans to finish his Masters by next year in 2014. When i asked him about his plans after finishing Masters , he said ' I plan to return to Nashik. I will either work on developing robots for the factories in Nashik. Or work with colleges to develop a robot like they do in Germany'. Is Niraj taking the right step? 

How can you help Niraj by using Enlight diagnostic framework?

How is learning created by a student

Students use cognitive inputs of different subject (facts and procedures) to solve a specific problem. Projects like robot-making, radio making, and bridge-building help students to produce 'visible outputs' and test the efficacy of their inputs. In other words, the student needs a 'system' to engagePlease read this description of system

System produces an output which gives feedback to the students to find if the knowledge they are creating is indeed correct. Exam 'output' on the other hand gives a poor feedback because it only tests the student's ability to reproduce what is taught, not what is learnt. When the 'project output' resembles a problem in real life, this creates learning for a student

Understand Niraj's confidence using the lens of Enlight Result framework

Instead of project, Niraj has worked in a company to do real work in robots and solve their real problems. While during Masters in Germany, Niraj was working on real project that was funded by a company, supervised by his Professors.The project had a budget and time target, the real world constraints. All this real work done by Niraj has produced deep learning in him and has produced 'deep cognitive skills'. This has also produced confidence in Niraj. 

Remember that confidence is an emergent characteristics resulting after working in the result system. Confidence is not inherent in a person, it is created when he interacts with 'other' elements in a system to produce visible results. Now Niraj plans to use this confidence in developing robots for factories in Nashik ?

What should Niraj do? Should Niraj work in another product-development company which designs robots or Should Niraj set up his own company?

Alternative 1: Should Niraj join another product-development company 

Companies not only develop products, but also manufacture and sell products. Development of products is quite prevalent in software industry in India, but rare in manufacturing and other industries. Indian manufacturing companies, instead of investing money and resources in developing new products, prefer to invest in manufacturing and selling products. Indian manufacturing companies also do not prefer to work with Colleges and universities on new product development like they do in Western countries in US and Europe.

Therefore when Niraj explored the possibility of working in a company for designing robots, he could not find one.

When I told Niraj about the lack of robust product development system in India, he said " I am good enough to get projects myself from the factories around Nashik. I know their problems very well".Is Niraj mis-applying his confidence in setting up his own company to develop robots for Indian companies ? Let us therefore analyse further.

Alternative 2: Should Niraj set up his own company to create the result 

Many of us downplay the role of system in creating an output, and believe that we can 'create' results by using our willpower, knowledge and passion. But it is far more prudent to 'use' the existing system to generate the requisite output in a company by joining the existing team. That is why, it is prudent for students to align with the system by joining an existing well-set company after graduation.

Over a period of years, the well-set company has found suppliers who can supply the necessary services, developed skilled employees to support them, found customers who can pay for their services and earn enough profits so that many competitors have joined the 'system' to make it even more robust. Because the students join a well-set company, they not only learn fast because they face real problems but they also get paid well for their untested knowledge base.

Niraj can form a new company by finding investors who can back him to set a company to set up a product development facility in Nashik, India. However, as the product development system is not matured in Nashik, he has to find trained employees who are willing to work in Nasik, locate the right suppliers and then convince the customers to get a good price. In other words, he has to initiate all the efforts himself.

Will Niraj succeed? Technically anything is possible, but even a most confident person is likely to fail in this scenario.(By the way, it took more than 10 years to set up a new system of cinema making in India)

What are his chances of succeeding in setting up a new product-development system ? 

Let us imagine what Niraj will achieve if he decides to set up his own company in Nashik to develop robots for Nashik Factories. Let us also include luck elements, because in real life they also play significant role.

For instance, Niraj may find a well wisher in a Nashik factory who can give him the 'order' of developing a robot ( a lucky break!) . Even if he gets the right price for his order ( the second lucky break!) , he may not be able to deliver the robot in the requisite cost, because he will find it extremely difficult to mobilise the resources to deliver the order, because people, material and suppliers are not in place. ( Luck does not keep on repeating!) 

Unable to earn reasonable money from robotics, Niraj may start teaching in college. That will give him money, but will also divert his attention and time. This will further reduce his chances of succeeding. So, after five years, he may be losing on both the fronts: he neither has the requisite experience of building challenging robots, nor does he have enough money. What will that lead to?

Unable to understand the 'power' of invisible output system, Niraj will start blaming the customers for not giving him orders at the right price. Or he may start cursing his employees who leave for higher salary because they get well trained with him. Or he may blame the colleges who are not willing to invest in research in India because it is not cost-beneficial for them. This is called 'victim' mentality in the language of psychology.

What should Niraj do? What will you recommend Niraj?