27 March 2021:
Every industry in the world is going through turmoil and transformation. The media industry is no different. The entire value chain of media – from content creation to delivery platforms to media consumption – has changed. Social media platforms have made news a commodity. Journalism has had to move up the ladder from news to views. We all know what happened; journalists need to tell us why it happened. The business of views is far more prone to polarisation than the business of news. The media world is more virulently partisan than ever before; there is no middle ground. How does journalism retain credibility in a world where information is fast and free, where platforms have more power than traditional media, and the dissemination of information – or disinformation – is easier than ever before? Our speaker, a seasoned leader of media businesses, will address these issues and more. We will discuss if there is still a future for the traditional media business model. In an age of citizen journalism, do we still need professional journalists? If so, how do media businesses and journalists evolve to remain relevant?
20 March 2021:
The world has been on the move for several decades. Migration is at an all-time high. Almost 300 million people today live in countries other than where they were born. In london and new york, more than a third of the residents are foreign-born. When people move, cultures and customs move. And food travels with people. As migrants get caught in politics of migration, identity, and assimilation, food becomes political too. How did indian food travel the earth? Has it provided an identity to indian immigrants? How does ‘ethnic’ food climb the status ladder? For example, italian food in the usa started at the bottom, but as italian-americans prospered, and outgrew their hyphenated status, so did italian food. Have indian migrants, too, made that transition? Has indian food assimilated into the local cultures? Or is it still ‘ethnic’? Our speaker, who works at the intersection of food and culture, will address these questions and more. He will address the process, the politics, and the roadblocks, on the route to food becoming the vehicle for immigrants’ assimilation in their adopted countries.
13 March 2021:
In early 2020, when the world health organization declared covid-19 a pandemic, the world descended into pandemonium. The ensuing months were a mix of heightened panic and ill-preparedness. Amid the chaos, we tried to find a method in the madness, pausing to ponder over the handling of past public health crises. History may not repeat itself, but it swings around in a perennial loop. We forget history at our own peril. As it turned out, India had a case of mass amnesia about its own experiences with pandemics. Why did we not learn from the past, to predict and prepare for future portentous calamities? Our speaker, who works at the intersection of economics and history, probed into previous public health disasters, culminating in the book, ‘the age of pandemics';. It describes how the world at large, and India in particular, endured three other pandemics over a century ago. He will explain how these experiences changed people’s lives and livelihoods, and lessons for the present and inevitable similar crises in the future. He will answer questions about what could have done better if we had not forgotten the past.
27 February 2021:
The transformative power of artificial intelligence has changed everything. Driven by ai-based algorithms, gafa rules the world. A retailer knows more about what we want than we do; a social media platform creates echo chambers and influences world politics; a search engine reads our mind. This has changed how we connect, learn, work, shop, and live. How do we celebrate and enhance the upsides of ai – to transform industries from retail to banking to stock markets to healthcare delivery to manufacturing to education? And how do we mitigate the downsides – issues of privacy and ethical use of data? The manipulative intents of some social media platforms? Can we trust the machines’? Is the predictive power of machines too strong? Is it time for social media platforms to be declared a public good? Our speaker, a leading researcher on artificial intelligence, and a data scientist, will address these questions and more: how do these technologies impact our work, health, emotional well-being, government, democracy, and freedom? How do we get the best out of ai, while circumventing the pitfalls? How do we make artificial intelligence complement and augment human intelligence, not replace it?
6 February 2021:
As the name suggests, human rights should be inalienable for every human being, beyond the remit of any employer or government. But in reality, human rights have often been denied on the basis of race, religion, gender, caste or sexual orientation. As the world moves increasingly into the digital realm, due considerations on the right to data privacy, data security and the right to personal data protection are becoming increasingly pertinent. For corporate leaders, the intersection of human rights and business has raised several critical questions. Companies need to respect Human Rights, not only because it is the ethical thing to do, but because it is the smart thing to do; avoid lawsuits, reputational damage, and losing the business of conscientious customers, suppliers and partners. Our speaker will address some urgent questions about human rights in the business world emphasising how businesses need to ethically interact with employees, suppliers, partners and society. He will discuss issues like treatment of labour, working conditions in supply chains, data privacy on social media, and more. In addition to being a renowed human rights campaigner, he is an accomplished journalist and poet. He might regale us with some of his acebric incisive poetry.
30 January 2021:
The World will have 10 Billion Inhabitants by 2050. How can we feed this growing population, through systems that do not negatively impact climate, biodiversity and scarce natural resources? The current food systems has led to food insecurity, zoonotic diseases, pressure on rainforests, water scarcity, and climate crisis. The world needs a more sustainable food system; a radical rethink of legacy systems. Meat as the dominant source of protein, and the industrial system for meat production, is an ecological disaster happening in slow motion. Alternative 'Smart' protein sources are needed. 'A - Faster - Horse' model of thinking would not have moved the world from the horse-carriage to the automobile. Similarly, smart innovation is needed to replace conventional unsustainable animal agriculture, to provide abundant protein to the growing population, without destroying the planet. Our Speaker is an expert in bringing together the science, the financing, the poilitics and the marketing of smart protein - aimed at building a world of abundance from the ground up. He will address questions about How to Feed the 10 Bilion without further degradation of the planet.
16 January 2021:
Is there a reason why Governments get into Industrial Production? Shouldn't Governments govern and leave Industrial Production to the private sector? Why did the Indian Government invest in the public sector and why is it now disinvesting? In the last few years, we have seen significant shifts in how the Government deals with the Industrial and Public sectors. There has been heightened policy movement around privatisation, worker retrenchment, disinvestment, greater dividends and the state assets sale. Meanwhile, select well-performing psus are being used as vehicles of countercyclical capital investment, employment expansion, national tecnology choice vehicles through mass procurement, and much more. Our speaker, an expert in the public sector's evolution and future, will address many crucial questions. With the grand design of state-led growth of the early decades of Independent India waning, What is India's Industrial PSUS' role going forward? Do the social contracts and aspirations of commanding heights forged in the first few decades after India's independence have relevance today? What kind of balance should India be aiming for between the public and private sectors?
9 January 2021:
India achieved independence in 1947 and embarked on building a new and prosperous nation, following a Fabian socialist model, with an emphasis on self-reliance. In 1991 the country made a dramatic turn, and gradually opened up its economy to global trade, freed local industry from many constraints, and initiated a series of reforms in the financial sector. The rest, as they say, is history, or in this case, economics. These economic reforms included allowing free convertibility of the Indian rupee for current account transactions, prescribing a limit to annual budget deficits, abolishing the automatic monetisation of government debt, modifying the control on gold imports, and dismantling the Licence Raj. This was a different vision of economic development: an open economy with the state relinquishing control of the commanding heights of the economy. The road was rough; the transformation had its critics. Our speaker Dr C Rangarajan was at the epicentre of the economic reforms, and at the pinnacle of academia. In this conversation with Dr Raghavan Rangarajan, he will discuss the challenges and accomplishments of the economic reforms, and his personal journey from academia to policy making.
5 December 2020:
The current pandemic started as a health crisis, but has turned into an economic calamity. In its recent World Economic Outlook report, the International Monetary Fund projects a severe economic recession in 2020. Although governments around the world are providing extraordinary policy support, much still needs to be done. However, the case of the Indian economy is different. 'The Great Slowdown' had hit the nation much before the pandemic. Most indicators of economic health were in decline or had gone into negative territory. Post-lockdown, India has become the fastest contracting large economy in the world. The cracks in the Indian banking and economic institutional framework that had appeared before the pandemic have now widened into chasms. More than ever before, the country now needs a greater systemic response and not fragmented ad hoc policy support. Our expert speaker, who is a former Chief Statistician of India, will review the current economic condition of the country and suggest policy initiatives to help revive the economy. What role can corporates and industry associations play in the recovery? He will also discuss the role that institutions at the heart of government policy can play in this precarious situation.
28 November 2020:
For centuries, businesses have seen disruptions: a new technology, an aggressive nimble-footed competitor, a sudden change in business regulations, and many more. Despite our familiarity with extreme changes in business ecosystems, today's business environment is unique in many ways. First, the velocity of change is unprecedented: one year in today's digital world is like a decade in the past. Second, the scale of change is truly unparalleled. In today's connected world, one sneeze in a remote village in India can make the whole world catch a cold. What should business leaders do to succeed in this increasingly complex and fast-changing business environment? Can they afford to continue seeing the new world through old glasses? Is there a new way to develop strategy, which can help businesses thrive in this firestorm of changes? Our speaker - who has co-authored the book The Phoenix Encounter Method - proposes a radical business model transformation process for success in the post-COVID world. We will discuss the key elements of this transformation process and its significance in today's world.
21 November 2020:
Since economic liberalisation in India in the 1990s, hitherto rigid class boundaries are being constantly redefined. Emerging professions at the crossroads of class intersections - fitness trainers at western-style gyms, baristas at modern cafés, or shop attendants at high-end malls from vernacular-educated lower middle-class backgrounds - encounter English-speaking upper middle-class clients. This facilitates upward class mobility, and the redrawing of the map of the Great Indian Middle Class. There is no one Indian middle class; there are several. Wealth is not the only qualification. It is easy to transcend the economic barrier; the social and cultural transition is far more evanescent. The 300-million-strong middle class of India is a mirage that foreign brands get attracted to and then disappointed by; the promised markets are ephemeral. Our speaker, who recently wrote a book on the topic - Muscular India - is an anthropologist. He studies fitness trainers and others inhabiting the borderlands of class divides. He will share his observations on the changing landscape of the middle class. We will go back to the history of this transition, and forward to the future of this ever-changing class in India.
7 November 2020:
Bad loans of Indian banks peaked at around INR 10 lakh crore in 2018. In the popular imagination, fuelled by sensationalist media, a few flamboyant fugitive businessmen, the so-called 'bad boy billionaires', are the villains. The problem is often blamed on crony capitalism. But these poster boys of bad loans are only the visible manifestation of a more insidious problem. The real villains are a large number of businessmen who most people have never heard of. To revive the economy after the financial crisis of 2008, the banks, urged by the ministry of finance, went overboard giving loans to businessmen who couldn't get their projects going, and defaulted. These bad loans continue to hold India's economy back. In this conversation, the speaker, who recently wrote a book on this topic, will address issues around the bad loan crisis in India. What is the problem? Why were the businesses unable to repay these loans? How do bad loans impact individuals and society? And what are the solutions?
31 October 2020:
To say that the world today is in turmoil is a gross understatement. The old order has broken down. There is no clear leader in this turbulent world. We went from two superpowers to one superpower to the current state of flux, where there is no undisputed superpower. The world, and India, is seeing a rise in populism, nationalism, and deglobalisation. Multilateral organisations - UN, WHO, NATO, EU - are also losing their shine. With China on the back foot, is it time for India to shine? Is the mythical 'Indian Century' finally about to become a reality? When the dust settles, and the new world order emerges from the current shambles, will India find itself holding a dominant position in the new world, or even in its own backyard? In this conversation, our eminent speaker will focus on the external challenges India faces in a Post-COVID World - at a time of internal turmoil within India. The conversation will discuss the complex interrelationship between foreign and domestic policy in an uncertain world.
21 October 2020:
In this session of The Conversation Series, Mr Amit Varma, author, podcaster, and journalist; former Managing Editor, Cricinfo; and Former Consulting Editor, Yahoo India, and Professor Sudhir Pandey, Senior Lecturer, Amrut Mody School of Management, Ahmedabad University, discuss the economics of cricket, the strategies needed, and the business of cricket, which are particularly topical in these IPL times. Mr Varma also discusses how he uses the tools of economics to arrive at a new strategic understanding of the game.
17 October 2020:
At this session of The Conversation Series, Mr B. Sambamurthy, Independent Director, National Securities Depository Limited, Governing Council Member, Insurance Information Bureau of India, and Former Chairman of National Payments Corporation of India as RBI Nominee, and Professor Amol Agrawal, Assistant Professor, Amrut Mody School of Management, Ahmedabad University, look at the history, the present situation, and the likely future of digital payments in India. They also discuss whether the issuance of a CBDC from the RBI will take us towards a cashless society.
10 October 2020:
Over millennia, the world had arrived at an equilibrium, albeit precarious, in terms of an agreed set of ethical norms, laws, and regulations to govern most aspects of life and business. However, many emerging technologies are leaping ahead too fast for law and regulation to catch up. Who is responsible if an autonomous car crashes: the car owner, the car maker, or the software maker? What are the ethical bounds of human genome editing? What laws, if any, govern the development of AI? Governments struggle to make laws fast enough. Philosophers are left scrambling to resolve ethical dilemmas posed by emerging technology. In biotechnology, blockchain, robotics, nanotechnology, autonomous driving, cybersecurity, data privacy and beyond, there is an urgent need for governance. It is the wild west all over again. Where are the sheriffs of this new cowboy country? The speakers will explore areas of intersection between ethics, law, and technology: new and innovative models needed to bridge the widening gap between emerging technologies and governance.
26 September 2020:
Despite the rhetoric on customer centricity, most companies do not bring the customer into their business strategy development process. The focus is inside-out: on the company's products, capabilities, competition, and tunnel-vision definition of the market. Supply side, rather than the demand side, is what often drives strategy - excessive talk of competitive advantage, market share, and gaining a larger slice of the pie, rather than growing the pie. Companies will achieve their full potential only when they start looking outside-in; looking at customer need as the starting point; and designing products and services to cater to that need - rather than fighting competition to sell existing products to the narrowly defined target group. How can companies break out from the crowded competitive red ocean and explore possibilities in the blue ocean? Our speakers, thought leaders on market strategy and consumer insight, will discuss what can be done to bring analyses and insights from the world of the customer into the business strategy development process.
19 September 2020:
Salman Rushdie once said, ‘one of the extraordinary things about human events is that the unthinkable becomes thinkable’. This seems more true today than ever before. The first two decades of this century have seen unimaginable events come to pass. Business organisations have struggled to deal with these unpredictable events. one Indian cooperative organisation, Amul, has been able to manage many challenging situations, where even large multinational organisations have stumbled. The multi-layered ownership and accountability structure – from villages to districts to the state – creates the ability to act collectively for the greater good. Procurement, distribution, and logistics are handled with agility and resilience. with this structure of collective ownership and management, Amul ensured the smooth flow of products, even at the height of the lockdown earlier this year. In this conversation, the experts will discuss some critical questions: how does a grassroots multi-dimensional cooperative system deal with uncertain situations? how does a collaborative organisation stay relevant in this uncertain world? how does it integrate technology and human talent to respond better and faster to change?
5 September 2020:
Kofi Annan once said, 'Arguing against globalisation is like arguing against the law of gravity.' The world was excited about the benefits of globalisation: access to technology, free movement of goods and labour, lower production costs, lower tariff barriers, access to untapped markets, and improvements in living standards. India's liberalisation in the 1990s and China joining the WTO in 2001 were signs that the world was about to turn flat. However, chinks in the shiny armour of globalisation started appearing - the rich became richer; the poor became poorer. Job losses in rich countries; exploitative labour practices in poor countries. The 2008 financial crisis was the first bump on the road; recent China-US trade wars were a speed breaker; and COVID-19 is a roadblock on the path to globalisation. The two thought leaders will discuss important questions: Is this a minor setback for globalisation, or is this the end of the road? Are we in for a world of walls, not bridges? Are the calls for self-reliance and national security just a passing paranoia? Or is the future an Unflat World?
29 August 2020:
The pandemic has disrupted all aspects of life: most evidently, healthcare, the economy, work, and education. Much has been written about these aspects. However, the impact of COVID induced lockdown on society and culture has perhaps not received enough attention. How is the pandemic impacting our society and culture? Will the impact be short-lived or are we in for a new way of life? What is the impact of the pandemic on family life, relationships, consumption, shopping, working, studying, communicating eating, socialising, doing business, travelling, and other such minutiae of daily life? In this webinar, the experts - who are keen watchers of society and culture - will address several questions to help comprehend this emerging culture: What does this new society and culture look like? What is the impact of work encroaching on our home space? Will physical distancing lead to social distancing? Will we become a less trusting society? How has the use of mask altered our approach to sociability and relationships?
21 August 2020:
The transformative trends of urbanisation, climate change, and emerging disruptive technologies have pushed us to rethink our models of human welfare. The primary human and social imperatives - such as improving literacy, providing better healthcare facilities at the grassroots level, conserving natural resources, and reducing global poverty - require sustained collaborative efforts by non-profit organisations, businesses, and governments. In this context, social sector organisations have been the forerunners, acting as catalysts to transform vulnerable lives globally. In this conversation, two leading practitioners from the social sector will address two essential questions: what tangible impact do non-governmental social impact organisations deliver, and how the effective use of new technologies and data science can enable them to have a broader impact that empowers individuals. They will also suggest how citizens can contribute to the cause - both individually and collectively.
13 August 2020:
Beyond the headline-grabbing issues, the Indian economy is struggling to solve a critical problem: how to restore and maintain financial stability on a durable basis. In his book Quest for Restoring Financial Stability in India, Dr Viral Acharya addresses the crucial issue of financial stability and offers a plan for sustained improvement. Dr Acharya shares a plan to address the recapitalisation needs of public sector banks, offering solutions on how to improve credit allocation by credit intermediaries and establish viable and efficient capital markets. This book also raises questions about the re-emergence of fiscal dominance in India, not just of monetary policy tools but also of banking regulations. It makes a case for striking the right balance between the government, central bank, private sector, and markets to drive long-run growth of the real economy. In the conversation, Professor Amol Agrawal will elicit Dr Acharya’s views on fiscal policy, monetary policy, and banking regulations. Dr Acharya will also explain the arguments and plans laid out in this book.
8 August 2020:
It is estimated that 122 million jobs were lost during April 2020 alone. A large share of them were migrants. Besides loss of jobs and income, reasons for the exodus of the migrant labour from cities was lack of social protection and immediate support from the government or private sector during this time of crisis. We will discuss the Hotspots of Migration and the geographical flow of domestic migrants in the country. In the current context, and as our speaker is an Economic Historian working on past pandemics such as plague and the Influenza of 1918, we will discuss its impact on the population in India and whether there are any similarities with the current pandemic. How did India respond to the plague and flu back then, and how are we doing it differently this time? Given the already existing economic slowdown, how can this 'crisis within a crisis' be best handled as the return of the migrants to the cities appears crucial? What lessons can we learn regarding the gearing up of the public health system in the country?
25 July 2020:
We will discuss an alternative model of healthcare that has successfully reached remote parts of India to tackle diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, mental health, palliative care, and liver disease. In this model, referred to as ECHO ModelTM, healthcare providers are connected with specialists to tackle cases in their community. Using video technology, specialists teach and mentor local workers that include doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff. Based in the United States, ECHO has a presence in more than 39 countries. We will also understand how this alternative model of healthcare is seeking to tackle COVID-19 in India. Due to the migration of urban workers into rural areas, we have an emerging problem of the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas and small towns that are not equipped to deal with the problem. The pandemic, although unfortunate, presents an opportunity to develop institutions that can aid in the provision of healthcare across India.
18 July 2020:
The World of Work is changing: employment is no longer a lifetime contract but a taxicab relationship, and the average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company is now just 14 years. The World of Education is changing: knowing is useless in a world where Google knows everything, and soft skills matter more than hard skills. The convergence of these two new worlds has important implications for students, universities, employers, and policymakers. We will discuss how to prepare for this New World. How we reinvent education, so it is no longer about knowledge transfer but about teaching students to teach themselves. How employers work with employees who are more like independent contractors. How employees reinvent themselves mid-career as old skills become redundant and hitherto unknown skills become mandatory. How policymakers become nimble and stay relevant in these fast-changing worlds.
11 July 2020:
Can India become an export manufacturing powerhouse? With China getting entangled in trade wars and anti-China sentiments, is there an opportunity to pick up the slack in export manufacturing? Is India prepared to take on more export orders for manufacturing from global customers? Could this be the magic bullet that takes India to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025? What does India need to do to unlock this opportunity? The discussion will review the challenges India faces in attracting export orders in manufacturing. The key focus will be on what we need to do as individuals, as businesses, as educational institutions, and as government agencies to be ready to bring global manufacturing to India.
04 July 2020:
Innovation is changing the direction of global energy markets. While recent years have seen a growth in alternative forms of energy, the role of government in driving innovation is complex. This webinar will examine how policy at the global level can influence innovation and talk about wider policy objectives, including environmental protection and ensuring a stable and affordable supply of energy.
27 June 2020:
26 June 2020:
20 June 2020:
Join Dr Nachiket Mor, Visiting Scientist, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health, and Dr Darshini Mahadevia, Professor, School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University, for a webinar as they discuss the need to develop a full health systems design strategy for India. The focus will be to see if consumer choice and services marketing, in the context of primary healthcare, will take us forward.
13 June 2020:
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted businesses across the world. Restarting operations is the next challenge once we move beyond shutdowns.Industry supply chains are a complex operation even in the best of times. In this new normal with containment zones, restricted working hours, labour non-availability, and health and safety considerations, how will supply chains change and adapt?Join us for an interesting webinar on ‘Do We Need New Supply Chains for the New World?’, which is a part of our Conversation Series. In this webinar, leading academicians and industry experts will discuss implications for global and local supply chains and the optimal way forward once operations resume to full scale. Companies and aspiring managers will get to hear how we can design and execute supply chains in the new normal. Be there for an insightful discussion.
6 June 2020:
Professor Vandana Chak, Visiting Professor, Amrut Mody School of Management, Ahmedabad University will be in conversation with Jonás Bergstein, Managing Partner at Bergstein Abogados, Montevideo, Uruguay and Fernando Rodriguez Marin Esq., Partner at Bracewell LLP, New York on ‘Corporate Governance: In Whose Interest Is It Anyway? And Why Do Management Students Need To Know About It?’ at the next session of The Conversation Series. The webinar, to be held on June 6, 2020, will focus on the common foundations of corporate governance worldwide. It will examine board-management relationships in two contemporary business landscapes: private company boards with directors having competing interests, and investors seeking environmental, social, and governance compliance from boards and management in project finance.
30 May 2020:
Join Minal Pathak and Professor Amol Agrawal as they share insights on ‘The Science and Economics of Climate Change’ at a webinar on May 30, 2020. Minal is a Senior Scientist with the Mitigation Working Group of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Research and outreach at the Global Centre for Environment and Energy, Ahmedabad University, while Professor Agarwal is an Assistant Professor at Amrut Mody School of Management, Ahmedabad University.
23 May 2020:
At the next session of The Conversation Series on 23 May 2020, the focus will be on ‘Digital Disruption and Management Education.’ How is technology disrupting business and industry? What are opportunities and challenges for management education? Will the role and responsibility of business managers and leaders change significantly in the post-COVID-19 world? How should business and education partner to build a new manager? Mr Pradeep Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Business Operations & Sales, Unlimit IoT Private Limited will be in conversation with Professor Bijal Mehta, Amrut Mody School of Management, Ahmedabad University in what promises to be an insightful webinar on technological advancements, how they are impacting management learning, and what it means to be future-ready.
25 April 2020:
What is the role of management education in today’s context? Professor Ravi Miglani, Professor of Practice of Management, Amrut Mody School of Management, Ahmedabad University, will share his thoughts and insights on this at a webinar titled ‘Management Education in Uncertain Times’.