Love for High-Tech
I have been thinking of lately a lot on High-tech.
I have been in love for technology for many years now. I did try my hand at doing an engineering degree from the premier schools in India, the famed IITs, however failed to get it. Statistically it is just tough!
Anyways, I then did not want to go for a lesser engineering college (hubris or plain simple teenage wisdom stopped me). I shifted from science and maths to business and commerce in my undergrads coming out with a Bachelors of Commerce (hons). The one thing I learned was business is interesting, but you can only learn from working not from studying atleast not what I was taught and the way I was taught in my undergrad.
And now after 6 yrs of working I am doing my MBA and can genuinely say that I am learning something. Six months into the MBA program made me realize how much stuff that I need to understand and it has opened up new nodes in my brain which did not exist but the best thing which is happening to me is the connection of the various nodes. This is happening at such a rapid pace that I just cannot fathom.
Sometimes I just get up with just 4 hrs of sleep and start working on my lovely iBook G4. The love for the Mac does play a role, but there is a bigger reason. I just cannot wait to understand the world better.
As I went about this exercises I started to see what electives that I need to take. This made me think about myself. What is that I want to do? Where do I want to go?
Peter Drucker in his "The Effective Executive" suggested that the best way to contribute is to understand your strengths. The way to understand is to find patterns in what you do over years and see where you have been doing good, doing bad, you are happy, comes naturally, etc.
For me two things stood out.
- My love for working in start-ups
- My love for high-tech
- The worldisgreen concept.
MBA for a large part deals with "managing wealth". I want to deal with "creating wealth". That is what start-ups all about.
My reading is predicated with slashdot, emergic.org, blogs on technology, the info wars, google stuff, software, etc. I have been consistently interested in the tech stuff and one thing is sure I have always been able to understand technology and related to geeks.
I think that is a skill that I find in myself and think it is a unique advantage.
The think with geeks is that they love their technology and always would love to talk about it. However, not every geek is good at markets and business. My role as I see it slowly is to fill that gap or what you can call commercializing innovations.
I have been trying to get this together and I see that the best job for me is in "business development" in high-tech stuff.
The more I started to understand this the better it seemed. Technology is changing the world. There is greater than ever need for technology to reach the masses. The only way technology can be reached is when it "the technical domain" makes value for the "social domain".
The gap is something which can be clearly filled by what can be called "business model innovation". The value of a technology is only which can be realised by the society. It is useless if the social aspect is not realized. The greatest idea in the lab is useless compared to a insignificant idea in the use of average people. That is what innovation all about. And the vehicle for that is "business model innovation".
I now see a clear way I can be part of high-tech without being a techie and still contribute as much the techies who develop a particular technology or product. In fact, a business model innovation is more like a " social innovation". Drucker has argued that innovation is in the technological, economic and social realms. And all the three types of innovation is important for making change happen.
A large part of innovation is concentrated on the "technological aspect". The social concept sometimes comes in marketing (Moore stuff) but it is far more important. The "business model" encompasses the "social and economic aspect" and hence the place where future innovation battles going to take place.
This fits in very well with my love for "green stuff". The bottom of the pyramid or rural development is one part of the green stuff for me. Green here would signify prosperity and growth. This is where I see that much change can be made. Deeshaa Ventures provided me a chance to work on that aspect.
The other Green stuff is "environmental" stuff. The ones which we are generally familiar with and associate with green. This is my job currently. I am an "Environmental Project Officer" working in the Govt. of South Australia to implement their Greening program in one of the agencies.
The unique thing is this - all of the above aspect; high-tech (IT, bio-tech, nanotech), BoP, Green technology have much in common. They all are dependent on "innovation".
Innovation in the sense of technology, economic and social. Depending on the situation one more than the other. Take the "bottom of the pyramid" ideas. It is a technological and a greatly economic innovation to make products and services available to the 4 billion people living in poverty or just above it in the world.
The same goes for "Green Technologies". The need for commercializing the Toyota Prius or the solar car, organic food. Or social innovation in terms of "stopping the use of plastic bags".
Somehow in all these I have had a chance to work in or relate to it.
My goal now is to concentrate on learning the stuff in the MBA and in the future related to "business model innovation".