Saturday, February 28, 2015


Deliberation, Information, Decisiveness and Implementation (DIDI) Model: A Logical Pathway to Progress in Multi-Option Life

Progress is the essence of life. Everyone, from the time of development of cognitive abilities, embarks upon, knowingly or unknowingly, on a journey of progress. Not many, however developed they are on cognitive scales, realize certain fundamentals of progress. These are: a clear destination, a clear path, a focused execution, and the next progress journey once the destination is reached, all within a clear understanding of the competencies and resources required. Not many also develop these guideposts by themselves with introspection, reflection and ownership; they are subject to myriad influences from families, friends, institutions and societies. To cap it all, very few have the philosophical approach to appreciate progress and take in stride regress. No wonder then that a feeling of having failed to progress as much as one should have is universal; only the shades vary across the rich and poor.

Ironically, the distress about lack or inadequacy of progress seems to increase with increasing prosperity while blind acceptance of status quo seems to deepen with increasing poverty. These and various other related socio-economic and socio-philosophic considerations are extremely complex, and do not easily lend themselves to one macro-analysis or a simple macro-solution. What can, however, be considered is why individuals in their own spaces of competencies and aspirations struggle with issues of progress and satisfaction. It is intriguing as to why factors as simple as destination, path and execution should defy clear mastery by even with people high level of intellectual capability. The reasons are fairly simple; the human brain is continuously subject to triggers of speedup and slowdown which continuously make individuals accelerate or vacillate, in their journeys of progress in a life setting that is becoming increasingly multi-optioned.

Accelerators and vacillators

A progressive life has its own momentum. It is marked by change with its own velocity and periodic acceleration. The accelerators are partly wired in one’s personality (for example, get rich quickly, climb up social ladder fast, win laurels, take risks to accelerate, and so on) but also require environmental triggers (for example, a new start-up culture, a new savings and investment ecosystem, more attractive financial instruments, an aggressive family environment, and so on). When these factors, part internal and part external, combine for an individual, the destination, path and progress tend to be clear. Doubtless, there would be speed breakers on the way but the accelerators have their inbuilt momentum to cruise along. The downside would stem occasionally from their adventurous nature, failing to distinguish between speed breakers that are mere cautions and those that are precursors to dead-end points.

Vacillation is the threat to acceleration in the journey of life. Vacillation is a result of confusion or lack of clarity in one’s mind. Vacillation as much as steadfastness, and confusion as much as clarity are normal human tendencies because of the way each individual is wired in terms of one’s personality (for example, risk-averse, self-satisfied, and so on) and the way external environment tends to project short term disappointments as long term distress (for example, volatility in commodity prices, job market trends, and so on). When these internal and external factors combine for an individual, the destination and path would appear to be hazy and progress tardy. Doubtless, there would be compelling pressures to gain traction on account of socio-economic benchmarks but the inherent trend of vacillators would be to procrastinate rather than decide. In fact, the matrix of deliberation and decisiveness can be utilized by accelerators and vacillators alike to overcome their inherent weaknesses, and reinforce their strengths.

Deliberation and decisiveness

Individuals tend to be scaled on the two dimensions of deliberation and decisiveness. These two dimensions are commonly seen to be inherently contra to each other. An individual who is least deliberative may tend to be quickly decisive while an individual who is extremely deliberative may tend to be least decisive. This is a simplistic view. Individuals tend to be on a scale of low to high on deliberation as well as on decisiveness. And, not in all cases there would be any correlation, positive or inverse, between the two variables. Individuals must carefully develop themselves on the deliberation-decisiveness matrix. There would be four groups of individuals; (i) low deliberators-quick deciders, (ii) high deliberators-slow deciders, (iii) low deliberators-slow deciders, and (iv) high deliberators-quick deciders. Clearly, presence in the group (iv) is something to be aimed at.

While lack of deliberation is not healthy, excessive deliberation without quick decision making is counterproductive. While being a slow decider is not a virtue if the slowness is due to high deliberations it is probably next to the best. Obviously, being a low deliberator and quick decider would lead to unhealthy choices. Being a low deliberator and slow decider is also a sure recipe to a skewed and frozen life. Being high on deliberations and simultaneously being quickly decisive gets the best of both the worlds to the individual. Individuals belonging to this group possess and develop a high level of information processing capability. However, the deliberation-decisiveness matrix needs to be further cascaded in terms of linkage between information and deliberation on one hand and decisiveness and implementation on the other.  Here again, a matrix approach provides clarity to individuals.

Information and implementation

Deliberation can only be based on information. In today’s Internet world there is no paucity of information; in fact, one is overwhelmed by data and information. However, the greater the availability of quality information the greater the possibility of quality deliberation. Even then there is no assured linkage. We can have (i) low deliberators-low information (this probably is a hapless group!), (ii) low deliberators-high information (this group is handicapped by low information processing capability), (iii) high deliberators-low information (this group specializes in procrastination), and (iv) high deliberators-high information (this group makes for quality analysis and decision making choices). While information is the core of deliberation, deliberation is the proper precursor to decision making. Decision making, of course, is futile without implementation.

Decisiveness gets reinforced with implementation capability (often termed execution in management language). There is no automatic connection between quick decision making and speedy implementation. The former is largely an individual phenomenon requiring an ability to analyse self and environment while the latter is a leadership capability requiring an ability to understand, lead and manage others. Here again, a matrix approach would be helpful. We can have (i) slow deciders-slow implementers, (ii) quick deciders-slow implementers, (iii) slow deciders-quick implementers, and (iv) quick deciders-quick implementers. The first group clearly is the non-starter group in today’s competitive world while the second group, though blessed with quick start, is a losing proposition. The third group makes up for procrastinated decision making with quick implementation while the fourth group is the truly competitive group excelling in both decisiveness and implementation.

Pathway to progress

The above discussion leads us to the conclusion that one should be a member of three conceptual groups to make meaningful progress. Fundamentally, one should be a high deliberator and quick decider. This enables higher quality of decision with a faster go-to-market possibility. High deliberation, however, should stem from a capability to process high amount of information. Quick decision making, likewise, should be followed through and reinforced by an ability to quickly implement. As compared to this virtuous grouping of three, there tend to be nine other groupings which are sub-optimal or even counterproductive. The odds of placing oneself, naturally or effortlessly, in the superior grouping are statistically adverse, which requires that individuals need to understand the true meaning and the essential relevance of deliberation, information, decisiveness and implementation as the four components of an accelerated journey of progress in life.

Interestingly, decision making happens only periodically and implementation follows with a specific time horizon (not to be whimsically changed). This applies equally to a student’s educational path or a businessman’s industrial path. However, flow of information and, therefore, the triggers for deliberation occur rather continuously for any individual in any play of life. It is important to keep the deliberation process on but manage it such that it does not confuse a person and make the path of progress a meandering one. For those who manage this balance in the DIDI Model on an ongoing basis success comes naturally and logically. It is, however, amazing to see how even intellectually capable people get thwarted on their paths of progress. There could be an explanation of that too. Those who are mindful and thoughtful of the digressions could still be successful. That could be the subject of another blog post!  

Posted by Dr CB Rao on March 1, 2015
       
   
  



Friday, February 27, 2015

Indian Institute of Technology (IITM) Management Musings: Pioneering Professors of Management in Amazing Ambience of Technology

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) has been one of the foremost institutes of technological and scientific education and research in India for the last few decades. IITM was inaugurated on July 31, 1959, and by an Act of Parliament in 1961, IITM was declared as an Institute of National Importance in 1961. The Institute was backed by collaboration with the German Government. The first batch of B Tech graduates, a 5 year course at that time, passed out in 1964. There has been no looking back for the Institute from then on, as it continued to expand and diversify in its course offerings and student intake, establishing schools of excellence, year over year. Most alumni from IITM have occupied and continue to occupy leadership positions in their chosen specialities.  Dr A Lakshmanaswamy was the first Chairman of the Board of Governors while Dr B Sengupto was the first Director of the Institute. Initial Directors brought exemplary guidance to the Institute which successors tried to preserve and grow.

IITM was amongst the best among the IITs for its picturesque campus with vast flora and fauna. It was also very much a part of a growing city. Set adjacent to a vast reserve forest land, the campus even today ranks as a deer-friendly nature park. The campus had its own specialities from the central Gajendra Circle (GC) to the unique Open Air Theatre (OAT).‎ In fact, nothing symbolised the open and free spirit of IITM more than the OAT which has been a host to movies every Saturday (even in examination or vacation seasons) and to several special seasonal events such as Mardi-Gras and Sarang. IITM’s hostels were notable for their simple single room accommodation but exemplary food services. The common rooms of the hostels provided the magazine and newspaper fodder for the avid reader while there was nothing other than a humble canteen for a hangout even up to the 90s.

Course architecture

Initially at the time of its inception, IITM had just five technology streams: Mechanical, ‎Civil, Chemical, Metallurgy and Electrical. Each of the disciplines was endowed with dedicated teaching blocks and impressive workshop infrastructure. IITM was a pioneer in establishing humanities and social sciences (HSS) as an integral part of its engineering curriculum from the very beginning. Over the years, HSS began offering M Tech and Ph D programmes in Industrial Engineering and Industrial Management from the late 1960s. Eventually, even as the technology and scientific disciplines proliferated with more specialisations and sub-specializations, a Department of Management Studies came into being in 2004 to offer specialized MBA equivalent programmes.

Without doubt, there has always been a great and unmistakable technol‎ogical ambience and culture at IITM. Yet, it was somewhat intriguing to see such technology talent moving to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to join management courses. The other aspect, much discussed of course, has been the flight of talent for advanced courses in technology and management abroad, especially the USA. The emergence of distinct schools of management in the IITs, probably a na├»ve attempt to fight the two trends (or a practical approach to respond to popular trend) took root first in IIT Bombay and eventually all the IITs including IITM followed suit. Unfortunately, unlike in ‎some IITs there has been no major external sponsorship of the management school in IITM. That makes the growth of the management department at IITM even more impressive.

Pioneering professors

Long before the management school came on, a few professors were pioneering management education as part of the humanities and social sciences department, from the 1960s. As a student of the M Tech programme in Industrial Engineering of 1972-74 batch and the Ph D programme in Industrial Management later on, it was my privilege to witness some of the pioneering professors in management strive to be both differentiated and integrated simultaneously in the amazing, and occasionally overwhelming, technical ambience of IITM. Professors R K Gupta in Business Policy and Strategy, Dr S Ramani in Industrial Engineering, Dr V Anantharaman in Organizational Behaviour, Dr L V L N Sarma in Financial Management, M Durga Prasada Rao in Management Accounting, Dr A  Ravindran in Operations Research (visiting faculty from Purdue University), M G Asthana in General Management, Dr A V Krishna Rao in English, Dr Y Nagendra in Statistics and Dr Dipak Chaudhuri in Reliability and Maintenance Management were the early pioneers. Micro-economics was taught by Professor Ganesan from Vivekananda College with a great quantitative flair while Macro-economics was the forte of Hamsaleelavathi.  V Arumugam from College of Engineering was a passionate advocate of Work Study.

It required conviction and passion on the part of the founding professors and the other lecturers who supported them to develop and institutionalize a stream of management education in IITM from the 1960s, in a period of the Institute when such management education was seen as a needless diversion by the technology deans of the Institute. Also, it is to the credit of the professors that early on they laid the base for Ph D programs in industrial management and industrial engineering, taking a step ahead of the IIMs in that respect. But for their vision and persistence, the school of management would not have seen the light of the day. Nor would the next generation professors like Dr T T Narendran and Dr L S Ganesh (who became the Head of the Department of Management Studies) have been moulded as researchers of the first order. Unlike the IIMs, however, the professors were inward oriented focusing less on industry interactions and consulting assignments, which probably explained the low visibility of the IITM management programmes to the industry.

Unique pedagogy

The IITM management professors had unique pedagogical approaches. Professor Gupta brought to bear day to day simplicity to business policy and strategy, weaving finance and accounting concepts in the study. He was a patient teacher and was always waiting for the class to think on its feet and respond to his little intriguing but earthy questions. Dr Ramani made the complex canvas of industrial engineering a fascinating potpourri of supply chain management and management information systems, peppering the traditional time and motion study. Dr Anantharaman was unparalleled for his keen understanding of human behaviour and scintillating sense of humour. He made the multiple organizational behaviour theories of management gurus come live through his extempore presentations. His group dynamics human laboratory exercises helped many of his students understand the meanings of visible facade and invisible self that govern all of organizational behaviour.

Dr L V L N Sarma exemplified the virtuous approach to management studies. Powered by a keen intellect and a sharp wit, he propagated many techniques and tools of modern financial management, from dividend signalling to portfolio analysis and from discounted cash flow to ratio analysis, long before they became fashionable.  Professor M D P Rao made the dry but critically important discipline of management accounting as simple as the peeling of banana. Between the teasing of master accountant Guptaji and the challenging of the financial strategist LVLN, MDPR’s genial approach provided the much needed comfort to the engineers who tended to be at sea in the accounting and finance oceans! No one who went through IITM management can forget the rigour of statistics as taught by Dr Nagendra. He was such a master in statistics that the ordinary failings of his students looked unforgivable to him. So was Dr Dipak Chaudhuri in his exposition of quantitative rigour for developing reliability and maintenance management paradigms befitting of engineers. S G Asthana was an ever-smiling exponent of principles of general management, taking care to move students along with him.

Dr A V Krishna Rao who headed the English faculty as well as the department for several years taught the linguistic and communication skills with an everlasting smile. Amongst the next generation professors, Dr T T Narendran set out new vistas in systems simulation while Dr L S Ganesh focused on operations research, forecasting, decision sciences and public policy. Dr L S Ganesh was particularly focused on matters of public policy as much as on the emotional wellbeing of the students. Dr R N Anantharaman came on to fill the void left by Dr V Anantharaman with his brand of classic psychology for management. The Industrial Engineering stream continued to get enriched by Dr C Rajendran and others. As with any institutional evolution, old guard yielded place to the new, but one cannot but recollect with nostalgia and respect the contributions made by founding professors of management, humanities and social sciences in an overwhelmingly technological ambience. Credit also must be given to the fact that the technological depth of IITM gave a rare edge to management students – who else other than Professor H N Mahabala could have taught Computer Science and Engineering in such a delectable manner in the overflowing hall of Central Lecture Theatre (CLT)?

Uniquely different

It is to the credit of the management professors at IITM that‎ despite the overwhelming technology ambience they did not succumb to style over substance. While they could have appeased by christening their course as Technology Management to the appreciative nods of the engineering faculty, they chose to name and position management for what it is as a unique and integrative discipline. As compared to the IIMs, however, they gave a strong quantitative bias to the management course, making the graduates hone their analytical skills further. With certain specialized course focused on aspects of inventory management, reliability management, statistical quality control, operations research and management information systems, they laid the foundation for the subsequent evolution of Operations Management discipline. Dr A Ravindran added a masterly touch to the courses at IITM with his inimitable teaching of Operations Research. One of the more complex yet real time oriented branch of mathematics, Operations Research was followed by the students with total absorption when Dr Ravindran taught the subject.

Amidst the quantitative orientation, the perspectives and insights that were generated out of organizational behaviour and financial management were unique and absorbing to the engineers who made up the intake. It is to the credit of the professors, Dr Anantharaman and Dr LVLN that they offered the mind-expanding disciples as serial courses across semesters helping the engineers become better real world managers. It is even more creditable that the professors encouraged full-fledged MS and Ph D‎ programmes in such core non-technical disciplines too, adding to the multi-disciplinary nature of IITM. In fact, MS by research is a programme unique to IITs, representing a bridge option for those students who are research oriented but do not wish to spend several years on a deep research topic. Many students in management found the MS option relevant and satisfying.

Blessed I am

While God decides our intrinsic capabilities and competencies through genetics handed down through parents and grandparents, te‎achers and professors play a significant role in expanding our horizons, deepening our knowledge, honing our competencies and developing our capabilities. In a way, institutions such as the IITs and IIMs and their dedicated professors, and the competitive but egregious student population help us re-discover and re-position ourselves. It is my fortune that as a student of the M Tech Programme, I was spotted, developed and appreciated by my learned founding-professors of Industrial Management and Industrial Engineering. If the M Tech programme in Industrial Engineering made me confident and capable as well as industry ready, the Ph D programme helped me to drive attributes of perfection and diligence to new highs, and more importantly embed in myself the fundamental tenet of robust research - understand the available knowledge, hypothesise alternate constructs and validate through empirical research a new paradigm that adds to the body of knowledge.

My research journey in IITM, which started with the guidance of Professor R K Gupta but was essentially guided and concluded under the supervision of Dr L V L N Sarma was a journey from one pole of knowledge (stimulatingly descriptive of Guptaji) to another (diligently analytical of Dr LVLN). It taught me how to utilize data and information to develop new hypotheses and validate them. It is this (positively!) bipolar quest for knowledge that attracted me to the fascinatingly descriptive Michael's Porter's works on Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage but go on to develop a validated analytical construct to quantitatively and statistically validate certain follow-on as well as original hypotheses of competitive strategy. If my Ph D thesis "Strategy and Structure of the Indian Automobile Industry: A Study of the Four-Wheeler Sector" remains a path-breaking thesis to date that gave a unique quantitative foundation to Porter’s descriptive theories, with several constituent papers having been published in refereed journals, I have to express my gratitude to the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and its pioneering professors who shaped my knowledge perspectives, notably Professor R K Gupta and Dr L V L N Sarma.

Tailpiece

When I was in school, I was fascinated by the stories penned by Sri Mopineni Durga Prasad Rao and Sri Lellapalli Venkata Laksmi Narayana Sarma and published in Telugu weeklies regularly. They were full of humorously incisive analyses of family and social relationships, and the quirkiness of human relationships. My joy knew no bounds when the very same famed writers of fiction happened to be my professors at IITM!   

Acknowledgements:

I must gratefully acknowledge the role played by all the educational institutions, and the teachers of each institution, in developing me; these being Sri Sai Baba National Higher Secondary School, Anantapur, P R G C Higher Secondary School, Kakinada, Government College of Engineering, Anantapur affiliated to Sri Venkateswara University at that point of time, and finally the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai. 

Posted by Dr CB Rao on February 27, 2015
     



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Perpetual Heat-Energy Cycle: An Un-packaged View of Life

Our world depends on heat-energy cycle to run itself. Without heat power cannot be produced and without power heat cannot be generated. Yet, so much of heat that is generated in our industrial, office and residential lives goes wasted into the atmosphere. While so much is going on in the fields of renewable energy and recycling, there are more sources of material heat that are wasted than are utilized. Packaging is one example.

Packaging, flatter to discard

Among the various factors of energy efficiency, packaging has received rather lower level of attention. From a protection and aesthetics point of view, packaging has no doubt received attention to withstand different types of transportation or to cater to multiple discerning eyes. From individualized blister packs for pharmaceuticals to customized elegance packs for cosmetics, packaging has evolved as a fusion of technology and art. Packaging has become an important aspect of enhancing shelf life and securing brand recall, as a consequence. For some products such as food products, packaging is an important source of product and consumer information. It is not, therefore, surprising that packaging has become a specialized discipline.

There is yet another more fundamental packaging that has received attention as a different fusion of technology and art. This is nothing but the covers between which the basic products are locked or sealed. Most products are sealed in one or more of geometrical shapes, the most common being a cube or a hyper-rectangle, apart from a prism, cylinder or cone. Although complex industrial products are difficult to describe in such structured shapes, they are held together under shapes that variously mimic structured geometric shapes. One of the most extravagant cover design has been that of a transistor radio or cathode ray tube computer monitor in which the operating internals occupied less than a quarter of the boxed space. In amazing contrast, today’s cell phones represent increasing levels of cover to cover efficiency.

Usage efficiency

Despite its importance, pack is the first component of a product system that is discarded. Depending upon the product, nature and the stage of use, the usage efficiency of a pack varies from 100 to zero. A fruit drink tetra pack is an example of the decline over use, and ultimate discard. A milk sachet, on the other hand, gets discarded immediately after it is opened for use of milk. The box that covers a laptop gets discarded immediately after the product is opened. The box that covers a jewel may never get discarded at all. Clearly, the moment the need for protection ceases the package gets discarded. Over a period, if one billion products are used, one billion primary containers and more than one billion secondary and tertiary packs get discarded. The more paper, cardboard and plastic is used in the world the more is the level of waste.

While this is understandable, and probably inevitable, the product itself varies between 25 and 50 percent in terms of usage efficiency. In any product, what is not seen (the back and edges of the product) is wasted space while what supports the installation reflects passive yet essential usage. The slimmer the product, the lesser is the wastage on edge but the back remains as wasted as ever. Obviously, it must make technical, economic and market sense to try to use the whole of product. It would be wasteful to devise ways to achieve wraparound efficiency of products at costs higher than that of the wasted space. The product-pack conundrum would continue to evolve to satisfy the consumer but little is being thought of about packs as sources of energy.

Edging forward

Technology geeks would have noticed a product released by Samsung a few months ago, called Galaxy Note Edge. It has a display which is curved to the right as a single unit with the right strip displaying key information and notifications as well as health monitor, and leaving the main screen uncluttered for full display. Soon, the left side may also be edged forward to incorporate additional information and operating fundamentals. As much as the dual screen laptops and the transformer models, this edge design is a small but important signal that designers are finally warming up to the fact there is so much space in the products that could be put to beneficial use. As the pricing of Edge product indicates, the innovative design with additional manufacturing complexity and hence additional cost.

If edges are ready to be innovated would the back panels be far behind? Future phones may feature front and back displays with the back displays being dedicated for semi-dynamic special uses such as listing of important telephone numbers, health monitor history or news scans. Even accessories such as phone covers, and phone chargers could come with additional functionalities. A mouse may not just remain as a mouse. From the palm that holds the mouse, a range of health and emotional information may be fed to the computer and scrolled along the display screen. The basic driver of the edge-forward principle is that no surface of a product can be just passive; it is an opportunity for technological innovation and customer satisfaction. Taking technology forward, would packs and products be designed to support a perpetual heat-energy cycle?

Heat converters

Passive spaces can be used for displays in certain classes of products. In such products or others which generate heat they are also used as heat sinks or passive heat exchangers that spread the heat generated in the operation of the product into the atmosphere. From computers and cell phones to air conditioners and machine tools, heat sinks are an essential component of all mechanical, electrical and electronic which use or develop kinetic energy. This, however, represents, one of the most uncontrolled and wasteful dissipation of energy. Reverting our preamble, the larger surface area provides for greater efficiency of heat sink while leading to waste of more material and space. Miniaturization makes the principle of operation of heat sink more challenging.

While technology has developed a lot, technology to convert heat from a range of day to day heat generating sources, from devices and equipment in shop floors, offices and homes into usable energy is yet to be mastered. While thermoelectric devices and solid state materials have been used to achieve this, a universally applicable and simple to use technology is yet to be developed. Thermo-galvanic technology is being attempted by MIT and Stanford researchers. Other researches are working on nanotechnology to convert heat directly into electricity. However, most promising developments are still in laboratory stage and need new breakthroughs to become commercially usable.

Power accumulators

The key to capturing all of the waste energy from devices and equipment in factories, homes and offices lies in the development of reverse batteries which can be connected to the heat generating sources and converting the heat energy into storable electricity. The time is ripe for widening the concept of rechargeable batteries, as essential energy accumulators at homes, offices and factories. They should be available in multiple storage capacities and should be capable of connecting to laptops, computers, televisions, fitness equipment, machine tools, stoves, and any other device that generates kinetic energy. The power accumulators at the flick of the switch should be able to provide electricity to devices.

Rechargeable batteries have been in vogue for decades. Conventional rechargeable batteries take power or charge from electricity. The power accumulators being talked of here require the technology to convert heat directly into electricity. As discussed in the previous section, the technology is in the making and would see commercial light sooner than later. Also, conventional batteries need to be developed with casing that is water and dust proof and can be installed in the open, to be exposed to and accept solar energy. The key is to develop right-sized rechargeable batteries that can be connected to all heat sources in a typical factory, office and home, from diesel generator set or a boiler, computer or air conditioner and kitchen stove to tube light. In fact, as technology, such heat and power accumulators should come as original equipment accessories.  

Incinerators and converters

Reverting to the opening part, billions of products being consumed by the billion plus population of India generate more than billions of packaging materials. The amount of newspapers, magazines, packaging paper, card  boards and other packing materials generate millions of tonnes of garbage that is either mixed up with wet wastage and is rendered unfit for recycling or just wasted through random dumping or burning. If each neighborhood has an incinerator to which burnable material is channeled daily, there would be great potential to generate heat based power in all communities. The ultimate solution is to have a home based, commercially viable incinerator solution.

Rural areas as opposed to urban areas provide an even greater opportunity to convert dry waste, wet waste or even mixed waste into heat and power or flakes and compost. These outputs can be appropriately integrated with the agrarian and farm lifestyles that are more flexible and open, relative to urban systems and structures. There are available as technologies but need to be commercialized with continued technological developments on one hand and fiscal incentives on the other. The key, of course, is a mind-set change that encourages tackling waste at source, rather than collect waste and make it an unmanageable collection, distribution and conversion problem.  
  
An anti-waste mind-set

The mind-set change must focus on unpacking simple products at the point of sale, once the product is purchased. This would represent the best way to deliver products and preserve packs for centralized recycling or power generation. Agencies which install large equipment in homes, offices or factories must take back the packaging materials. Similarly, a home, office or a factory must have its own incinerator or waste converter cum power generator. Wherever heat exists there should be a heat sink. A perpetual heat-energy cycle needs an un-packed view of life!

Posted by Dr CB Rao on February 1, 2015