Digital Strategy Execution with Infosys Wingspan

Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners, famously quoted “Your organization’s biggest strategic challenge isn’t strategic thinking — it’s strategic acting”. Peter went on to say that execution is a people problem and that it’s ten times harder to get people to execute on a strategy than it is to devise a smart strategy… Read the whole article

Getting Driving Licence In Britain

I have been driving in India since I was 18 and must have done at least 100,000 kms over 20 years. But when it came to applying and getting a British Licence I was skeptical about my chances. I found the government website quite useful in understanding the procedure. I spoke to several folks to understand challenges in each stage and i mitigated them when it came to my application. I wanted to share them with you hoping you would benefit from them:

Provisional Licence: Indians can driving in UK for 12 months with their Indian Licence however they need to apply and undergo the regular process to get a British Licence. essentially, we don’t have the privilege of submitting out Indian Licence to get British just as many other countries including Zimbabwe do. They key challenge here is that your BRP needs to be sent to DVLA for background check. it would take about 2 weeks for DVLA to return it so if you are expecting any travel abroad… beware! Also when you are submitting the documents, you can sent it as a registered post so that you would get an acknowledgement. Don’t use the envelope that DVLA would sent you in response to your application.

Theory Test: Once you get your provisional licence, you can apply for theory test. Don’t hurry onto it. It takes some reading to be able to pass comfortably. I will recommend an App ‘Theory 4 in 1’ app. this is about £5 but invest in the mobile app.

Theory Test: For the multiple choice questions, just keep taking the questions and the ones you get wrong – mark them for revision later. Once you finish taking all questions then you would be left with questions that you got wrong the first time. You could easily revise it one more time since you marked it the first time.

Hazard Perception Test: This is tricky and its good to watch a few YouTube tutorials before you start taking the tests.

Practical Test: Once you clear the theory test, you could go for practical test.

You will need an instructor and I will highly recommend AA since they have good cars and well experienced instructors. You will minimum need 10 hours of instruction so go for it in one go and you could save money.

Selecting right test center is key. Central london has very low pass rates while some of the others outside have better pass rates. you could check the pass rates near your home before applying. for instance the centre I selected was Isleworth which has 42.4% of tests resulted in a pass between 2017 and 2018. While that’s below the UK average of 46.3%, it’s not bad considering it’s busy urban location.

Once you get your instructor and center; you have clear plan for getting trained. while you learn from the instructor, here are a few videos that i found very good

Navigating a roundabout
Driving with road sign
Nearside to nearside turning
Video on correct signalling
Show me , tell me question
Top mistakes in driving test

Some of the areas I was going wrong were:

  1. We are expected to see Mirror first and then signal. However I was putting signal and then seeing mirror
  2. In India, we typically use breaks quite harshly. perhaps this is to ensure no one takes the space between us and the car ahead of us… whatever be the reason, this is not appreciated here
  3. As learner in UK, we tend to slowdown and give way even in places where we have priority. This is not good and can fail us. so if you have right of way, you must take it
  4. When entering main road, I used to jump in if I saw a large gap but you don’t do that. Especially if you see a cyclist – just stop!
  5. If you are taking reverse, and you see pedestrians or other cars – just stop and observe. even if they are safely far, don’t take chance during test.

All the best for your Licence!

Ways of democracy

I was at Sofia, a very beautiful and ancient city in Balkans and capital of Bulgaria. I was very keen on exploring the city and what better way than taking a walking tour! During the tour the guide spoke about the rich culture and history of Bulgaria and importance Sofia has as a city since ancient times. He showed us the churches, remains of buildings from Roman times, important building from such as parliament and president’s office. Midway through I came across a beautiful statue made from bronze and copper. It was of St. Sofia, the saint after who the city took its name. Interestingly, the statue stands exactly where statue of Lenin stood during the iron curtain days.

The story of St. Sofia is quite tragic. St. Sofia and her 3 daughters were devout Christians and during those days christianity was not allowed in the Kingdom of Rome. When the king learnt about it, he ordered execution of the three daughters. In pain of such a loss, Sofia too died in a few days.

Sofia actually never lived in the city nor in Bulgaria but given that the city had taken its name from her, authorities there decided to put her statue in the spot left blank by removal of Lenin’s. A famous Bulgarian sculpture, Georgi Chapkanov, was commissioned to make the statue and he came up with this in year 2000:

General public and historians were furious after seeing this! Why? Many reasons but here are the top 3:

  1. The statue seemed too erotic for a saint

  2. St. Sofia was a devout Christian and didn’t believe in Roman beliefs. Her daughters were executed by the Romans and this is all the more reason to believe she would have abhorred Roman system and beliefs. But her statue holds an owl and a dagger, something that Roman philosophy has meaning for however Christianity has none!

  3. The statue wears a crown, which symbolises royalty but not a saint. Bulgarian people have seen ill effects of having the so called noble men and royals. At this time, they wanted to settle for democracy and a crown was not in good taste

I believe the authorities failed to democratically. The statue was meant to make people proud but they ended up creating something that the locals prefer not to speak about. And this happened because authorities took undemocratic way to achieve their objective. They should have built a prototype and taken public opinion.Given the emotional investments, public would have quickly given their reaction and the artist could have reimagined the statue.Nevertheless the status looks great I feel.

To be fair to the sculpture, I think we should leave artists to their imagination and their ideas should not be hostage to history. But this statue had a purpose. It afterall was coming at the place where Lenin’s stood for decades! The same statue at any other place wouldn’t have attracted such emotions but this place and time was special.

Like the Eiffel tower was initially rejected by Parisians and later embraced, I hope the people of Sofia too eventually embrace the statue.

Rat race in schooling and helicopter parenting

Last night I was thinking about my son’s schooling and what I aspire for him. I was looking at private schools (very expensive), grammar schools (highly competitive), top rated public schools (top 25% of public schools) and wondering what should be my strategy for him. To put things in perspective, only 5% of students in UK study in private. Another 5% study in grammar schools. 20% in top rated public school. A mass majority of 70% study in schools that are public and rated ‘good’ to ‘needs improvement’. Pyramid is clear to me but the question in my mind was whether the below picture is right:


No doubt I am under pressure as most parents are because we believe education is is the most important tool we can give to our children to succeed in today’s highly competitive market. So with this logic its obvious that if a parent can afford, he should go for private education. That is what parent do! Did you know that in UK, only top 1% population can comfortably afford private education? This data is from HMRC so should be about true. Perhaps we could guesstimate that only 0.5% population my actually have school going kids. But 5% of students study in private schools – so a big majority of parents put their kids into private altgh HMRC believes they cannot afford private education for their kids! Pressure on parents is so visible! Also, private education, just school education costs £500,000 – imagine your child having a house of his/her own even before getting into college!

Its not about costs. Parents are driving kids into sports, music, academics, art, drama… hope I covered everything there…else that also included… From the time a child wakes up till he goes to sleep, everything is choreographed. Focus is much on results and not so much on joy of doing that. This is called helicopter parenting. Its not like our parents didn’t do a good job of parenting us… but they achieved quite decent results without helicopter parenting. How do I think they did it? perhaps by focusing on core; such as values, beliefs – the foundation stuff – and allowed children to flourish with experiences of life.

You can see from the above picture, a helicopter parent has to cover so much of circumference while our earlier generation was focused on core – a much smaller circumference!

Ok, now i can imagine what much be going on in your mind – tomorrow is going to be much more competitive and we need to equip our children for that. So we need to, as parents, ensure our children are great in STEM, Sports, creativity… essentially the outer circle. But think about it, we study a bunch of things, but what do we end up using?

With Advent of AI and ML, I think need for outer circle will further fade. What humans will focus on will be core values, equity, sustainability … things that are much more core.

Skills required in 2020 is very different from skills that were required in 2015 – Education needs to adapt and that begins at home and not in any school.

This bring to the next argument that the power and money is generally concentrated with a few. The selection of who those few are is highly competitive. The person who does phenomenally well on all aspects will have competitive advantage … right? but why do we think the future will be competitive and not collaborative? Wealth distribution is indeed getting distorted. But if you go into history, it was worse! The kings and few of their teams had most of the wealth. Today national GDP is far more distributed than any time of the history and perhaps that is how over a long term, i think distribution will trend towards. Collaboration will be the world of the future and not competition.

In conclusion, I feel as parents, we should focus on giving a stable childhood with a vibrant environment where children can learn core values that won’t be shattered even under heartbreaking circumstances. We provides various experiences so that children can choose their way to navigate through life because adaptability will be more important than extreme skill or competency.

Revolutionizing Corporate Learning

With increased turbulence in market conditions and accelerating changes in the business world, the only true competitive advantage that an organization possibly has is its people, who can navigate an organization through difficult conditions successfully. But the real challenge is how can organizations accelerate learning?

Let’s take a closer look at how Ben, Chris, and Anna are navigating their next in their respective fields of work.

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