12th Biennial Conference on Entrepreneurship – My Experience

I have been attending the Biennial Conferences on Entrepreneurship hosted by The Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) starting from the 10th. This time I also had the privilege to be part of EDII hosting the grand event. The Twelfth Biennial was Chaired by Prof. Sasi Misra (Distinguished Psychologist) and hosted by Prof. Sunil Shukla (Director, EDII).

We had over a 100 researchers present and share their ideas at the conference. This time we also had a lot more time for each paper and a whole lot of discussions in and outside the session rooms. It was fun to see scholars debate their findings with peers from both within and outside of India. The proceedings (a two volume collection of 139 papers) was released on the inauguration by the popular and senior academic Prof. Pradip Khandwalla. He kickstarted the event with a memorable talk on why its time to re-look at entrepreneurship in the emerging country setting, especially India.

The Twelfth Biennial was also special as it hosted the Silver Jubilee Celebration of The Journal of Entrepreneurship (JoE) – a biannual academic journal published by Sage Publications. The event was graced by the two past Directors (Profs Awasthi and Patel) of EDII and the founding Editor (Prof. Dwijendra Tripathi). Each of their reminiscences of how the journal birthed and reached its 25th year was both touching and hilarious.

Mine was the first paper in the first technical session. I got done early and had the pleasure of listening to number of other presenters without worry! I had wonderful discussions outside the session rooms with scholars from India and abroad. Our discussions have also resulted in some exchange of contacts and possible future conversations. The hope is that some of these will result in collaborations in the future.

We had two special sessions – one by the GEM India Team on TEA in an Emerging Economy and the other, the Dr Elmar Stuhler Memorial Lecture delivered by Prof Helmut from Germany. His abstract ideas are always a trigger for deeper thinking.

I enjoyed the conference and now energised to do more work on my research. While attending conferences is to present our papers and gain feedback, it is equally to make new friends and catch up with older ones. I did all three! So overall it was three days well spent.

The next Biennial is two years away – and it will be special in its own way. As Dr Shukla mentioned during the Valedictory session, it will be the silver jubilee for the conferences too! Look forward to being there and enjoying the company of scholars in entrepreneurship.

Till then Happy Entrepreneuring!

Attending the 4th PAN IIM Conference at IIM Ahmedabad

It was good being there at the Fourth PAN IIM World Management Conference held between 13-15 December 2016 at IIM Ahmedabad. Out of about 850 submissions, less than 200 were chosen for presentation (paper presentation and poster presentation sessions). I was one of those 150-odd individuals to have their paper selected for presentation!!

Over the three days we met a number of senior professors from various disciplines within management. It was good catching up with number of doctoral students and candidates from institutes across India. It did help presenting my ideas at the conference and have some informal discussions around them.

I had people who simply thought what I was doing was ridiculous, some rubbished me and my work, some gave me encouragement, some showed interest and a few definitely did discuss future possibilities around my topic. It showed how and why academics (industry) is just like other sectors – filled with human beings of all kinds!! Nothing is different in education, though one would expect it to be (remember, holy profession!).

As one who loves teaching and research, I believe that there is tremendous opportunity for young scholars to make a mark in the Indian Higher Education industry – big changes taking place in disciplines, new disciplines emerging, people caught up in old ways of thinking, expanding universities/institutes (IIT, IIM, etc) creating fresh demands, and pockets across disciplines where the average scholarly output is really low. Any young and emerging scholar should see this as a great opportunity, act with entrepreneurial zeal and establish themselves firmly in their domains of interest. Considering the fact that India is being seen as the future land of opportunities and accepting the fact that the world wants to know more about India and Indian management, time is ripe for us to research, write and teach from here.

Let us (scholars) make use of this golden opportunity.

Think about it.

One among ASQ Blog’s Top Ten Posts in 2016

Seasons Greetings and New Year Wishes 2017!!

I am a big fan of the ‘Administrative Science Quarterly’ Journal (ASQ). I was excited when the possibility of interviewing the authors of one of its papers. I enjoyed reading the article as it was close to how I intended (research method) to do my doctoral work. The interview was even more enjoyable. The interview was posted during the second half of November 2016. Link: https://asqblog.com/2016/11/16/delmestri-greenwood-2016-how-cinderella-became-a-queen-theorizing-radical-status-change/

We are more than happy to share that the interview we (Shaya & I) conducted for the ASQ Blog turned up to be No. 4 of their ‘Top Ten Blog Posts’ in 2016. This is really cool considering that fact that we had only about 45 days of presence on the web that year.

We learned a lot by reading that article in the ASQ and especially from the interview that we conducted with the authors. We are happy that our interview was well received by scholars. Hope a lot more scholars (doctoral students in particular) benefit from the interview and the article.

The ASQ blog team wish you a productive and fruitful 2017! Here we present the list of top posts in 2016 on the ASQ blog: take a look and get drunk on some scholarly wisdom before you open the Happy New Year champagne!

1. A Conversation with Jerry Davis, ASQ Editor (2011 – 2016)

2. A Conversation with Charlene Zietsma, winner of the 2016 ASQ Award for Scholarly Contribution

3. Berg (2016). Balancing on the Creative Highwire: Forecasting the Success of Novel Ideas in Organizations

4. Delmestri & Greenwood (2016). How Cinderella Became a Queen: Theorizing Radical Status Change

5. Davis & Eisenhardt (2011). Rotating Leadership and Collaborative Innovation: Recombination Processes in Symbiotic Relationships

6. Michel (2011). Transcending Socialization: A Nine-Year Ethnography of the Body’s Role in Organizational Control and Knowledge Workers’ Transformation

7. Huang and Pearce (2015). Managing the Unknowable: The Effectiveness of Early-stage Investor Gut Feel in Entrepreneurial Investment Decisions

8. Rider (2012). How Employees’ Prior Affiliations Constrain Organizational Network Change: A Study of U.S. Venture Capital and Private Equity

9. Navis and Glynn (2010). How new market categories emerge: temporal dynamics of legitimacy, identity, and entrepreneurship in satellite radio, 1990-2005

10. Merluzzi & Phillips (2016). The Specialist Discount: Negative Returns for MBAs with Focused Profiles in Investment Banking.

via Top Posts of 2016 — The ASQ Blog

Moving beyond the Razor-Blade Business Model

Almost every Business Model Class speaks about Gillette’s excellent idea of what is now popularly known as the ‘Razor Blade Business Model’. So many companies have milked this model. Examples include: Camera Films, Mobiles, Games, etc

There are even examples of the ‘Reverse Razor Blade Business Models’. Example: Apple.

Here is a study from a professor (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007681316000124) that questions if this model has lived its life and is facing its end-of-life. The study shows how the time has come for organisations to look at better pricing models. The environment in which we live today provides a lot more transparency and access. There are also institutional voids in emerging economies and Intellectual Property is not respected the same way as in the West. With so many new and changed forces, it is time for organisations to innovate with their business models and more importantly their revenue models.

Happy Reading and Happy Thinking!

Entrepreneurs: Skills and Behaviours

There are as many claims on what are the skills and behaviours of entrepreneurs as there are commentators! So when I came across a recent working knowledge output from Harvard Business School, I read through it in detail. It is a detailed scientific method to distilling and finding out what makes these mystical characters who they actually are. Read more on this research here: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/skills-and-behaviors-that-make-entrepreneurs-successful?cid=spmailing-13055035-WK%20Newsletter%206-8-2016%20(1)-June%2008,%202016

It is interesting that out of the 11 factors identified by the researchers five seem to be significantly higher amongst entrepreneurs. Two of these five caught my attention: building networks and finance & financial management. Predominantly these two are not taught adequately in entrepreneurship programs. I hope when the research is complete and the results are published, more entrepreneurship education programs enable entrepreneurs-to-be with skills around these two critical factors.

Happy Reading, Happy Thinking and Happy Entrepreneuring!

Autonomy to HEIs – is it enough?

Last week I read a news item that said the PMO was asking the MHRD to give ‘autonomy’ to 20 Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in the country. This they hope will help the HEIs become ‘world class’. It is a very bold and forward looking decision. With most international rankings questioning the stature of our HEIs, such progressive thought is important.

Link: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/education/pmo-advises-hrd-ministry-to-give-full-autonomy-to-20-world-class-educational-institutions/articleshow/52947157.cms

One look at the entrepreneurship literature, especially corporate entrepreneurship literature suggests that ‘autonomy’ is but one among a bunch of factors that can help trigger entrepreneurial tendencies. A simple case in point in ‘corporate entrepreneurship’ within established organisations. While ‘autonomy’ is one of the factors there are others too – such as access to work discretion, rewards, organisation boundaries, and organisation climate.

Above all these an institution that wants to turn entrepreneurial requires individuals with ‘an entrepreneurial mindset’ that will allow them to take risks, bold decisions, handle exceptions, and practice ambidexterity.

Do we have entrepreneurial leaders in higher education who can do it? I think that is a big question. How do we find them? How do we empower them? Else it will be just another few thousand crores spent, not invested.

Hope our policy makers think on this!!

Reporting Vs Research

I had an interesting chat with an eager, passionate, enthusiastic and smart student. She wanted to write about entrepreneurship. We spoke about how she could approach learning the subject and eventually contributing to it. During the conversation I found that we kept coming back to this rather important point – reporting versus research.

Reporting is what reporters must do. They are to observe and report (state facts) without interpretation. They normally do not involve trying to identify ‘causality’. On the other hand research is what researchers do. They use the facts and attempt to draw causality. They try to answer questions about why, how, and what behind phenomena.

Reporting must record phenomena, Research must attempt to decipher the meaning and causality behind it.

It is important to know that both roles are important. It is because we do not have high quality reporting that we do not have high quality datasets to work with. Hence both roles are critical. So why is this important?

As a student of any subject it is important to locate oneself in a role that is most suitable to one’s interests as well as one’s capabilities. It is only by situating oneself in the cusp of interest and capability that one can contribute to the most. One can straddle between the two, but moving too often makes one less focussed on either. Hence it makes sense to stay rooted in one and occasionally spend time in the other.

I am a researcher. I have decided to be one. I try to help practitioners make sense of phenomena and thereby make better decisions. What do you want to do? Think and make a wise decision!

I told this budding writer the same thing. The beauty is – she said she would take the inputs, think on it and come back with her decision. This makes the life of a teacher worthwhile.

Happy Thinking!