Day 2 of the International Research Colloquium had some interesting deliberations and left us with some food for thought. We had three distinguished guests who shared their opinions on the developments post-pandemic happening in their respective domains.
Dr. Sujata Deshpande, head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Thermax Foundation shared the ethos of the Thermax Group, which acts as a guiding force while making any decision related to the appropriate CSR initiatives to drive. She emphasized the thought that going along, ‘sustainability and looking after the community around’, would surely decide to a great extent, which companies will have a better ability to survive in the long run. She explained the regulatory, philanthropic and economic rationale for CSR in today’s time, highlighting the focus points of Thermax’s CSR initiatives during the pandemic. Having volunteered for the ‘Teach for India’ program for two years, she had a deeper understanding of the problems faced by underprivileged kids and how small contributions made by the organization as well as individuals could make this universe a better place to live. She was very appreciative of the younger generation, who in her opinion is very forthcoming to volunteering for such activities. Dr. Deshpande went on to elaborate on the essential areas where the CSR fraternity needs to work. She particularly highlighted the accountability of Public-Private Partnership, migrant workers rehabilitation, Digital Divide, Social Innovations, and Incubations among many others. In her opinion, the areas like Digital Divide and Public-Private Partnership needs extra attention, and that too on an urgent basis. The pandemic has depicted the severity of lack of access to education in tier-3 cities and below. Only with the help of planned collaborations between the Government and the private corporation can this divide be mitigated. Her talk came from her long-standing experience with hands-on social work and therefore we could connect very well with her and gained valuable insights on the outlook towards CSR and how meaningful contribution can be made If the leadership has the right intent towards pursuing such activities.
Dr. Brett, from Texas, USA, talked about the process of innovation and shared that merely having an innovation lab, cannot foster company innovation. He said that some level of process and conformance is required and ISO 56000 standards provide a methodology to be followed for fostering innovation. He emphasized the need to learn the tools, techniques, and methodologies of innovation. He said that he is very positive about the world outlook, with India and China playing a major role in driving the growth and simultaneously the nationalist sentiments as propagated by Trump taking a backseat. Dr. Brett concluded by the quote stating, Great Innovations come from Dark times.
We also got an opportunity to hear Mr. Chandrasekhar Ganduri, an illustrious alumnus of the 2004 batch of SCMHRD and currently working as a Director at Pwc’s Deals Advisory Services. He shared his thoughts on how the pandemic has affected business projections, plans, and forecasts across the globe. We understood how this disruption was new for the organization and how each one of them was finding their coping strategies. A big challenge that emerged was that businesses were unable to predict the magnitude of challenges and how to address them. It helped us in gaining an understanding of the plethora of opportunities available to us. Mr. Ganduri also shed light on how the work culture of companies was vastly affected and that businesses had to digitize, improvise, and innovate to survive.
It was a great experience for us to learn from Dr. Brett, Mr. Chandrasekhar, and Dr. Deshpande on three different and diverse domains. We thank our speakers for taking time off their busy schedules to enlighten us with their thoughts.