Harish Pant is a business visionary with a fascinating—and unusual—spiritual outlook. A thought leader, columnist, and public speaker, his worldview makes him a global treasure. Millions agree: Harish is among the Top 1% most followed connections in LinkedIn.
Among his other accolades: aerospace, automotive and steel executive; poet; founding member of Make-in-India National Committee (MINCO); distinguished alumna and fellow of Institution of Engineers (FIE); member of the Advisory Committee AIMA Bangalore; council member of the Indian Institution of Industrial Engineers (IIIE); member of the Aeronautical Society of India and SAE; member of the LASSIB Society; recipient of Immai Operational Excellence Award and the Mother Teresa Excellence Award and Award for Industrial Development; corporate member of the Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies, UK Trade and Investment and Executive Board of Indian Society for Advancement of Materials.
I recently asked Harish about transcending today’s world of digitally driven accelerated growth models versus creating steady, sustainable business value. His insights were transformative.
MARY OLSON: Harish, your poetry is illuminating. It is unusual that a business executive produces such vibrant clarity of thought to transcend business-speak into something universal and unforgettable.
HARISH PANT: We are human beings, personal beings, social beings and professional beings.
Without human values, all the riches of the world come to naught! As humans, we are endowed with a unique consciousness, which can flow to merge with super-consciousness, or make us aware of our intellectual, emotional, and physical beings.
The personal realm is “Me,” the microcosmic world where we play. It encompasses the immediate vicinity of your life envelope time and space.
The social milieu is “We” and Us”. It’s broader: say, your extended family. Imagine expanding that to your country, and even to all of Planet Earth.
Finally, there’s your professional world, where skills, capabilities and work give you an opportunity to create value for yourself and others. In exchange, this world provides an opportunity to engage others to create value for you!
At times, we float with curiosity and creativity and in another, we cling to our existential being—especially when life becomes challenging. In our most vibrant being, our soul, we experience life’s true amplitude!
“Soul” manifests through the eyes and ears of consciousness. A resonance creates a sound, leading to words and thoughts, which in turn may find expression in the form of a poem. That’s the natural way a poet can shine through.
At every level of human existence, we find people who rise in their evolutionary journeys and also have the grit and tenacity to transform themselves and others. We have potential to transcend, or levitate from one level to another. Notes of all four beings—the human, personal, social and professional—can produce a blissful life’s lyrics, once imbued in self awareness, without tradeoffs whatsoever!
Curiosity and learning pursuits have ushered me to many molding processes, helped gain wisdom in enlightening events and also connected me to wonderful people around the world. Life lessons and challenges have led me to be “Poetic” at times and an Astute professional in others.
NOAA Colorized Satellite Map of India
MARY OLSON: You are India’s thought leader inasmuch as you write about reinventing India’s supply chain, the cloud, and GST for a changing world. What is the state of business in India today, and how do you envision the future of business there?
HARISH PANT: India has barely 2.4% of land area but hosts 17.84% of the world’s population, securing third place in the world’s economy (based on PPP) and seventh place (based on nominal GDP). Multi-faceted in every way imaginable, and rooted in ancient cultures, our diversity and unique demographic makes for a bizarre concoction of humanity.
The economy pouring out of this hotpot puts everything to the test: if you can carry it out here, you can take it anywhere! A critical geopolitical position and vast coastline offer a unique payout for every world economic player, making us a phenomenal trade center for the world.
The world of “Nothingness” and the world of “Everything” coexist in India and these two world forces make any linear move both revolving and rotational. The value proposition in India has to either pass through the grail of “Nothingness” (Value for Money) or “Everything” (Aspirational). With advent of right technology and it’s maturation, evolution explodes when these worlds meet (Aspiration x Value for Money), and growth becomes exponential.
Further complicating the landscape are socio-economic factors like corruption, money laundering, and economic disparity etc., to name a few which will dissipate with a holistic growth framework of services consisting of product and services, ecosystem services, and social services.
The world’s economy reveals its “stretched-borrowed” capital and abusive timelines. We experience over-consumption and related macroeconomic problems; and including sustainability, global warming, terrorism and the nuisance of power games and military might. All are looking towards India to partner for business growth.
DY Photography 2015
In the above context, the country’s position is notably unmatched. Some unusual contrasts promote it as a desirable multi-national partner. To name a few:
It wants to lead the world—but not by might. For example, it remains devoid of territorial or military ambitions.
It aspires to be an economic superpower, but does not have a political or societal mandate for an unchecked, single-minded pursuit, like, say, China.
It has deep-rooted religious and social moorings, stemming from ancient wisdoms. It also has the bandwidth to absorb its many religions and cultures into “One India.”
It aspires for Everything material, but finds peace in the immaterial.
Now, with this positioning, India is at an inflection point on the world stage. Although the global economy struggles, India’s growth potential remains consistently immense.
Digitization, IT, and telecommunication will unleash more innovation, entrepreneurship, and expansion in India in the coming years. E-commerce, GST rollout, and infrastructure development will also help eliminate meddling, for disruptive changes in supply chain management.
India does not have any choice but to leapfrog from “Nowhere” to the center of the world stage, where new games and new rules will be written by new world players.
Falling oil prices, an impetus on solar energy, innovative mobility solutions, better infrastructure and connected smart cities and villages would certainly help in dramatically reducing the import bill and help India with much-needed funds and time to reorient itself on a development path. New economic structure sprouting out of startup, skill development and similar government initiatives bode well for the growth of the nation.
While the strategic investment in defense and aerospace would mark India in the top three, Make-in-India’s drive would have India competing with China. Alternative medicine, life wellness through yoga, social enterprises and education would provide low-cost life support while other growth areas like agriculture and associated industries would provide sustenance.
India is having its moment ripe for world engagement, but with approaches that will create a new world order.
MARY OLSON: You write about business excellence, curiosity, creativity and commitment in an ever-changing volatile world.
With rare exception, every traditional business has been digitally disrupted by what most of us now call the digital economy.
Douglas Rushkoff writes that business disruption is not the “fault” of digital technology. It is the fault of a digitally charged business model that stresses efficiency and corporate growth at the expense of the human beings they should be serving. Somehow, growth has become an end in itself, with human beings its impediments.
If you could change the rules of business today and mobilize everybody you know, how would you implore your colleagues to create ongoing value for owners, employees, and customers? Or, rather than living and dying by business growth rates, how can business value be made truly sustainable?
HARISH PANT: Every human evolution necessitates even greater value and commitment. Now, even a small act has far-reaching implications. We see the travesty of:
Relentless greed that cannot be checked by high taxation and mandated Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives.
The possession of discretionary funds creates many personal, social and health problems.
The principle of “might is right” does not bring peace, or solve world’s problems.
That it’s “not my problem” is a problem! We live in an integrated world.
The ever-expanding gap between scarcity and abundance, resulting from advancing technology, has created an uncertain, volatile, chaotic and ambiguous world. We want to truncate the world, abstracting value to make money—and keep feeding relentless human desires.
As the world (and humanity) matures, we are creating and expanding many economic, social, technological and personal platforms that connect the whole world. It’s time we integrate ourselves: not through a single currency of money—but a green currency of ecosystem services and a currency of social services. Donations and philanthropy cannot solve the world’s problems! Attitudes have to change. Also, government and business need to stop working with contrary and disjointed sets of objectives.
Each economic act has to create wealth in all three of these currencies, and one cannot be earned at the expense of the other. For example, if there is a massive job redundancy due to digitization, then the organization should be required to provide for social impacts, and prove its business sustainable. The point isn’t to create a socialistic society. Instead, human evolution demands a wholesome approach than the singular pursuit of greed. To be able to refrain from creating hell on earth is not enough, we need to structure it anew for generating a holistic wealth positively impacting economy, society and our ecosystem.
We must dramatically change the rule of the game, adopting a circle of human values that can provide endless opportunity to contribute and make the world better. For example, we can invite main stakeholders to be share holders in an enterprise through a new equity structure framework and a minimum debt is financed through green commitment towards ecosystem services and social good.
Welcome to the new world order where the wealth of all three currencies would rule… not money alone!
The next technological challenge is to create an algorithm that relates money, green, and social good, or alternatively take a few best ancient religious books and follows a common wisdom. Or, it can be to be simply human!
What’s your choice?! Let’s pause to understand consequences of our choices and actions not only rationally but relationally as well.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is a Sanskrit phrase found in Hindu texts such as the Maha Upanishad, which means “The world is one family”.
The World is One Family
One is a relative, the other stranger,
say the small minded.
The entire world is a family,
live the magnanimous.
lift up your mind, enjoy
the fruit of Brahmanic freedom.
—This verse of Maha Upanishad is engraved in the entrance hall of the Parliament of India. 6.71-75
“Our creations must take people to that wordless world which is the real essence on which the small physical world floats!”
Feel free to connect with Mary Olson or Harish Pant for further information.
My new interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014 includes experts in technology, the arts, well-being and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game-changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.
Profile: Ellen Maidman-Tanner is the executive vice president of member relations, focusing on issues of quality and service excellence for PinnacleCare’s members. Ms. Maidman-Tanner inspires efforts designed to support the company’s mission – to exceed member’s expectations and do everything possible to ensure their optimal health and promote good healthcare experiences.
Prior to joining PinnacleCare in 2004, she served for several decades as a marketing and strategic planning executive within a variety of industries, including consumer goods and the legal profession. When she moved to the Washington, DC area from Toronto in 1990, she undertook work in the non-profit arena, including work for: the Canadian Embassy; a homeless shelter; Financial Executives International, a professional association; and, just before coming to PinnacleCare, Ms. Maidman-Tanner helped found the national Organization for Autism Research (OAR), which funds applied research studies.
Ellen embodies a sense of personal integrity and radiates energy, vitality and will. Clarity is one of her most powerful attributes. She has a fabulous sense of humor. She’s a great listener and conversationalist and has a genuinely caring humanity. She is a thinker, writer and artist. She has evolved a model for building trust and deeply valued relationships in the health advocacy industry.
Mary Olson: How have your views changed as you look back on your experience?
Ellen Maidman-Tanner: Over time, I have come to appreciate the value of common sense, compassion and remaining true to objectives. There is a huge place in business for speaking from the heart. No matter what we are trying to accomplish, we are typically working with other humans, and it is a respect for the common experiences and feelings we all share that can help us achieve our goals in a more efficient and harmonious manner. That is something I strive for on a daily basis.
Mary Olson: How do you see the way the world is emerging?
Ellen Maidman-Tanner: Obviously, our amazing and recent interconnectivity is changing the way we view ourselves. Are there really more wars, super storms and epidemics than there were before, or are we simply more aware of them? I am concerned by the rise of fundamentalist tribalism, the degradation of our planet, and the seeming loss of the moral compass previously the result of the better side of our religious practices. My hope for us as a species lies primarily in reason, education and the tremendous discoveries delivered every day by science.
Mary Olson: Ellen, what do you think about as you look forward?
Ellen Maidman-Tanner: The adoption of new discoveries toward the betterment of people. This is something we all do each day at PinnacleCare, by helping people access great medical care. It is something blossoming all around us. At a very rudimentary level, you see the plastic bottle light bulb invention, while at the upper end you see nanotechnology being adapted for disease interventions, and the creation of solar roadways. Overall, I am an optimist, a ‘possibilist’.
Mary Olson: What else would you like others to know about you?
Ellen Maidman-Tanner: Intuition, spirituality and creativity are important to me. We are all stewards of our lives. We all share the same biology. I find the challenge of the transitory nature of our existence fascinating. As Matthiessen said, “The gap between what I know and what I am.”
My new interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014 includes experts in technology, the arts, well-being and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.
Helaine Ciporen, the founder of Diabetes Families, discusses her past experience, current focus, and insights about how the world is emerging.
Profile: Helaine Ciporen has been a licensed therapist and clinical social worker in private practice for more than 20 years. She holds a Masters degree from Columbia University in clinical social work with children and families. She also holds a Masters degree from Bank Street College of Education in learning disabilities. Ms. Ciporen counsels families coping with chronic illnesses including diabetes and cystic fibrosis at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Helaine teaches at Mount Sinai’s School of Medicine and is an adjunct professor at Columbia School of Social Work. She has established global recognition for her work and received the Health Throughout Life Span Award at the International Changing Health Conference in Ireland.
Helaine is one of the earliest pioneering activists in preventing diabetes and obesity in children. Her efforts include articles for professional journals, clinical research, lectures and the creation of diabetesfamilies.com.
Mary Olson: How have your views changed as you look back on your experience?
Helaine Ciporen: I am not sure that my views have changed as much as they have become integrated. I have gained knowledge from various perspectives; from my background in the arts, as a member of the launch team of MTV in the early days of the cable industry, as a psychotherapist and as a team member at the Mount Sinai Pediatric Diabetes Clinic. I had a bird’s eye view watching the emergence of a new and needless epidemic, type 2 diabetes in children. My experience in different industries has knit together in my efforts to find solutions to this major healthcare dilemma.
Mary Olson: How do you see the way the world is emerging?
Helaine Ciporen: On a micro-level, I see life as a daily series of problems to be solved. The better you get at that, the more interesting and complex the problems you can address. The also applies on the macro-level. The world is grappling with fundamental issues of survival, especially in ecology and healthcare. However, we also have such amazing new tools in technology and communications. An important change is that we are breaking down professional silos to bringing a variety of talents and skills together to resolve these problems. I believe human creativity, intelligence and love will carry us forward.
Mary Olson: I understand that you developed the interactive digital tool, DiaBeaters for families who have, or are at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Helaine Ciporen: I developed DiaBeaters in conjunction with Columbia University’s School of Social Work and the Center for New Media in Teaching and Learning. DiaBeaters is a five session interactive computer-based intervention tool to eliminate type 2 diabetes by fostering healthy habits of families and children to ensure lifelong maximization of good health. It is currently in use as a counseling tool at the Hall Family Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, NYC and Columbia’s social work classrooms to train graduate students.
I would like to make it available to other clinics and classrooms and repurpose it for other healthcare concerns.
Mary Olson: How else do you envision the future?
Helaine Ciporen: One answer comes from the age-old question, “How do I bring meaning to my life?” Alternatively, how will I use what I have to offer for the greater good and to help others to grow?
The answer is crystal clear. I will continue to focus on the well-being of others.
This new series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014 includes experts in technology, the arts, well-being and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Individually, they are inspiring new models or trends; are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; or are writing and publishing hard-fought insights.
Tim Anderson discusses his professional background, current focus, and insights about how the world is emerging.
Profile: Tim Anderson is the founder of In My Backyard Health and Wellness, a grass-roots urban community prevention model that engages individuals to adopt and sustain a healthier lifestyle of an entire culture of African-Americans: A population that has among the highest rate of chronic disease health disparities in the United States. In My Backyard Health and Wellness provides health education and physical activities that focus on chronic disease prevention and reducing the risk of chronic disease complications.
Tim recently innovated the African American Men’s Health Check-in and Conversations in collaboration with Dr. Charles Modlin a urologist, kidney transplant surgeon, founder and director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Minority Men’s Health Center and the monthly co-host. Together, they are providing African American men living in urban, suburban and rural communities across the United States free health and wellness conference calls with highly accomplished medical, health and wellness experts.
Mary Olson: Tim, how have your views changed as you look back on your past?
Tim Anderson: Beginning in 2001, my focus was on health screenings. I viewed health screenings as the number one objective in addressing health disparities. Health screenings for diabetes, hypertension and other metabolic disorders were the primary tool addressing health disparities at that time. The importance of health screenings remains and effective public health engagement, however, screening does not engage in “moving the needle” towards the elimination of health disparities.
Improving health outcomes in high risk communities and populations requires a critical alignment of the following:
Health and nutrition education
Collaboration between healthcare systems and communities
Realignment of local and state government public health resources
Changes in public policies
Prevention is not clinically-based, it is community-based. I think by and large the medical community understands the need to engage more in community health initiatives addressing disease prevention.
By 2004, I had created the diabetes lifestyle center in my community. Since that time, I have continued to focus on a holistic approach in addressing health disparities. By connecting the dots, I have build a model of prevention that is sustainable and replicable. Thereby eliminating or reducing health disparities and improving health outcomes.
Mary Olson: Tim, How do you see the way the world is emerging?
Tim Anderson: For me, I am concerned about technology’s effect upon human development. I do not think we have the answer. We are projecting that technology will enhance our human existence. However I also think if we are not careful and diligent in the use of technology, our human development may be disrupted by such technological advances.
Like the natural elements of our world that have shaped our DNA it appears we now have a powerful synthetic element that may also influence our DNA. We are on uncharted waters, never in our human history has our life been impacted by a revolution of advancement that affects everyone on the planet simultaneously..
Mary Olson: Tim, What do you think about as you look forward?
Tim Anderson: I contemplate the impact of chronic disease epidemic not as a crisis, but the warning bell for things to come. Chronic disease is the tip of the iceberg. Throughout human evolution, our DNA has adapted to our environment. It is this adaptive ability that has ensured the survival of mankind, but there are two sides to this adaptation. I do not know the scientific term if there is one, but I refer to it as a harmonic adaptation.
Where our DNA is programmed to receive environmental codes that allow are genes to adapt accordingly. I believe this harmonic adaptation has existed from the very beginning. Conversely, I believe that stress or crises can trigger long changes in DNA. Under this scenario, adverse emotional or environmental factors can trigger gene mutation that can result in a host of health crisis.
The perfect storm consists of poor nutrition, high sodium diet, unhealthy fats and sugar, obesity from poor nutrition, low physical activity, chemicals and additives in products that we consume and use, as well as, other factors that impact our health. I believe these adverse conditions are now laying the foundation towards gene mutation of diseases.
I believe if we fail to change the harmful conditions in our behavior and environment, future generations will be born with genetic mutations contributed by the current chronic disease epidemic of today. We will have babies born with diseases like type 2 diabetes that are a result of genetic mutation and untreatable by current treatment intervention. In many instances, genetic mutations resulting in diseases will be incurable. Today, women who carry a specific gene for breast cancer elect to have a mastectomy even though cancer is not present. What will the options be for future generations whose gene mutation resulted in either untreatable and/or incurable chronic diseases?
The harmful conditions in our environment are sending our DNA into crisis mode. What we are witnessing in the world wide epidemic of chronic diseases is not a crisis, but the warning of imminent change in genetic mutation. I believe we may still have time to switch our DNA to the harmonic adaptation by making significant changes in our life.