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HomeCEOFrom ‘milch cows’ to ‘uncertainties’- How ‘certainly certain’ are today’s CEO’s?

From ‘milch cows’ to ‘uncertainties’- How ‘certainly certain’ are today’s CEO’s?


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Are you milking your ‘milch cow’? Isn’t it a tactical skill with you involved in distribution, ignoring silent risks? Are you and your milch cow with a loyal distribution system hedging on it clandestinely? But how long?? The expose has just begun! In a utilitarian world nothing stays sacred. Do you plan to do add on to competencies with newer partnerships? This applies to all firms lead by fabled thinking leaders entrapped in ‘old habits dying hard’ and immersed in complacencies, imagining this is the route to success. They have forgotten, the escape plan, its landscape has changed and that they must open to newer trusted and tested partnerships for survival. The old, trusted advisors have stale, narrowed and pejorative thinking. Be aware, as a CEO, are you still milking your cows and ‘certainly certain’ in a world of ‘uncertainties?’

Majority of us in a technology driven world are confounded, on how the industry in partnership with research institutions and scientific communities can leverage upon the transition from science, technology and manufacturing? It is perplexing, as to how to accelerate newer ideas and strengthen the technology driven process? This is a thought, which several corporates have already begun, especially ones cornered by the pandemic imbroglio. Isn’t it true that collaborations will matter to speed the process in mitigating the challenges around the adversities behind existence? What is agile and active today can translate in tomorrow’s limpness.  Is it then an opportune time to go for replacement of the milch cow? CEO’s need to ponder.


CEOs must make it a point to debate that there are rising encounters in transitioning of scientific inventions leading to technology, and manufacturing. The challenges are:

  1. How to convert the scientific discoveries followed by inventions into technologies for use?
  2. What about commercialisation of the inventions?

We find as an evidence, that a very small fraction of inventions followed by discoveries trail into commercialization, despite few scaling and converting to technology. What could be the plausible reasons? The value chain starting from the discovery stage to development of technology, followed by manufacturing needs a closer look. If one peeps into the manufacturing chain by corporates, there is a technology driven transition based on capabilities and the customer expectations. For manufacturers it is imperative to stay competitive with increased productivity while delivering product of acceptable quality and at the same time remain profitable keeping a key watch on their sustainability. The next conundrum by their CEOs is to what makes this transition distinct? Is it the acquisition of the unprecedented technological capabilities that potentially impact the manufacturing process?

Are these CEOs ‘certainly certain’ in a world of ‘uncertainties’, to get into the act of driving the industries of future? Unanswered…Please think about it!

The quest

1970 was an era of re-engineering, which is reshaping up currently with tools like design thinking. Which all technologies have emerged in the past? Initially it was washing machines, tumbler dryers, refrigerators, automobiles, Television, Blu-ray players, games consoles, interactive toys and even flooring materials. Websites, Computers, eBooks, Digital Televisions, Buying and Selling Online, Mobile Apps, Printers, Smartphones, Banking and Finances, ATMs, online payment platforms, Social Media, Digital Music, Video Streaming, Blogs, Geolocation, Drones and Guided Missiles etc. to recall few. Then this was followed by the Tablets, the Laptops, digital cameras, video cameras etc. In the education space it followed with interactive white boards, touch screen displays, virtual reality headsets, podcasts etc. Several firms mastered the art, and few built their competence around it, from design to delivery.

It is an era of transformation centered around ‘future industries. These could spring rather have already begun in 3D printing, medical transcription, machine learning, Internet of things (IoT), Blockchain, Artificial intelligence, Robotics, Robotic process automation, Edge computing, Quantum computing, virtual reality and augmented realty, 5G, Natural Language Processing etc. Electric Vehicles, Space tourism, Hyperloop have already advanced their entry in new platforms by the industry. Do you see some technologies that have adopted by your organization or other assorted ones that have invaded your business and industry? If you have not, please check your neighbor, who is far competitive and has leapfrogged.


CEOs or say industry leaders have seen the transition of technologies during their industry journey. Some picked these technologies in shaping the business, by choosing the right mix of science, technology and integrating it into the manufacturing. But what happens now? With increased infusion of technology followed with its frequency and wideness, the CEOs are in a vortex of whether to choose adoption or adaptation as the key strategy to their existence. They must be propellants in accelerating the transition since the future is changing and must be captured with foresight.

Industry leaders must collaborate with academic leaders, covering wider dimensions of technologies produced by them. Strategic partnership with the scientific and research communities can help them in mitigating the future, which is extremely dynamic and unpredictable. This may allow them to stay focussed in the commercialisation process, embrace design thinking and be constantly innovative in capturing the mind of the new consumer. The pandemic has clearly demonstrated that those who were VUCA ready, were hit comparatively lesser, in comparison to those who had little or no appreciation of system thinking, succumbed to their ill fate. For few in the race to be sustainable and forward thinking took upon collaborations with scientific communities in building robust systems to mitigate adversities.

Nothing stays sacred eternally, the proverbial milch cow then must be replaced, so be the logistics soothing it. Drop old ones and be facilitated by thinkers with open mind transiting from shibboleths. Or else do you still want to wager? It is ‘certainly certain’ that the ‘uncertainties’ have surrounded CEOs with a deluge of questions unanswered. How prepared are you as a CEO?

Written by Dr. Manoj Joshi.

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