Tuesday, June 30, 2009



A Glance through my Ancient Notebook



Whilst browsing through my bookshelves I came across an “ancient” notebook and found something interesting on “The Necessary Conditions for an Entity [S] to be conceived as a System”.

1. S is Teleological – This means that every system has a purpose.
2. S has a Measure of Performance [MOP]
3. There exists a client [or customer] whose interests are served by S in such a manner that the higher the MOP the better the interests are served.
4. S has teleological components which co-produce the MOP of S. This means that a System may have sub-systems.
5. S has an environment which also co-produces the MOP of S.
6. There exists a decision maker who via his resources can produce changes in Measures of Performance of the components of S [sub-systems] and hence changes in MOP of S.
7. There exists a designer who conceptualises the nature of S in such a manner that the designer’s concepts potentially produce actions in the decision maker and hence changes in the Measures of Performance of the S’s components [sub-systems] and hence changes in the MOP of S.
8. The designer’s intention is to change S so as to maximise S’s value to the client of the customer.
9. S is stable with respect to the designer in the sense that there is a built-in guarantee that the designer’s intention is ultimately realisable.

This leads us to the Sufficient Conditions or the System Trinity: DESIGNER, DECISION-MAKER and CLIENT [USER or CUSTOMER]

If an entity is to be considered a System:

1. It has a User [Client or Customer] who is interested in the performance of the entity.
2. It has a Decision-maker who affects the performance of the entity by controlling its resources.
3. It has a Designer whose preferences conform and are in harmony with the user’s preferences and who designs the system so that it can be operated by the Decision-maker.
4. The Designer wishes to maximise the benefits to the User.
5. The System is capable of executing the Designer’s plans.

Now after reading all this gobbledegook (or is it gobbledygook?) please don’t ask me what is a System.

Well I will put it simply – in a System 1+1 equals more than 2, say, 1+1 = 11 or even more.

That’s the concept of Synergy or Synergism so aptly expressed by Aristotle: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

Now I’ll ask you a question – Is Marriage a System?





Monday, June 29, 2009

Force Field Analysis: Management of Implementation




Implementation is the phase between a decision and its realization.

Implementation may be placed in a continuum in which interaction takes place between those who seek objective and those on whom action depends. The importance of implementation is undeniable because it is a struggle over the realization of ideas. Effective implementation overcomes the gaps between intention and promise, aspirations, achievement and performance, and prescription and reality. Implementation comprises the ability to achieve specified ends by chosen means.

The time factor is critical in the implementation phase of a project. Contingencies characterize implementation in several ways hence interactive and dynamic elements are vital to implementation management in order to forge links in the causal chain connecting actions to objectives with a view to minimizing the discrepancy between what actually occurs and what was envisaged.

Implementation is not self-executing. It is not a process that follows automatically once a program has been formulated. Implementation requires the presence of an action-forcing mechanism. Implementation is a control task; it needs to be dynamic, flexible and adaptable to changing situations.

Breakdowns of implementation represent fundamental failures to translate meaningful ideas into effective action. Despite taking initiatives and using rational methods, on many occasions implementation is swamped by constant pressures of unpredictable problems and crises.

It is important to distinguish between non-implementation and unsuccessful implementation. In the case of non-implementation, the program is not put into effect as intended. Unsuccessful implementation, on the other hand, occurs when a program is carried out, but fails to produce the desired results.

Implementation seems vulnerable to the domino effect in that when the initial phase is troubled the implementation failure tends to transmit itself to later phases.

Once implementation dynamics are set in motion, they become vulnerable to adverse or diversionary forces which pull them away from their original design. Hence, a cogent implementation schedule and specific techniques are necessary to move from the realm of intention to the ambit of reality.

Force Field Analysis, a technique developed by Lewin, is useful in designing and executing the implementation process. Force Field Analysis is a technique for systematically reviewing the elements working for and against a proposed course of action. It assumes that in any situation there are both driving forces and restraining forces that influence implementation.

Driving Forces are those forces that facilitate implementation. Restraining Forces impede the implementation process – they tend to restrain, dissipate, decrease or negate the Driving Forces.

For successful implementation it is essential to push on and overpower or immobilize the restraining forces, or try to transform the restraining forces into driving forces.

From the Human Resource (HR) perspective the Driving Forces include Participants [people who recognize their responsibility in the success of implementation], Movers [people who remove obstacles to implementation when they encounter them] and Shakers [people who recognize an opportunity and will make implementation happen] and the Restraining Forces may comprise Spectators [people not interested in implementation], Protectors [of Status Quo], Doubters [of the way the implementation is being done], Worriers [who are afraid of failure] and Switchers [people who abdicate and “delegate” their implementation responsibility].

Before embarking on implementation you must determine the driving forces and restraining forces and formulate a strategy to tackle them; if you rush into implementation without proper analysis, you may get frustrated and not know why.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.




Art of Dissertation Reference Citations Notes Bibliography


Reference Citations

[ Citations, Footnotes, Endnotes, References, Bibliography ]



Art of Dissertation – Part 2 – Citations

Whenever you use any words, ideas or information from any source in your dissertation, you must cite and reference those sources to acknowledge the contributions of others in your dissertation work.


Reference Citations may be included in the following forms:

Footnote Referencing in the text at the foot or bottom of the page.
Endnote Referencing or Citation-Sequence System collated and listed chronologically at the end of the text.

Citations serve inter alia the following purposes:

Establish credibility of the research.
Enable assessment of the quality and timeliness of the research.
Acknowledge the contributions of others and sources of information in your dissertation work.
Provide identification of material used in your research or quoted in your dissertation report.
Facilitate inclusion of material of supplemental value.
Intellectual Honesty.

Referencing [Footnotes and Endnotes]

In your dissertation you can do referencing using either Footnotes or Endnotes.

A Footnote is a bottom-of-the-page citation, whereas Endnotes are collected at the either at the end of the dissertation or at the end of each chapter.

Footnotes and Endnotes serve the same purpose. However, they are two different systems, so be consistent and use one of the two methods throughout your dissertation.

The advantage of footnoting is that readers can simply cast their eyes down the page to discover the source of a reference which interests them, but now-a-days Endnotes [References] at the end of the dissertation seem to be preferred.

References are to be sequentially numbered throughout your dissertation starting with 1, indicating the relevant number [note identifier] at the end of the pertinent sentence in the text, superscripted, or in brackets, and amplified by the citation either at the bottom of the page [footnote] or at the end of the dissertation [endnote]. The citation should provide the following bibliographic information:

1. Author(s) surname(s), first name(s) or initials
2. Name of the article, book or journal
3. Editors (if applicable)
4. Publishers Name and Location
5. Volume and Issue Number or month of publication (in case of a journal)
6. Year published
7. ISBN (if applicable)
8. The exact page numbers if your reference is a direct quotation, a paraphrase, an idea, or is otherwise directly drawn from the source. [p – page, pp – pages]

Titles of publications should be italicised, article titles should be enclosed between single quotation marks, and commas must be used to separate each item of the citation and end with a full stop.



1. Wilson B, ‘Systems, Concepts, Methodologies and Applications’, John Wiley and Sons, USA, 1984, p 29

Journal [article]

2. Steiner CJ, ‘Educating for Innovation and Management’, IEEE Transactions on Education, Vol 41, No. 1, Feb 1998, pp 1-7

Conference Proceedings [paper]

3. Sriram S and Karve VW, ‘Systems Cybernetic Re-engineering for Empowering Human Performance: A Soft Systems Dynamics Approach’, Proceedings of the International Conference on Cognitive Systems, Dec 1998, pp 723 – 739.

Internet Citations must include:

1. Name(s) of Author (s) / Editor (s)
2. "Title of Article, Web page or site" in quotation marks.
3. Name of sponsor of site or Title of Journal
4. Date of article, of Web page or site creation and latest update.
5. Access date (the date you accessed the Web page or site).
6. Complete Uniform Resource Locator (URL) in angle brackets.


Karve VW, ‘Ethics, Values and Technology’, in Cognitive Systems Review, July 2008, viewed on 21 August 2008

Some Abbreviations in Referencing

ibid is used in consecutive references that refer to the same work, whether to the same or different pages.

Example: [the digits 1,2,3 are the footnote or reference numbers]

1. Karve V, ‘Appetite For A Stroll’, Cinnamon Teal, India, 2008, ISBN 9788190690096, p 15.

2. ibid [Please note that this refers only to page 15 of the above book and not to any other page of that book]

3. ibid, pp 29-34. [This still refers to Karve, but to pages 29-34]

op. cit. is used with non-consecutive references that refer to the same work but to different pages.

loc. cit is used with non-consecutive references that refer to the same work and to the same page or pages of that work.

Examples: [the digits 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 are footnote or reference numbers]

4. Senge P, ‘The Fifth Discipline’, Currency Doubleday, USA, pp 75-76.

5. Twiss BC, ‘Managing Technological Innovation’, Longman, UK, 1974, p 33

6. Senge, op. cit., pp 101-110 [Note that the footnote reference numbers to Senge are not consecutive and that different pages in his work are being cited].

7. Karve V, op. cit., pp 117-120. [Different pages of Karve (reference at serial 1 above) are being cited]

8. ibid [This refers to Karve, pp 117-120]

9. Twiss, loc.cit. [The reference is to Twiss page 33. Citation of any other page or pages would have entailed the use of op. cit, followed by the page number(s)]

When references are made to two or more books or papers of the same author, the abbreviations op.cit. and loc. cit. are not used in subsequent citations, in order to obviate confusion.

In referring to material contained in other pages of your own dissertation you may use the following abbreviations followed by the appropriate page number:

cf (confer) – compare
cf,ante (confer ante) – compare above
cf, post (confer post) – compare below
supra (above) – cross-reference to preceding matter
infra (below) – cross-reference to succeeding matter
et passim (and here and there) – matter referred is scattered in the dissertation


A bibliography should generally contain all the sources cited in the dissertation and any other important references [books, journals and internet websites] that you have consulted during your research or used in preparing your dissertation.

Systematically list the various sources of information consulted or used in your dissertation [books, journals, internet websites, previous research work / dissertations] separately in alphabetical order of authors’ surnames in the same style as references.

The distinction between references and bibliography is that whereas references [footnotes and endnotes] cite authority for specific statements, the bibliography gives descriptions of entire works.

If a reader wants to consult a work referred to in a footnote, he turns to the bibliography for a full description of that work.

[to be continued]


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.






Friday, June 19, 2009

Dissertation Research and Writing




Part 1 – Thesis Statement

I wrote a dissertation to earn my Masters Degree in Technology [M.Tech.] from IIT Delhi in 1983, and one more for my Post Graduation in Management in 1985.

Since then I have supervised and guided dissertations, more than 40, maybe 50, chiefly for Masters Degrees in Engineering and Technology [ME / M. Tech.].

Some students of mine thought it apt than I pen down a few tips on the art of dissertation, so here are I am, writing a few lines, on The Art of Dissertation.

In a nutshell, the Art of Dissertation comprises the following simple steps:

1. Select a dissertation topic in a subject that you are knowledgeable about.

2. Compose a thesis statement that only asks a single question.

3. Employ a research methodology process that is compatible with your dissertation study.

4. Present your data evaluation, analysis and interpretation in an accurate, succinct, logical, well-reasoned and lucid manner and write your dissertation report in a simple, coherent manner conforming to the prescribed style.

5. Conclude your dissertation by answering the thesis statement and, if pertinent, mention corollaries and consequences and possibilities and scope for future research work on the subject.

6. Impart the finishing touches to your dissertation report – definitions, references, bibliography, abstract, summary, acknowledgement, certificate, contents and title pages.


A thesis is a hypothesis or conjecture. The word "thesis" is coined from the Greek derivative of the word meaning "position", and refers to an intellectual proposition. A thesis may be an unproved statement, a hypothetical proposition, put forward as a premise.

A dissertation is a lengthy, formal document that argues in defence of a particular thesis. The term "Dissertation" is derived from the Latin word dissertātiō, meaning "discourse" and is a document that presents the author's research and findings and, in most cases, is submitted in support of candidature for a degree or professional qualification. The research performed to support a thesis must be original and substantial. The dissertation must illustrate this aspect and highlight original contributions.

Your dissertation is your research which demonstrates your understanding of the subject in a clear manner. Therefore, it is imperative you find a topic that gives a clear picture of what you should write. Always ignore ambiguous and vague ideas. And, most importantly, choose an apt title – in fact, the title of your dissertation must fascinate you and entice your audience.


Dissertations are of two types - Empirical and Analytical.

Empirical dissertations make propositions resulting from experiments, involving laboratory or field research.

Analytical dissertations reflect propositions resulting from meticulous, pioneering and innovative analysis of previously published work.


A dissertation report may comprise the following main chapters:

1. Introduction- An overview of the problem; why it is important; a summary of extant work and, most important, the thesis statement.

2. Literature Review-the chapter that summarizes another work related to your topic.

3. Methodology-the part of the paper that introduces the procedures utilized for the research study and the conceptual model.

4. Data Presentation, Evaluation, Analysis and Interpretation -the chapter involves the presentation of computation values using statistical tools to support the claim.

5. Conclusion-the complete summary of the research findings.

Of course, you must include suitable pages for definitions, illustrations and graphs, footnotes and references, bibliography, abstract, summary, acknowledgement, certificates, contents and title pages.


Dissertation writing chiefly involves the introduction, literature review, methodology and analysis chapters, and the others mentioned above. Having selected your dissertation topic, before you begin your dissertation you need to establish your thesis statement first.

A thesis statement is simply a single sentence that provides the main intention of the research. The thesis statement will epitomize the scope of your study, give you an idea of what you want to prove and will pilot your research.

A good thesis statement must satisfy the following four criteria:

1. The thesis statement must state your position.

2. The thesis statement must be able to support a discussion.

3. The thesis statement must be specific about its position.

4. The thesis statement should only have one single idea of discussion.

You must ponder over the following points while writing the introduction to your dissertation:

Is there any need to this dissertation study?

Why do it now? Why here? Why me?

Is the dissertation topic in my “comfort zone” and am I thirsty for knowledge and passionate about it?

Is there a problem? What is it? Why does it need to be solved?

Should I approach it empirically or analytically?

What is my hypothesis? Is it original, novel, new, innovative?

Who will benefit from my dissertation work? In what sense will they benefit?

How will my contribution add to “commons”?

What is going to be my methodology? [modalities of data collection, evaluation, analysis, interpretation]

Are there any constraints or limitations in conduct of my proposed dissertation studies and research?

Dear Reader, I am feeling tired now, and will end this first part of my article here, but before I sign off, here is an interesting quote I read somewhere:

“The average Ph.D. thesis is nothing but the transference of bones from one graveyard to another.” – Frank J. Dobie.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.




Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Nice Introduction to RADAR


Here is a rather amusing book review by Prachi Deshmukh, a bright young engineer who works with me.

It was written quite some time back and I like her rather droll friendly style and, hence, I have intentionally not edited the review too much, so that the writing retains its original refreshing youthful flavour. So here is the book review E & OE :-

Name of the book: Radar
Authors: P.S. Hall, T.K. Garland-Collins, R.S. Picton and R.G. Lee
Publication: Brassey’s , (UK), 1991
Pages: 170
ISBN: 0 – 08 – 037710 – 6

[Reviewed by Prachi A. Deshmukh]

It was a bright morning, and I was enjoying my first tea of the day. Usually, I do not take tea without having a glance on the newspaper. There were plenty of news showing the fall of the top Indian software companies, the falling share market and there were overflowing columns discussing about the global recession. I was getting somewhat bored by reading them, and suddenly a news attracted me, which was about the bravery of a pilot in USA who saved the life of nearly 160 passengers. The brave man did land the plane in a frozen river to rescue the passengers in the plane and saved it from crash, which could happen because of a bird approaching towards the plane. Hats off to the presence of mind of the pilot! At the same time, we should not forget to say thanks to the radar technology, which had helped the pilot to detect the presence of the approaching bird.

After reading this, I became curious about the RADAR technology. ‘RADAR’ is the abbreviation of ‘Radio Detection and Ranging’. I went to the library in search of the book which will make me familiar with this RADAR technology. There were number of books available there, out of which, I selected one book, which I think was best suitable for a reader who is interested in to know the basic operation of RADAR, but does not have detailed knowledge of electronics or RADAR system, but is interested to know about the modern warfare.

The book about which I am talking is ‘Radar’ by P.S. Hall et al, Brassey’s Publication, UK. ‘RADAR’ is the 9th volume of the series ‘Land Warfare: Brassey’s New Battlefield Weapons Systems and Technology Series’.

The content in the book is well arranged in 10 chapters, each having plenty of supporting diagrams, equations as well as photographs. The first chapter introduces us with radar. We enter in the world of radar with knowing the importance of radar, its history, i.e. origin of radar, motivation behind it, its first use in army etc. We also go through the technical history of radar. At the end of the first chapter, we become familiar with the types of radar such as primary and secondary radar, monostatic, bistatic and multistatic radar. The last figure of this chapter shows the electromagnetic spectrum and the radar bands in it.
The chapters 2 to 4 deal with the radar principles and technology. It is advised that the readers who wish to strengthen their fundamentals should study these chapters carefully. For those who are new to this field or want the comprehensive view, all the chapters are recommended. Those who understand the basics but wish to update themselves on the current state of battlefield radars chapter no. 5 to 9 are there.

Chapter 2 is about the ‘Principles of Radar Operation’. This chapter introduces us with the basic principles of radar operation such as basic action of the Pulse Radar Operation, Pulse Repetition Frequency, evaluation of the performance of radar , how to design the antenna, the maximum detection range and the radar equation etc. At the end of the chapter we gain the knowledge about the detection of radar signals, radar resolution, velocity resolution, radar accuracy and how to choose the frequency of radar.

Chapter 3 is an interesting one. Here we become familiar with the Doppler radar, Doppler processing in pulse radars, blind and ambiguous velocity. Besides these concepts, there are some other important radar techniques also, such as methods of target discrimination, Rain Clutter suppression by circular polarization, pulse compression, scanning and tracking radars, synthetic aperture radar. After going through this chapter, we find that we have acquired enough fundamentals to thoroughly understand the radar technology.

The fourth chapter is ‘radar technology’. Here we have to make use of the knowledge which we have gained in the previous chapters. At the beginning of this chapter we have a look on what are radar transmitters and receivers, what is magnetron, Klystron, Travelling wave tube, solid state transmitters etc. Without the knowledge of the components of radar, can we understand what the system actually is?

The common microwave transmission lines such as waveguide, co-axial, line, microstrip, triplate stripline are illustrated in brief. Antennas are the important sense organs for the radars. Here are the different types of antennas such as reflector antennas, adaptive antennas, multiple beam antennas as well as the phase arrays, frequency scanned arrays. Digital processing and displays are also explained in brief. If the displays could have been explained in detail, it would be better.

With chapter 5, we move towards the battlefield surveillance radar. First the authors introduce us with the requirement of the battlefield surveillance radar. Mainly there are two classes of battlefield surveillance radar i.e. Short range battlefield surveillance radar and airborne battlefield surveillance radar. In Short range battlefield (BSR) radar, there are different points which should be taken into consideration while studying BSR. The important points are frequency of operation and resolution. The block diagram is there to understand the working of the BSR. There are some examples of current BSR such as RASIT radar and MSTAR radar. The photographs give us the idea about the systems. The second important type is the airborne battlefield surveillance radar. Here we go through the Stand-Off Radar (SOR) which stand well back and use long range sensors. Again we gain knowledge about the principle of SOR, SOR resolution, target imaging and displays. At the end of the chapter there are two practical systems also.

Chapter 6 is about the weapon locating radars. The purpose of the weapon locating radar is to detect the launch of an enemy projectile or missile and to establish the segment of the trajectory of projectile. The general technical requirements, principle of back track location provide us with base to understand the fundamentals. Here are some practical systems, recently introduced systems, near future outlook and possible future systems.

Chapter 7 is about the Air Defence Radar. In this chapter the important types such as strategic radars, long range radars, medium range radars and short range radars and surveillance and tracking of each of the type are studied. All the four types are presented very nicely with enough diagrams and photographs.
In chapter 8, there is collection of some other types of battlefield radars. To mention few are: balloon tracking radar, free flight rocket correction radar, unmanned aircraft radar, remotely piloted vehicle tracking radar, tank Automatic defence radar , as well as radar anti–tank homing missiles and projectiles and passive radar homing missiles. At the end of this chapter, we acquire some command on the radar systems.

Chapter 9 is about the electronic warfare. Here the authors have introduced us with the Electronic Warfare (EW). This chapter gives a brief idea about the electronic warfare. Electronic Counter Measures (ECM), Electronic Support Measures (ESM) and Electronic Counter Countermeasures (ECCM), jamming are some of the important concepts of EW. Here we get a brief knowledge of the tactical aspects, antenna systems, and jammers. Comparisons between ESM and radar confrontation, tracking radar and threat borne jammer, tracker and repeater target borne jammer help to make our concepts clear.

Last but not the least, chapter 10, which is the conclusion of the entire exercise. This chapter tells us about the importance of radar in battlefield, as well as it shows us the future of this technology. It includes the comparison of radar and other surveillance and target acquisition methods, the importance of the EW and its impact on radar, the future technical trends, adaptive radar, Artificial intelligence, and future military trends. This chapter is the most important one as far as the warfare is concerned.

For the sake of convenience of the keen reader who wants to see the particular diagrams, there is a chapter wise list of illustration at the beginning of the book.
In simple words, ‘Radar’ is a book which gives us sufficient information of Radar systems and makes us familiar with the Electronic Warfare also. This is a good example of a technical book. This book can be used by the students for reference who are studying Radar for academic purpose, as well as this will prove simple and helpful for those readers who do not have detailed knowledge of electronics or radar system. But reader must be from technical background and should have at least the basic knowledge of physics and electronics.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Restructuring Higher Technical Education






The first step in Soft Systems Methodology ( SSM ) is to formulate the Root Definition of the System you are studying, analysing or designing.

A Root Definition is a structured description of a system. It is a clear statement of activities which take place (or might take place) in the organisation being studied.

A properly structured root definition comprises three elements [what, how, why] and is of the form: A System to do X, by (means of) Y, in order to achieve Z.

X – What the System does
Y – How it does it
Z – Why it is being done

The 'what' is the immediate aim of the system,
The 'how' is the means of achieving that aim,
The 'why' is the longer term aim of the purposeful activity.

CATWOE analysis helps in proper formulation of a Root Definition. CATWOE is a mnemonic which helps identify and categorize all stakeholders [people, processes, environment, entities] of the System being analysed for formulating the Root Definition.



To elaborate a bit:

C: The ‘customers of the system’ , clients or System Beneficiaries. In this context ‘customers’ means those who are on the receiving end of whatever it is that the system does. Is it clear from your definition of “C” as to who are the beneficiaries of the system?

A: The ‘actors’, meaning those who would actually carry out the activities envisaged in the notional system being defined. Actors transform inputs into outputs.

T: The ‘transformation process’. What does the system do to the inputs to convert them into the outputs?

W: Weltanschauung - The ‘world view’ that lies behind the Root Definition; the perspective from which the Root Definition if formulated. Putting the system into its wider context can highlight the consequences of the overall system. For example the system may be in place to assist in making the world environmentally safer, and the consequences of system failure could be significant pollution.

O: The ‘owner(s)’ – The person(s) who has commissioned the system and who has sufficient formal power over the system to stop it existing if they so wished (though they won’t usually want to do this).

E: The ‘environmental constraints’. These include things such as ethical limits, regulations, financial constraints, resource limitations, limits set by terms of reference, and so on.


CATWOE Analysis yields a more elaborate all encompassing Root Definition of the form:

A System owned by O to do W by A by means of T given the constraints of E in order to achieve X for C.

[A briefer version – a T system in which A do W for C]

Here is a CATWOE Model of a hypothetical Higher Education System [a University or College:

C – Students
A – Teachers
T – School Pass Outs are transformed into Graduates [Degree Holders]
W – Graduation [a Degree] is a means of assurance to potential employers that the Graduate [Degree Holder] possesses a specified standard of proficiency and skills in the domain of qualification.
O – The University or College Governing Body or Top Management
E – The Prescribed Educational, Academic Quality, Assessment and Accreditation Standards and Requirements.

Now this CATWOE Analysis may yield a Root Definition that this particular Higher Education Institution is a university owned system to award degrees to students (X) who successfully qualify assessment (Y) in accordance with prescribed standards in order to certify assurance (Z) to potential employers that the students possess the requisite proficiency, capabilities and skills.

Is this Root Definition okay or is there something amiss?

Suppose we define Potential Employers [or Industry] as CUSTOMERS [C] and include students as ACTORS [A] along with teachers – won’t we then get a more apt Root Definition and consequently realise a better Educational System in keeping with current needs and ground reality?


At a recent alumni meet of a prestigious Engineering College I asked a few recently passed out alumni [who were working for a leading IT company for just over a year] as to how much of what was taught in his four year Engineering Degree Course in his college was useful in his work. They said: “Less than 5% (five percent)” – which means that his employer had to invest heavily [almost 95%] in his training and the rest he had to learn on the job.

Maybe the educational institution needs to introspect and have a relook at its CATWOE Model and reformulate its ROOT DEFINITION and restructure its curriculum and revitalize its pedagogic methodology to meet the challenges of current needs and envisage seamless integration of fresh BE and B. Tech. Engineering Graduates into the industry. A Systemic approach to education incorporating increased partnership and congruence between the industry and universities is the sine qua non of optimal human resource development in science and technology.

The disconnect between the industry and educational system must be bridged.





Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Morning Meditation




Some things are under our control, others are not. Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and cannot control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible .


Thoughts play a very important role in your life, whereas your feelings can make or break you; also affecting the lives of others around you.

We often let our attitudes or feelings govern our lives. We let feelings drive our thoughts, not realizing that thoughts drive actions, actions produce results, and results in turn produce more feelings, causing a vicious circle which may ultimately lead to loss of self-control.

Feelings are not totally controllable, as many times feelings are produced by external circumstances beyond your control, and if negative feelings are allowed to drive our thoughts and actions, then undesirable results emanate.

These undesirable results in turn produce further not-so-good feelings, and the vicious cycle continues. This is true for any unpleasant or negative feelings, like anger, envy, disgust or hatred, which tend to drive our thoughts and actions, and quickly take charge of our lives.

An analysis of other options indicates that neither actions nor results are suitable alternative drivers since they also are not totally controllable and will not always be pleasing.

The best solution is to establish ‘thought’ as the driver is because it is controllable and we can get good results. Moreover there is a matter of choice. It is in our control to think good and interesting thoughts. The happiest person is he or she who thinks the most interesting and good thoughts.

The human mind cannot totally prevent poor quality thoughts from arising, but it can choose whether or not to dwell on them. The mind moves from dwelling on poor quality thoughts by selecting alternative beneficial or pleasant thoughts to focus on.

Choosing to be driven by thoughts and then controlling those thoughts allows the best possible results. Positive thoughts lead to good performance (action), which yields desirable results, which in turn produces good feelings.

Good feelings are conducive to better thoughts and progressively this cycle facilities a high degree of self-control and feeling of happiness.

When good thoughts are combined with good potential the results can be remarkable. Thus, the very basis of self-control is refusing to allow our feelings to control our responses and dwelling instead on good, pleasant, joy-producing positive thoughts.

Develop and apply your skill to control your thoughts. That is the key to a happy and healthy life.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work








Sunday, June 7, 2009





First you create stress within yourself, and then try to “manage” it. Funny, isn’t it?

Why not prevent stress in the first place?

Focus on “stress prevention” rather than “stress management”.

Here is a tip on coping with stress.

Long back, sometime in the 1960’s, when I was a small boy, my father took me to visit Belur Math, and there I acquired a tiny pocket book called “Thus Spake Vivekananda”.

Whenever the chips were down, or I felt dejected, I referred to the inspiring gems of wisdom, distilled from the complete works of Swami Vivekanada, for instant motivation and strength.

Here’s one of those gems of wisdom [a phrase from the sayings of Swami Vivekananda]:

Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison.

I feel that the word “weak” is all encompassing and embraces anything that creates in you a stressful situation like all negative emotions and feelings including anger, irritation, infuriation, frustration, despondency, depression, demoralization, unhappiness – anything that disturbs your inner tranquility and equanimity, drains you emotionally and intellectually, besides literal physical weakness. Oh yes, Stress is weakness, Stress is Poison!

Now sit down in a quiet tranquil place, close your eyes, introspect, and try to think of all the things that make you feel negative – all your stress-creators and stressful situations.

These stress-creators and stress facilitators can be a variety of things:
Toxic or incompatible persons, who irritate, annoy and hassle you,
Foods and beverages which don’t suit you and are physically detrimental,
Stressful activities, which initially may appear pleasurable, but actually drain you out, and many avoidable Stress Creating Situations,
Technology and gadgets, like your cell-phone, which disturb your peace of mind,
Strained relationships, which are a source of stress,and many more such things - just sit in a quiet place, close your eyes and think of all the things and entities that create or foster stree in you.

Make an exhaustive list of all the things that make you “weak” and try to reject them as “poison”.

At first you may be a bit skeptical about this approach, but when you start implementing, you’ll be surprised how much it is in your own control to prevent stress.While you reject the things that make you weak, you must also reinforce the things that make you feel "strong" and positive.

So simultaneously, reflect and contemplate, and make a list of things which give you strength and joy, make you happy and productive – all the things and people that create positive feelings in you – and try to devote as much time and energy to these positive things that give you strength and make you feel good.

When you spend most of your time doing "happiness-creating" activities and try to be in the company of persons who make you feel happy, things that make you feel "strong", you will be infused with positive feelings of joy and there will be no place for stress to enter your life, at least in those joyful moments.

This technique of stress prevention works for me, and I’m sure it’ll work for you too.

You will realise that this way of conquering stress and banishing it from your life is so effective probably because it is so breathtaking in its simplicity.





Saturday, June 6, 2009





Can Ethics and Business co-exist?

Or are the two mutually exclusive?

Is Ethics relevant in Business Management in today’s world?

Or is "Business Ethics" an oxymoron, not relevant in today's business and corporate environment?

Do you assess Ethical Fitness of an individual before recruiting, promoting, or assigning an important post or task to an individual?

Is there such a thing as Ethical Fitness? Does such a thing exist and can it be assessed or evaluated?

When recruiting new people, or promoting or appointing persons to senior or sensitive positions, a number of attributes ( Hard Skills and Soft Skills) like Professional Competence, Managerial Proficiency, Domain-specific or Technical skills, and pertinent soft skills comprising leadership, communication, behavioural and emotional aspects, and even physical and medical fitness are assessed, evaluated and given due consideration.

But does anyone evaluate a candidate’s Ethical Fitness before recruitment or appointment?

No, I am not talking about the routine verification of antecedents or background integrity checks. I am talking of assessing Ethical Fitness.

Ethical fitness refers to ensuring that people are in proper moral shape to recognize and address ethical dilemmas.

Ensuring Ethical fitness in a proactive manner will result in preventive, rather than corrective, Ethical Management.

Before launching any inquiry pertaining to the concept of Ethical Fitness, it is necessary to explore the moral dimension.

Moral development is a prerequisite to ethical behaviour; in fact, a sine qua non for Ethical Fitness.

Kohlberg offers a handy framework for delineating the stage each of us has reached with respect to personal moral development.

Stage 1. Physical consequences determine moral behaviour.

At this stage of personal moral development, the individual’s ethical behaviour is driven by the decision to avoid punishment or by deference to power. Punishment is an automatic response of physical retaliation. The immediate physical consequences of an action determine its goodness or badness. Such moral behaviour is seen in boarding schools, military training academies etc. where physical punishment techniques are prevalent with a view to inculcate the attributes of obedience and deference to power. The individual behaves in a manner akin to the Pavlovian dog.

Stage 2. Individual needs dictate moral behaviour.

At this stage, a person’s needs are the person’s primary ethical concern. The right action consists of what instrumentally satisfies your own needs. People are valued in terms of their utility. Example: “I will help him because he may help me in return – you scratch my back, I will scratch yours.”

Stage 3. Approval of others determines moral behaviour.

This stage is characterized by decision where the approval of others determines the person’s behaviour. Good behaviour is that which pleases or helps others within the group. The good person satisfies family, friends and associates. “Everybody is doing it, so it must be okay.” One earns approval by being conventionally “respectable” and “nice.” Sin is a breach of the expectations of the social order – “log kya kahenge?” is the leitmotif, and conformance with prevailing ‘stereotypes’ the order of the day.

Stage 4. Compliance with authority and upholding social order are a person’s primary ethical concerns.

“Doing one’s duty” is the primary ethical concern. Consistency and precedence must be maintained. Example: “I comply with my superior’s instructions because it is wrong to disobey my senior”. Authority is seldom questioned. “Even if I feel that something may be unethical, I will unquestioningly obey all orders and comply with everything my boss says because I believe that the boss is always right.”

Stage 5. Tolerance for rational dissent and acceptance of rule by the majority becomes the primary ethical concern.

Example: “ Although I disagree with her views. I will uphold her right to have them.” The right action tends to be defined in terms of general individual rights, and in terms of standards that have been critically examined and agreed upon by the whole society. (eg) The Constitution. The freedom of the individual should be limited by society only when it infringes upon someone else’s freedom.

Stage 6. What is right is viewed as a matter of individual conscience, free choice and personal responsibility for the consequences.

Example: “There is no external threat that can force me to make a decision that I consider morally wrong.” An individual who reaches this stage acts out of universal ethical principles.

Moral development is in no way correlated with intellectual development or your position in the hierarchy or factors like rank, seniority, status, success or earnings, salary, material wealth, age etc.

In the words of Alexander Orlov, an ex-KGB Chief, “Honesty and Loyalty may be often more deeply ingrained in the make-up of simple and humble people than in men of high position. A man who was taking bribes when he was a constable does not turn honest when he becomes the Chief of Police. The only thing that changes in the size of the bribe. Weakness of character and inability to withstand temptation remains with the man no matter how high he climbs.”

Ethical traits accompany a man to the highest rungs of his career.

In a nutshell the governing factors pertaining to six stages of Moral Development which determine Ethical Fitness may be summarized as:

FEAR – Stage 1
NEEDS – Stage 2

Before we try to delve into exploring how to evaluate Ethical Fitness, let us briefly ponder on the concepts of Ethical Susceptibility and Ethical Vulnerability.

Ethical Susceptibility is your inability to avoid ethical dilemmas.

Ethical Susceptibility is environment dependent (on external factors) like, for example, your job, your boss, colleagues and subordinates, or the persons around you, or even the ‘prevalent organizational culture’.

Ethical Vulnerability is your inability to withstand succumbing in the given ethical dilemmas /situations.

Your Ethical Vulnerability depends on your internal stage of moral development in the given ethical situation.

Whereas being in an ethical dilemma is not in your control, to act in an ethical manner in the prevailing situation is certainly in your control.

Ethical vulnerability is a measure of the ease with which a man be ethically compromised, especially in an ethically poor climate.

In situations where the ethical susceptibility is high, morally strong people (ethically non-vulnerable) should be appointed and conversely, only in jobs/situations where ethical susceptibility is low should ethically vulnerable persons be permitted.

If the environment is not ethically conducive, a person can intellectually inwardly reach stage 6 but deliberately outwardly masquerade and remain morally at a lower moral stage 4 as he may find that he has to "sacrifice" too much to reach stage 6.

This can be particularly seen in most hierarchical organizations where most “smart” employees make an outward preference of being at stage 3 or 4 (Conformance and Compliance) in order to avoid jeopardizing their careers, even if internally they have achieved higher ethical states.

This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde schizophrenic moral approach is at the heart of many ethical dilemmas people encounter in their professional lives and may result in internal stress due to ethical confusion.

Whenever two individuals at different stages of moral development interact with each other, both of them try to force or manoeuvre the other into their own appreciation of the ethical situation, thus leading to conflict.

In a formal hierarchical setup, the players in the chain may not be at similar stages of moral development thereby leading to ethical dissonance in the system.

Where the ethical susceptibility is high, morally strong people (less vulnerable) should be appointed and conversely, in only such jobs where ethical susceptibility is low should ethically weak persons be permitted.

What is your stage of personal moral development?

Be honest with yourself and recall the decisions you made in recent ethical situations.

The six stages of moral development are valuable landmarks as they tell you approximately where you are and what changes you will have to make in yourself to move to a higher level of moral development.

The ultimate goal is to engage in ethical decision making at stage 6.

However, the level that you do reach will depend on your ethical commitment, your ethical consciousness and your ethical competence.

Food for Thought

What do you do if your boss is at a lower stage of moral development than you?

Do you masquerade and make pretence of being at the “appropriate” stage of what moral development and practice situational ethics to reap maximum benefits.

This Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde schizophrenic ‘situational ethics’ approach may cause your outer masquerade to turn into inner reality.

Do you want that to happen? Think about it!

Is there a need to assess Ethical Fitness in business and managerial situations?

Or is "Business Ethics" an oxymoron, not relevant in today's business environment?

Most importantly, can Ethics and Business co-exist? Or are the two mutually exclusive?

And last but not the least, do you think it is necessary to evaluate and assess Ethical Fitness during Recruitment, Appointment and in Human Resource Management?

If so, how would you do it?

Dear Reader, what do you think? Please comment.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work







Soft System Methodology, CATWOE and Root Definition - Management Applications

CATWOE Model and Business Ethics



Before you take a decision or implement change or introduce a new system I am sure you consider the five “E’s”:

Efficacy (will it work at all?)

Efficiency (will it work with minimum resources?)

Effectiveness (does it contribute to the enterprise?)

Ethics or Ethicality (is it sound morally?)

Elegance (is it beautiful?)

Let’s talk a bit about the fourth “E” – Ethics.

There is an ethical dimension to every decision.

Any time a human being, or entity, intervenes in the life of another human being, or entity, directly or indirectly, an ethical situation arises.

There is a story, probably apocryphal, which illustrates this. There was a cyclonic storm and millions of fish were washed ashore and were struggling for life on the beach.

A man came to the beach and patiently began to pick up the fish, one by one, and throw them back into the sea.

An amused passerby asked him what difference it would make, to which the man pointed to the fish in his hand and said, “Ask this fish?”

Thus, we see that seemingly routine decisions, which at the organizational level do not appear to have major ethical magnitude, have large ethical significance at the individual level.

Some people believe that ethics is of little concern to business people.

“Ethics is Ethics” and “Business is Business” they say - the two are mutually exclusive. In fact, the term "Business Ethics" is considered by some as an oxymoron.

Thus many upwardly mobile managers of today tend to rationalize when faced with an ethical dilemma and take the position that they must wear multiple ethical hats and cloak themselves with three separate conflicting codes of ethics:

One code applicable to the professional or technical aspects of their work (Professional or Technical Ethics);

Another code for their business behaviour (Business Ethics);

And a third code of ethics for their personal lives (Personal Ethics).

This leads to the development of schizophrenic ethical personality wherein the individual may strive for professional excellence and high ethical standards for one’s own self and within one’s organization, but resort to unethical practices to succeed in business at all costs.

This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde approach is at the heart of many ethical dilemmas in managerial decision-making.

Each person, entity, group, institution or constituency that is likely to be affected by the decision is a “stakeholder” with a moral claim on the decision maker.

This stakeholder concept provides a systematic way of perceiving and resolving the various interests involved in our ethical decision making.

There is an ethical dimension to every decision.

Thus any of your decisions, which affect other persons, have ethical implications, and virtually all of your important decisions reflect your sensitivity and commitment to ethics.

In summary, as you perform your job in your workplace, you must analyse and ascertain various ethical dimensions as you deal with your superiors, peers, subordinates, customers and all other stakeholders connected with your work.

Different stakeholders have different ethical perspectives.

For example, take the case of workplace romance.

Whereas, some organizations [and stakeholders] may feel that there is nothing ethically wrong with workplace romance and many even encourage organizational romance / marriage among colleagues by giving various perks / incentives, some others may discourage or even prohibit workplace-romance. Of course, sexual harassment would be universally considered unethical.

One useful technique to resolve such ethical dilemmas is the CATWOE model adapted from Systems Management. Ethical dilemma occurs due to mismatch in ethical perspectives of various stakeholders involved in the ethical situation.

A CATWOE analysis helps the manager identify all stakeholders involved in a decision and their respective ethical perspectives.

CATWOE is an acronym to categorize various stakeholders:



To elaborate a bit:

C: The ‘customers of the system’. In this context, ‘customers’ means those who are on the receiving end of whatever it is that the system does. Is it clear from your definition of “C” as to who will gain or lose from your decision?

A: The ‘actors’, meaning those who would actually carry out the activities envisaged in the notional system being defined.

T: The ‘transformation process’. What does the system do to the inputs to convert them into the outputs?

W: Weltanschauung - The ‘world view’ that lies behind the root definition. Putting the system into its wider context can highlight the consequences of the overall system. For example the system may be in place to assist in making the world environmentally safer, and the consequences of system failure could be significant pollution.

O: The ‘owner(s)’ – i.e. those who have sufficient formal power over the system to stop it existing if they so wished (though they won’t usually want to do this).

E: The ‘environmental constraints’. These include things such as ethical limits, regulations, financial constraints, resource limitations, limits set by terms of reference, and so on.


All decisions must take into account and reflect a concern for the interest and well being of all stakeholders.

Ethical values and principles always take precedence over non-ethical and unethical values and principles

It is ethically proper to violate an ethical principle only when it is clearly necessary to advance another true ethical principle which, according to the decision maker’s conscience, will produce the greatest balance of good in the long run


Step Action

1 Identify and classify the stakeholders in the situation using CATWOE and understand their ethical perspectives

2 Identify their dominant ethical perspectives

3 Construct an ethical conflict web, mapping different ethical perspectives [CATWOE – six nodes]

4 Identify those strands of the web where no significant conflict may be assumed to exist. These may be removed from the ethical decision making model.

5 Concentrate on those strands where conflict does exist. Use conflict resolution techniques to achieve the “overall good” for the system

Ethical decision-making involves the process by which a person evaluates and chooses among alternatives in a manner consistent with his or her core ethical values or principles. Thus when you make an ethical decision you:

(a) Perceive and eliminate unethical options
(b) Select the best from several competing ethical alternatives.

Ethical decision-making requires more than a belief in the importance of ethics. It also requires sensitivity to perceive the ethical implications of your decisions; the ability to evaluate complex, ambiguous and incomplete facts and the skill to implement ethical decision making without jeopardizing your career.

Ethical decision-making requires three things: Ethical Commitment, Ethical Consciousness and Ethical Competence.

The CATWOE model will help you in Decision Management - in improving the Ethical aspect of your managerial, professional and personal decisions.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.








Friday, June 5, 2009

The P's and Q's of Marketing - Musings on Technology Marketing

The P’s and Q’s of Marketing




The Law of the Hammer :

“Give a child a hammer, and the child will use it on everything encountered.”

This is the law of the hammer and this seems to be the leitmotif of the technology marketing scene in the Indian context today. And, in many cases, this approach seems to be succeeding, at least in the short term.

The premise is that the customer is buying technology for technology’s sake, simply as a gimmick or to satisfy a perceived hedonistic need for novelty.

Addressing the human need for novelty is just one aspect of technology marketing, albeit an important one, and may yield rich dividends in the short term. However, a technological marketing strategy based solely on this approach is likely to be characterized by short market cycle, fast but unpredictable market penetration, and quick product obsolescence.

Success with high-tech products requires a confluence of technical understanding and marketing skills.

The P’s and Q’s of Marketing

Marketing is something which the producer or manufacturer has to do, or get done; it is not conferred on his product as if by right.

Marketing can be defined as “getting into the heads of your customers, identifying what they want, and giving it to them”.

Marketing, therefore, is addressing a need or a desire.

In the case of conventional products, the general need or desire is well known.

With new technological possibilities, the need or desire that is addressed is not always obvious. Therefore, in the care of new technology products, the technological marketer may have to take one step backwards to identify the fundamental role that his product can fulfill in the marketplace.

This fundamental approach can be modeled as “The P’s and Q’s of Marketing”.

The six P’s are: People, Product, Place, Price, Packaging, Promotion.

The three Q’s are: Quality, Quantity, Quickness.

The first step in technological marketing is to identify the role of technology in the new product, and hence how the PRODUCT relates to PEOPLE.

Technology can have four roles in new products.

It can be the product itself, it can increase availability, can enhance distribution, and it can be present in the promotion.

The technology can be the Product itself. Technological inventions or innovations may lead to a revolutionary or exclusive which creates a dominant niche in the market [Examples: Mobile Phones (cell-phones), PC, Laptop, Walkman, Radial Tyre, Digital Technologies]

The technology can be in the Availability. A historical example is the gramophone record, which made available to the masses the virtuoso performance of the musical masters. People bought music. The technology is simply an enabling mechanism. Previously, the masses could have had access to some of the music only by attending live performances which was neither always feasible nor affordable. A more recent example is Direct to Home (DTH) Television services. Thus, modern technologies make available desires that previously could not be met economically or practically.

The technology can be in the Distribution. For example, Internet has revolutionized the whole approach of marketing, banking [with instantaneous electronic transfer of money], with increasing online sales. Hence, it is imperative today that manufacturers design their marketing strategy keeping the Internet in mind.

The technology can be in the Promotion. The image of a traditional product can be subtly changed by the means of presenting it, using modern packaging and design technologies, combined with high-tech advertising, promotional, marketing and sales techniques.

The Q’s relate to the ways in which technology can transform the availability and distribution of products aimed at fulfilling existing human needs.

• For example, in the Indian context, the advent of Japanese and Korean technology made possible greatly increased QUALITY of automobiles and two wheelers (motorcycle, scooters) and therefore has expanded the availability of efficient quality cars and two wheelers in the Indian Market. The same is the case with most consumer, entertainment and household items. The technological marketer can often identify an existing need or desire for quality goods, and use technology to develop a quality product for this wider market.

• The QUANTITY of attractive jewelry has been expanded with technological developments in the production of diamond simulants like cubic zirconia. Other examples include Digital Storage Technologies, Digital Quartz Watches, Automation Technologies, Agriculture, Dairy and Food Processing Technologies. Technology can often make possible products for that mass market that emulate up-market consumption without threatening the elite market place.

• Today, satellite technology allows sports events to be simultaneously observed on television throughout the world; in fact, it facilitates instantaneous worldwide video, telephone, or data transmission, which evidence the way in which technology can improve QUICKNESS. At first, messages could be transmitted and received by the postal service (transportation technology), then telegram (telecommunication technology) and now Satellite and Information and Communication technologies [ICT] have made the communication process instantaneous [real-time]. Microwave Ovens are another example of how technology can improve QUICKNESS.

A Model For Technological Marketing

Technological Marketing focuses on inducing substitution, or seducing the buyer to purchase the new product or service.

However, it would be wise to remember that seductive propositions can cause unplanned babies. In the technological marketplace unplanned babies take the form of unexpected outcomes that offer new and potentially exciting product and service opportunities.

“Unplanned Babies” come out of using technology to ‘modernize’ something that has a well-established place in everyday life. One very common example is the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). The original idea was that machines would carry out the age-old cash dispensing function more efficiently [The initial aim of the ATM was to use new technology to automate an old function carried out manually by bank tellers – cash dispensing].

A new way of doing things is always subtly different from what has been done before.

ATMs changed two things – where the cash was available, and when. These two aspects caused a fundamental change in the utility of the service received by customers. For the first time they could get cash 24/7 round the clock, off working hours, and away from bank premises. This indeed was a major new bank service. The customers were so delighted, demanded more and more and the banks were totally taken a back – they had not foreseen that automated cash dispensing machines could in fact produce a new service and they kept on enhancing value-added-services to the ATMs.

ATMs are now seen to be more than mere cash dispensing machines. Customers use ATMs to recharge their mobile phone pre-paid connections, pay their utility bills, even mutual fund transactions – making them at par with flexibility given in internet banking – only more secure.

This is an example of a new technology used for the old purpose giving rise to a new market situation. Microprocessor technology is another example of unexpected multi-dimensional changes leading to a large range of new products embodying multifarious market desires.

The progressive marketer stands back, looks at such a situation from a distance and reappraises it objectively, since it gives him the opportunity to get a much deeper understanding of the real needs and desires of the market-place.

In a nutshell, technology marketing comprises analyzing existing market demands, addressing these existing demands through technology, reappraising and redefining market needs and desires in the light of response to new technology, and accordingly fine tuning products for the developing market-place.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Appetite for a Stroll





Tuesday, June 2, 2009



[Here is an article on Cognitive Radio compiled by my students Shijesh, Sibil, Shyju and John by browsing the internet, books and journals]

The Radio Spectrum – that segment of the electromagnetic continuum comprising the radio-frequency range – accommodates myriad communications devices today.

As the Radio Spectrum gets is gets more and more crowded and available frequencies become scarce the evolution of Cognitive Radio may be able to optimally manage the available spectrum.

The use of radio frequency bands has been regulated in most countries through the process of spectrum allocation in which the use of a particular frequency band is restricted to the license holders of the band. Within this framework, spectrum has often been viewed as a scarce resource in high demand. However, various studies carried out have suggested that most licensed spectrums are often under-utilized with large spectral holes at different places at different times.

Cognitive Radio (CR) systems have been proposed as a possible solution to the spectrum crisis. The idea is to detect times when a specific licensed band is not used at a particular place and use that band for transmission without causing any significant interference to the transmissions of the license holder. Built on the foundation of the Software Defined Radio (SDR), Cognitive Radios will learn and autonomously perform “cognitive” functions as a form of intelligence that comes from their ability to be defined and upgraded using software.

To examine the concept of cognitive radio consider the example.

Let’s say you walk into an empty café called Spectrum. Since all of the tables are available, you position yourself at the best one and settle down for a meal. [Let’s assume all tables have four seats and you occupy one seat].

A few minutes later, another person comes in and sits on a seat at another vacant table.

Soon, if all the tables are full [but there are a few vacant seats on some tables], a new patron must negotiate with someone already at a table to be allowed to share the table. [Maybe she may request you to let her occupy the vacant chair at your table, and you may agree].

This process of negotiation is the concept behind a technology called Cognitive Radio, a way to share and optimally utilize unused spectrum. Cognitive Radio is sometimes called Smart Radio because it senses its environment and reacts to it.

The present paucity of radio spectrum is primarily due to the cost and performance limits of legacy hardware established during the past century. Traditionally, radios were hardwired to operate at a particular power and frequency, and once a station was assigned a frequency, no other station could use it. Over the years, as engineers built radios in cheaper and smaller packages, it became possible to build intelligence into them, making the idea of sharing frequencies possible.

Engineers are now working to bring flexible operating intelligence to future radios, cell phones and other wireless communications devices. During the coming decade, cognitive radio technology should enable nearly any wireless system to locate and link to any locally available unused radio spectrum to best serve the consumer. Employing adaptive software, these smart devices could reconfigure their communications functions to meet the demands of the transmission network or the user.

Cognitive Radio will intelligently know, by sensing, adapting and learning, what to do based on prior experiential knowledge, by building an internal database that defines how to best operate in different places and at specific times of day.

As Cognitive Radios send and receive signals, they will nimbly leap and bound in and out of free bands as required, avoiding those that are already in use. This lightning-fast channel jumping will permit cognitive radio systems to transmit voice and data streams at reasonable speeds.

This efficient use of existing Radio Frequency resources will alleviate spectrum-availability traffic jams and wireless communications may become far more dependable, convenient and, perhaps, considerably economical than it is today. Indeed, if Cognitive Radio technology progresses as its developers hope the airwaves will never be the same again.







[Here is an article on SDR compiled by my students Shijesh, Sibil, Shyju and John by browsing the internet, books and journals]

The rapid growth of technology and changing trends in the Communication techniques has paved way for the introduction of many telecommunication devices, many of which are not feasible to modify cost effectively due to lack of flexibility in their implementation. Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology mitigates this problem by providing the flexibility through software.

Software-Defined Radio (SDR) is a rapidly evolving technology that is receiving enormous recognition and generating widespread interest in the telecommunication industry. Over the last few years, analog radio systems are being replaced by digital radio systems and programmable hardware modules are increasingly being used in digital radio systems at different functional levels. SDR technology aims to take advantage of these programmable hardware modules to build open-architecture based radio system software.

An SDR system is a radio communication system where components that have typically been implemented in hardware are instead implemented using software on embedded computing devices. In other words SDR is a Radio in which some or all of the physical layer functions are software defined.

A Radio is any kind of device that wirelessly transmits or receives signals in the radio frequency (RF) part of the electromagnetic spectrum to facilitate the transfer of information.

In today's world, radios exist in a multitude of items such as cell phones, computers, car door openers, vehicles, and televisions.

While the concept of SDR is not new, the rapidly evolving capabilities of digital electronics are practical enabling many processes that were once only theoretically possible.

In the past, radio systems were designed to communicate using one or two waveforms [waveform here refers to any specific standard like Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), and Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) or it can be as simple as Frequency or Amplitude Modulation (FM or AM)].

As a result, two groups of people with different types of traditional radio were not able to communicate due to incompatibility problems. The need to communicate with people using different types of equipment can only be solved using software programmable radios because of its flexible architecture.

Traditional hardware based radio devices limit cross-functionality and can only be modified through physical intervention. This results in higher production costs and minimal flexibility in supporting multiple waveform standards. By contrast, software defined radio technology provides an efficient and comparatively inexpensive solution to this problem, allowing multi-mode, multi-band and/or multi-functional wireless devices that can be enhanced using software upgrades.

The primary goal of SDR is to replace as many analog components and hardwired digital VLSI devices of the transceiver (radio) as possible with programmable devices.

Some of the advantages of SDR are:

Multifunctionality. The same piece of hardware i.e. the radio set can be used to transmit, receive and process different communication signals that adhere to different air interface standards. This can be done simply by reconfiguring the software.

Global Mobility. The same piece of hardware i.e. the radio set can be used in different parts of the world that endorse different air interface standards. This can again be done simply by reconfiguring the software.

Compactness and power efficient design. Unlike traditional non-SDR systems, which require multiple hardware sets for multi-functional communication, the same piece of SDR hardware can be reduced for such a purpose. This results in compact and power –efficient design, especially as the number of systems increases.

Ease of manufacture. A SDR comprises of fewer hardware parts than a traditional radio since most processing is done in software within a general-purpose microprocessors or special purpose microprocessors like the DSP, or in reconfigurable hardware including FPGAs. This eases the production cycle for the manufacturer with lesser parts to standardize and produce.

Ease of upgrades. Any service upgrade can be easily introduced through the release of new software versions without the expense of recalling or replacing the hardware units. A user can simply download the software off the internet and load it into the SDR.
The most significant asset of SDR is versatility. Wireless systems employ protocols that vary from one service to another. Even in the same type of service, for example wireless fax, the protocol often differs from country to country. A single SDR set with an all-inclusive software repertoire can be used in any mode, anywhere in the world. Changing the service type, the mode, and/or the modulation protocol involves simply selecting and launching the requisite program, and making sure the batteries are adequately charged if portable operation is contemplated.

The ultimate goal of SDR engineers is to provide a single radio transceiver capable of playing the roles of GSM phone, CDMA phone, Wimax terminal, wireless fax, wireless Web browser, Global Positioning System (GPS) unit, and other functions still in the realm of science fiction.