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Now, ‘knowledge ocean strategy’ for taking business beyond competition

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By Biswajit Choudhury
New Delhi, May 20 (IANS)
Employing terminology that recalls the Parsonian view of society as a system, business strategy expert Parag Kulkarni has propounded a new paradigm in innovation and strategic business thinking, calling on companies to build a “knowledge ocean strategy (KOS)” for the future through his concept of “systemic knowledge innovation (SKI)”.

Strategy and innovation are terms that have increasingly lost their meaning in today’s competitive cut-throat business environment, Kulkarni says in his book “Knowledge Innovation Strategy” (Bloomsbury, Rs.499, 266 pages), challenging competition-based strategies to unfold ones based on associative knowledge building.

“In the midst of fierce competition and a turbulent market, knowledge ocean strategy presents an important breakthrough in innovation and strategic business thinking and will be a great motivator for organisations that aim to expand knowledge boundaries beyond the competitive landscape,” says the book’s blurb.

Kulkarni, who has developed products based on research in artificial intelligence and machine learning, says that knowledge innovation strategy is about creating “an uncontested knowledge space” using systemic knowledge innovation.

Kulkarni also shows the pathways to transit from competitive to “knowledge-centric” organization building.

“Knowledge Ocean strategy is a systematic approach not just for the big leap but also for creating knowledge advantage that guides organisations on to a new bold path of Knowledge Ocean to create sustainable knowledge value,” he writes.

The author charts out novel pathways through examples, showing how companies like Aquachill, AirTight Networks, Serum Institutes, Mapro, Ketan Food Exports, PARI, Tata Group, Chitale Dairies and Aditya Auto Test could find simple, refreshing solutions to complex problems “to create their own uncontested knowledge space”.

Pointing out how companies need to develop products to successfully meet the total needs of the customer, Tata Group chairman emiritus Ratan Tata says Kulkarni’s systemic approach provides a “very interesting pathway” to the quest for better serving of customers “and the development of a superior knowledge base”.

It is no coincidence that the new pathway for business, based on creating an uncontested knowledge space, should come from an expert in cybernetics from within the wider domain of informatics, a field in which India is making its unique contribution.

What is more interesting is Kulkarni’s use of this uncontested knowledge space to show the way to an entirely new business model, transcending the traditional competitive-capitalist one, which can be the only pathway ahead to sustainable development.

In fact, his emphasis on local systemic conditions recalls the concept of appropriate technology – and of the more famous “jugaad”, or innovation, that India is also known for.

(Biswajit Choudhury can be reached at [email protected])

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