global business environment and organizations are vying with each other to obtain a share in this global business market. Innovation and intellectual property protection have become crucial for business success under these increasingly competitive market environments. The fast paced business culture and the changes that Organizations encounter require good leadership skills from the business manager. Today's managers have to be proactive and anticipatory of these change requirements. They have to possess good risk management strategy to be better prepared for unforeseen market changes. A consistent effort at process improvement and a customer centric business focus has made Quality management an integral part of every business. Project management therefore involves 'communication management', 'risk management', 'quality management'. These business concepts, when applied to the classroom environment help the students imbibe these managerial skills and result in significant improvements in their academic performance, stimulate their creative thinking, and their decision-making ability. A brief overview of these individual topics with a discussion of the benefits to be derived from their application in the classroom environment would provide more insight into the subject.
Innovation, IP and Entrepreneurship
Innovation is the key for sustaining business success. Particularly in this global business age when competition is intense, innovation is the only way in which businesses can gain competitive advantage. If organizations do not innovate they run the risk of losing their customers to competing organizations that produce new and better products. As a case in point we see how the computer chip designers are constantly innovating and diversifying their products. Innovation stirs the economy and provides consumers with better quality of products. While innovation is the most important factor for business success, it is also the most challenging aspect and involves significant research investments.
Intellectual property protection is connected with innovation. Strong IP protection is vital for an organization to benefit from the research and development investment it has incurred. For instance, in the growing field of biotechnology, IP protection enables the new and upcoming biotech firms to effectively collaborate with existing pharmaceutical giants to produce and market their health product to the customer. If IP protection is weak then innovators run the risk of being the victims of expropriation. A famous case in point is the litigation between the biotech innovator Amgen and the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson over the anemia drug EPO. [Joshua S. Gans, (2002) pg 11] This case is a clear example of how weak IP protection can harm the innovator. Entrepreneurship refers to the development of a business concept into a market reality. An entrepreneur seizes a new opportunity in any market domain and encourages and invests in an innovation. Entrepreneurship is essential to make innovation a reality and to successfully transform the innovation from a prototype to a consumer product.
From the classroom perspective, it is essential that a student not only accumulates knowledge but also develops the desire to innovate, the vision to be an entrepreneur and the smartness to protect the innovations from intellectual theft. Developing innovative qualities in the classroom would stimulate the creative abilities or creative thinking in the students. This would encourage students to think "out of the box" and enable them to find new and interesting solutions to problems. Creative thinking is the key for new discoveries and inventions and the basis for technological advancement. Understanding these concepts as a student is crucial to succeed in the cutthroat competition that awaits them in the world of business.
Leadership: Managing Professional
Leadership quality is indispensable to manage any business venture. Change is inevitable in this world and change is also a stressful process. A good Leader can anticipate and better prepare for the change. When confronted with change, a good leader exudes in confidence and searches for solutions instead of being overwhelmed by the demands of the change. A good leader is a good problem solver. Leadership involves effective decision-making. Effective leadership can be noticed by the attributes of courage and an innovative mind that explores all possible solutions to the problem. Successful entrepreneurs are those who are good decision makers. Good leader should have a futuristic vision, resourcefulness and the imagination to find creative solutions to the business problems. Under good leadership employees are motivated, proactive and committed to organizational growth. As Warren Bennis says, "Good leaders make people feel that they're at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning. " [HLC]
Even in everyday life possessing leadership attributes helps a person to guide, motivate and help people solve problems. Fear and lack of self-confidence is a major problem for majority of student population with dire consequences for their academic performance. [Tom Burns, 2004] Low self-esteem affects academic performance and so it has to be tackled early on and the classroom is the best place to build student self-esteem. Developing leadership qualities in students is an important goal of education. Key to developing leadership qualities is developing self-confidence. By being proactive and participative in the classrooms, students can develop self-confidence. By imbibing leadership virtues, students learn to overcome their fears and achieve optimal academic performance, which would in turn improve their career prospects. Promoting this kind of participative ambience in the classroom is the responsibility of the academic institution and the lecturers.
Quality Management is an organizational review, which is designed to monitor the various processes in the organization with a view to constantly improve them leading to greater business performance. By constantly reviewing and fine-tuning the organizational processes, Quality management results in greater customer satisfaction. Originally developed for manufacturing organizations, quality management, today, is applied in diverse organizational settings from academic institutions to banks, manufacturing centers to hospitals, etc.
The QM process is based on the PDCA cycle, an abbreviation for Plan, Do, Check and Act. The planning phase includes consideration of the desired objective and the processes that are required to achieve the same. The Do phase as the name suggests consists of the actual implementation of the changes. The Check stage is nothing but the comparison of the results due to the process implementation with the originally desired results. Act is the final stage where the reasons for the deviations are analyzed, suitable changes made and the entire PDCA review applied until improvements are achieved in the final outcome. [Q-BPM]
Implementing Quality management process in the classroom setting would greatly improve the teaching and the learning process. For instance school management can obtain regular feedbacks from students about the teaching methodology and other aspects related to the classroom environment. Based on these opinions the instructional strategy could be suitably refined to promote student participation and student focus on the subjects. By promoting self-evaluation in students, Quality management makes students aware of their academic achievement gaps. Due to its collaborative nature, QM promotes better relationship between the teachers and the students. Also by promoting the team-based working approach, QM will better prepare the student for the business world where teamwork and cooperation are important attributes.
Risk is an inevitable part of every business as organizations have technological, competitive, social, political, employee and other internal and external pressures. Developing and successfully running a business venture is certainly a risky business. While all the risk factors that a business faces cannot be totally eliminated, it is a prudent practice for organizations to have an effective risk management strategy to minimize the negative impact of an unfavorable event. All organizations should carefully consider the crucial risk factors such as 'Health and safety risks', 'Security risks', 'Environmental Risks', 'Financial risks' and 'Competitive risks'. [Jacqueline Jeynes, 2002-page 4]
The 10 P's approach to risk management is a popular method in organizations and it includes risk assessments of 'Policy', 'process', 'planning', 'premises', 'product', 'people', 'procedures', 'protection', 'purchasing', 'performance '.[Jacqueline Jeynes,2002, pg 4] Though such a comprehensive risk assessment process is not applicable for smaller organizations, these principles constitute a guideline for effective risk management. Effective risk management policy reduces organizational liability and thereby provides stability to the business.
Risk management helps students evaluate their goals and their efforts towards it to determine if they are pursuing the best course of action for realizing their objectives. In this way, developing knowledge about risk management concepts helps students make well informed decisions, decisions that would promote their academic aims while at the same time equipping them with the skills, knowledge and the attitude to make appropriate alternative actions in case of an undesirable event. Thus risk management promotes better anticipation of events and better preparation to tackle these events. Students' learning and application of risk management strategies in their college environment would be an ideal preparation for their future endeavors as individual entrepreneurs or corporate business managers.
Project management refers to the complete task of supervision of the entire gamut of operations that involve various tools and techniques in order to create a…