Columnists

The tea and tourism tango!

Views - 1497 Friday, 6 March 2015 00:38

The Tea Board has decided to spend more funds (collected from exporters) to run a joint promotional campaign with Sri Lanka Tourism. It sounds good, but: Do tea and tourism share the same challenges in terms of profitable demand generation (which


Why should a government be in the grocery business?

Views - 1544 Monday, 16 February 2015 00:18

Is there a shortage of retail grocery outlets in the country? Do the Government Groceries (GGs) offer preferential pricing for the under-privileged? Do the GGs stock products which are not available elsewhere and at similar prices? Do the G


The ‘better half’ of bribery and corruption!

Views - 3022 Thursday, 29 January 2015 00:00

The current regime has begun tackling bribery and corruption, let’s hope it will be impartial, sustainable and acts as a deterrent. However, the focus seems to be on Government institutions and politicians, who are always at the ‘receiving


‘Hire and fire’ of State-Owned Enterprise boards

Views - 2975 Wednesday, 21 January 2015 00:49

With every regime change, the entire board of most major State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are ‘sacked’ and replaced with an entirely new board, often with no formal transition or ‘knowledge transfer’ process. This can be detrimental to the busi


Corporate lessons from the elections

Views - 1440 Monday, 12 January 2015 01:15

Feel the real ‘pulse’ of your real consumer – not just the opinion of senior management who ‘surround’ you Keep a tab on your consumer sentiment and the real value delivered to them – do not get carried away with fancy office bu


Which ‘brand’ will you vote today?

Views - 3065 Thursday, 8 January 2015 01:38

Even in business, branding is exploited to gain an ‘unfair’ advantage – by ‘playing’ on human perception and portraying it ‘larger than life’. Politicians, in similar ways, have taken this to dizzying heights. Your choice today is betw


Need for a ‘systemic change’ – irrespective of who comes to power

Views - 2806 Wednesday, 7 January 2015 00:25

To be a minister (under any regime) you need to be a politician. However if the main ‘qualification’ to be a politician is popularity among the masses, how can the responsibility of strategising and managing a country’s economy and its key port


New Year resolution for business has to be sustainability

Views - 1435 Thursday, 1 January 2015 00:17

While the dawn of a new year is good time for warm fuzzy feelings, given the global challenges we face today, it is also a time to ask some hard questions. After all ‘resolutions’ have always been the tradition to uphold as a new year comes along


Year-end is a time to spring clean   our ‘Thought Baggage’

Views - 2639 Wednesday, 31 December 2014 00:59

Today is the end of another year, and while budgets are being formulated, accounts are being finalised and decisions are being made regarding next year’s product or service line, it’s also a good time to take stock of our ‘thought baggage’ an


De-politicising

Views - 1207 Tuesday, 23 December 2014 01:47

If a country has an independent and competent civil service, there would be checks and balances on the politicians (be they blue, green or red!) and the business community. This trend has now permeated down to the corporate level, where the dividi


Un-branding a country’s economic policy

Views - 1866 Monday, 1 December 2014 01:00

When it comes to human perception and branding, a rose is NOT a rose by whatever name you call it! (with due respect to William Shakespeare). Therefore, branding the economic policies of a country with the name of a politician (ruling or Opposition)


Time to play ‘hard ball’?

Views - 1893 Monday, 20 October 2014 00:00

There is a strong correlation between a country’s economic success and its performance at sports. With the exception of a toss-enabled cricket gold medal, Sri Lanka has not won an Asian Games gold medal in the last 12 years. It may time to take st


A luxury water tax?

Views - 1304 Monday, 29 September 2014 00:59

Product usage (and wastage) is significantly influenced by the price charged - as percentage of the consumer’s ‘wallet’. If we continue to use (and waste) water the way we do now, catastrophic consequences seem imminent, possibly ‘water wars


Learnings from the Odel-Softlogic deal

Views - 1466 Friday, 12 September 2014 00:07

Passion and entrepreneurial venturing (without self-imposed inhibitions) can build ‘unlimited’ businesses (Otara) Not letting ‘passion’ get in the way of logical business decisions and knowing when to ‘move on’ (Otara) Visionin


Ice Bucket Challenge: Is it the best use of ‘social energy’?

Views - 1448 Saturday, 30 August 2014 04:42

The ‘power’ of a great marketing idea going ‘viral’ was amply demonstrated by the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’. However, it also demonstrates the lack of effective strategy when it comes to social-cause marketing. Is this the most pressing soci


HRM – Human or Humane Resource Management?

Views - 5098 Monday, 18 August 2014 00:01

To an economist, HR is one of the factors of production. Shareholders and customers expect the most efficient use of all factors of production, so that they get the optimal return for their investment/spend. Which means, every cent spent on HR/HRM s


Do CEOs encourage bad news?       

Views - 6842 Monday, 21 July 2014 00:01

CEOs, much like politicians, tend to get ‘surrounded’ by ‘yes-men’ who fear delivering bad news.  Given the tendency to ‘shoot’ the messenger of bad news, constructive feedback/ground realities tend to get suppressed and decision making


Violence and country branding

Views - 2633 Monday, 23 June 2014 00:02

It takes decades, if not centuries, to build a country brand. It takes only a few irresponsible acts to significantly negate all the hard work that multiple stakeholders have put into building a country brand.  The perception damage caused, locally


Work-life balance – ‘walk’ the ‘talk’

Views - 1837 Monday, 16 June 2014 00:00

One obvious way to help employees achieve work-life balance is to offer them flexibility of where they work from and what times they work – at least on some days of the week where they need this flexibility most.  Yet, why do most Sri Lankan compa


Recruiting senior management like at the IPL auction!

Views - 1537 Monday, 26 May 2014 00:00

We live in a business world that is increasingly characterised by ‘impatient capital’ and ‘never-satisfied customers’. This means the way in which we lead and manage our business needs radical re-thinking. It is in this context that we need t


Mergers and acquisitions are not the same!

Views - 1509 Monday, 5 May 2014 00:00

The misinterpretation of the HNB MD’s comment at the MTI Banking Forum demonstrates the widespread confusion regards mergers and acquisitions, which are two distinct approaches of inorganic growth for a business.   Acquisition, as the name implie


Co-opetition

Views - 1738 Friday, 11 April 2014 01:45

The joint initiative of Dialog and Etisalat for the mobile money platform is a classic example of co-opetition – whereby conventional competitors, motivated by their consumer needs and commercial synergies, decide to co-operate while still competin


What can businesses learn from the Royal-Thomian?

Views - 2392 Wednesday, 12 March 2014 01:27

The ‘power’ of two competing ‘brands’ synergising to create an experience much ‘larger’ than either could. Even if businesses cannot stretch their thinking to synergising with competing brands, start with complimentary brands. The


Marketing vs. finance – an irrelevant debate

Views - 5567 Wednesday, 5 March 2014 00:34

The topic of an upcoming seminar tempted me to write this! In the context of today’s competitive business environment and the business models that are emerging, both these functions (and the very terms marketing and finance) are insular, myopic an


Is cricket a sport or business?

Views - 2668 Tuesday, 11 February 2014 00:01

ICC’s decision to concentrate a much higher level of ‘power’ and ‘profits’ in the hands of three countries has drawn much criticism – most of this on the basis that it is unfair and detrimental.  This holds true – if cricket is like an


Banking mergers must translate to customer benefit

Views - 1803 Monday, 3 February 2014 01:45

The City of Colombo has 282 bank branches, with ongoing competition among the institutions to have more, bigger and ‘fancier’ branches.  (In this same geographical domain, there are only 47 supermarkets!) This requires multiple layers of DGMs,


4-dimensional New Year resolution

Views - 1569 Wednesday, 1 January 2014 07:53

Focus on what is most fundamental and most important in your life and business – technology and socialising are ‘double-edged swords’ that can distract you from the ultra-simplicity we need in a complex world. Each of us have a limited sup


Year end, time for ‘brain surgery’

Views - 1768 Tuesday, 31 December 2013 02:07

It’s a good time to take stock of our ‘thought baggage’ and do some spring cleaning. Why? As knowledge workers, think of how we earn a living. Whatever your job, be it CEO or management trainee, there are only four types of activities that we


Why the sudden export surge?

Views - 2053 Saturday, 21 December 2013 00:00

Sri Lanka’s export performance (compared to global competition) has been below par for the last decade. Therefore, the news that we have crossed US$ 1 billion for two consecutive months is a good sign and much needed for the economy. But, why have


Do we attract the best talent into marketing?

Views - 1904 Friday, 6 December 2013 00:00

The development of any profession/discipline depends on its ability to attract the best talent at entry level.  In Sri Lanka, the medical, engineering and finance disciplines are able to attract the best performing talent at entry level. How about


Today's Columnists

Deep design to the rescue: Solving wicked problems of the future

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Let me begin by stating a controversial opinion: our contemporary lives are defined by 200 years of dehumanisation. From the time of the industrial revolution, the nature of work and labour has changed dramatically. The relationship between man and


Exporting bras with imported fibre!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

In a recent World Bank publication, ‘South Asia’s Turn,’ two Sri Lankan organisations – MAS from apparel and Dilmah from agribusiness – receive recognition as global champions. While Dilmah is in control of its value chain and that was its


The Opposition’s 20th Amendment dilemmas

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

It’s the arithmetic, stupid! A no-confidence motion against the Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan, is logical and legitimate


Sri Lanka: May Day and workers’ rights

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

May Day was declared a holiday in Sri Lanka in 1956 for the Government sector, bank and mercantile sectors.


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