Innovate OR Perish - The New Reality For Business Sschools By Dr. Filomina P. George, Dean - Academics, SCMS-Cochin

The most prominent area where SCMS-Cochin School of Business has demonstrated innovative strength, I feel, is in its programme design and delivery of courses which encourage an active learning experience, engaging both the students and faculty.

Socrates once famously said that a good teacher is one who burns his notes every year. Given the fast-paced global business scenario, we may soon have to burn our notes every day!

One recalls that the opening up of the Indian economy in the early nineties was closely followed by the launch of a number of management institutes across the country. MNCs were coming in by the dozens and there was an acute shortage of trained managers in the Indian ecosystem. A couple of decades down the line many of these management institutes have either shut down or are just about dragging along.

However, a select few B-schools raised during the same time have not only thrived, but have broken into the top league, and have become dominant regional centres of excellence. I believe the difference between excellence and mediocrity in the management education spectrum largely boils down to one factor - ability to innovate.

It is true that SCMS-Cochin School of Business did have the advantage of a good lineage, since it came out of SCMS-Cochin, which was already teaching a variety of disciplines by the early '90s. But we knew this was not enough. In the Information-Technology era, there are far fewer constants in business, and business education will simply have to keep pace by adapting and innovating. Good business schools today recognise Innovation as the key to future sustainability. At SCMS-COCHIN, we endeavour to be leaders in embracing innovation in teaching and training. We approach changes with a positive mind, welcome ideas from our stakeholders as well as the external environment, and - wherever possible - want to be the first movers in adopting changes in curriculum, pedagogy and technological advancement while upholding our core values.

B- Schools have no relevance if they do not update themselves and are not ahead of the times; there is nothing to manage that is already past. We need leaders to manage the present and the future. Therefore, if you continue living in the past you are IRRELEVANT as a B-School. There is no space for such B-Schools. However, one are that does not change with the times are the core values and principles that a B-School holds dear; a good B- School should not become myopic about its ethics in the rat race to become "modern".

At SCMS-Cochin School of Business, innovative ideas bounce mostly off the spring-board of interactions between faculty, students, parents, industry and academia. The most prominent area where SCMS-Cochin School of Business has demonstrated innovative strength, I feel, is in its programme design and delivery of courses which encourage an active learning experience, engaging both the students and faculty. I would like to mention one innovation in particular - the IMLP or Integrated Managerial Learning Programme. The IMLP has complemented the academic sessions in classrooms, and is more-or-less a student-driven programme, where students judge, help and push each other to nurture soft skills and knowledge. It's a regular co-curricular activity now. The beauty of the IMLP is that every student and faculty member of SCMS-Cochin School of Business believes it is his/her baby, so strong is the sense of association.

Innovations like the Finance Forum, FDPs/ MDPs and Outbound Training have taken root within the SCMS-Cochin School of Business ecosystem, while Social Immersion for students is an innovation in-sync with our core values. Under this, students are engaged in socially relevant activities, working in teams as ambassadors who propagate social and civic sense. Budding managers of SCMS-Cochin School of Business reach out to the younger school-going generation through 'Parivarthana', thus participating in nation building.

SCMS-Cochin School of Business was recently lauded for its association with coconut growers of Kerala. Under the aegis of CDB (Coconut Development Board, Kerala), we conducted a week-long capsule for coconut growers - especially for their grassroots leadership - giving them basic management education and sharing knowledge through case studies. The objective was simple - if countries like Sri Lanka can thrive on coconut by-products, Kerala should not miss out. This small capsule has paved the way for Reach Out. Under Reach Out,we will be lending a hand to those who have a well-defined business idea, or have launched a start-up, but have missed out on a formal business education. SCMS-Cochin School of Business will be mentoring and hand-holding these ventures to enable the transition from start-up to entrepreneur level; or to scale up from micro, to small, to medium enterprise level.Reach Out will involve dynamic student engagement and intervention by SCMS-Cochin School of Business. To begin with, we will be focussing on women entrepreneurs.

Finally, a word of caution. While any innovation may be able to reap some quick returns, the ones designed with a myopic, short-term view will not stand the test of time; only integrity-oriented innovations can produce sustainable value.