Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Chrismahanukazuah!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sydney Business School Awarded Three Palmes for Excellence

UOW SBS Awarded Three Palmes

"This ranking was compiled from a survey of 1000 selected Business Schools' Deans from around the world. The purpose of these palms is to compare objectively a school of a given country or continent to another one."

Read the full story here.

Always happy to see my alma mater in the news.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Re: Land and Sea "Turning a Green Leaf"

Re: Land and Sea "Turning a Green Leaf"

One of my old classmates Erin Niedermayer McMillin and her family were highlighted in a special Land and Sea Local Food CO2 footprint reduction experiment in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Well I finally got to watch the Turning a Green Leaf Episode and here are my comments and suggestions.

Last year I was asked to participate in an APEC Food Security Research Proposal focusing on Korea. The proposal was rejected but I did a lot of research globally on the topic last winter holiday.

As you may not know many countries like Korea import as much as 70% of their foodstuffs from abroad primarily from the US and increasingly from China. These containerized shipments do not only consume CO2 through their cargo movement. Fertilizers, pesticides, packing materials, insurance costs added damages and delays are all probably unaccounted for in a simple miles/distance to market approach.While local or country of origin produce is clearly marked here in supermarkets the introduction and rapid expansion of supermarkets in developing nations like Brazil, Russia, India, China or regions of Asia and South America have incredibly expanded in the last decade from city centres to suburban areas through similar patterns and Walmartization tactics.

As in early market entry studies reveal large numbers of small farmers are contracted to supply produce at varying levels of quality control and then over time fewer and fewer farmers are selected for larger and larger contracts reducing competitive pricing and unit costs to supermarkets themselves. A good example of this has been the banana wars provisions for small organic banana growers on Caribbean islands representing a minute market share in Europe which large companies like Chiquita in the US have been trying to force out of business.

Here in Korea traditional markets remain but local farmers are an aging and under-developed industry with few organic producers and a large proportion of non-compliance measures on chemical concentrations and pesticide usage recommendations. There are few traceability measures other than country of origin. As supermarkets are introduced traditional food consumption patterns have changed rapidly around the world.

I was glad to see your efforts to purchase locally. If for example Doha Round WTO provisions reduce government subsidies and tarriffs on farm produce will any of us be able to afford what we eat?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Global Climate Change and "Tipping Points"

Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector is a report by the WWF and Allianz Insurance regarding the need for radical climate policies globally.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Master's Degree in Education and Globalisation: University of Oulu, Finland.

Master's Degree in Education and Globalisation: University of Oulu, Finland.

"The aim is to develop the appropriate competencies and knowledge needed in planning, evaluation, research and development tasks in education and related fields in the midst of societal changes, both on the local and global levels.

Students will be awarded an MA (Education) degree with the possibility to continue for doctoral studies. It does not provide students with a teacher's qualification. Education in Finland is internationally known for its high quality which is recognized in international assessments like PISA. There are no tuition fees for university studies in Finland. The programme is open for applications from students with a Bachelor's degree or an equivalent higher education degree."


Listed in the interest of a certain Kwandong's in the Gangwon's Brian. If you are ready to pull up stakes this would be a good destination -Oulu,(sounds like "ural") Finland. What's not to like? Ural-Altic language, warm fires in winter, saunas, quality education, good quality of life, etc.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

HOME by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

This movie HOME by Yann Arthus-Bertrand states clearly that our planet earth requires the next tens years of global development to focus nearly entirely on alternative resource strategies otherwise a viable environmental future cannot be assured or maintained for any capital growth systems. It's a short and shortening window of opportunity and I am afraid not enough decision makers realize that.

I have heard the same thing on CBC's Quirks and Quarks that if current CO2 growth rates are maintained the ppm of CO2 in our atmosphere will quickly reach lethal proportions as early as 2025? As far as I know they only interview real scientists there. At the same time one of America's only carbon storage research projects has still not attained a cost benefit profile and claims 25% of generated power will be required to store emissions courtesy of the same radio show with the weird nerdy music.

If any decision-makers need further encouragement there are the dreary and morbid 2008 Massey (Seabass) Lectures by Margaret Atwood (no longer free but they should be?)


As I had a strong emotional reaction to it I decided to suspend my normally scheduled speaking class the following day and conduct my first video and listening class. Ever.

I presented the students with the title and length of the movie (1:33 minutes) on the board. Then I gave them each a blank sheet of paper instructing them to divide it up into sections to answer the question (with examples given in the movie), "Why is this video (HOME) important to the future of international trade?" You might like to alter the question to match the major interests of your students in high school or university classes.

Then as the movie rolled (for some reason the English subtitles failed to appear) I moderated the students notes with written points on the board which I instructed them to write down. Then they were told to go home and write up a 150 word essay based on their own notes.

Its been fourteen years since I began this ESL journey. In that time I've never seen a group of students more attentive or silently focused in class. I highly recommend sharing this presentation and assignment with your own students.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cha Sa-soon passes driver’s test after 950 tries

Cha Sa-soo finally passed the written exam scoring 60 points out of 100. I just wonder if she's perhaps dyslexic?

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The results of poor communication are planning failures.

Poor communication is often a major cause of project difficulties or failure.

We are meant to plan our communications to facilitate the effective deployment of the stakeholders in many cases these might constitute subject or content matter experts and additionally perhaps planning specialists. Under ideal circumstances each provides competent, motivated and improvement-oriented feedback to the communications chain. In the right configurations of dissimilar expertise a group of project oriented experts can assemble a noteworthy endeavour of leadership and change management building value out of bridging value differences and approaches.

I am reminded of up-stream and down-stream external and internal customer interconnectivity and delivery cycles as Gillian recalled cycle time results in an orientation our outbound and inbound messages must provide reasonable and relevant information to avoid the pitfalls listed in our notes. The concept of cellular manufacturing, cross-functional management team training and innovation or quality circles all appear to share some elements of the benefits of effective communication planning in that the goals exceed and refine the skills of participants to balance time/information schedule and hopefully gain communicative experience and expertise.

So in any practice there could be and probably is nothing worse than poor communications time planning. Some businesses appear to fault middle managers as the time and information "sinks" of companies due to conflicting interests between labour and upper management help perpetuate saboteurs of group communications. Even the ever-present and nearly ubiquitous technologies we share at the tips of our tongues and fingernails seems to suggest as a global populace many may be sacrificing planning for perpetual "on-callism" or at the other extreme (as our course somewhat displays) the integral practice of learning or knowledge "swarming" through asynchronous message postings indicating a willingness to sacrifice for real-time interactions in negation of distance and (other) time constraints in even just learning about planning.

However I am bound to recall the Swiss Air 111 crash which foundered near my hometown in Canada and in the inquiry revealed quite the opposite conclusion perhaps to which our course planning for communciations section might seek in reference to prescriptiveness and its practicality to forestalling difficulties or project failure.

Human decision-making can often provide ample root causes for failure even with a seemingly "fool-proof" plan. The inability to functionalize the plan in terms of its application and scope will be found in the flaws of human nature inescapable. In the case of Flight 911 the emphasis of "going by the book" and taking the time to pass over the runway and make an emergency fuel dump at sea as regulations stipulated exceeded the functional electrical capacity of the airplane striken by a fire.

As a result all lives were lost.

A provision of checklists to be followed rather than an impulse concern over the absolute deliverables of getting passengers safely on the ground or a more direct approach which fell outside the WBS checklists was overlooked. Would this be an example of managing by directive?

How will planning communication help?

Composing teams as stakeholders might also be considered collaborative and may often require substantial or little overlap in tasks and information dependent upon the complexity of the WBS. As to consider some of the stages of my thesis proposal there would be little sense in communicating the same information to all stakeholders as their requisite needs do not always coincide and the stages of the project phases themselves may prove not only sequential but also susceptible to sudden required adjustments of the WBS to meet consistently variable human conflicts in time and communication challenges. Time-based communication challenges should provide new, novel, cumulative peripheral learning opportunities.

Fo example, thesis acceptance by department and advisors might simply require their rubber stamping for possible funding approvals. At the other extreme the advisor carries great progressive approval responsibility throughout the entire WBS.



I learned it’s not a crime to ask for more time, even if it’s the first time you asked for that; that a selection of interests and skills can be framed as a legitimate proposal with the proper management of time, cost and quality factors; deliverables and project scope are intended to be flexible and match the needs of the stakeholders; the project lifecycle is meant to introduce component structural elements to the project; that the project justification defines the purpose; that managing time, cost and quality are interactive, interdependent and are the artful practice of “juggling”; that minimizing assumptions and constraints lends a greater chance of project acceptance; that stakeholders need to agree to work and cooperate together and that their familiarity is essential to consolidate credibility; that managing scope creep is a constant companion to reinforcing, defending and adjusting scope to ever changing circumstances requires prudence; that the WBS is not a sequenced chain of events but an ever evolving set of necessary actions; that the activity schedule can never match projected to actual results but is a useful method of monitoring progress and quality; that costs and resources are absolute measures of reward and benefit for whether or not benefits may outweigh costs or costs may outweigh resources which requires essential budgetary estimates to be useful; that quality planning in advance will minimize rework, and revision; that poor communications will sink a project perhaps before it is even started; that there are no miracles in terms of resources and that exceeding project cost estimates will over consume resources and require rework, reduction of scope or loss of quality; that project risks need to be anticipated so that a possible response may be found under surprising conditions although not all risks can be planned for; that monitoring and control allow for adjustments and tailoring of the plan to be consistently applied as its iterative nature requires iterative adjustments to time, cost and quality management; that project handover and evaluation provides an opportunity for feedback, review, and adjustments made for future planning projects. Finally, I learned to accept that the task at hand was possible and could be completed which is a real accomplishment and that beer tastes better after hard work like this and that I could not have done it without your help.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Project Monitoring

Any difference between how you plan to monitor your project and how you actually monitored previous ones?

You could say this course is a total learning experience in terms of gaining any insights into project management techniques or planning. Since the project I am designing has apparently become a three year PhD program of study with all of the planning requirements that entails I have tried to anticipate a world of project cueing and positioning that I fail to completely comprehend in terms of reference and whether or not necessary cooperative and/or complimentary monitoring of stakeholders would be otherwise available.

I believe I view project planning from a somewhat historical position in terms of strategies for businesses courtesy of Mintzberg et. al. in Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management (1998). One of the key strengths of the planning school is evaluations and "value creations" with delineations of expected results at particular points in a chain of events. So we have been doing a lot of de-compositional sub-stratification of strategies in this course which I find fairly similar in terms of scenarios developments, what-ifs and wherefores.

Measuring actual versus expected efforts, durations, start and finish, completion, costs anticipated or unanticipated problems will be in the interests of improving performance as observance of cost, quality and time management. Therefore my monitoring of this project which I would not undertake without adequate risk mitigations in terms of funding primarily would need to meet iterative strategies and stratifications of evaluation either through forms of interviews, document reviews, questionnaires, telephone or email communication which meet several layers of external auditing standards from stakeholders in the academic and business communities of New Zealand.

Visiting Ten Step I was not surprised to see a twenty minute video which resolves and reviews everything we have been studying so far courtesy of Tom Mochal. At the same time I am learning that the cultural environment in New Zealand is somewhat traditional which might explain some economists' descriptions of generations of forecast growth under-performance over decades and generations of New Zealand's export strategies.

I also realize as Gillian White mentioned that many planners simply fill and slot in requirements rather than really taking the iterative cycle itself apart and calling it for what it really appears to be - it is a re-dressed, rehashed and reoriented PDCA cycle (which has slipped one of its discs). Plan-Do-Check-Act was an original application to permit individual self-monitoring in a collaborative manufacturing environment which allowed for full individual opportunities for improvement which benefit the group in terms of reducing errors, rework, waste and lack of accountability. It belongs to Shewart and Deming. The planners have attempted to roll with it.

This in itself was a revolution in terms of previous monitoring techniques which through Taylorism bordered on the applying or expecting of mechanical efficiencies in the work of human beings. That plans were never at fault and human beings must keep up. Deming helped humanize that a bit.

Did you adjust the time planning worksheets provided in order to be able to record your project’s progress? How will the adjustments help this current project?

I attempted to under-estimate my actual daily output to anticipate a possible increasing or cyclical rate of improvement in measuring or meeting iterative requirements in my first draft of the time and budget schedule of my project for this course. This iterative cycle which again appears to ape or imitate the Shewhart-Deming Cycle implicates critical debate regarding the efficacy of the institutionalization of innovativeness which has been rich in debate at CBC's Cross Country Check Up on the topic of Willard Boyle the latest Nobel Prize winner for Physics in "Does Canada give enough support for its scientists?"

In monitoring I will add the columns recommended in our activity notes and anticipate:

1. Frequently hurrying up and waiting.
2. Exceeding original budget.
3. A flora of multi-tasking challenges.
4. In focus, out of focus and no focus periods in terms of scope.
5. Wheeling and dealing, cajoling and out-foxing micro-managers in terms of deadlines.

As previously stated cyclical improvement cycles originated not in the iterative cycle project domain but in the Deming one with an important exception - perhaps a PC one born of union/management collusion which puts a choke on the fishbones? Personal responsibility is never abrogated from individuals to organisations in fish bone diagrams as quality is managed one person at a time. Individuals are responsible for their performance in organisations. Individual performance monitoring could not exist without it. People don't get hired or fired based on performance without it. How well self-monitoring is conducted depends not only on how well one mirrors one's organisational monitoring standards.

If my stakeholders do not soon realize my quality management training is rigorous and well tested they will miss the opportunity to profit from an asset in monitoring which this planning course learning is helping me realize I have already been taught, learned and somewhat know. This current project will be assisted by my willingness to examine and assist a nation which appears to play the loser in the global growth export game.

The Korea Herald: Investing in Korea needs nerves of steel

Investing in Korea needs nerves of steel
Rob York The Korea Herald October 16, 2009

Costello, currently working as a university lecturer in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, prefers mutual funds to stocks because funds do not require the daily attention that stocks do, he said.

In particular, he likes investing in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies, because some of the best global investment funds are found in these rapidly-growing nations. However, even they haven't been immune to the calamities of the financial crisis.

"The last year has been terrible," he said, as he lost up to 30 percent on his investments. Now, however, most of his investments are nearly back to pre-crisis levels, and Costello still sees reason to believe that further investments will pay off.

"I wish I had started investing when I was in my early 20s," said Costello, who was in his mid-20s when he began. "I'm really concerned about my own retirement, so that's what I'm preparing for," he said.

"You're training yourself to put aside part of your monthly income. The closer you are to retirement the more important it is to have a nest egg."

Read the full article here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Do the BRICs know? US Still Largest Manufacturer?

The U.S.A. Is Still the World's Largest Manufacturer

Full story here.

You Can't Goh Rong: Thieves Market

Worst BRIC China Becomes Best Buy for Fisher, Schiff

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- China’s stocks, the worst performers among the largest emerging markets in the third quarter, are poised to rebound as investors say shares are too cheap to pass up with economic growth accelerating.

Read full story here.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Project Risk Management

Project Risk Management

Having planned the time, cost, quality and risks of your project, is there any impact on your objectives? What re-negotiation of the objectives is necessary with key stakeholders?

Impact of time planning elements: The realities of research planning are catching up with me. There would be few opportunities to work independently of a stakeholder led PhD project other than full-time in nature as my scope requires adjustment to real world standards which I am learning through this course and the realities my classmates appear to be facing.

Impact of cost planning elements: I had to reduce my self-appointed hourly consulting rates by 20% to realistically acquire annual budget resources potentially available. It pains me to make such an adaptation because I see it as a concession to the limitations of research funding evident in the systematic adoption of financial standards - which on the surface - appear to provide no obvious accountability measures for their allotments. I have been taught never to concede in business negotiations without receiving or demanding a reciprocal concession in return. For all of my costs and budget plans I should be able to observe those measures of funding allocations on a fully transparent level considering the best-practices approach I would like to fully integrate into my proposal. Otherwise I might suspect negotiations in bad faith.

Impact of risk planning elements: Attempting to minimize sacrificial income and opportunities costs and losses, I realize there is a trade-off but the net benefit of pursuing a research PhD might in fact be a negative proposition in terms of costs versus benefits analysis. To see a potential and reasonable doubling of income at the conclusion of PhD studies might be delayed or extended an additional two to three years beyond completion of the project itself whereby a sufficient number of published and peer-reviewed articles based upon it could be offered as evidence of competency necessary for the most lucrative research and teaching contracts in the USA. Failure to acquire sufficient funding to minimize opportunities costs would be the most significant risk factor with the potential to shut-down the project completely. Already approaching my forties would I perhaps see better returns on investment simply in mutual funds, indexed bond market funds and other generally applied business investment options? So far my goals in studies have been to make them pay for themselves and at a moderate level of risk.

Renegotiation of objectives: If the stakeholders are amenable to my objectives it would be based on my ability to “sell them” on the novel and unique approach of my research proposal which at the same time requires reorganisation based on the careful tutelage and recommendations of our instructor Gillian White at UTS. For example, I need to reorder assumptions and constraints in line with objectives, provide possibly fewer key focus points in the research objectives to ooze "inkily" with clarity and credibility.

How will you manage the risk you have identified with the highest priority?

Possibly I am the greatest risk to my own project? A Canadian building an Australian educational portfolio acquired while working in the UAE, cramming in OZ and returning to Korea and focusing a research proposal on an island nation called New Zealand? Is that particularly unique? Furthermore the refugee status of my humanities based undergraduate studies in the business world where roughly 80-90% of all business instructors originated should count par for the course where I have applied the precepts of international trade and business to my study and work experiences quite literally.

For example my current job appears to be up for further renewal and at four years in this position it is the longest term of paid employment in my working history. At the same time I am fully aware of this and each day feels like a step into the unknown beyond my generally term-contracted sense of employment. At the same time it sometimes feels difficult imagining working any where else. Even Professor Gugler in Switzerland recommends I remain here.

There might be more than a few Canadians who know exactly the kind of credibility I possess and demonstrate – stubborn persistence- is it grown from adaptations to forty below? I am perpetually unwilling to concede defeat tsomething I appear to share in common with my Korean employers. For a myriad of reasons I find cultural and economic barriers to personal growth greater in my own nation than many others which allows for opportunities of employment and experience with few global limitations as a reciprocal benefit of having few opportunities "at home."

My greatest risk is perhaps that of the approbation of nationally-based academics who often abhor the prospect of overseas work themselves and their perceived quality of my studies and work experiences at committee levels - perhaps a sense that I have failed to achieve acceptable goals.

On the contrary I feel blessed. I am one of the four out of ten people who get to work in the field of study for which they were prepared. For my MIB I didn’t pick UOW by accident. They are out there on the frontiers of international trade and business just the way I am completing contracts onward and upward offshore where the winds of challenge do often blow much stronger than in a cosy home port.

UOW was the longest running first entrant to the UAE market which impressed me. My online studies are sourced from the best of the pack: Concordia, Cornell, Notre Dame, and now fortunately QUT. This course is teaching me how to mitigate risks in this project proposal process and the biggest risk appears to be my credibility. Hard to believe I made the Dean’s List at UOW in 2004. I only found out a few weeks ago when I received a letter recommending me for doctoral research.

At the same time I may appear as simply an egg-head or a pseudo-intellectual no matter what self-improvement efforts I attempt to acquire. Being bald, I know I am not a scam artist. In Korea I appear to remain an asset especially if I keep learning, teaching and smiling.

So far.

Funny...I always thought this was a Korean song...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Measuring Research Quality

How does the industry to which your research is relevant measure quality?

The industry to which my current project plan would be relevant is the small business sector of New Zealand North Island at the moment described as focusing on those Bay of Plenty but for the interest of establishing an acceptable survey sample of participants might be expanded to Northland, Central Plateau and Coromandel Peninsula based on recommendations made by Ms. Mary Barrett Millen a full-time New Zealand based ducator and former classmate in Nova Scotia. Following consultation on this scope of relevant industry focus based on Ms. Eunice Liu’s suggestions regarding sample size requirements with Ms. Marie-Louise Siddle a Policy Analyst, International Division, Strategy and System Performance Group, Ministry of Education I have contacted Executive Director, Samantha Seath of the Economic Development Agencies of New Zealand (EDANZ) from whom I have yet to receive a response.

These particular groups, New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships (NZIDRS) and EDANZ would most likely measure the project proposal in terms of quality on how well it fits into their own regional and national strategies, research and future project development benchmarks. For example, regional economic development groups and strategies appear to provide few regionally comparative reports which illustrate the types of endeavors being made on a local level which might be transferable and applied to internationalisation and commercialisation goals in other regional development agencies. Many of New Zealand’s small business developments appear focus on the inter-urban regions nearest to the most populous cities. While this approach will satisfy returns and results based on the scope seen in previous studies a new approach to regional and thus rural internationalisation and commercialisation innovation in export growth might be a novel contribution and provide a framework for future real regional approaches.

The academic community notably the Department of International Trade and Business at Victoria University in Wellington would be assessing the quality of the proposal not only in terms of uniqueness but also in comparison to alternate project competitors in terms of what economic impact such studies could contribute to successful export growth initiatives, perspectives, and innovative approaches.

In what way is this different from the quality standards expected in doing research and writing it up?

Small business stakeholders would probably seek frameworks, recommendations and conclusions which could lead to independent decision-making options which would provide further successful export growth. Academic stakeholders are probably seeking a well built and conducted research project which reflects the seriousness and reputational standards of VUW and opens the door to academic interpretations, discussions, transferable approaches to export development in traditionally difficult regional positions and meets the standards of the thesis review committees and journal advisory standards for published work.

These two stakeholder groups differ. For example real entrepreneurs often neither lead nor follow through agreed example and translating academic hypotheses into language and recommendations for actions which would be useful for them would require perhaps a layman’s understanding and ability to communicate beyond the reaches and influences of the academic realm. Both groups must agree in principle and trust in the researcher or thesis candidate that the project itself will reflect well upon one group while at the same time proving the usefulness of its conclusions and results to the other. It is perhaps only through such a bridging between business and academia that sufficient resources and research funding will be applied to actively secure the engagement and commitment of the thesis candidate himself to the actual implementation of the project as a full fledged PhD rather than direct efforts elsewhere to more easily secure PhD assistantship on projects already well defined in other topic and national competitive interests either perhaps in Europe or the USA. In such a case the managerial and leadership quality of the candidate in question would be established by the research group to which he is unconditionally accepted.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

NZIDRS: Regarding average income versus scholarship living allowances discrepancy

NZIDRS: Regarding average income versus scholarship living allowances discrepancy

In contemplation of possible scholarship application I have uncovered discrepancies at the funding or endowment decision-making level of NZIDRS which might benefit from discussion. These have been uncovered through cost analysis preparations for a possible research proposal which I am undertaking for a project management course as an external student for a Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialisation with Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.

For example, The New Zealand immigration guide website ENZ describes average hourly income for all New Zealand employees at $24.33 as of September 2008 from Statistics New Zealand. Furthermore the average NZ male employee is described as working 37.9 hours per week and with an additional 1.2 hours paid overtime earns an average of $1,010 per week. My focus here is that the New Zealand male most closely correlates to my own case as a Canadian male with a somewhat similar average annual income.

What would be the incentive to further graduate studies if the discrepancy between average annual income and living allowance could be so large?

I would like to know under what economic formula has New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships (NZIDRS) arrived at a workable weekly "salary" provision which so under-performs average incomes of actual New Zealand full-time workers? A NZ$20,500 per annum living allowance (NZ$1708.33 per month) appears nearly half of what average workers earn annually. This would appear 2.36 times less than the average weekly income of a male worker in New Zealand.

What other means of funding supplementation are participants in the NZIDRS scholarship program able to access? Are additional corporate sponsors permitted? For example, what is the actual motivation to apply for such scholarships if in fact local university work related provisions are limited to an average of 11.5 hours weekly for full-time graduate scholarship holders? If a position could be held at average NZ income hourly rates a total of $280 a week would add up to an additional $14,549 annually.

This would still only arrive at $35,049.35 annually. What are New Zealand's minimum annual incomes for maintaining an above the poverty line quality of life either as a graduate student or average full time worker?

May local university scholarships be concurrently held? For example VUW provides a
$ 12,000 per annum stipend. The two combined would equal $32,500. This remains 32.12%below the average New Zealand male's annual income of $52,520. Do universities generally provide concurrent scholarships to successful entrants to the NZIDRS program?

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Planning Costs: Burger Flipping Anyone?

How would procurement and resource planning help my research project?

A procurement strategy will assist in developing management of necessary equipment, space and materials following from needs illustrated in my WBS which is modelled somewhat on combination of our case study PhD student "Jane" with a list of tasks found at The University of Southampton which has been incredibly useful in attempting to estimate time and GANTT chart plotting.

I will focus on segmentation such as initiation, planning, execution and handover which I have maintained as task topics and as others have already mentioned. In estimating actual working hours consulting quotations would suggest at least USD 400 for every 8 hour work day scheduled. I have been liberal in applying two day weekends off for each week of WBS time scheduled planning and another book I am reading, " Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis" by Joan Bolker (1998) suggests that even the best writers fail to exceed three to four hours of actual work each day. So it appears my best costs estimate based on my own would be 50 dollars an hour for four hours every work day and roughly 200 dollars a day at reasonable consulting rates.

How may I need to adjust the budget and resource scheduling worksheet to suit my needs?

In reality I have built several time buffers into my GANTT and WBS schedule to account for delays in a three year schedule this accounted from two to three months of extra unscheduled wiggle room. In addition I cannot expect that premium consulting rates would apply to a research scholarship funded three year project as the limits of scholarship funding will realize a short-fall under such circumstances.

Thankfully the people required are singular and I would estimate my required costs would not exceed the minimum required income of perhaps as much as $29,939.52 New Zealand dollars annually to be considered employed under terms of New Zealand law for immigrant labourers which may or may not be applicable to students engaged in scholarship supported graduate studies. For example travel and accommodations to and from Wellington to Bay of Plenty (or other North Island locales) for the purpose of conducting surveys and interviews would need strict budgeting considerations as these form significant portions of the work breakdown schedule.

While equipment necessary would include a well-stocked and facilitated library I would be willing to live in a functional shipping container or otherwise "tiny house" especially if the logistics industry would sponsor some of my research destination relocation costs?

Scholarship funding may not meet actual total costs so any shortfall will require accounting not only in funding management but time management possibly related to multiple part-time work engagements which overlap research schedule. The more preparation for the reality of a flexible work option which relates in terms of hours either on a ratio of 2:1 (study and work) rather than a 1:1 (study and work) will implicate the ability to apply greater focus entirely on research or more likely balancing additional income requirements with a work to research focus.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Is time the chief constraint in a research project?

Is time the chief constraint in a research project?

What about a project whose goal is to develop a product based on the research results or market it?

In terms of developing an export market for a product time factors will be determined by effort and duration until project completion is reached as our notes describe. However time in researching a possible export market for a product will require consideration of both primary and secondary market research both methods which would determine "go or no go" decisions among a continuously diminished pool of possible target markets - a research process which also relies on long lead times.

For example, John R. Jagoe a NASBITE founding member in the US, describes three major steps in time management which require a local product with at least three years of sales growth matched by a funnel research technique to a possible small market with high local import sales growth. The first would be screening potential markets a long lead time required, second would be assessing the targeted markets which would require more primary research focus and shorter time constraints and the third would be forming conclusions and making local contacts these would be essential short-term measures to match a possible decided product launch.

The quality and cost of the product in a local market would need possible modifications either through export market preferences or import requirements in terms of standards or consumer directed changes which would normally be discovered through the adequate provision of market research. Finding out too late in the process could suddenly turn a profitable export enterprise into a liability. For example, new labelling or packaging requirements, stricter provisions in terms of ingredients or product materials, new competitive entrants or currency exchange risks in addition to added marketing costs could all reduce profit margins beyond the benefits of exporting the products.

While current global trade appears to be stabilizing, actual growth in commodities and shipping rates volumes appears slow to increase to re-crisis levels. Some or all of the listed factors above may be impacting upon global trade recovery to pre-crisis levels. The additional factor of nearly all marginal and charter shipping companies having been closed reduces price competition in trading routes and shipping rates which heightens costs for small exporters possibly diminishing their profit margins and eroding their competitiveness abroad.

The secondary research required to determine export market suitability itself could be conducted over a long lead time with a larger number of stakeholders as its costs could be fairly low in comparison to primary research either through local surveys, questionnaires or other interviews which would need to be conducted over a shorter time frame closer to the point of possible product launch and costs could be quite significant. Even then the research may not prove relevant in the case of sudden market fluctuations or forecasts which did not include scenarios which would require immediate new primary data sources.

This necessary cost versus benefit primary research gathering could be a factor in the slow increase of global trade at this time. Many export markets require new evaluations over previous forecasts and following such a downturn there may not be larger budgets to support necessary primary research to be conducted to establish or re-establish market analysis trends and reports.

In such a case time remains a significant constraint.

Do you have control over manipulating the effort and the duration of your project's tasks?

As chief planner of my proposal I need to measure the actual hours and days of similar projects as being benchmarks for my own milestone and deadline setting measures. But I am not in control of possible time constraints in terms of sponsor availability, agreement challenges, and possible revisions necessary to refinement of the topic, or objectives necessary for sign-off, availability of supervisors, etc.

In terms of duration again I can attempt to manipulate the overall completion dates but need to anticipate possible delays as engagement of stakeholders and sponsors may require more time than I have estimated. This would imply consistent monitoring of time progress and revision of time estimates on an ongoing basis for reformatting sequencing and scheduling of the time plan. These possible time constraint challenges would require notation in the project risk portion of the project plan.

For example, a recent Ph.D. Research Position at the Center for Competitiveness of the University of Fribourg Switzerland forwarded to me by Dr. Philippe Gugler described, " The position is fully funded for two years by the Swiss National Science Foundation (a third year is not excluded). " It is nice to note the possibility exists for a quick gallop or a leisurely saunter through the possible time planning of the proposed project. While I have the heart of Sea Biscuit I am always in favour of developing a reasonable speed of work in terms of effort which enables consistent and pervasive quality and time monitoring with a provision for work breaks, leisure and general dalliances which allows for consistent thoroughness which does require more time than a quick dash to the finish line.

Canadian Language school scam

"The value to Canada of Korean students is in excess of $1 billion per year," Mundel said. It is roughly "equal to the value to Korea of their automotive sales to Canada."

Full Story Here

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Regarding Nova Scotia Week in Scotland 2009

Hi there Champions and Doers/Dreamers,

I would love to see the actual deliverables on export trade growth results in your Scotland Trade Mission 2009. As listed at the Scottish Government's website GDP rates are down nearly five percent since 2000 which can be interpreted as five times less growth over nearly a decade. In addition the UK is described as one of the lowest import growth nations according to OECD right next to Canada hovering on the point of import stagnation.

How many of your possible agreements have already been made prior to the junket?

Nova Scotia's growth rates over twenty years are impressive and," increased from $3.8 billion in 1981 to $15.7 billion in 2008 (CAGR = 5.4%) In 2008, total exports increased 8.2% over 2007" in NS Trade Finance 2008 however EDC predicts negative growth and a 2009 cancelling of all 2008 growth figures in exports. Focus on seafood products would indicate these are ripe for export marketing in countries listed below.

The Economist suggests that your best bets for matching interest in exportable products to high import growth rates might rely on building relationships with current GDP global growth leaders. These are: Qatar, Malawi, Angola, Ethiopia, China, Congo, Djibouti, Azerbaijan, Tanzania and Gambia. It would be tough love and hard to find many kilts in these regions.

According to the OECD the best bets for increasing Nova Scotia exports might be leading trade missions to: China, India, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic and Poland in that order of relative annual growth in imports. These rates of growth would be driven by increases in consumer demands and growing middle class disposable incomes - something Scotland and Nova Scotia both lack (OECD, page 76).

These nations might also represent reasonable immigration targeted campaigns to Nova Scotia on the micro-regional level in the interests of establishing new broker and export/import trade agents in your region. I feel building such non-Scottish ancestral relationships could benefit the region with such added cultural and linguistic diversity at small business, research, academic and trans-border educational project levels. To internationalise your business senses (and export growth target markets) I suspect you need to internationalise your population to attract future interest from such nations.

In terms of comparative or relative risk assessments in directing your efforts to building beach-heads and new business relationships in culturally diverse nations such as those listed above please refer to the Global Corruption Barometer 2009. Nova Scotians and Canadians are by nature risk-averse. Your Scotland Trade Mission 2009 indicates a possible aversion to really making new waves and generating global trade exports based on import growth nations eager to develop mutually profitable new market relationships.

I am sure you are fully committed to your Scotland Junket (which is what it looks like to me) and I am sure you have your reasons. However targeting your export markets should rely on some great form of economic rationale other than emotional or traditional affiliations. These will not generate real export growth in my humble opinion.

Going out and hunting where the business is actually booming will sharpen your export growth rates.

Sometimes the best things in life are free including reasonable (and educated) advice.

All the best,

Daniel Costello
Assistant Professor of International Trade and Management
Daejin University, Korea (Never heard of it? A couple of articles.)

Local businesspeople look to India

For Canada-China trade, opportunities abound

Canadians have not studied the Daejin University model of overseas branch campus development

Competitive Analysis of Daejin University

Saturday, September 05, 2009

How to Handle the Numbty?

How could the scope of your project could be difficult to manage?

As this is a hypothetical PhD project I am happy not to be in the middle of it while I am trying to plan it. This course is helping me spur my imagination to identify the facets of my project definition which have changed in scope similarly to Anna's description of regional focus rather than a national one. For example what I know about New Zealand is particularly scant. But as I originate in an economically declining portion of Canada the challenges are similar globally so seeking out a similar economic region in New Zealand led me to the North Island Bay of Plenty as an initial definition change to anticipate a digestible scope.

So far possible scope challenges appear to me as nightmarish scenarios (and I have given away all of my dream catchers) which consist of:

1.Stake holder disagreement or dislike of purpose
This might be a reality as the VUW is located quite far from the regional area of first choice. While they might like the idea they might prefer to see my studies directed at another closer regional location perhaps a place like Invercargill described to me as also somewhat economically bleak. However it is my opinion that regional inequities are possibly mitigated through creative export trade strategies.

2.Timeframe may need to be adjusted
Considering my own preference is to study and work in a closely related position the extension of time-based scope is a real possibility. I would however be satisfied to work in entrepreneurial international business planning positions as that is my training and specialisation the experience would only add veracity and concrete examples to my research.

3.Disagreement or dislike of proposed methods
I am not a great fan of statistics and would count heavily upon W. Edwards Deming's claim, "Don't rely on statistics. A good theory is often more useful" (not verbatim but also not hearsay) and I am a greater fan of books like Innovative Approaches to Reducing Global Poverty by Stoner and Wankel (2007) than reams of statistical data examining median, mean and averages which I appears to pass for real research methods among humanities disciplines perhaps attempting to add scientific relevancy to pre-decided power based decisions rather than rational approaches to decision making or strategies.

I would never have read this book of global business case-studies if Dr. Wankel had not requested to link up on linkedin.

4.Possible excessive scope of relevant data
As I would like to observe what works globally in regionally challenging economic areas of the world and compare them to opportunities for similar developments at the private, academic and government levels in a particular region of New Zealand relevancy would not be a real problem but local application and devising workable Internationalisation and Commercialisation Matrix, Criteria, Culture, Management, Framework, Skill set, Evaluation will be challenging. However I do believe in looking for needles in haystacks.

5.Business case study too exclusive or non-representative
For example I've read that the latest trends among New Zealand entrepreneurs are a tendency to do business as a life style choice meets but often does not exceed previous work experiences or incomes. This might not encourage export growth on a significant scale. However I am curious to know if self-identified lifestyle businesses are so doing (or treading water) due to other factors which discourage small business growth.

6.Evaluation measures too stringent
I am not prepared to bend over backwards for bloodless or difficult sponsors or stakeholders. I expect a comfortable and professional working environment that treats me like the asset that I am. As I am not a lone wolf by choice I expect my skills as a researcher would be welcomed especially in applying my knowledge and experience towards regional and rural environments where I must admit I feel most comfortable.

7.Failed deadline 8. Failed examination
Too maddening to contemplate? Avoidance of this would require consistent milestone meeting rather than millstone monitoring with engine-like clearance of any/all "numbties" (humpty numbties?) as described by Gerard Blair. For example, I have never felt intellectual dead ends to be a waste of progress. On the contrary, it is nice to know where something stops and something else begins.

How will you solidify agreement on the specific boundaries of your project?

Consistent progress checking with my stakeholders, sponsors and supervisors which would begin at the proposal process would be essential. Much of my out of scope details relate to the repeated irrelevancy of local or domestic business practices to the project research. It appears to me that many domestic processes of export growth are broken in many rural regional areas of the developed world possibly due to power based approaches to decision-making rather than rational ones which may discourage business start-ups or export growth as described by Bent Flyberg in application to local business processes in Freiburg or as Bruce Kogut describes, "In the academy, accountability and rewards function differently: Higher salaries and more grants go to researchers who publish and produce papers. There is no external barometer for the social validation of their work, beyond cross-references among colleagues." For example, overly scrupulous and thus penurious venture fund management or the insidious practice of nepotism which I believe to be a core weakness of modern age democracies may drive research and development funding for export ventures all over the world rather than merit. I would like to study what works in even some of the most visibly corrupt nations which would place more red tape and impediments to local businesses than in less perceptively corrupt ones for example. All of my stakeholders, sponsors and supervisors would require extremely strong stomachs.

Who will help you with your work breakdown structure?

I feel fortunate to have chosen my hypothetical project as as our case study model "Jane" is also luckily working on a thesis proposal. Her WBS is currently my model. I am willing to adapt process but not principles.

How much detail is necessary for the projects you work with?

More than I have at the moment!

The details will need to reveal relevancy and significance to stakeholders, sponsors and supervisors and that will entail providing a window to global small business best practices which succeed even in adverse or worst-case scenario conditions. As Tom Mochal's linked article was unavailable I sought out a few other internet-based listings for his scope management topics. I will provide them with the details that they need to know or hypothesis may not transform into a real project.

My sponsors need to be assured that the basis of my plan is workable and that the functional aspects of my research will be useful and profitable to them. Stakeholders are seeking applicable conclusions and recommendations based on real world examples of export growth drivers for small business. My supervisors will need consistent progress reports to confirm successful milestone achievements. The danger of scope changes may be mitigated by successful mediation of interests which may also prove challenging.

Bellow, A. (2003) In Praise of Nepotism: A Natural History, Doubleday, New York.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2001) Making Social Science Matter: Why social inquiry fails and how it can succeed again, CUP, Cambridge.

Flyvbjerg, B. (1998) Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice , The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Kogut, B. (2005-2006) Accountability in Research: An Introduction to the Issue (and Issues), EIASM. [Accessed: September 5, 2009] www.eiasm.org/UserFiles/Foresight_No2.pdf

Mochal, M. (2006) Follow this simple scope change management process, techrepublic article, September 12, 2006. [Accessed: September 2, 2009] http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11179-0.html?forumID=7&threadID=201177

Mochal, M.(2006) Understand the role of the sponsor in scope change management, techrepublic article, June 13, 2006. [Accessed: September 2, 2009] http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-6083174.html

Stoner, J. and Wankel, C. (2007) Innovative Approaches to Reducing Global Poverty, Information Age Publishing , Charlotte, NC.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

WTO Panel to Hear Canada’s Challenge of South Korean Ban on Beef

WTO Panel to Hear Canada’s Challenge of South Korean Ban on Beef
(Minister for International Trade)

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has established, at Canada’s request, a dispute settlement panel to hear Canada’s challenge of South Korea’s continuing ban on Canadian beef.

“South Korea’s continuing ban is not based on international standards or on science. This is a clear violation of South Korea’s WTO obligations,” said Minister Day. “This request by Canada demonstrates our ongoing commitment to resolving this issue and defending the interests of Canadian producers.”

The establishment of the panel follows more than six years of efforts on the part of Canada to restore access to South Korea for Canadian beef, which was banned by that country in May 2003 after bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in a Canadian cow.

“Canadian producers know that our government will always stand up for our safe, high-quality Canadian beef on the international stage,” said Minister Ritz. “The international scientific community also recognizes that Canadian beef is safe, and I’m confident that the WTO dispute panel will rule in our favour.”

The WTO panel will be asked to determine whether South Korea's continuing ban on Canadian beef is consistent with its international trade obligations under the WTO Agreement.

The panel is expected to issue its report within the next nine months.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Female Kindergarden teacher needed at Sheikh Zayed Private Academy

(From Canadian Club Abu Dhabi)
To the Canadian Community and friends,

The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy, one of the most prestigious schools in the UAE has an urgent requirement for a female Kindergarten teacher to start work almost immediately.

The school located on 26th street near the Embassy area provides quality education from Kindergarten to Grade 12. It offers a program based on a North American curriculum with a strong emphasis on UAE values as well.

Please pass this information on to your friends and colleagues..

For enquiries, please call +971 2 446 9777 or visit their website

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hasty Plans...

Projects are often not well planned.

I am familiar with this process of planning without regards to time, cost or quality management. All three are challenging aspects of a good plan and my earliest examples of these would relate to carnival or festival committee planning events at school, church or university. Usually these were the best planned events I can early recall because they cumulatively carried over from one year to the next so group activities on such a scale required little if any great variations as they had been tried and tested over several years if not decades of trial and error. But here are two anecdotes exhibiting elements of haste from my working history.
My early work experiences afforded my first insights into actual if not tacit or on the job learned project management. Of course humour tempers my memory of working as a full-time summer dishwasher/kitchen helper at Ottawa’s Britannia Yacht Club in 1989. The largest weekly planned event was a Saturday buffet and the ranging but mostly retiring or aging members of the club dictated several interesting caveats. First, stakeholders, mostly octogenarians brandishing knives and forks felt it was within their scope of responsibility to randomly bumble in and out of the small central kitchen’s swinging doors like the adherents to Julia Child that they were whenever they had even the mildest complaints about the quality of the food. Lately there was an agreed assumption that the Chef routinely attempted to poison or sicken these clients by way of ingredients such as garlic salt which all agreed was an abominable concoction and stated reason for the firing of the previous Chef. It was also the purview of a retired head Chef of the Royal Yacht Britannia to be found wandering around the kitchen to recount his own horror stories on kitchen affairs aboard that boat such as routine dish pit flooding which would often nearly creep under the doors and out upon the Queen’s own royal dining room.

The salt and pepper haired manager of the Club at the time was attempting to increase revenues through more frequent and more lavish wedding receptions on the grounds abutting the Ottawa River near Deschenes Rapids. The Black Jack, a square rigged brigantine converted from an abandoned logging boat in the 1950s served as precarious entertainment due to the tons of concrete which filled its keel to keep it upright even during frequent journeys to the river bottom. The wait staff was another group of stakeholders who felt they were not getting their cut of increased profits and suddenly resigned en masse immediately prior to the ever popular weekly Jamaican nights complete with oil drum band which left a few tired kitchen helpers to pick up as waiters and bartenders. During one, at the time pricey, $10,000 wedding the manager brought in a thousand dollars of designer dessert pastries and precariously placed them in the main floor walk-in beer fridge behind the door. One bar tender’s run for a keg resulted in a thousand dollars of pastry catastrophe. The manager and the Chef were both replaced following that summer’s run of misfortunes by a full consulting outfit.

My second anecdote recalls three years of daily marine transport commuting to and from Abu Dhabi Naval College courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Navy where I was a civilian military instructor of officer cadets in training from 2000 to 2003. As I would drive my own car to the Naval Forces gate frequent trunk inspections led me to believe that pilferage, theft or smuggling of either weapons or materiel might have been a regular event there. Delays in entry either due to prolonged search or non-functioning security card key passes could often affect time constraints which would result in my arriving at the jetty just in time to see the small white service boat which accommodated about twenty seated passengers cruising out of the harbour with a five metre rooster tail rising behind it. The converted covered whaler which had its internal engines removed and replaced with two four hundred horse power outboard motors was finally forbidden to dock at main base at speed after a few weeks as the wash would often cause the pocket battle ships nearby to test their moorings. Lateness would cause me to catch the slow boat to the island of Sadiyat which was a tired and smoke belching small landing craft with a persistent leak in its poorly sealed bow doors. The only clear solution to avoid sinking on that craft was full ahead which was about a turtle’s pace. For some reason, a regular or routine fuel tank filling schedule or even the checking of fuel gauges prior to daily departure was never carried out by the vulgar boatman, Raith or his numerous querulous underlings. Often one or more of the three boats would sputter to empty half way to the island. On one occasion the landing craft and one of the two covered whalers were floating on empty bobbing about on considerable swell in the middle of the harbour channel without recourse. The solution was seen to be all hands on the officers’ boat so that what accommodated twenty now lurched with seventy-five. Foreign civilian instructors who refused to abandon the sinking landing craft for the overloaded officers boat were chastised for arriving to the somnolent office a half hour late, an office where it was routine to attend for even weeks or months at a time without assigned lessons.

The island bus journey was often equally ill planned. In 45 to 50 degrees heat with 100% humidity and no AC bus schedules and travel timing could often be delayed as much as an hour to two hours in midday depending upon the daily rota or logistics management approval of (un)timely departures. For example, if the officer on duty was suddenly unavailable or absent without leave to give the command for departure the bus driver might practice “cutting” or departure without approval which would often be reprimanded the next day with further or future delays in departure. Other instances the bus would be ordered back to be refueled without notice or held hostage during gate exits due to unruly naval forces unwilling to off load the bus and remain on their assigned duties. Sometimes the bus would need to return to the college half way across the barren desert island to the jetty to pick up a late prepared chicken tikka lunch for the jetty guards or the bus would need to return to pick up an officer who was delayed in arriving on assigned timing of departure, etc. It was a daily charade called waiting for the bus.

When is a detailed project description necessary?

As the previous two detailed descriptions may reveal the necessity of a detailed description will be required in circumstances where the complexity of time, quality and cost factors are most significant and stakeholders need to be confidently affirmed that the project in question is suitably addressing their purposes, outcomes and management objectives. Poor management objectives and poor control over time, quality and cost factors will result in inefficiencies and the appearance of incompetence.

For example a project brief by its own description is shorter in its coverage of content or progress as time, quality and cost factors would ideally have been suitably addressed. Conversely in a request for tender significant description, explanation and expansion of time, quality and cost must be expounded to provision measures to evaluate the ability of the suppliers of products or services to respond with a bid to fulfill strictly measured and defined needs. If these needs are nor well defined or justified, poor quality, time and cost overruns will probably result.

How can well planned project descriptions help an organisation and its stakeholders?

A detailed description will assure stakeholders have information necessary to make a commitment to sponsor or approve a proposal or bid on a project tender. An effective organisation will assure that its needs and purposes are being met. If it is a government or NGO for example it may lumber along indefinitely in disregard to effective planning measures (or perhaps tacitly encourage the absence of them). If the organisation is a business sooner or later regardless of profits it will meet its doom if its projects are not well managed. As the process of proposal bid acceptance may be competitive the needs of the stakeholders should be strictly met and the quality of the project proposal itself depends upon the planning which is put into it and will assist the possibility of bid acceptance. While this might imply lowest costs and shortest time frames possible to win the race one is reminded of several examples here in provoking such “risk society” tactics which implicate quality and entreat disaster. Notable events such as Sampoong Department Store, Seongsu Bridge, Taegu Subway Fire have revealed shortcuts to quality in Korea are often perilous and may reveal challenges in project planning and management on a cultural scale. Other examples such as the last decade of Hyundai Motors sales growth have revealed a greater focus on quality. Even perceptions of managerial accountability and responsibility to stakeholders may be culturally based as described in The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why (Nisbett, 2003). While quality is often more costly in terms of expenditure and time the process of planning is meant to maximize quality and minimize time and cost restraints.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This was 1999...what about 2009?

The Economic Implications of International Education for Canada and Nine Comparator Countries: A Comparison of International Education Activities and Economic Performance

Prepared by The Conference Board of Canada


International Cultural Relations Bureau
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Current evidence suggests that involvement in international education yields many
economic benefits. Improved knowledge flows, better transfer of disembodied
technologies and ideas learned abroad, increased understanding of foreign market
opportunities and the enhanced development of cross-cultural competencies for global
and domestic business are all gains from international education that yield economic
rewards, directly or indirectly. To the extent that nations limit their involvement in international education, they forego these economic rewards.

The Canadian evidence suggests that we have incurred economic costs because of our
relatively modest support for international education. Specifically, our limited
involvement in international education means that we have limited the scale of the
economic rewards we gain from better knowledge flows and enhanced cross-cultural

Since Canada depends highly on international trade and on acquiring technologies
from abroad for its economic well-being, the cost of foregoing these rewards is higher for us than it would be for most other nations. Conversely, international education is a particularly important strategy for improving our nation’s competitiveness.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Allan Conway on BRIC Schroder

Allan Conway on BRIC Schroder

The rally that we have had so far this year has been extraordinary. But we should remember that we have seen the rally from really oversold levels and whilst we can see many emerging markets are up 50-60% so far this year, many of them are still down 10-15% or more if one looks at the last 12 months. So we were oversold and have had an extraordinary bounceback. But where we are today is still a situation where generally speaking valuations are quite reasonable. We are just starting to finally see visibility of global economic recovery. And as that visibility increases we expect to see equity markets moving into a more sustainable bull market rally. So, whilst in the very near term, it is perfectly possible that we could see some further setback, as we move into the fourth quarter, we expect to see markets come through pretty strongly.

Full article and interview here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The research proposal that failed...

Consider a project that you have been involved in and especially how time, cost and quality were managed.

I have never been involved in a successful project outside of regular term course syllabi preparation which might be routine and somewhat expected however last winter holiday I was approached to join a global research project consultancy proposal for APEC entitled, "Improving Market Structure, Regulatory, Infrastructure and Distribution Systems: Can the Cost of Food to Consumers in APEC Economies be lowered?"

While operations, traceability and logistics are not the core of my knowledge they are significant areas of awareness and in concert with my native fluency in English I could logically be expected to contribute significant recommendations on this topic.

The timing of the project start would have coincided with my winter holiday and would have consumed most of my non-teaching time on a weekly basis for a period of about four months. The compensation would have exceeded my annual salary and I was particularly surprised to be considered however I maintain an active linkedin.com network for professional consultancy contacts. APEC is known to possess a large budget for such research and the project lead coordinator is a well known and well respected NGO management talent acquisition and leadership specialist.

What happened that was unexpected or difficult?

The immediacy of the consulting offer was abrupt and the negotiation of compensation was surprising with the full weight of the design of the time planning of the proposal I was surprised that the actual compensation was for a daily basis and not a one time payment. I never realized what these consultants can actually earn for what appears to be routine primary and secondary market research as well as desk-bound literature review. Instead of taking winter holiday easy I endeavoured to review and collect relevant literature on the assumption that the actual proposal would be accepted.

What made it easy?

The anticipation of participating in such a well regarded research forum was sufficient impetus to provoke an enthusiastic review of wide and narrow scope literature relating to local food pricing factors and policies. As well the idea that I might be contributing to the economic well-being of average Koreans was rewarding.

What made it difficult?

The scope of the project did not appear to regard the local hazards of foreign involvement in policy recommendations. Generally any foreign involvement in policy decisions is made from a back office or low profile position here. Many Koreans would be more comfortable with a Korean undertaking such research. Many local academics publish more out of fulfilling employment requirements rather than furthering policy and planning developments which are not necessarily welcomed at political levels of Korean society. Also it became increasing obvious the more I read that pricing and policies are here dictated by several special interest groups which are entirely satisfied with the current state of affairs and would see alternatives as somewhat undermining their positions.

What worked?

While the project proposal itself was rejected I found myself motivated to make myself more attractive to future possible research consulting projects of a similar nature in scope. As a result I canvassed the internet for possible continuing education courses which would contribute to future success with research skills and strategies that I believe I have been developing rather progressively for the last five years. These led me to this QUT Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialisation.

What didn't?

There is an often collective perception that teaching is not as rewarding as actually doing something or anything else. I disagree. I enjoy my teaching and learning helps me retain a sense of studentship and desire to learn new things or acquire new skills which is also complementary and satisfying. Without one I am not sure I would enjoy the other? Well, the project proposal was rejected. Big deal. It has led to further learning on my part and propelled me to consider finally designing a PhD proposal which clarifies my interests and matches my skills and experiences. As I further develop them I get a chance to recognize what they are and deepen my commitment to self-improvement in this regard. Now if I find the right professorship or research advisor then I will have really done my homework!

I believe the path of self-realisation makes these things work when one is ready to achieve them.