Reflections are only that, reflections, nothing more nothing less. Often these reflections are related to books I read, but occasionally also other things. These are often written very late, very fast,  using notes from my mobile phone, so the grammar and spelling is horrible.

Bangalore the future of IT- but not connected today

An intensive week in Bangalore with sustainable ICT as a theme. Meetings with leading ICT companies, both Indian and foreign, but also video conferences, Skype, Webex and phone meetings with the rest of the world. Still moving from one place to another in Bangalore is done in the traditional way... ;)

To discuss climate policy with a political party in Europe (Moderaterna in Sweden on the picture), to have a lecture for business students in the US, Skype with China about art for an upcoming book about Chinese Concepts, webex meeting with Sida in Sweden, phone meeting with Gartner, Booz Allen Hamilton, HP, Verizon, etc was not without problems.

The technology is obviously here in Bangalore, but the infrastructure needs improvements before it can become mainstream. The only thing I know that works like a clock are the really expensive equipment that Cisco and HP have. To travel as I do makes it important to stay connected, but when not even the mobile phone is working it is more than a little frustrating, especially as a lot of my work right not focus on the potential of ICT to reduce CO2 emissions, not the least in transportation…

As usual it is hard not to have very mixed feelings after a trip to India. On the one hand there are so many interesting initiatives happenings, and I hope to be able to talk about some of them in the near future... Infrastructure, ICT and innovation are the three i’s that I hope my future visits to Bangalore will focus on. On the other hand I read about initiative that will try to turn coal into oil as a way to reduce the dependence of oil, experience companies that want to do something, but seem more focused on PR than real results.

Over all I’m still positive and it is very good to see that the positive opportunities that collaboration between China and India can result in is beginning to be a mainstream issue. Two new book out on the Indian market are:

Chindia Rising - How China and India will Benefit your Business, by Jagdish N. Sheth

As always when a book is written from a Chinese and/or Indian perspective the need for innovation to ensure that people can be brought out of poverty without destroying the planet is a key issue:

“China and India have tremendous opportunity tremendous responsibility. Both nations appear committed to peaceful prosperity, and when the two most populous nations on earth opt for a postcolonial model of global cooperation and comity, the earth stands to benefit.

The quest for resources will test their resolve. Can they work together to acquire diminishing resource assets? Can they strike deals that benefit rather than exploit owner nations? Most important, can they use these those recourses wisely, conserve them where possible, and lead in the development of alternative energy resources? If they fail in this task, the world will pay a heavy price. If they succeed, Chindia’s rise will lift people everywhere.”

Another book, that unfortunately is not very good, is The Elephant and the Dragon. The only thing I think is better about this book compared with Sheth’s book is the cover.

The book is written by a journalist from Forbes magazine and might serve as a reminder how important it is to not only listen to western voices. The book is filled with sentences that make you wonder if the author is serious or ironic. Surly no one would seriously suggest that China, without any support would ban traditional cars and only allow ethanol cars… This is such a bizarre statement. I hope that it is meant to be ironic and make western readers think about their own unsustainable transportation system that China is now copying (with the help of western experts). If not it would show that the author have not thought about where that ethanol should come from (would be hard to feed people and have the whole of Chinas population drive around in ethanol cars), second you would expect someone writing for a US magazine in an old UK colony should think a little about what countries like the US is doing. But maybe most of all it is so interesting to compare the realization among authors like Sheth who, based on a concrete reality, writes that we need a new development path with authors like Meredith who, what seem based on short articles pulled together as a book, write a book that fail almost entirely to pull fragments together and present anything useful. To be fair the book could help people to become more curious about China and India, hopefully they will find other books then…

The China-India link is an interesting discussion that I look forward to follow the coming years. When we released the report “Indian companies in the 21st Century” in 2006 and recommended a joint initiative between China and India people where still quite skeptical. When we arranged the “Sino-Indian axis for Business Sustainability” the interest was significant. Still it is not easy to create these links in practice, but I hope that we will see a number of interesting concrete initiatives in the near future.