By Kirk White
I recently posted two lessons learned applicable to any complex organization. Here is the final in the series of posts.
Finally, the 3rd lesson; embrace change and be agile. When I joined the National Guard only twenty years ago, our wartime mission was focused on defeating the Warsaw Pact in Europe. Today, we operate in a complex counterinsurgency environment where success requires that we adapt tactics faster than the exceedingly agile terrorist groups. In 2005, my commander in Afghanisatn did not allow us to engage in social or political problems in the provinces where we were operating. By contrast, in 2010 my commander required that I blog weekly to communicate our progress to the world. Changing the culture of an organization is difficult but essential as the landscape and requirements evolve. For example, currently at Indiana University we have a culture built on educational excellence. However, our challenge is how to maintain excellence during very challenging economic constraints.
After several years of discouraging news from Afghanistan, I am convinced that we are again making the advancements that will allow the coalition to reach the successful end state of denying terrorists a safe platform and building the Afghan security forces to allow the elected leadership the ability to maintain a safe and secure environment. The lesson we have learned is that with any counterinsurgency, international leadership and perseverance will be essential to reaching the goal.
By Tony Armstrong
By Kirk White
Recently I blogged about the first lesson learned in Afghanistan during my recent deployment. Here is part two of three with another point that I think is important for any organization: Second, it is vital to understand the culture and languages of your area of operations. Many Americans do not understand their own culture, which is essential before appreciating another. In May, 2005, quite a firestorm erupted in Afghanistan following a Newsweek story describing the desecration of the Qur’an at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. The story was later retracted as untrue, but it played right into the hands of the insurgents’ claims. Cultural lesson: Afghanistan is an Islamic state; Muslims believe the Qur’an provides divine guidance and direction; in a country with a 30% literacy rate, the spoken words of the local Mullah carry great weight in public opinion. I was alerted that a local Mullah in our area of operations had called for demonstrations and even Jihad against the U.S. as a response to the desecration rumors. This could have resulted in needless civilian and military casualties. Knowing that military leaders also carry great influence in Afghanistan, I worked with the State Department political advisor in our area who arranged for the Afghan battalion commander that I was mentoring to meet with the Mullah and town elders.
The Afghan commander stood at the Shura (meeting) and passionately explained that he had worked with Americans for the past three years and we were constantly respectful of his religious practices and he could not believe the rumors to be true.
The meeting ended with the group deciding that further demonstrations or worse were not needed. Success depends on cultural understanding, no
matter where you are operating. I am pleased to report that the Departments of Defense and State are taking advantage of our vast Central Asian culture and language resources at Indiana University to train personnel headed for Afghanistan.
By Kirk White
This summer I completed a second one year tour of duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as an Indiana Army National Guard officer. During my first tour, 2004-05, I was chief of an embedded training team advising a battalion of the new Afghan National Army. As we departed in 2005, there was a sense of great accomplishment, anticipation and hope in Afghanistan. President Karzai had just been elected in the first free election in the country’s history, dates were set for parliamentary elections and though combat continued with insurgents in the east and south, the north and west were relatively secure and stable. During this past year I commanded a provisional task force responsible for base operations and force protection at two large U.S. Kabul bases. After returning, I am most often asked, “how have conditions changed since your first tour,” and “when will we be done in Afghanistan?” It is easier to answer the former than the latter. Following nine years in Afghanistan our soldiers, military and country have taken some significant lessons in leadership that are transferrable to any organization and should not be lost as we move forward. Over the next few days I will blog about my “Top 3” leadership lessons.
First, know the final goal, or in the army we call it the ‘end state’
Success will not be achieved unless the team is clear on the desired outcome. In Afghanistan there is a big difference between denying insurgents the ability to use the country as a platform for attacks verses full spectrum nation building. The complexity in counterinsurgency is that the two are often connected so that one depends on the other. Additionally, the Afghanistan team is made of over 40 nation partners who have different views of the end state which are often influenced by historic perspective and limited by national caveats. For the coalition, our definition of the end state has changed over time. We are seeing a higher level of success because we have a better idea of the final goals.
Our future in Indiana depends on available human resources, people who are well-educated and have the tools to help bring about the next model of prosperity in our knowledge-based global economy, where talented and educated citizens emerge as the central asset.
Fortunately, state leaders have acknowledged the role of education in state economic development. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education in “Reaching Higher: Strategic Initiatives for Higher Education in Indiana” stated that Indiana must produce at least 10,000 more bachelor’s degrees each year.
We understand that our nation has been facing an economic downturn, and Indiana is no exception. In fact, parts of our state began feeling the effects of an economic downturn years ago. Recognizing our economic constraints, we must capitalize on the power of partnerships, if we are to achieve the ambitious goal of the Commission for Higher Education.
Indiana University East has created a new model of higher education through our innovative partnerships with Ivy Tech Community College in Richmond, New Castle, Connersville, Lawrenceburg, Batesville, Muncie and areas in between.
By discontinuing all of our associate degrees and all remedial classes, we recognize that these educational objectives are now within the mission of Ivy Tech. By emphasizing non-competition, collaboration in educating students, and efficiency of operations, we have created a seamless, affordable higher education system for Hoosiers in these regions.
Our record enrollment at IU East – along with the continued growth of Ivy Tech – is proof that our model is working.
Most recently we have partnered with Vincennes University and the IU School of Continuing Studies to bring online bachelor’s degree completion programs to students at the Vincennes University Jasper Campus. Students there can now earn an IU bachelor’s degree in the following programs: the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts in English – Technical and Professional Writing, Bachelor of Arts/Science in Communication Studies, and Bachelor of Arts in Natural Science and Mathematics – concentration in Mathematics.
Increasing baccalaureate attainment is integral to the economic development of the state. Through this partnership and others, our institutions will make bachelor’s degrees accessible to more students, delivering relevant, high-quality programs in an efficient and affordable manner—a win for our students, our state, and ultimately our future.
By Tony Armstrong
The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) has announced the formation of the Medical Innovation and Competitiveness (MedIC) Coalition, a new alliance comprised of both venture capital firms and their life sciences portfolio companies. The MedIC Coalition will be a united voice in Washington D.C. advocating for policies and regulations that advance U.S. medical innovation and protect the country’s global leadership position in the life sciences industry.
The term “bench to bedside” has received considerable attention in the biomedical community over the last few years. When researchers mention the phrase, “bench to bedside” they are referencing the concept of ‘translational medical research’. Many in the biomedical community see translational research as a new way of thinking about and conducting life sciences research to accelerate healthcare outcomes. Scientists are mindful that the bench-to-bedside approach to translational research is a two-way street. Basic scientists provide clinicians with new tools for use in patients and for assessment of their impact, and clinical researchers make novel observations about the nature and progression of disease that often stimulate basic investigations. Defined, translational research is “the process by which basic scientific discoveries are transformed through clinical application into new medical treatments and products to enhance the diagnosis, treatments, and prevention of diseases”. Translational research is also concerned with how the process can be more efficient and accelerate the research process so discoveries can make more of an impact in the lives of patients. To further this cause the NIH has set up the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) program. The CTSA program creates Translational Science institutes in universities and schools of medicine across the country. CTSA institutions work to transform the local, regional, and national environment to increase the efficiency and speed of clinical and translational research across the country. Indiana is fortunate to have received one of these awards, used to establish the Indiana Clinical Translational Sciences Institute (ICTSI). In the next post in this series, we will discover exactly what Indiana is doing in the area of translational medical research.
Find out more about CTSI at http://www.indianactsi.org/
Contact Dr. Shekhar at email@example.com
By Tony Armstrong
I came across this interesting article on how the Bayh-Dole Act came about and thought I would share it. You can read the full article on the link below.
The other day I posted information on patents and trademarks. Following up, here are 2 more ways (and their legal definitions) to protect intellectual property;
Copyrights Copyright laws protect written or artistic expressions fixed in a tangible medium – novels, poems, songs or movies. A copyright protects the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself. The owner of a copyrighted work has the right to reproduce it, to make derivative works from it (such as a movie based on a book), or to sell, perform or display the work to the public. You don’t need to register your material to hold a copyright, but registration is a prerequisite if you decide to sue for copyright infringement. A copyright lasts for the life of the author plus another 50 years.
Trade secrets A formula, pattern, device or compilation of data that grants the user an advantage over competitors is a trade secret. It is covered by state, rather than federal, law. To protect the secret, a business must prove that it adds value to the company – that it is, in fact, a secret – and that appropriate measures have been taken within the company to safeguard the secret, such as restricting knowledge to a select handful of executives