Thursday, January 26, 2012

Uniersity of Oklahoma Prepares Students for Developing Countries

The Oklahoman (1/18, Allen) reported, "Beginning in May," the University of Oklahoma "will offer a field methods course designed to help prepare students to work in those developing regions, said" David Sabatini, "the director of OU's Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center, or WaTER Center, a part of the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science." The problem, Sabatini "said, has been that students were leaving the university and signing up with the Peace Corps, the US Agency for International Development and other nongovernmental organizations without being properly trained to work in developing countries." The Oklahoman reports, "Students will learn to build aboveground composting latrines, drill wells by hand and test for contaminants in a stream."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

China Update

Via good friend Mr. Tony Tsai, EVP - Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer, The Beijing Hualian Group:

"Xie Guozhong: next year may be most unstable year for world economy in past 20 yearsDec. 22, Xie Guozhong, a director of Rosetta Stone Capital Ltd. and independent economist, said that next year may be the most unstable year for the world economy in the past 20 years. It is impossible for the outflow of hot money to overwhelm China. However, the real estate bubble in mainland China is breaking and the bubble exaggerated economic growth."

"Ministry of Commerce: China's foreign trade situation to be more complicated and serious this yearJan. 9 at the National Trade Promotion Work Conference in Beijing, Vice Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said that trade friction on products exported from China has intensified since last year. Besides labor intensive industries, such as light chemical, textile and steel, other industries, such as telecommunications and photovoltaic, have also been influenced. China's foreign trade situation will be more complicated and serious this year."

"GDP exceeded RMB1tr last year; GDP to grow by 10% this yearJan. 8 at the Shenzhen NPC Conference, Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin said the GDP in Shenzhen exceeded RMB1tr in 2011. The GDP in Shenzhen will remain at 10% this year."

"Bank of Communications: China's GDP growth in 2012 to reach 8.5%According to the "Outlook of China's Macroeconomics and Finance in 2012" issued by the Finance Research Center of Bank of Communications of China, China's GDP growth in 2012 will reach 8.5%. GDP growth in the four quarters of 2012 are predicted to be 8%, 8.3%, 8.7% and 9%, respectively."

"Total value of China's imports and exports was US$3.64tr in 2011; trade surplus declined by 14.5%Jan. 10, according to statistics issued by the General Administration of Customs, the total value of China's imports and exports was US$3.64tr in 2011, a 22.5% increase from 2010. This includes exports worth US$1.89tr, a 20.3% increase, and imports worth US$1.74tr, a 24.9% increase from 2010. The trade surplus was US$155.14b, a 14.5% or US$26.37b decrease from 2010."

General Electric Profits

From the Wall Street Journal; complete article here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Info-Gap Theory

By way of my dear friend Dr. Farrokh Mistree, I have had an introduction to Yakov Ben-Haim, Professor and Yitzhak Moda'i Chair in Technology and Economics, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and his work on Info-Gap:

"INFO-GAP THEORY is a method for analysis, planning, decision and design under uncertainty. The future may differ from the past, so our models may err in ways we cannot know. Our data may lack evidence about surprises: catastrophes or windfalls. Our scientific and technical understanding may be incomplete. These are info-gaps: incomplete understanding of the system being managed. Info-gap theory provides decision-support tools for modelling and managing severe uncertainty. Three ideas are central in an info-gap analysis: robustness to uncertainty, satisfying critical requirements, and exploiting favorable opportunities."

I plan to speak with Yakov in the near future and will post more on the subject. See Yakov's site here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Boeing vs. Airbus

BMW - New Global Luxury Car Leader

Mercedes and BMW held out till to release their sales numbers for 2011.

"The auto maker (BMW) sold 247,907 BMW-brand cars and sport-utility vehicles in 2011, 12.6% more than in 2010. Mercedes sold 245,231, up 13.3%."

Here are some interesting approaches to improve sales numbers in the automotive industry:

"Auto makers have long gone to unusual lengths to pump up vehicle sales. For years, General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC leased cars for short periods of time to rental-car agencies for almost nothing. The auto makers ended up boasting of sales totals well above the number of cars consumers were actually buying."

Read the complete article here on Wall Street Journal.

GE Energy Innovation Summit - Multidisciplinary and Accelerated

I had the opportunity to design, convene and execute a two day, first one of its kind, multidisciplinary GE Energy Innovation Summit with an elite team of GE Energy engineers. I have been impressed with the fact that GE Energy chose to lead such a transformational activity, yet more so, I have been working with some of the best engineering minds in the industry here.

The Summit brought together ten external world leaders in areas from government policy and oil and gas to data analytics, top tier academia and successful entrepreneurs. They were joined by ten GE Energy leaders from Marketing, Systems Engineering, and Advanced Technology Operations. Our goal was to create two energy concepts for GE Energy products and services that are 3 to 5 years out and can be taken forward to conduct proof-of-concepts.

Not only did the Summit deliver the concepts, it created two solutions with clear value to the company and its customer for the future as well as business models to take the solutions forward. Most importantly, during the summit senior leadership committed funding for these solutions on the spot.