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Messages - Arif Hossain

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So one of my students says “Hitler was a good leader”. The whole class freezes, looking profoundly uncomfortable, especially the German exchange student. But no one says anything.  (I was waiting for the fight to break out).

Why the profound discomfort with this statement? While I can’t support this with research, I think it has something to do with an unstated assumption in the West that leadership is “good”.  So therefore the act of leadership is automatically morally or ethically “good”. So therefore Hitler could not possibly be a good leader.

To consider this idea further, let’s take a look at one definition of leadership (my definition, so it is far from perfect, but it will do as a start):

The relationship between a leader and her followers, whereby the leader influences followers to work together to successfully create and achieve a vision, purpose or objective.

Note that this definition says nothing about the ethics of this vision, purpose or objective. Historically, political leaders essentially ignored ethics in the pursuit of power. (See Machiavelli for further instruction). It is only recently, and largely limited to the developed world, where we have decided to tack on “authenticity” or some sense of moral behaviour to leadership.

My student very astutely pointed out that Hitler, while morally repugnant, did indeed successfully create a vision and influence his followers to achieve that vision (at least for a time). You may question his tactics and the morality of his objectives, but he was an effective leader, measured by the above definition of leadership.

Which brings me to my point. While a leader may be effective in creating and achieving a vision through her followers, this does not necessarily mean that the vision/objective/purpose is necessarily “good”. Even if a leader can influence thousands or millions of followers, it does not mean that the end objective is “good” from an ethical stand point.  Effective leaders are not always ethical leaders.

So let’s ditch the idea of “good” leadership. Instead lets talk about “effective” leadership and “ethical” leadership.  Effective leadership is about the creation,  process and achievement of vision. Ethical leadership is about whether or not the vision or objective is morally good for the whole of society.  Effective leadership is about the “hows”, while Ethical leadership is about the “outcomes” of leadership. Obviously these two aspects of leadership are tightly intertwined.

When evaluating leadership we need to consider both effectiveness and ethics. And we need to stop assuming that leadership, in and of itself, is good.



When the 1970s and 1980s were colored by banking crises, regulators from around the world banded together to set international standards on how to manage financial risk. Those standards, now known as the Basel standards, define a common framework and taxonomy on how risk should be measured and managed. This led to the rise of professional financial risk managers, which was my first job. The largest professional risk associations, GARP and PRMIA, now have over 250,000 certified members combined, and there are many more professional risk managers out there who haven’t gone through those particular certifications.

We are now beset by data breaches and data privacy scandals, and regulators around the world have responded with data regulations. GDPR is the current role model, but I expect a global group of regulators to expand the rules to cover AI more broadly and set the standard on how to manage it. The UK ICO just released a draft but detailed guide on auditing AI. The EU is developing one as well. Interestingly, their approach is very similar to that of the Basel standards: specific AI risks should be explicitly managed. This will lead to the emergence of professional AI risk managers.
Below I’ll flesh out the implications of a formal AI risk management role. But before that, there are some concepts to clarify:

Most of the data regulations around the world have focused on data privacy
Data privacy is a subset of data protection. GDPR is more than just privacy
Data protection is a subset of AI regulation. The latter covers algorithm/model development as well.

Rise of a global AI regulatory standard
The Basel framework is a set of international banking regulation standards developed by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) to promote the stability of the financial markets. By itself, BIS does not have regulatory powers, but its position as the ‘central bank of central banks’ makes Basel regulations the world standard. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), which wrote the standards, formed at a time of financial crises around the world. It started with a group of 10 central bank governors in 1974 and is now composed of 45 members from 28 jurisdictions.

Given the privacy violations and scandals in recent times, we can see GDPR as a Basel standard equivalent for the data world. And we can see the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) as the BCBS for data privacy. (EDPS is the supervisor of GDPR.) I expect a more global group will emerge as more countries enact data protection laws.
There is no leading algorithm regulation yet. GDPR only covers a part of it. One reason is that it is difficult to regulate algorithms themselves and another is that regulation of algorithms is embedded into sectoral regulations. For example, Basel regulates how algorithms should be built and deployed in banks. There are similar regulations in healthcare. Potential conflicting or overlapping regulations make writing a broader algorithmic regulation difficult. Nevertheless, regulators in the EU, UK, and Singapore are taking the lead in providing detailed guidance on how to govern and audit AI systems.

Common framework and methodologies
Basel I was written more than three decades ago in 1988. Basel II in 2004. Basel III in 2010. These regulations set the standards on how risk models should be built, what the processes are to support those models, and how risk will affect the bank’s business. It provided a common framework to discuss, measure, and evaluate the risks that banks are exposed to. This is what is happening with the detailed guidance being published by EU/UK/SG. All are taking a risk-based approach and helping define the specific risks of AI and the necessary governance structures.
New profession and C-level jobs
A common framework allows professionals to quickly share concepts, adhere to guidelines, and standardize practices. Basel led to the emergence of financial risk managers and professional risk associations. A new C-level position was also created, the Chief Risk Officer (CRO). Bank CROs are independent from other executives and often report directly to the CEO or board of directors.

GDPR jumpstarted this development for data privacy. It required that organizations with over 250 employees have a data protection officer (DPOs). This caused a renewed interest in the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Chief Privacy and Data Officers (CPOs and CDOs) are also on the rise. With broader AI regulations coming, there will be a wave of professional AI risk managers and a global professional community forming around it. DPOs are the first iteration.

What will a professional AI risk manager need or do?
The job will combine some duties and skill sets of financial risk managers and data protection officers. A financial risk manager needs technical skills to build, evaluate, and explain models. One of their major tasks is to audit a bank’s lending models while they are being developed and when they’re in deployment. DPOs have to monitor internal compliance, conduct data protection impact assessments (DPIAs), and act as the contact point for top executives and regulators. AI risk managers have to be technically adept yet have a good grasp of regulations.

What does this mean for innovation?
AI development will be much slower. Regulation is the primary reason banks have not been at the forefront of AI innovation. Lending models are not updated for years to avoid additional auditing work from internal and external parties.

But AI development will be much safer as well. AI risk managers will require that a model’s purpose be explicitly defined and that only the required data is copied for training. No more sensitive data in a data scientist’s laptop.

What does this mean for startups?
The emergence of the professional AI risk manager will be a boon to startups building in data privacy and AI auditing.

Data privacy. Developing models on personal data will automatically require a DPIA. Imagine data scientists having to ask for approval before they start a project. (Hint: not good) To work around this, data scientists would want tools to anonymize data at scale or generate synthetic data so they can avoid DPIAs. So the opportunities for startups are twofold: There will be demand for software to comply with regulations, and there will be demand for software that provides workarounds to those regulations, such as sophisticated synthetic data solutions.

AI auditing. Model accuracy is one AI-related risk for which we already have common assessment techniques. But for other AI-related risks, there are none. There is no standard to auditing fairness and transparency. Making AI models robust to adversarial attacks is still an active area of research. So this is an open space for startups, especially those in the explainable AI space, to help define the standards and be the preferred vendor.



Women’s coworking startup The Wing has launched a new initiative to support female founders. The program, aptly called The Guild, kicked off on International Women’s Day and will provide 13 female business owners, including a jeweler, baker and doula, the opportunity to partner with The Wing’s new location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for one year.

“The mission of The Wing is advancement through community,” says Lauren Kassan, cofounder and COO of The Wing. “As we expand into new neighborhoods, we want to support local women-led businesses by helping them utilize The Wing as a platform to grow.”

The Wing will offer custom programming and mentorship opportunities to The Guild’s inaugural class of business owners throughout the year. Ultimately, the goal is to roll out the initiative in all of its markets and build a network of female entrepreneurs around the world.

“When we open a space, we’re very conscious of the location and its surrounding ecosystem,” Kassan says. “The purpose of a program like this is to localize us and support women within our four walls—but also outside of them as well.”

Since founding in 2016, The Wing has capitalized on the zeitgeist of the modern feminist revolution by creating a community where its members—or Winglets, as the company  calls them—can work, eat, network, shower, breastfeed and even “stage a small coup” if needed. Celebrities such as Serena Williams, Kerry Washington, Megan Rapinoe and Lena Dunham are among its founding members and investors, and Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maggie Haberman, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Mock, Hillary Clinton and Christiane Amanpour have spoken at its member events.

The company scaled quickly, raising $75 million in a Series C round  led by women partners at Sequoia Capital and Upfront Ventures, with additional participation from Airbnb, NEA and WeWork, in December 2018.

But hyper growth in a volatile market comes with its own complicated set of challenges, including cultural growing pains and a discrimination lawsuit. In early March 2020, WeWork sold its stake in The Wing, a move that slashed the startup’s estimated $375 million valuation nearly in half to approximately $200 million.

Even so, The Wing is still one of the fastest growing and most well-funded women-led startups in recent history, raising a total of $117.5 million in just over two years. As such, it is well-positioned to make this new vision a reality. With 12,000 members and counting in 11 coworking spaces in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and London, with plans to open six more spaces by the end of the year, The Wing is quickly becoming one of the most influential women’s networks in the $26 billion global coworking market. “We didn’t anticipate this level of growth so quickly,” Kassan says. “The growth was a function of the demand and people really wanting us to bring The Wing into their cities.”

Its leaders growing influence—cofounder and CEO Audrey Gelman made history last fall when she became the first visibility pregnant CEO to appear on the cover of a major business magazine—as well as their seemingly effortless ability to make things happen is, perhaps, a significant part of The Wing’s allure.

“Our business is just one block away from The Wing Williamsburg,” says Corinna Williams, cofounder of eco-friendly modern laundromat Celsious and member of The Guild. “We’ve been following the buildout process and anticipating their opening for the last few months. At the launch party on Valentine’s Day this year, we bumped into Audrey and instantly agreed that we had to collaborate. That night, she connected us via email. About two weeks later we received an email with an invite to join The Guild.”

Christina Viviani, cofounder and creative director of lingerie lifestyle brand The Great Eros, was also invited to join The Guild. While she’s managed to secure retail partnerships with Bloomingdale’s and Net-a-Porter on her own, not to mention celebrity clientele including Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlet Johannson and Zoe Kravitz, she is looking forward to receiving business guidance. “The biggest pain point I face as a founder is isolation,” she says. “There’s no playbook on this journey of entrepreneurship. You don’t always know if the decision you’re making is the right one. You learn from experience. With a network as dynamic as The Guild we will all be able to share our stories and benefit from our collective experiences.”

Women-owned businesses are a critical part of the U.S. economy. Between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses climbed 21% to nearly 13 million and revenues rose 21% to $1.9 trillion, according to American Express’ 2019 State of Women-Owned Business report. Still,  female entrepreneurs face many obstacles that their male counterparts do not, including a $189 billion funding gap, according to new research by Crunchbase.

By launching The Guild, the Wing may have tapped into a huge economic opportunity to help even the playing field for women. “Realizing the economic potential of women-owned businesses requires changes in policies, business practices and attitudes,” says Geri Stengel, research advisor to American Express. “For example, $981 billion in revenue would be added to the U.S. economy if the average revenue of minority women-owned firms matched that of white women-owned businesses. Mentorship and training programs provide advice, build skills, shift mindset, as well as provide access to markets and funding.”

Dan Wang, associate professor of business and sociology at Columbia Business School agrees. “It is true that women founders receive disproportionately less VC funding than men . . . Organizations like The Wing and Chief can be highly productive in this area by making sure that women founders, who might otherwise be overlooked, receive a greater share of resources,” he says. “Ultimately, however, I think the entire VC ecosystem—which includes men and women—have to dedicate themselves to reversing their biases together.”

For some of the women participating in The Guild, however, fundraising isn’t the focus. “I am proud that Mociun has no outside investment and we have no plans to seek funding,” says Caitlin Mociun, founder of her namesake jewelry and homegoods company. “Figuring out how to grow my business in a sustainable way that holds true to my values and my business values is what appealed to me the most.”

At its core, The Guild’s mission is about helping women business owners feel seen and recognized. “If you’re a founder from a creative background, you tend to be overlooked in a community dominated by VCs and MBA backgrounds,” Viviani says. “But something you can’t overlook is that creatives have an ability to storytell, to have vision and to see opportunity that isn’t a recipe found through CACs [customer acquisition cost(s)] or spreadsheets.”

Whether intentional or not, The Wing has found itself at the center of a movement, and Gelman and Kassan have become proxies for the female founder community, not to mention a source of inspiration.

“Broadening the impact of The Wing is an important reminder that we need to address opportunities for women on all fronts—businesses supporting a local community and opportunities to reach the C-suites and boardrooms of Fortune 100 companies,” says Katia Beauchamp, cofounder and CEO of Birchbox. “We must heighten the awareness and the resources to address the entire playing field if we are going to accelerate the balance that we know will serve us all in creating the world we want to live in.”

Business & Entrepreneurship / 6 Reasons Why Your B2B Branding Matters
« on: March 14, 2020, 10:15:36 AM »

Some people believe that developing a strong brand is less important to B2B companies than it is to B2C companies, who must work to gain the trust of individual consumers. But, the truth is, branding is as important to B2B success as it is in any business.

Some of the misconceptions about B2B branding include:

1. B2B buyers are rational decision makers and are unaffected by emotional factors such as branding.
2. B2B products and services are too intricate to be summarized to a single tagline.
3. Money is the only driving force behind B2B decision-making.
4. A relationship with the sales representative of B2B organization is more crucial than any branding.

Some things are constant in business: loyalty, emotional connections, and trust are key components that build relationships (and eventually sales), no matter what industry you’re in. B2B buyers are human beings, and humans are driven by their emotions—it’s these emotions that can impact the decision-making process. An effective brand works on an emotional level and triggers the right kind of emotional response in the customer.

It’s not about B2B or B2C—it’s about using the right strategy to connect at a personal level with customers and gain their trust, no matter what you’re selling. Here are some of the reasons why branding matters for your B2B business:

1. Good branding forms a strong emotional connection
Customers today have more choices than ever before. They can often choose from a pool of dozens or more competing brands. If you want your business to be the top choice, you have to go above and beyond to demonstrate your brand’s value.

A good brand should create an emotional relationship with clients, and building brand intimacy is crucial to stand apart from the competition.

B2B companies need to ask themselves the following questions:

1. Do my customers feel emotionally complete?
2. Does our brand messaging cultivate an emotional bond between our brand and our customers?
3. If not, what’s preventing us from creating an emotional connection with our customers?
Answering these key questions first will help you identify flaws in your current strategy so you can make necessary changes.

2. Branding attracts and retains loyal customers
Some companies assume branding is all about an attractive logo, impressive packaging, a catchy tagline, and a well-designed website. However, branding is so much more than business awareness. The ultimate objective of branding is to increase customers and sales.

A strong brand will not only bring in new clients, but also retain them for a long time. It will also get you inside the door of a customer quickly.

3. Branding speeds up the decision-making process
The time it takes to make a decision in organizations can range anywhere from one month to one year, and, according to Gartner, for firms with 100 to 500 employees, an average of seven people are involved in the buying decision. A strong branding message, however, can reduce that time significantly. Effective branding helps customers make faster decisions. If there are dozens of options available, customers will pick the one they already know; if every option is new to customers, they will reach for the one with the best branding.

4. Branding secures your position in the market
The right branding strategy will help secure your position in the market and make it difficult for competitors to push you out. Once you have created a name for yourself through branding, customers will think of you first and remain loyal to your brand, even if your competitors try to lure them with similar products and services.

However, to establish such a position in the market, you have to do more than shout out the features or benefits of your service. Instill trust by addressing customers’ needs in a way that no one else can. This can be done by establishing an emotional connection with buyers backed by concrete selling points.

5. Branding boosts conversion rate and revenue
Branding agency MBLM’s Brand Intimacy Study 2019, which studied the emotional bonds consumers have with brands, reports the most intimate brands have outperformed the top brands in the Fortune 500 and S&P indices for 10 years running in both revenue and profit. According to the study, “Disney continues to dominate through its associations with nostalgia and the strong bonds it builds with both men and women and across a variety of age groups.”

From storytelling to emotional messages, your company can create emotional bonds with customers and realize higher returns.

6. Branding goes beyond your customers
While a strong brand identity helps a company grow faster than its competitors, a strong brand also cements a company’s relationship with its employees. People want to have faith in their employer and expect the company they work for to have a vibrant purpose. If you want your B2B company to be considered a reliable brand, ensure that your staff is well trained and content with their work. It’s no surprise that competitive firms like Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, and GE continue to invest in employee growth.

Building your B2B brand
Buyers will not hesitate to pay a premium for a product or service with a strong brand identity they can relate to. If you want your B2B business to continually outperform the competition, consistently track, measure, and assess the strength of your branding message.

Business & Entrepreneurship / Female entrepreneurship in Bangladesh
« on: March 14, 2020, 10:09:20 AM »

Bangladesh, as a rapidly developing nation, stands to gain the most from the inclusion of women in the business world. Women's economic participation and their ownership and control of productive assets speed up development, help overcome poverty, reduce inequalities, and improve children's nutrition, health, and school attendance. Women are more likely to devote more of their earnings back into their families and communities than their male counterparts, feeding money back into their local communities.

In recent years, the rate of new business formation by women has significantly risen in Bangladesh. However, women still own and manage significantly fewer businesses than men. According to the Economic Census 2013, the number of female headed establishments is 0.56 million (7.21 per cent) while it was 0.10 million (2.80 per cent) in 2001 and 2003. The explanation for this rising rate and the behaviour of female entrepreneurs in terms of traits, motivations, success rates, and their gender-related distinctiveness are, however, complex and multifaceted.

Historically, the fewer numbers of women entrepreneurs than men are due to the fact that fewer women than men start businesses to begin with. Evidence suggests that a variety of reasons contribute to explaining the observed differences in entrepreneurial behaviour across gender, and that such differences have significant implications at the macroeconomic level. In addition, the propensity of women to start a business differs from that of men for cultural reasons such as discrimination.

Recent evidence shows that the prevalence rates of female entrepreneurship tend to rise in developing countries like Bangladesh due to the fact that women face higher barriers to entry in the formal labour market and have to resort to entrepreneurship as a way out of unemployment and, often, out of poverty. Research on female entrepreneurship shows that, in many cases, opportunities and incentives are unfavourable for women to begin businesses, even when they have the abilities and knowledge.

Larger gender gaps in start-up activities are found in relatively better-off regions, whereas they tend to be narrower in poorer regions probably because many women are forced to start businesses out of necessity in poor areas. Moreover, women in poorer regions tend to be more self-confident about their abilities (skills and knowledge) to become entrepreneurs and less afraid of failure compared with women in better-off regions-notwithstanding subjective and possibly biased perceptions about self-confidence, fear of failure, and existence of opportunities or significant and systematically associated determinants of the gender gap.

The entry of women into entrepreneurship is the outcome of a complex mix of constraints and opportunities, as well as external impulses and aspirations. The main sector preferred and attractive to women entrepreneurs is the services for a number of reasons, such as women have better knowledge of and experience in the services sector; lack of specific technical skills tends to keep many women away from starting businesses in the manufacturing and high tech sectors; and women choose low capital activities, like those in the services sector, because of difficulties in obtaining financial resources.

Women rely more than men on extended families which, in many rural areas, are often their only or major social network. This is often constraining since women's marriage status, and the assets and incomes brought to their marriages, emerge as important determinants of their entrepreneurial decisions. Married women with young children are more likely to enter entrepreneurship than waged labour, and are more likely to be entrepreneurs than non-married women-although they are also more likely to quit a business voluntarily.

As far as female entrepreneurs' firm performance is concerned, women tend to have lower growth expectations and their firms tend to grow slower in both sales and employment than those of men. Some evidence suggests that women's primary concern is not with growth but rather with survival. This may be a reason for the finding that habitual female entrepreneurs tend to be portfolio rather than serial entrepreneurs, as they attempt to diversify income sources and survival chances.

Female entrepreneurs do not come from one homogeneous group but they come from different background, have different ideas about growth, and have all sizes of enterprises. Women use their knowledge and the resources available to them to start a new business. In order to start up a new enterprise, an entrepreneur must have access to key resources like capital and assets. Women are more likely to use their own money and borrowing from friends and family members. They value networking and feel that it is one of their key success factors.

Female entrepreneurs often have different management styles. They tend to manage by what is called the relational theory. They become successful by adapting to a style of management that is more suited to their needs rather than follow traditional male role models. The women have different types of relationships with their employees and clients. Women tend to combine the public and private areas of their lives. Their self-worth is gained by their ability to develop and build relationships. In their decision making process, they use influence to get people motivated. Communication becomes an essential part of their organisational success. This change in the way business is conducted helps women to be more competitive.

Obviously, access to adequate capital is a big obstacle for the female entrepreneurs. Many women start their businesses with limited capital and working capital is one of the biggest issues for start-up businesses which may also affect their growth and survival rates. Further, female entrepreneurs have to bear more responsibility for their families than their male counterparts. Often, the greater need of women to balance work and family commitments makes entrepreneurship more appealing than salary generating work to some women. Even though self-employment often requires long workdays, it can also offer the possibility for greater flexibility in structuring the day.

The traditional view of what women's roles in society are, is an obstacle to them for becoming successful entrepreneurs. Women in business also have to struggle with well-established male networks including customers, suppliers and creditors. They also face discrimination that can hinder their ability to succeed. These and many other social perceptions regarding women make it difficult for women to manage their businesses.

The right motivation is important in making a decision to start up a new enterprise by a female entrepreneur. There are both 'push' and 'pull' factors that influence the women entrepreneurs' decision to start a new business. Push factors are negative forces and may include losing a job, unemployment, and not being able to fulfill aspirations in the working world. Women may also want to have flexibility in their work schedule and the ability to spend time with their families. Pull factors are positive forces and may include the desire for independence and flexibility, being the boss, achieving personal dreams, using creative skills, being more fulfilled, and the desire for wealth and power. Many women also want to make a contribution to society and make a difference in society.

Research indicates that women start their own businesses for three personal reasons: to have autonomy and freedom in the workplace; for more security; and more satisfaction with work. Women who are looking to find more freedom may do so because they have been discriminated in the workplace and have not been paid equally as men. Owning a business can provide a woman a sense of security after having experienced redundancy, divorce or other mishaps. They also like the economic security that owning a business can provide. Those women looking for satisfaction from business ownership want to take the challenge of improving their lots and become more productive.

So how does one assist the growth of female entrepreneurship? No differently than one does entrepreneurship as a whole. While one may want to focus on gender-related issues that prohibit women in business, without solving the overarching financial inclusion problems, the policy may basically be putting the cart before the horse. The primary need is to address the main issues plaguing the financially excluded women along with moving on to the more specific gender challenges.

The fact remains that women in Bangladesh have less access than men to finance, productive resources, services and opportunities, putting them at a disadvantage in participating in and contributing to socioeconomic development. While Bangladeshi women are choosing to become entrepreneurs in larger numbers, they find it harder to set up and expand their enterprises because they operate largely in the informal sector. Further, women-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) face difficulties in getting access to finance and land, have poor managerial skills, and limited opportunities for business development training and networking.

The restricted movement of women due to the assignment of the reproductive role to women alone, high workload and unpaid labour, lack of decision-making in the household and subordination has kept most women trapped in disadvantaged situations. Economic empowerment of women plays a pivotal role in ensuring their right to equality and to an adequate standard of living, and it should be the prime agenda in every development discourse. Creating micro and small enterprise agencies to support and enhance entrepreneurship and production capacity of these enterprises will benefit women who often start their businesses on a small scale.

Discrimination is a possible source of gender gap in entrepreneurship and this is significant in Bangladesh. Discrimination against women is often the result of gender beliefs inherent in the country's culture and society.  This probably has  the  effect  of  not  only  reducing  women's  likelihood of becoming  entrepreneurs  and  their  earnings  as  entrepreneurs,  but  may  also  have reduced the non-pecuniary benefits that women could receive from entrepreneurship. Women in Bangladesh are tremendous forces of change in households and communities. Women entrepreneurs make a difference -- whenever they are given opportunities. For realising amore significant contribution of female entrepreneurship in development, women will have to win the race for equality and fairness.

Mustafa K. Mujeri is Executive Director, Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM)


Career Plan - Life & Beyond / Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework
« on: March 12, 2020, 12:52:15 PM »

Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them. (Paul and Elder, 2001). The Paul-Elder framework has three components:

1. The elements of thought (reasoning)
2. The intellectual standards that should be applied to the elements of reasoning
3. The intellectual traits associated with a cultivated critical thinker that result from the consistent and disciplined application of the intellectual standards to the elements of thought

According to Paul and Elder (1997), there are two essential dimensions of thinking that students need to master in order to learn how to upgrade their thinking. They need to be able to identify the "parts" of their thinking, and they need to be able to assess their use of these parts of thinking.

Elements of Thought (reasoning)

The "parts" or elements of thinking are as follows:

1. All reasoning has a purpose
2. All reasoning is an attempt to figure something out, to settle some question, to solve some problem
3. All reasoning is based on assumptions
4. All reasoning is done from some point of view
5. All reasoning is based on data, information and evidence
6. All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, concepts and ideas
7. All reasoning contains inferences or interpretations by which we draw conclusions and give meaning to data
8. All reasoning leads somewhere or has implications and consequences

Universal Intellectual Standards
The intellectual standards that are to these elements are used to determine the quality of reasoning. Good critical thinking requires having a command of these standards. According to Paul and Elder (1997 ,2006), the ultimate goal is for the standards of reasoning to become infused in all thinking so as to become the guide to better and better reasoning. The intellectual standards include:

How Could you elaborate?
How Could you illustrate what you mean?
How Could you give me an example?

How could we check on that?
How could we find out if that is true?
How could we verify or test that?

Could you be more specific?
Could you give me more details?
Could you be more exact?

How does that relate to the problem?
How does that bear on the question?
How does that help us with the issue?

What factors make this difficult?
What are some of the complexities of this question?
What are some of the difficulties we need to deal with?

Do we need to look at this from another perspective?
Do we need to consider another point of view?
Do we need to look at this in other ways?

Does all of this make sense together?
Does your first paragraph fit in with your last one?
Does what you say follow from the evidence?

Is this the most important problem to consider?
Is this the central idea to focus on?
Which of these facts are most important?

Is my thinking justifiable in context?
Am I taking into account the thinking of others?
Is my purpose fair given the situation?
Am I using my concepts in keeping with educated usage, or am I distorting them to get what I want?

Intellectual Traits
Consistent application of the standards of thinking to the elements of thinking result in the development of intellectual traits of:

Intellectual Humility
Intellectual Courage
Intellectual Empathy
Intellectual Autonomy
Intellectual Integrity
Intellectual Perseverance
Confidence in Reason

Characteristics of a Well-Cultivated Critical Thinker
Habitual utilization of the intellectual traits produce a well-cultivated critical thinker who is able to:

Raise vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely

Gather and assess relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively

Come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;

Think open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and

Communicate effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems



Matrix-style management structures have grown in popularity, with 90% of Fortune and FTSE organisations recently reported as working in 'some kind of matrix' [1]. The strategic benefits are evident.

By breaking down geographic and functional silos, a matrix structure can help an organisation become more flexible and responsive to its markets, use its resources more efficiently and better leverage its talent pool.

Matrix organisations typically operate in cross-functional project teams, often involving outsourced and/or offshored contractors, and other third parties.

It’s absolutely vital that people are not only able to collaborate in groups to get work done, but that they are effectively supported in doing so by a manager who is a skilled leader and able - amongst other things - to provide direction, set goals, communicate, influence, resolve conflicts and develop people’s performance. And do so wherever team members are located.

In a traditional matrix, a person would usually have two managers. One would be responsible for managing the person’s work (dotted line); the other would be responsible for managing the person’s performance and development (formal line).
Unfortunately, flat matrix-style organisational structures often mean that fewer managers are available to assume these roles, so the ones that are available can quickly become over-stretched.

For example, in some organisations, it’s not uncommon for managers to be leading multiple global project teams, spanning three time zones, with 60+ formal and dotted reporting lines – a tall order! In others, the reporting lines have become so blurred that people aren’t quite sure who manages them, or even what their job role is.

People working in matrix organisations frequently report that in their experience ‘on the ground’, leadership can be either inadequate or absent, their biggest complaint being a lack of management accountability.

The results are that projects suffer from delays, productivity levels drop, stress levels increase, and people become disengaged, which all undermines the strategic benefits of the matrix structure.

So, what’s the solution? The simple answer would be to recruit more managers with leadership skills, which might indeed be the right decision in some situations. Alternatively, an organisation could look at unlocking the leadership potential which exists outside formal management hierarchies to fill the vacuum.

The need for organisations to employ people who can lead laterally from anywhere is greater than ever.


It’s worth taking a moment to revisit what ‘leadership’ is. When you ask people to describe a leader, they often refer to a well-known, charismatic, courageous individual in a high-profile position of authority. However, the dictionary definition of the verb ‘to lead’ is subtly different from that of the noun ‘leader’. 'To lead' means to 'show someone the way to a destination by preceding or accompanying them'.

Leading is therefore not about power or command over a group, per se. It’s about enabling the group to reach a goal, sometimes at the head of the group but sometimes as a team member. Whilst leadership can and must coexist with any position of formal authority, it should no way depend on it.

Any group of people who wants to achieve anything has need of a leader. And literally anyone can be that leader, if they have the right skills and qualities.

This ability to lead laterally has its roots in a willingness to take personal responsibility for resolving a problem, and a mindset which has the courage to challenge the status quo constructively, presenting one’s own ideas for doing things better whilst at the same time being generous in supporting team members.

When a person leads laterally, people follow them not because of their authority, but because of who they are, what they stand for and most importantly, what they see them do. Whatever the limits are on a person’s organisational authority, when they possess this mindset and qualities, they have the potential to take the lead in virtually any work situation.

The purpose of lateral leadership is ultimately quite simple. It’s to improve the way people collaborate in a task to achieve high quality results that benefit the team. It’s not about enhancing personal power or self-promotion.

It’s using a particular set of skills to get things done with others, when you have no direct authority over them. These skills include influencing, negotiating, facilitating, networking, collaborating and building coalitions.

And they can all be developed from a strategic decision to lay solid foundations for operating successfully in a matrix structure, freeing up formal management time and establishing an empowering approach to delivering the work.

It’s true that not everyone can make the transition to become a great lateral leader. But many can. This ability to lead a team without direct authority is one of the most important “soft skills” that a matrix organisation can invest in developing. It can also be transformational for the company’s culture.

In the next article, we will look at things you can do to develop your own lateral leadership skills.


About the author

Philippa Thomas is managing director of Skills Shift.


Humanities & Social Science / 7 ways to empower women and girls
« on: March 11, 2020, 04:29:19 PM »

To recognize International Women’s Day this March 8, here are seven easy ways to make a big difference in the lives of daughters, sisters, and mothers around the world — and right in our own neighborhoods.

1. Provide the ticket to a better life: clean water.
Did you know that instead of attending class, girls and women around the world spend 200 million hours each day getting water that is often dirty and dangerous to their health. If they had clean water close at hand, there’s so much more they could do: attend school, play, spend time with their families, and start a business — to name a few. You can help provide clean water and open the door to a better life for a girl. Walk the average 6 kilometers they walk for water on Saturday, May 16, 2020, in World Vision’s annual Global 6K for Water.

2. Support girls and women in crisis.
Millions of girls are subjected to abuse, child labor, trafficking, child marriage, and other offenses. Your gift will go where it’s needed most, protecting girls and women by equipping skilled, local staff to offer training, education, counseling, medical care, small business loans, and other programs that reach women and girls as well as boys — helping to end cycles of gender-based violence.

3. Mentor a girl close to home.
Many girls growing up in the United States are held back by poverty, poor-performing schools, and teen violence. Reach out and influence the life of a girl in your own community by volunteering as a tutor or mentor. One way to establish a mentorship is through Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

4. Invest in a small business owner.
Through World Vision microloans, you can connect with hardworking female entrepreneurs who are waiting to realize their dream of building or expanding a successful business. A small loan is all they need. Even better, when the loan is paid off, your donated funds are recycled again and again to help more people and make a bigger impact.

5. Use your voice to help keep girls in school.
When girls stay in school and finish secondary education, a lot of good things happen for them and their families. They enjoy better health and can take care of themselves and their children. They live longer, marry later, earn higher wages, and are more active participants in community life. Yet, 130 million girls ages 6 to 17 are out of school. Your support for the Keeping Girls in School Act can help more adolescent girls around the world to stay in school and receive a high-quality education. Please ask your representatives in the U.S. House or Senate to cosponsor this important act.

6. Help a new mom.
The first 1,000 days of a child’s life — from conception to age 2 — are the most critical.  You can help save young lives around the world by giving a new mother the essential things like a bassinet, cloth diapers, blankets, a container for clean water, and soap. Your gift also provides life-saving infant care training. Know a new mom near you who might be feeling overwhelmed? Mothers of Preschoolers connects moms of young children all over the world to a community of women in their own neighborhoods who meet together to embrace the journey of motherhood.

7. Tell the women in your life that you care.
Want to encourage and empower girls and women? Start right in your own home, workplace, and community. Write a note of thanks to that teacher who encouraged you years ago, pick up coffee for that new mom in your office who’s struggling to balance it all, or tell your own sister, daughter, or mother how much you appreciate them.

Public Health / করনা ভাইরাস এবন
« on: March 11, 2020, 04:21:40 PM »
বর্তমান সময়ে সব থেকে আলোচিত এবং ভয়াবহ বিপর্যয়ের নাম হচ্ছে করনা ভাইরাস। সম্প্রতি সময়ে বাংলাদেশে ও করনার প্রাদুর্ভাব দেখা দিয়েছে। কিন্তু আশার কথা এই যে বাংলাদেশে করনা ভাইরাস এখনো মহামারি আকারে ছরিয়ে পরেনি। তাই করনা সম্পর্কে যথাযথ জ্ঞান এবং সচেতনতার মাধ্যমে আমরা বাংলাদেশে এ ভাইরাসের অবাধ বিস্তার রোধ করতে পারি।
করনা ভাইরাসের কোনো প্রতিষেধক না থাকায় প্রতিরোধই  আর সচেতনতাই হচ্ছে এর থেকে মুক্তি পাওয়ার একমাত্র উপায়। আর করনা প্রতিরোধে সব থেকে গুরুত্বপূর্ণ উপায় হচ্ছে hand sanitizer ব্যবহার  বা সাবান দিয়ে ঘন ঘন হাত ধোঁয়া। কিন্তু হাত ধোয়ার পর তা মোছার জন্য আমরা যে টাওয়ালটি ব্যবহার করছি তা নিরাপদ তো? আমাদের বাসার/অফিসের দরজার লক, দোকানে চায়ের কাপ, খাবারের প্লেট, টাকার নোট  সহ দৈনন্দিন কাজে ব্যবহৃত যেকোনো কিছুতেই লেগে থাকতে পারে প্রাণঘাতী এই জীবাণু। সুতরাং করনা প্রতিরধে আমাদের যাবতীয় দৈনন্দিন কর্মকাণ্ড সম্পাদনে সতর্কতা অবলম্বন করা অত্যন্ত জরুরী।

করনাভাইরাস কি এবং এটি কিভাবে ছরায়?
করোনাভাইরাস এমন একটি সংক্রামক ভাইরাস - যা এর আগে কখনো মানুষের মধ্যে ছড়ায়নি। ভাইরাসটির আরেক নাম ২০১৯ - এনসিওভি বা নভেল করোনা ভাইরসা। করোনা ভাইরাসের অনেক রকম প্রজাতি আছে, কিন্তু এর মধ্যে মাত্র ছয়টি মানুষের দেহে সংক্রমিত হতে পারে। তবে নতুন ধরণের ভাইরাসের কারণে সেই সংখ্যা এখন থেকে হবে সাতটি।

মূলত আক্রান্ত ব্যক্তির সংস্পর্শে এলে এ ভাইরাসের সংক্রমণের সম্ভাবনা সবথেকে বেশী। তাছাড়া
হাচি কাশী
ভাইরাস আছে এমন কিছু স্পর্শ করে হাত না ধুয়ে মুখে, নাকে বা চোখে স্পর্শ করলে। এমনকি পয়নিষ্কাশন ব্যবস্থার মাধ্যমে ও ছড়াতে পারে।
করনার লক্ষণ সমূহঃ করোনাভাইরাসে আক্রান্ত ব্যক্তির মধ্যে প্রথমিক ভাবে যে লক্ষণ সমূহ প্রকাশ পায় তা হচ্ছে -
শুষ্ক কাশি
শ্বাস কষ্ট
গলা ব্যাথা

কিছু রোগীর ক্ষেত্রে উপরোক্ত সকল উপসর্গ দেখা গেলেও জ্বর থাকেনা।

কতটা ভয়ংকর এই ভাইরাস?
শ্বাসতন্ত্রের অন্যান্য অসুস্থতার মতো এই ভাইরাসের ক্ষেত্রেও সর্দি, কাশি, গলা ব্যথা এবং জ্বরসহ হালকা লক্ষণ দেখা দিতে পারে । কিছু মানুষের জন্য এই ভাইরাসের সংক্রমণ মারাত্মক হতে পারে। এর ফলে নিউমোনিয়া, শ্বাসকষ্ট এবং অর্গান বিপর্যয়ের মতো ঘটনাও ঘটতে পারে। তবে খুব কম ক্ষেত্রেই এই রোগ মারাত্মক হয়। এই ভাইরাস সংক্রমণের ফলে বয়স্ক ও আগে থেকে অসুস্থ ব্যক্তিদের মারাত্মকভাবে অসুস্থ হওয়ার ঝুঁকি বেশি।

শিশুরা কি ঝুঁকিতে?
যে কোন বয়সের মানুষই এই ভাইরাসে আক্রান্ত হতে পারে। তবে একটি বিষয় লক্ষ্যণীয় যে, করোনা ভাইরাসে আক্রান্ত শিশুদের ক্ষেত্রে এখনও পর্যন্ত কোনও হতাহতের খবর পাওয়া যায়নি। প্রধানত: আগে থেকে অসুস্থ বয়স্ক ব্যক্তিদের ক্ষেত্রে এই ভাইরাস মারাত্মক হতে পারে।

কীভাবে করনা থেকে নিজেকে রক্ষা করবেন?

করনা ভাইরাসের এখনও কোনো প্রকার ভ্যাকসিন আবিষ্কার হয়নি। তবে এ ভাইরাস সংক্রমণের ফলে সৃষ্ট শারীরিক সমস্যায় সাধারণ চিকিৎসাই প্রদান করা হয়ে থাকে। সবচেয়ে জরুরি হল রোগীর জন্য নিরাপদ পরিবেশ বজায় রাখা। তবে করনার প্রতিরোধক হিসেবে নিম্ন লিখিত ব্যবস্থা সমূহ গ্রহণ করা অত্যন্ত জরুরিঃ

ঘন ঘন স্যনেটাইজার বা সাবান দিয়ে হাত পরিষ্কার করা এবং হাত না ধুয়ে মুখ, চোখ, নাক ইত্যাদি স্পর্শ না করা।
বাসার বাইরে মাস্ক ব্যবহার করা।
যেকোনো জ্বর, সর্দি, কাশি ইত্যাদিকে বাড়তি সতর্কতার সঙ্গে হ্যান্ডেল করা এবং চিকিৎসকের পরামর্শ নেওয়া।
হাঁচি বা কাশি দেওয়ার সময় টিস্যু বা রুমাল দিয়ে মুখ ঢেকে রাখা। হাচি বা কাশি আটকাতে কখনই নিজের হাত ব্যবহার করা উচিত নয়।
বন্য জিব-জন্তু বা পশুপাখি দের খালি হাতে স্পর্শ না করা।
মাংশ, ডিম খুব ভালোভাবে রান্না করা এবং কাঁচা খাবার পরিহার করা। এবং
করনার লক্ষণ দেখা দিলে সঙ্গে সঙ্গে ডাক্তারের সাথে যোগাযোগ করা।

আমরা সকলেই একটি কথা জানি যে, Prevention is better than cure। তাই, কোন প্রকার কোন গুজবে কান না দিয়ে ও অযথা আতংকিত না হয়ে যদি আমরা নিজেদেরকে ও আমাদের আশেপাশের পরিবেশকে পরিষ্কার পরিচ্ছন্ন রাখতে পারি সেই সাথে সকল প্রকার সাবধানতা অবলম্বন করতে পারি, তবে আমরা খুব সহজেই যে কোন রোগ বালাই থেকে নিজেদেরকে মুক্ত রাখতে পারবো।

"Google Says the Best Bosses in the World Do These 10 Things"

A company could spend all the money it wants recruiting, interviewing, and hiring the best people around. But if the boss is a jerk, those people will leave the first chance they get.

In contrast, if you have great managers and team leads, not only will you get the best out of your people, but they'll also be more likely to stick around.

For over 10 years, Google has conducted research under the code name Project Oxygen. The goal? Figuring out what makes the perfect manager, so it could train its leaders to develop those behaviors. The research has paid off, as over the years Google has seen marked improvement in employee turnover, satisfaction, and performance.

Interestingly, technical skill mattered much less than you might guess. What was far more important for managers were emotional intelligence skills--the ability to understand and control emotions (both their own and those of their people).

Check out the 10 behaviors that make up the perfect boss, according to Google.

1. Is a good coach
Rather than solve every problem as soon as it arises, the best managers use problems as teaching moments.

They guide their teams and share insights when needed. This allows their team to gain valuable experience and grow.

2. Empowers team and does not micromanage
"I love to be micromanaged," said no employee, ever.

In contrast, great managers give their people the freedom they crave: freedom to explore their ideas, to take (smart) risks, and to make mistakes. They also provide the physical tools their people need, and allow for flexible schedules and working environments.

3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being
In another research project, Google discovered that the single greatest key to a team's performance was creating a "psychologically safe" environment.

As Google puts it:

In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.

In other words, great teams thrive on trust--and great managers help build that trust.

4. Is productive and results-oriented
The best managers are more than star players--they make their teammates better, too.

They do so by setting the right example and getting down and dirty whenever necessary. They're not afraid to roll up their sleeves and help out, and that motivates their team.

5. Is a good communicator--listens and shares information
The best managers are great listeners. This helps them to better understand their teams, and show appropriate empathy.

Additionally, good managers realize knowledge is power. That's why they are transparent and willing to share information with their teams, so their people know the "why" behind the "what."

6. Supports career development and discusses performance
Great managers encourage their people by sharing sincere and specific praise. But they aren't afraid to share critical feedback, too--making sure to frame it in a way that is both tactful and constructive.

They also invest in their people by helping them reach their personal career goals. By doing so, they naturally motivate their teams to give back.

7. Has a clear vision/strategy for the team
Great managers know exactly where the team is right now, where they are headed, and what they need to do to get there. Through good communication, they help keep the team on track.

They also make sure each team member understands their individual role in executing that strategy.

8. Has key technical skills to help advise the team
Great managers understand the jobs of their people, including their everyday tasks and challenges.

If the manager is moved into a new department, he or she will take time to get to know how things are done, and work to build trust before making drastic changes or offering advice.

9. Collaborates effectively
Bad managers view their team as a silo, working against or even sabotaging other teams within the same company.

In contrast, great managers see the big picture. They work for the good of the company as a whole, and encourage their teams to do the same.

10. Is a strong decision maker
Great managers aren't impulsive, but they are decisive. After getting to know the facts and considering the thoughts and perspectives of their teams, they move things forward--even if that requires making a decision not everyone will approve of.

Then, they commit to those decisions.

If your company can train and promote managers who do these 10 things, you'll build trust and inspire your people to become the best versions of themselves.

They'll follow, not because they have to. But because they want to.


Online Education / The Prospects and Promises of E-learning
« on: July 04, 2019, 06:28:39 PM »
The Prospects and Promises of E-learning
Syeda Erum Noor and Mayabee Arannya

Technological advancement is ensuring convenience for us in almost every step of our lives, starting with online shopping, ride-sharing services, and of course, food order and delivery. To kick things up a notch, technology has now made its place into the world of education in what we call “e-learning”. E-learning, or electronic learning, is a way for students to educate themselves, usually by using the internet. It acts as a platform that connects teachers and students from all across the globe. It can also work as a resource that complements the topics children learn about in school.E-learning is still quite new to the Bangladeshi educational scene but with more and more people connected to the internet, it is quickly becoming a crucial part of learning. However, the introduction of e-learning would mean many would have to change their conventional ways of learning. Would all that change be worthwhile? Let’s look at how e-learning is different from traditional learning methods. Although e-learning has been a blessing for most, there are a few factors that make people choose conventional means of learning over e-learning. Even so, we must remember that school isn’t as accessible to the children of the remote locations in Bangladesh, as it is to the children of major cities and towns. Razi Uddin Ahmed, Director at TutorsInc, a new, up-and-coming e-learning organisation, shared his story with us, saying, “When we were young, many a times we had to travel across the city in order to get the help we needed. We’re trying to make education accessible to those who can’t do that. We’re trying to bring education to them instead of them having to chase it down.” But what is it that makes such organisations stand out? What can they offer that traditional schools cannot? Jahanara Akhter, Education Coordinator at JAAGO Foundation, explains, “This not only educates them but also modernists them, as they learn how to use technology.”

As technology grows and evolves, we have to ensure the children are evolving with it. They need to be accustomed to the idea of working with technology, especially in this modern world where most tasks, starting from careers to daily activities require them to be adequately trained in the technological fields.

When asked whether e-learning organisations could someday replace conventional learning, one of the teachers at TutorsInc, Sharar Galeeb Chowdhury, says, “For remote areas, e-learning is definitely the future, where the infrastructure to host full-fledged institutions have not yet reached.”

Although, a holistic education isn’t one that only teaches you how to read or do math but one that teaches you many other important skills you may need in life. In school, children learn how to interact with one another and how they can peacefully and efficiently work together. These are all vital lessons that they will definitely need in a working environment.

Tasneem Batool, teacher at TutorsInc, says, “If they’re only learning through e-learning, they may end up having a lack of discipline and missing out on learning other important skills such as communication and social skills.” The best conclusion we can come to is to have a good balance between e-learning and conventional learning. When you think about it, they both complement each other. E-learning institutes can aid and embed children as they require help whenever they need, and the traditional schooling will teach them how to live in a society and work with others, while honing their extracurricular skills too.

Running an e-learning organisation comes with its own set of challenges. Building a website, creating regular and quality content, gathering teachers and reaching out to children is all a ton of work.

Here in Bangladesh, it has become somewhat of a norm for children to spend approximately six hours at school, after which most of them have to seek out help, be it from tutors, coaching centers, or burying themselves in books and assignment.

Mahmudul Hasan, one of the two the directors at Tutors Inc says, “It has become culture here for children to ask for extra help. So getting used to the idea of being able to study by yourself only with the help of the internet may take some time.”

What concerns them most is how to gain the trust of the public, as Adib Ahnaf Aroz, Operations Manager at TutorsInc mentions, “The mentality of the society isn’t fully on board with the idea of learning over the internet.” Instilling trust in the society is something that will understandably take time. The initial response to any sort of change naturally invokes fear—a very human reaction. As Russel Ahmed, Founder and CEO of comments, “There is definitely a significant lack of awareness and fear of the unknown regarding the internet among teachers and parents.”

When it comes to society, Ishrat Tanzil, Education Coordinator at JAAGO Foundation, talked about how difficult it can get to convince those in the rural areas to send their children for higher studies. Mentalities vary place to place and person to person; some people choose the path of livelihood over proper education. “It can be quite the challenge introducing the idea and concept of education in such places at first. But it’s part of the job,” says Ishrat.

In between being able to gain the trust of the parents and students, there is a gaping hole in the industry for good teachers. What makes a teacher “good”? It is when their goal isn’t to make children memories just so they can jot things down on their exam papers, but those that focus on building the concepts for the children, teaching them in a way that’ll make sure they never forget it. An educated person not only knows the theories but knows how to apply them in real life. And a good teacher helps you do exactly that.

Apart from all that, turns out there’s a very basic problem these organisations have to face with services as simple as the internet. Since their operation is based on this, you can surely understand how scary it must be when the internet is not responding. Now that e-learning has come and nestled into our education to some extent, what could be the future of this much needed endeavour? Our country is headed towards more digitization so it makes sense to equip the children of today with the knowledge required to adapt to this new era. Russell Ahmed, Founder and CEO of, agreed to this when talking about starting, saying, “That verdict [of starting] was taken in order to prepare the future generation of our country to be competent in the global platform and help them cope with digitization.”

Technology never stops evolving and so it’s safe to say that the future of e-learning is vast and full of possibilities. What Bangladesh needs for now is the spread of e-learning to each corner of the country so that no child has to compromise on their education quality. The implementation of faster internet will also help things run smoother by making sure students receive real-time feedback from teachers. The more e-learning advances in the future, the more children will be benefited.

For, in the end, all that matters is the benefit of the children. We hurtle towards a better and brighter future if we can groom the kids to be prepared to handle anything and everything. Be it the technology or carrying themselves well in a society filled with all kinds of people, all can be accomplished with a good mix of our traditional schooling methods and the new e-learning institutes. Let’s commend all those that are working so hard at building a new and improved Bangladesh with a more than capable population.

মোবাইল ফোন বিস্ফোরণ ঠেকাতে কী করবেন

সম্প্রতি ঢাকায় শাওমি ব্র্যান্ডের একটি স্মার্টফোন বিস্ফোরণের অভিযোগ উঠেছে। বিষয়টি নিয়ে চীনা স্মার্টফোন নির্মাতা শাওমি বিবৃতি দিয়ে বলেছে, শাওমিতে গ্রাহকদের নিরাপত্তাকে সর্বাধিক গুরুত্ব দেওয়া হয়। গ্রাহকের সঙ্গে যোগাযোগ করা হয়েছে। ঘটনাটি তদন্ত করা হচ্ছে। স্মার্টফোন বিস্ফোরণের এমন ঘটনা একেবারে নতুন নয়।

টাইমস অব ইন্ডিয়ার খবরে জানানো হয়, সম্প্রতি যুক্তরাজ্যে স্যামসাংয়ের একটি ট্যাব বিস্ফোরণে অল্পের জন্য বেঁচে গেছে ১১ বছর বয়সী এক শিশু। বিস্ফোরণে ম্যাট্রেসে আগুন লেগে যায়। গত বছরে এ ধরনের এক ঘটনায় ক্রেডল ফান্ডের প্রধান নির্বাহী নাজরিন হাসান মারা যান। তাঁর ফোন চার্জে থাকা অবস্থায় বিস্ফোরণ ঘটে। তিনি ব্ল্যাকবেরি ও হুয়াওয়ের স্মার্টফোন ব্যবহার করতেন। দুটি ফোন তাঁর শোয়ার ঘরে চার্জ দেওয়া অবস্থায় ছিল। স্মার্টফোন বিস্ফোরণ বা আগুন লাগার এ ধরনের ঝুঁকি এড়াতে নিজে থেকে সাবধান হতে হবে। জেনে নিন কিছু পরামর্শ:

১. প্রকৃত কেবল বা অ্যাডাপটার ছাড়া থার্ড পার্টির চার্জিং কেবল বা অ্যাডাপটার ব্যবহার করবেন না। আসল চার্জার নিরাপদ। স্মার্টফোন কেনার সময় প্রকৃত চার্জার বা অ্যাডাপ্টার দেওয়া হচ্ছে কি না, তা দেখে কিনবেন। ওয়ারেন্টির বিষয়টি নিশ্চিত হয়ে নেবেন।

২. আপনার ডিভাইসের যদি ব্যাটারি পরিবর্তন করতে হয়, তবে যে প্রতিষ্ঠানের ডিভাইস, তাদের তৈরি ব্যাটারি কিনুন। তা না হলে ব্যাটারি কিছুদিন পরে ঠিকমতো কাজ করবে না।

৩. স্মার্টফোন, ট্যাবলেট বা লিথিয়াম-আয়ন ব্যাটারিযুক্ত ডিভাইসে অতিরিক্ত চার্জ দেবেন না। জার্মান ব্যাটারি প্রযুক্তি পরামর্শক প্রতিষ্ঠান ব্যাটারি ইঞ্জিনিয়ার ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক ডমিনিক শুলঠে বলেন, যদি ফোনে শতভাগ চার্জ দেন এবং দীর্ঘক্ষণ শতভাগ চার্জ ধরে রাখেন, তা ব্যাটারির আয়ুর ওপর নেতিবাচক প্রভাব ফেলবে। স্মার্টফোনের ব্যাটারির চার্জ ৩০ থেকে ৫০ শতাংশ থাকলে তার আয়ু থাকে বেশি দিন।

৪. দাহ্য পৃষ্ঠের আসবাব, বিছানা, কাগজের কাছাকাছি ডিভাইস রেখে চার্জ দেবেন না। অনেক সময় অতিরিক্ত গরম হয়ে দুর্ঘটনা ঘটতে পারে।

৫. ঘুমানোর সময় বালিশের নিচে স্মার্টফোন রেখে চার্জ দেবেন না।

৬. সরাসরি সূর্যের আলোতে বেশিক্ষণ স্মার্টফোন বা ডিভাইস রাখবেন না।

৭. স্মার্টফোন বা ডিভাইস সারাতে অননুমোদিত কোনো দোকানে যাবেন না। এতে যন্ত্রাংশ নষ্ট হওয়ার আশঙ্কা বেশি থাকে। অথরাইজড সেন্টার থেকে সেবা নিন।

৮. চার্জে থাকা অবস্থায় ডিভাইসের ওপর যাতে বাড়তি চাপ না পড়ে, সেদিকে খেয়াল রাখবেন।

৯. স্মার্টফোন বা ডিভাইস চার্জ দেওয়ার সময় পারলে এর কেস খুলে নিন।

১০. ফোন চার্জের সময় ইয়ারফোন ব্যবহার বা ফোনে কথা বলার সময় চার্জ দেবেন না।

১১. অনেকে সস্তা খোলা বাজারের পাওয়ার ব্যাংক ব্যবহার করেন। পাওয়ার ব্যাংক মোবাইলের ব্যাটারি নষ্ট করে দিতে পারে। ঘটাতে পারে বিস্ফোরণ।

১২. মোবাইল ব্যবহার করতে করতে ব্যাটারি একটু ফুলে গেলে সঙ্গে সঙ্গে ব্যাটারি চেঞ্জ করা দরকার।

উঁচু ভবন বা বাড়িতে সিসিটিভি ক্যামেরা লাগিয়েই অনেকে ভাবেন, পুরো নিরাপত্তা দেওয়া হলো। কিন্তু অগ্নিকাণ্ডের মতো দুর্ঘটনা এড়ানো বা আগুন নেভানোর আধুনিক ব্যবস্থার দিকে নজর না দিলে ভয়াবহ ক্ষতি ও জীবনহানির মতো ঘটনা ঘটে যায়। আধুনিক প্রযুক্তির কল্যাণে দূরে থেকেও বাড়ি বা অফিসের অবস্থা জানা যায় এখন। কিছু স্মার্ট যন্ত্র অগ্নিকাণ্ড থেকে শুরু করে নানা দুর্ঘটনায় নিরাপত্তা দিতে পারে সহজেই। স্মার্ট হোম ধারণা এখন বিশ্বব্যাপীই জনপ্রিয় হয়ে উঠছে। স্মার্ট হোম তখনই হয়ে উঠবে যখন দালানে স্মার্ট যন্ত্র ব্যবহার করা হবে। যেগুলো ধোঁয়া, আগুন শনাক্ত করতে পারবে, নির্দিষ্ট জায়গা বা মানুষের কাছে তথ্য পাঠাতে পারবে এবং কোনো কোনো ক্ষেত্রে আগুন নেভাতেও পারবে।

সুউচ্চ ভবন তৈরির নকশা অনুমোদন নেওয়ার অন্যতম পূর্বশর্ত হলো, সেখানে ভবন নিরাপত্তার সব নীতিমালা মেনে চলা হয়েছে তা নিশ্চিত করা। এমনকি নির্মাণের পরেও সংশ্লিষ্ট প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোর অনুমোদন সাপেক্ষে ভবনে গ্যাস, পানি ও বিদ্যুতের সংযোগ দেওয়া হয়। কিন্তু দুর্ভাগ্য হলো, এই সংশ্লিষ্ট সব প্রতিষ্ঠান থেকে অসৎ উপায়ে অনুমোদন নেওয়ার সুযোগ রয়েছে। ফলে নির্ধারিত সুরক্ষা নীতিমালা না মেনেও নতুন ভবন তৈরি সম্ভব হচ্ছে। বলছিলেন শামস ইঞ্জিনিয়ারিংয়ের প্রিন্সিপাল ডিরেক্টর মো. শামসুজ্জোহা। তাঁর প্রতিষ্ঠান এ দেশে ভবনে আগুন শনাক্তকরণ এবং সুরক্ষাব্যবস্থা সংবলিত ডিজাইন তৈরি ও নির্মাণের কাজ করে যাচ্ছে।
নীতিমালা মেনে ভবন নির্মাণ করা হচ্ছে কি না, তা আরও কঠোরভাবে পর্যবেক্ষণের কোনো বিকল্প নেই। সামান্য উদাসীনতা বা অবহেলার কারণে বহু মানুষের জীবনহানিসহ অনেক ক্ষতি হতে পারে। অগ্নিকাণ্ডের মতো দুর্ঘটনায় সতর্কসংকেত পেতে বা স্বয়ংক্রিয়ভাবে আগুন নেভানোর জন্য এখন অনেক ধরনের স্মার্ট যন্ত্র বা প্রযুক্তিগত সমাধান পাওয়া যায়। এই যুগে এসব যন্ত্রের সহায়তা নেওয়া উচিত বলে জানালেন মো. শামসুজ্জোহা। তিনি বলেন, ‘বাড়ি বা ভবন নির্মাণের সময় এসব প্রযুক্তি ব্যবহারের কথা মাথায় রাখলে বাড়ি যেমন স্মার্ট হয়ে ওঠে, তেমনি নিরাপত্তাও বেড়ে যায়।’
শনাক্ত এবং আগুন থেকে সুরক্ষায় স্মার্ট যন্ত্র স্মার্ট স্মোক ডিটেকটর
ধোঁয়া শনাক্ত করার আধুনিক যন্ত্রগুলো বাড়ির কেন্দ্রীয় নিরাপত্তাব্যবস্থা বা স্মার্ট হোম হাবের সঙ্গে যুক্ত করা যায়। ফলে কোনো ধরনের অনাকাঙ্ক্ষিত ঘটনা চিহ্নিত করা গেলে সঙ্গে সঙ্গে তা মোবাইল ফোনের অ্যাপ ও এসএমএসের মাধ্যমে নির্দিষ্ট ব্যক্তিদের সতর্ক হতে পরামর্শ দেয়। সাম্প্রতিক যন্ত্রগুলো কার্বন মনোক্সাইড গ্যাস শনাক্ত করতে পারে। ফলে অন্যান্য ধোঁয়ার সঙ্গে পার্থক্য বুঝতে সহজ হয়। কখনো আবার স্মার্ট হোমের সঙ্গে যুক্ত এই যন্ত্র ক্যামেরার মাধ্যমে ভিডিও ধারণ করা শুরু করতে পারে।
স্মার্ট ফায়ার ডিটেকটর
ঘরের তাপমাত্রা যখন নির্দিষ্ট মাত্রা অতিক্রম করে বা তাপমাত্রা বাড়ার হার অস্বাভাবিক হয়, তবে এই স্মার্ট ফায়ার ডিটেকটর সতর্কসংকেত বাজাতে থাকে। ক্ষেত্র বিশেষে এই যন্ত্রগুলো তাপমাত্রার সঙ্গে সঙ্গে ধোঁয়া ও বিভিন্ন ক্ষতিকর গ্যাসের উপস্থিতি চিহ্নিত করতে পারে।

এই স্মার্ট যন্ত্র কেবল যে আগুন শনাক্ত করছে এমনই নয়, বরং কিছু কিছু যন্ত্র আগুন নেভানোর ব্যবস্থাগুলো সক্রিয় করতে পারে। ভবনের বিদ্যুৎ ও গ্যাসের সংযোগ কেন্দ্রীয়ভাবে ব্যবস্থাপনার সুযোগ থাকলে আধুনিক প্রযুক্তি ব্যবহার করে এমন দুর্যোগের সময় মূল সংযোগ বন্ধ করে আপৎকালীন বিকল্প ব্যবস্থা চালু করতে পারে।
স্মার্ট ব্যাটারি
আগে থেকে সক্রিয় স্মোক ডিটেকটরগুলো যদি কেন্দ্রীয় স্মার্ট হাবের সঙ্গে যুক্ত না থাকে, তবে স্মার্ট ব্যাটারি ব্যবহার করা যেতে পারে। ব্যাটারির সঙ্গে বাড়তি কিছু সরঞ্জাম যুক্ত থাকে, যা ওয়াই–ফাই বা মোবাইল ফোন নেটওয়ার্কের সঙ্গে যুক্ত হয়ে প্রয়োজন অনুযায়ী বিভিন্ন বার্তা বা নোটিফিকেশন পাঠাতে পারে।
স্মার্ট স্টোভটপ আগুন নির্বাপণ প্রযুক্তি
বাড়িতে আগুন লাগার একটা উৎস হলো রান্নাঘরের চুলা। স্মার্ট স্টোভটপের সঙ্গে যুক্ত মোশন সেন্সর সার্বক্ষণিক খেয়াল রাখে, চুলার সামনে কেউ আছে কি না। চুলার সামনে থেকে চলে যাওয়ার একটি নির্দিষ্ট সময় পর্যন্ত অপেক্ষা করে স্বয়ংক্রিয়ভাবে এই যন্ত্র চুলা বন্ধ করতে শুরু করবে। একই সঙ্গে বিপদের সংকেত পাঠাবে নির্দিষ্ট যন্ত্রে।
স্মার্ট হাব
যে ধরনের স্মার্ট যন্ত্রই যুক্ত করা হোক না কেন, তা অন্য সব যন্ত্রের সঙ্গে যুক্ত থাকতে হবে। স্মার্ট হাবের সঙ্গে কেন্দ্রীয়ভাবে যুক্ত থাকলে সেখান থেকে মোবাইল অ্যাপ ও এসএমএসের মাধ্যমে সংশ্লিষ্টদের অবহিত করা সম্ভব হবে।
আধুনিক যন্ত্রগুলো এখন গুগল হোম এবং আমাজন অ্যালেক্সার সঙ্গে কাজ করার উপযোগী করে তৈরি করা হয়। পাশাপাশি স্মার্ট হাব ব্যবস্থার অংশ হিসেবেও আগুন শনাক্ত করার যন্ত্র পাওয়া যায়। নেস্ট প্রোটেক্ট হলো এখন বাজারে থাকা সর্বোচ্চ মানের স্মোক ডিটেকটর। বিভিন্ন ধরনের সেন্সর সংযুক্ত এই যন্ত্র সব ধরনের আগুন ও ধোঁয়া চিহ্নিত করতে পারে।ফার্স্ট অ্যালার্ট হলো স্মার্ট স্মোক অ্যালার্মের মতো যন্ত্রও জনপ্রিয় ও কার্যকর। আর সাধারণ স্মোক ডিটেকটরগুলোর সঙ্গে স্মার্ট বৈশিষ্ট্য যুক্ত করার জন্য ব্যবহার করা যেতে পারে লিও স্মাট অ্যালার্ট এবং রুস্ট স্মার্ট ব্যাটারি। এই যন্ত্রাংশগুলো ইন্টারনেটের মাধ্যমে মোবাইলের অ্যাপে আগুনসংক্রান্ত সতর্ক বার্তা পাঠাতে এবং স্মার্ট হাবের সঙ্গে যুক্ত হতে পারে।
আগুন শনাক্তকরণ এবং সুরক্ষা ব্যবস্থা ভবনের অত্যন্ত প্রয়োজনীয় একটি অংশ। কারণ, এটি ত্রুটিপূর্ণ হলে মানুষের জীবনহানির আশঙ্কা থাকে। পরিবার বা প্রতিষ্ঠানপ্রধানের এই বিষয়ে উদাসীনতা দেখানোর অর্থ হলো, তাঁরা আপনার জীবনের নিরাপত্তা নিয়ে একেবারেই ভাবছেন না। তবে সচেতন হতে হবে প্রত্যেককেই। কোনো ক্ষতি হয়ে যাওয়ার পরে অন্য কাউকে দোষ দেওয়া থেকে আগেই সমাধানের জন্য উদ্যোগ নেওয়া জরুরি।

Source:- Daily Prothom Alo


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