A Couple of years back I was invited to attend an International Conference in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), India hosted jointly by two very prestigious Indian Institutions on the theme “Innovative Business Practices in a VUCA world.” I was excited and felt a deep sense of joy to accept this invitation to attend as a keynote speaker for two reasons: The theme of the conference was very close to my heart as I always felt that uncertainties are the father of innovation, understanding dynamics of business uncertainties is the core to success. Secondly, the city of Kolkata. A fascinating &...
Posted On 05 Jul, 2020

As the COVID-19 emergency has unfolded disturbing footage has emerged across social media of the sick, dead, and dying being abandoned, sometimes in the streets. People with the illness have been shunned and ostracised, family members attached with stones and driven out of their community and others abused claiming that they have the disease because they are cursed by God. With the Coronavirus, the simple truth is that anyone can catch it and that anyone can spread it. What matters now is our response to the Pandemic. Firstly, it is important that we behave rationally and proportionately. Of course there...
Posted On 28 Jun, 2020

These are extraordinary times; indeed, they are unprecedented times, certainly in the experience of those born since the Second World War.  The global COVID-19 pandemic has touched virtually every part of the world and has caused untold misery and suffering. Millions of lives have been disrupted and thanks to various national lockdowns and due to travel restrictions, we have found ourselves spending a lot more time at home, often with those we hold dear. Out of the gloom has come the light of realisation, a dawning of what really matters, whether this be family and friends, some of whom we...
Posted On 26 Jun, 2020

Recently Bangladesh has witnessed some of the worst communal violence. Dozens, possibly hundreds of homes have been ransacked and heinous crimes including rape and murder perpetrated by Bangladeshis against Bangladeshis. Though tragically such violence, especially against minority communities is not new, the scale of recent attacks should give cause for alarm, especially as it raises serious question about the country’s will and ability to protect its own citizens. Given the fact that Bangladesh Awami League, the Party under whose leadership our country achieved the independence established an independent state on the basis of the high ideals of nationalism, democracy and...
Posted On 25 Jun, 2020

Developing detailed profiles of customers, their buying patterns, and hence their needs, and lifestyles – is to serve the customer better and make sure that their expectations are fulfilled. Retailing thrives with urbanisation, but this must be supported by purchasing power and also, very importantly, urban lifestyle. With a high density of population in cities and towns, the basic requirement of supermarket success is served by the number of customers that will flock to their doors. Given the sheer volume of customers in supermarkets, it is naturally difficult to keep track of shoppers. Under the burden of cut-throat competition, most...
Posted On 24 Jun, 2020

I vividly recall four years ago today walking round to my youngest son’s junior school to vote in the Referendum about whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU. It was raining that day, but that did not dampen my spirits, or those of millions of others who felt that it was their civic and democratic duty to vote. Polling stations up and down the land did a brisk trade that day and I recall how positive I felt about voting in favour of Brexit. I always knew that it was going to be a challenge, but you...
Posted On 23 Jun, 2020

Superstore retailing is on the rise and booming in Bangladesh and have become the dominant destination for grocery shopping, especially those from a middle and upper-class background. Although the culture of superstores in Bangladesh is a relatively recent phenomenon, the first store opened in 2002 by Agora, within this short pace of time shoppers now expect superstore retailing to be organised around shoppers lives rather than their own terms. A more convenient way to shop has become the norm. Population statistics are very important for a marketer to understand and thereby keep track of the changing age profile. It is understood...
Posted On 20 Jun, 2020

Such is the nature of the whole sorry Brexit Saga that the British public have become accustomed to being let down by the Establishment. 29th March 2019 was meant to be the day when the UK left the EU, but unsurprisingly events have been engineered in such a manner that this deadline has been missed. The Houses of Parliament which for decades took little or no interest in the EU and EU legislation now obsesses about the EU without really knowing what it wants. The slavish devotion to the EU of the likes of the Scottish Nationalist Party seems particularly...
Posted On 30 Mar, 2019

Bangladesh, like a number of South Asian countries, is one that has a rich cultural history, one that has been deeply influenced by the landscape in which it sits and the influence and interaction of faiths down the centuries. In common with its neighbours, it witnessed the rise and fall of empires, with the Mughal and British Empires each leaving an indelible mark on this remarkably fertile land. Both Hinduism and Islam have shaped outlooks and cultural norms, with the country strongly influenced by the tastes and habits of its Indian neighbour, whilst at the same time eager to forge...
Posted On 28 Mar, 2019

Few words in recent years have become as emotive as ‘Brexit’. For some The UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) is a matter of tremendous regret, for others a life affirming decision that should see Britain regain its sovereignty and be able to chart its own future. Certainly, the 2016 Brexit Referendum was a powerful exercise in democracy, one which has engaged communities and to some extend polarised them like no other issue for decades. In 2016 a majority of Britons voted for a path that will see the UK less focused on the EU and more likely...
Posted On 17 Mar, 2019

It seems incredible to think that not so very long ago it was near impossible to enjoy the delights of the Mughlai Biryani, Mator Paneer and Prawn Saag in the UK. Culinary choices were decidedly limited, and for many Britons the food we ate was as unremarkable as it was occasionally bland. This is not to decry traditional British food, or the rich array of fresh ingredients available in these islands, it was just that mainstream food seemed to be in a rut. Hence the enthusiasm and indeed affection that the British have for South Asian food. The rich and...
Posted On 08 Dec, 2018

Over the past decade, the story of the Bangladesh retail industry has been nothing less than a revolution shaped and developed by high quality service provisions, world class design and sizeable local and international investment. Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with average growth rate of over 6.2% for the past decade, it is the 46th largest economy in 2016 (WB) in terms of GDP and 33rd largest economy in terms of PPP, with over 226bn $ total GDP in1016 and with only less than a 4.1% unemployment rate in 2016 making this country very...
Posted On 21 Oct, 2018

To adapt an old American saying; ‘You can take a Bangladeshi out of Bangladesh, but you can’t take Bangladesh out of a Bangladeshi’. Culture, along with cultural attitudes and norms play a prominent role, so much so that they not only shape leadership and management attitudes but frame the behaviour of existing and potential customers. Both foreign and local businesses need to be mindful of local attitudes, and for all the appetite in certain quarters for new ways of doing things, offerings need to be adapted to take cognizance of local expectations and sensitivities. Whilst the average Bangladeshi may not...
Posted On 01 Oct, 2018