Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ramadhan Greetings to all!

It's almost time again when we enter into the blessed month of Ramadhan...

In Melbourne, Ramadhan starts from 1-sep-08 (Monday) and should finish by the 30th of sep...(runs over the course of September)...I'm not sure about timings for Muscat, but estinates point to a start from either the 1st or 2nd of september...

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone Ramadhan Kareem...with a prayer that May the blessed month bring for all peace, tranquility and happiness... And May the Almighty accept out endeavours to gain his blessings and mercy. (Ameen)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Excerpts from Communities of Practice: Learning as a Social System

A recent trend in some of the private companies in Oman is “Communities of Practice”. Below are the excerpts regarding the same. Dr. Etienne Wenger is a globally recognized thought leader in the field of learning theory and its application to business.

You are an engineer working on two projects within your business unit. These are demanding projects and you give them your best. You respect your teammates and are accountable to your project managers. But when you face a problem that stretches your knowledge, you turn to people like Jake, Sylvia, and Robert. Even though they work on their own projects in other business units, they are your real colleagues. You all go back many years. They understand the issues you face and will explore new ideas with you. And even Julie, who now works for one of your suppliers, is only a phone call away. These are the people with whom you can discuss the latest developments in the field and troubleshoot each other's most difficult design challenges. If only you had more time for these kinds of interactions.

We all recognize knowledge as a key source of competitive advantage in the business world, but we still have little understanding of how to create and leverage it in practice. Traditional knowledge management approaches attempt to capture existing knowledge within formal systems, such as databases. Yet systematically addressing the kind of dynamic "knowing" that makes a difference in practice requires the participation of people who are fully engaged in the process of creating, refining, communicating, and using knowledge.

Even when people work for large organizations, they learn through their participation in more specific communities made up of people with whom they interact on a regular basis. These "communities of practice" are mostly informal and distinct from organizational units.

Defining Communities of Practice:
Communities of practice are everywhere. We all belong to a number of them—at work, at school, at home, in our hobbies. Some have a name, some don't. We are core members of some and we belong to others more peripherally. You may be a member of a band, or you may just come to rehearsals to hang around with the group. You may have just joined a community and are still trying to find your place in it or you may be a leader of a group in your company or college. Whatever form our participation takes, most of us are familiar with the experience of belonging to a community of practice.

Members of a community are informally bound by what they do together—from engaging in lunchtime discussions to solving difficult problems—and by what they have learned through their mutual engagement in these activities. A community of practice is thus different from a community of interest or a geographical community, neither of which implies a shared practice. A community of practice defines itself along three dimensions:
What it is about – its joint enterprise as understood and continually renegotiated by its members
How it functions – the relationships of mutual engagement that bind members together into a social entity
What capability it has produced - the shared repertoire of communal resources (routines, sensibilities, artifacts, vocabulary, styles, etc.) that members have developed over time.

Communities of practice develop around things that matter to people. As a result, their practices reflect the members' own understanding of what is important. Obviously, outside constraints or directives can influence this understanding, but even then, members develop practices that are their own response to these external influences. Even when a community's actions conform to an external mandate, it is the community—not the mandate—that produces the practice. In this sense, communities of practice are fundamentally self-organizing systems.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Day 1 @ Oman Community Blog

Dear All,

My Name is Vipin Kumar. This is my first day in Oman Community Blog and am very exited to be a part of the community...!!!

Its been a little over 2 months I am in Muscat, however I feel as if I share a strong bonding with the soil....I am sure there are many people who share the same feeling about the city and the country.

I have done my graduation in Computer Science and Electronics. I started my career in MphasiS BPO, as a trainee customer service executive. MphasiS has an exceptional character as a company and I gained a lot in my 3 years tenure, grew as Unit Manager within 2 years, expanded my horizons into services sector, learnt to lead teams into achieving goals, motivating them, the number game of the industry.

The opportunity knocked and I moved into consulting as a HR Manager, worked in Zygon, Focus Management Consultants at various positions. Interacted with clients like IBM, Accenture, SAIC, EDS, Genpact, Professional Access, Zensar, GE.

With my specialization in recruitment, I am here to test my skills and add value to my company and the country (I would be very happy if I can accomplish this).

Photography being my passion, Oman is the best suited place for me, as close to my heart as my home country...

Thank you all...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sultanate of Oman to embrace the Idol franchise

In few months time Radio Sultanate of Oman and Al Sawadi Beach Resort will lunch its first singing talent show ‘Oman Idol’ as part of Idol franchise such as American Idol and Super Star, for residence of Sultanate of Oman only. The Shabiba wrote an article about it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sheikh Saud Bahwan Passes Away

Al Mawaali, over at the Be in Oman Blog broke the story late yesterday.

The Arabic papers were sold out by the time I got to sultan center this morning, but the Times of Oman ( Here and Here) and the Tribune both had lovely eulogies, Far better than anything I could write here. In particular, the papers highlighted Sk Saud's many charitable endeavours. I think you all would agree, that he was a man of extrordinary generosity and business acumen.

According to the papers, Prayers will be performed at the Abu Bakr Mosque, Wattayah. His body will be carried to Al Amerat graveyard and condolences will be accepted at the mosque. In mourning, all the offices, divisions and branches of Saud Bahwan Group shall remain closed from August 20, and shall resume operations on Sunday August 24.

I counted 36 full pages of advertisements from various businesses in the English papers alone. I assume that these are being run instead of the regular adverts, and possibly at a discount. The rates for a full page b/w advert in Al Wattan are roughly 1,200 rials per day before any discount. Assuming a 40% discount, with six newspapers carrying 72 full pages of advertising , That's Maybe 51,000 Rials for Today's edition of the papers. I would expect just as many adverts in tomorow's edition . Call me a cynic, but I can't help wondering if the advertisement divisions of the newspapers high five one another every time someone important dies.

It seems to me that a better way to honor a man and family who gave so much to philanthropic endeavours would be to pull the advertisements for the day and instead donate, quietly, the amount that would have been spent on the advertisemsnts to one of the charities Sheikh Saud established. 100,000 rials in two days would improve the lives of countless disabled children, Diabetes patients, and the less fortunate famalies among us.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon--we belong to Allah and to Him do we return.

One Step Forward : Omantel

Another step towards the right direction from Omantel...according to this article in the Times of Oman, Omantel is revamping the tariff scale for local calls and lowering IDD rates...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bloggers gathering - August 2008

We had yet another small gathering this evening at D'arcy's Kitchen in MQ. This gathering was unique, though, because we had an honor guest; our fellow blogger MMK080 from Qatar. He was in Oman during the weekend for his first time in the Sultanate, and on his last day in Oman we thought of having a small gathering. It was indeed nice having him between us, and it was an honor meeting him in real life. Hope that he liked his stay in Oman and enjoyed the special Omani hospotality. :-)

Anyways, the gathering was all organized quickly and just via e-mail in the last couple of days, when MMK080 announced last Tuesday that he will be in Oman for the weekend. I quickly e-mailed the bloggers I thought would be interested in meeting up, and they all responded. Everyone came except Muscati who was really looking forward to coming but couldn't make it since he was in Dubai, as he explained to us from the beginning. The bloggers who attended the gathering are: Al-Maawali, Kishor, Blue-Chi, MMK080 from Qatar, our great chief Del_Yahi from the Omani Cuisine, Conceptoo from Oman3D and of course, myself.

And guess what? Blue-Chi and Conceptoo, the founders of Oman3D, gave away some free t-shirts in the gathering carrying Oman3D's logo. So it wasn't only a nice gathering, but we got free t-shirts as well! :-p ..

Again we hope that MMK080 had enjoyed his time in the Sultanate. :-) Wishing to see him again in the future.