From the Director's Desk: Math Behind Your Planning

Math Always Comes First

Nothing works in the real world until the math behind it is right. This is a key takeaway from the movie Hidden Figures or history of the American space program so to speak. To say, “I have a good idea”, or “I have an intuition about what could work” is not good enough and Qualitative analysis takes you only so far. It is the Quantitative analysis that matters now as it truly helps in overall analysis of a problem or an opportunity. It’s math that is behind formulation and design of businesses or products. Just like no plane sets flight until mathclears it, products must pass through thorough quantitative checks before they are released.

Coming back to our movie – Hidden Figures, which adequately demonstrates that every decision and implementation needs careful scripting and planning. Little should be left for speculation or ad hoc improvisation. The sequence where they determine re-entry point for John Glenn’s orbital flight is a testament of this. Narrowing down the recovery zone to a measly 20 square mile in the Bahamas when you are travelling @ 17,000 mph (in an elliptical orbit), is neither an actuality nor is a problem you find in textbooks. These questions are seldom asked or are answered. Similarly, the role of an engineer/entrepreneur is to comprehend the complexities of a new product or business launch by correlating individual decisions. The problem, however, is, each product is unique, therefore, alteration (and often altercations) are inevitable. Your calculations must coincide with your product or technology.

How should you plan? In Apollo 13 another space expedition feature, the mission starts with an objective to land two men on the moon but quickly turns its head to mere survival of the crew and their retreat back to earth. Businesses, just like these expeditions meet with unforeseen circumstances. Rain checks are therefore needed to devise emergency responses. This preps everyone for the worst and instils conviction. One could argue, ‘Is product launch as critical as space exploration?’ Subtract the human factor, businesses have become as unforgiving. Products now, get just one chance before they are labelled hit or flop.

Thus, the math behind your planning must always work.