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Nitun Kundu: from Art to Enterprise

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1. Summarize the case.
2. ‘Entrepreneurs use left-brain skills to harvest right-brain ideas’. Explain the statement analyzing the life story of Nitun Kundu. 3. Which term is appropriate for the creative activities of Nitun Kundu – ‘Windows’ or ‘Corridors’? Justify the opinion.

1. Summary of the Case (Nitun Kundu – from Art to Enterprise)

The famous artist Nitun Kundu was born in a lower middle class family on December 3 at Barobandar, Dinajpur in 1935. He was not only a famous artist but also a dynamic designer, ardent painter, freedom fighter as well as a successful entrepreneur. By born he was creative minded and in this consequence, after completing his school matriculation, he get admitted Fine Arts Institute of Dhaka University in the department of painting. The diligent and dedicated Kundu passed a measurable time in his student life, so his professors loved him and excused him to take leave to earn extra money by painting movie posters. The young Kundu never lamented on his financial situation; rather became determined to do something creative through the inspiration of Zainul Abedin, Quamrul Hassan and Abonindo Thakur. This genius completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts and stood 1st in his department. He wished to join as a faculty member of Fine Arts Institute but he took up the position of Chief Designer for cultural activities in the United States Information Service (USIS). After 12 years of service at USIS, he left the organization and once again hoped to become a faculty member of Fine Arts Institute.

But the dream remained unfulfilled to the patriot Kundu because during the 1970s, he immersed himself in the Liberation war. He used to paint banners and posters for the war and one of his iconic posters of that time was “Shodajagroto Banglar Muktibahini”. After Independence of Bangladesh, Kundu married in 1972 and became a father in1974 with birth of his daughter Amiti Kundu and later his son Amitesh Kundu. The responsible Kundu realized that he had a family of his own to take care of. He turned his living room into his studio where he made small wooden and clay decoration pieces- which he sold and earn enough to run his household. Later the talent Kundu joined with BTOPI as a designer and the company was very pleased with his work. He gained experience and expertise in this field and decided to open his owned company named OTOBI and rented a place on Elephant Road and a small factory on Tophaka Road. OTOBI grew bigger and bigger, but even then Kundu made sure that he taught some skills and techniques to his employees by hand. He visited fairs and factories all across the world to familiarize himself with the latest designs and technologies.

Now his daughter Amiti heads OTOBI as the director and his son Amitesh is the managing director. Kundu had taught them well about the social responsibility of a business organization. He was a brilliant entrepreneur and always prioritized customer satisfaction, but made no compromise in terms of aesthetics. This innovative artist did a lot for our country. He designed National Film Award trophy, Asia Cup Cricket trophy, BTV-Natun Kuri, Ekushey Padak, President Gold Cup and so on. He was also the creator of ‘Shabash Bangladesh’ statue at Rajshahi University, ‘SAARC Fountain’ at Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, historic ‘Indira Mancha’ at Suhwardy Uddyan, ‘Sampan’ at Chittagong Airport etc. Before his death he won a number of awards and titles, including ‘Ekushey Padak’ in 1997 and Bangladesh Business Award with OTOBI as the Enterprise of the year in 2001.

2. “Entrepreneurs use left-brain skills to harvest right-brain ideas”: Explanation of the Statement on the basis of life story of Nitun Kundu.

The individuals who are able to use left-brain skills to harvest right-brain ideas or creativity are successful entrepreneur. But unfortunately, many individuals are only gifted at one or other. The left-brain attributes are consciousness, rationality, analytical ability and logic. On the other hand, right-brain attributes are unconsciousness, non-rationality, intuitiveness and synthesis. Here we discuss about how Nitun Kundu used left-brain skills to harvest right-brain ideas.

Right-Brain Left-Brain
Unconscious Conscious :: After birth of Amiti in 1974, when Nitun Kundu had no job then he decided to make small wooden and clay decoration pieces, with the aid of local crafts-men, which he sold in his close-knit circle to earn enough to run his household. Then he joined with BITOPI as a designer and he gained expertise and experience in this field, and eventually decided to open his own company OTOBI. Now it is very clear that firstly Kundu was unaware and unfocused on furniture business and then gradually he became more aware and focused about the business.

Non-rational Rational :: When Nitun Kundu joined with the BITOPI then he had no desire to launch such kind of business i.e. he had some spacial imagination without direction. But after acquiring the business knowledge and experience, he decided to launch a new venture i.e. he found some sort of confidence of conscious modeling of furniture business.

Intuitive Analytical :: In the late 70s, when Nitun Kundu started OTOBI, he had some ideas and experiences which were gained from BTOPI. But to made the OTOBI bigger and bigger, Kundu visited fairs and factories all across the world to familiarize himself with the latest designs and technologies. Here it is clear that he used knowledge in discrete applications to evaluate the furniture business. The right-brain skills are crucial for the vision necessary to be creative, but innovation does not occur until left-brain rationalization take place. Integrating predispositions from both brains is the critical behavior needed to be a successful entrepreneur like Nitun Kundu, to use left-brain skills to ‘harvest’ right-brain ideas.

3. Justification of Opinion :
‘Windows’ or ‘Corridor’ – which term is appropriate for the creative activities of Nitun Kundu?

A ‘window’ is a time horizon during which opportunities exist before something else happens to eliminate them. A unique opportunity, once shown to produce wealth, will attract competitors, and if the business is easy to enter, the industry will rapidly saturated. On the other hand, another aspect of many successful ventures is called ‘corridor’ principle. It suggests that opportunities evolve from entrepreneurs being positioned in similar work or having had experience with related ventures so that when a ‘window’ opens, it is easy for them to move quickly into a new venture. So, the term ‘window’ is appropriate for the creative activities of Nitun Kundu.

He introduced OTOBI in the late 70s. During that time, he had no competitors except BITOPI. For this reason, it was a very unique opportunity and very easy to enter in the market. Besides, BITOPI imported furniture from abroad but OTOBI deals with indigenous skills, concepts and technologies. The furniture of OTOBI was designed according to the creative concepts of Nitun Kundu. He took advantages of “windows of opportunities”. He visited many fairs and factories all across the world to familiarize himself with the latest designs and technologies, and implemented those in OTOBI. Nitun Kundu had no mentors for guide his venture. He generated the ideas & concepts, and rectify them according to his own way.

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