Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Design Mind for 10x Thinking – ‘Unmukt’

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

I will be conducting a workshop on Design Thinking and Preparing the Design Mind for 10x Thinking titled ‘Unmukt’. This is a one-of-a-kind program that covers the Power of Boundaryless Thinking and how Design Thinking helps in moving from the mystery of business to heuristics and then to algorithm. It also deals with the role of emotional elements in moving from ‘just ideas’ to the implementation of ideas.

If you are interested in participating in the workshop at Pune on 14th January 2017, contact program coordinator Dr. Anbu Rathinavel on

Design Thinking session at FinTech 8012

Monday, August 29th, 2016

I conducted a full day session on Design Thinking at FT 8012 (will be called as FinTech 8012 here on), Chennai for ‘Good to Great’ group of JITO with Dr. Ashok Korwar, Dr. Anbu Rathinavel, Kalpana Korwar and Manju Jain.

Few observations during the session:

  • There were more than 50 keen learners who travelled here from different places like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Nasik, Hubli, Udaipur, etc.
  • All the participants completed their homeworks before attending the course. The participants were CEOs of many large companies. Frankly speaking – we were not expecting it.
  • All the participants were divided into four different groups; they shared their stories and vulnerabilities very bodly. Again very good start of ‘Good to Great’ programme.
  • These participants are going to Silicon Valley for next leg of the programme – 10x growth using Design Thinking. I personally like the curiosity of the group. They were very active until the course finished at 6:00 p.m.

Very satisfying day of learning together.

Snapshots from the session

Snapshots from the session


Symphony – The Family Workshop

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

For designing the event we ask following questions to ourselves
a. What are the learning needs for the various members in the family?
b. How much do we know about each other since we started our independent journeys?
c. How much do we know our kids knows their cousins besides linkedin resume?
d. How much next generation knows about their previous generation and challenges they have faced?

With these questions in mind we start designing the workshop which now moved to 3 days instead of 2 days.

Design element #1 – Dividing the learning needs of the families in 4 groups

a. Above 50 – Where most of us have accomplished in our professional lives, where we have choices as well as resources at our disposal, what is holding us back to discover in child in us.
b. Age group 23 to 50 – Next working generation where they have dreams and wants to put their stamp in their own way on the world map, how to help them use their energies to create highest impact.
c. Age group 12+ to 22 – Teens with dreams in their eyes and fears of ‘going wrong’ as per parents belief systems, how to help them expand their ‘Perspectives’ of the world.
d. Age group less than 12 – Just fun loving kids – How do they express their talent to elders.

Design element #2 – Designing the Workshops

a. Symphony workshop #1 – Discover a Child In you – Talked our old friend and management consultant Mrs Renu Rajpal and Himanshu Joshi and requested them to design 7 hour workshop for the Group 1.
b. Symphony workshop #2 – Transformational Leadership – Talked to Prasad Kaipa, author of the book Smart to Wise and my personal coach over last 20 years in my journey for designing the workshop.
c. Symphony workshop #3 – Lead My Future – Talked to Soundari Mukerjea and her colleagues Meeta to design a workshop for teens.
d. Symphony workshop#4 – Express my self – Expressing the talents kids are having and providing them a stage for their performances.
e. Symphony workshop#5 – All hands and Head together – all 80 people in one workshop and having one dialogue. This workshop revolved around ‘Awareness of Conflicts’, ‘Reaction vs Response’ and ‘Magic of Genuine appreciation’.

Design element #3 – Designing the Fun

1. Big party in the evening with all extended family and friends of mine and Manju.
2. Collected all the nostalgic songs which we use to sing together in 70’s to 90’s and created a program – Gaane Hamare Jamaane Ke.
3. Designing food – We had opportunity to eat 2 lunch, 2 Dinners and 4 eat outs. We researched the delicacies of all indian states and requested people to share their preferences. Meena and Garima talked to chief chef of the hotel to help us designing where all state food from J&K to Kerala is served in various meals.

Design Element #4 – Gift of Learning

1. On whatsapp group we requested all the members of Symphony participants to share the books which shaped their individual thinking or inspired them or just favourite books.
2. All the members shared their inspirational books. Manju made a list of all books.
3. Divyakant requested Jain books to put up a stall on last day in hotel lobby.
4. Anyone can pick up any number of books to be gifted to others with their autographs.

Design Element #5 – Prayers Together

1. We visited old famiy temple together and performed ‘Samuhik Pooja’ in the temple where complete family read the Pooja together (may be after 30-40 years). It was nostalgic and humbling for all of us.

Design Element #6 – Documenting Our Stories

1. Biographies are written for big so called ‘successful’ celebrities. We believe everyone in our family is celebrity.
2. We requested one member of next gen to interview one of our sibling and write a biography.
3. We published a Coffee table book of Family celebrities – OUR STORIES on Symphony Carnival.

We completed Symphony carnival between 24th July to 26th July 2015. Next symphony is planned in June-July 2017.

It was an humbling experience with deep insights and learnings about the power of families and togetherness. We learnt from the many members of the family who committed themselves as Homemakers in structured way. We learnt the dilemmas and dreams of next generation. I cant capture all the learnings in this mail because all of us have different takeaways. Anyway it was 3 days worth spent in celebration and learning. I must thank each member of family to participate whole heartedly into this workshop.

I believe its a very small step in a right direction from ‘the challenge of families in 21st century’ to ‘The hidden opportunities of Families in 21st Century’.


Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Five months ago, I was having conversations with a few friends over dinner. The topic of ‘families’ and then parenting got triggered. Everyone was sharing his / her views on how’s the joint family system has broken in last few decades, what the benefits of joint family system in India are or where joint family system holds back. The topics moved on to explore that ‘our generation’ vs ‘next generation’ meaning that we were ‘more responsible’ or ‘more sensitive’ than the new generation. the topic of ‘Respect’ also come into picture along with influence of Mobile phones and information onslaught.

Since it was a dinner conversation, more people wanted to contribute and few wanted to listen. Even deeper insights didn’t find space and attention. It forced me to think that the topic on families is crucial for all of us who are passing thru this transformational global change yet as group we either don’t have a time for it or don’t have a commitment for it or still there is no serious platform to get into deeper dialogue into the topic. Obviously interrupted dinner conversation is definitely not a platform for such a valuable topic. Since this topic is experienced by all of us where we simultaneously experiment with our ‘dear one’s’ and learn from the results real time.

I broached my observations with Manju over the weekend walk in Madras club. We both agree that topic needs a platform and dedicated time for exploration. Coincidentally we were completing 25 years of our togetherness as a married couple in coming few months. Suddenly we came with the idea of celebration of togetherness with our friends and families in different ways. We used WhatsApp platform to share with all our siblings, nephews and nieces that we want to celebrate the event together where we can have lots of fun filled with lots of learning from each other.

Though we were skeptical to receive any inputs from whatsapp group but we found the participation was humungous. With that response we rolled up the sleeves and got to the design board. We named this event Symphony Carnival. The event started with 2 days to be spend together where all members of my family and Manju family to come together and stay together. The combined family including our next generation and their kids comes to over 85 people age group 2 year old to 70 years. The members spread from Delhi, Chennai, Rajasthan, Singapore, Australia, UK and multiple cities in US.

We gathered for the Symphony carnival from 24th to 26th July at The Oberoi, Gurgaon.

I am covering design part of the Symphony in next post.

The Sub-optimal human body

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

The human body has all the innovations of the nature but most of them are not at their best.

1. Humans are not fastest among Animal Kingdom. Many animals like Tiger run faster….
2. Humans can see a very limited spectrum of light and thus can not see at night. Cats and Owls have better eyes than human.
3. Human hearing is average compared to many birds or animals, including fish, who hear hear better than humans.
4. Human smelling capabilities are also sub optimal. Dogs can smell far better and retain it much longer.
5. Human digestive system is also sub-optimal. It can digest only select variety of food.
6. I am not sure about Taste buds.

So nature has not given best of its creation to Human. As per the ‘Survival of the Fittest’ theory, Human should have got the best of every gift of nature but nature provided only sub optimal gift of everything.

The Questions comes to my mind.
1. How theory of Survival of fittest explain this phenomenon?

The Startup Nukkad

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

I have often said that the next $100 bn will come from product companies in India, that this country would see the next Silicon Valley-like phenomenon. A variety of political, economic and cultural factors prompted me to make this observation. I also believe that it is the duty of the government and established entrepreneurs to do more to create an environment that nurtures upcoming entrepreneurs.

With CII, I made a small beginning with the ‘Startupreneurs’ initiative. I was on the advisory committee, along with Gopal Srinivasan CMD, TVS Capital Funds, and Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice-Chairman, Cognizant, among others. Our efforts culminated into a wonderful event in November last year – over 500 startups registered. We provided them with two precious resources that any startup requires – the benefit of others’ experience, and access to investors. Some remarkable speakers took to the stage and spoke about their personal journeys. The startups also got to present to delegates, HNIs, Investors and other Startups, with a change to win a big cash prize and a trip to attend the SeedStars event in Switzerland.

Here’s a Twittter snapshot of the evening

It was during Startupreneurs that I announced the setting up of ‘Startup Nukkads’, to take the concept of mentorship to the next level.  Startup Nukkad is a a 12-series yearlong programme where 50 startupreneurs will meet to discuss and resolve obstacles to business growth. I also talked about setting up Entrepreneur Hubs’ where 10 entrepreneurs from varied businesses that can potentially create new business models, and support one another in getting it off the ground.

When we organized Startup Nukkad, it was an energizing experience. There was a lot of positivity in the room. Here I am sharing a couple of video clips from the first Nukkad meeting.

Video One

Video Two





Connecting Waste spaces, Environment and Communities

Saturday, June 13th, 2015
Unexpectedly Clean.

Unexpectedly Clean.

Normally I take my morning walk near home but since it was a Saturday, and the traffic on Chennai roads is still less early in the morning, I decided to walk in, from my perspective, a new area – Kottur Garden. I left home before 6.00 AM. 

Soon after I crossed the bridge I observed a small gate with a board that said ‘Kotturpuram Tree Park’. I entered the park where lots of other morning walkers were walking. The park was extremely clean, with no cigarette butts or broken pathways, which I would expected in Corporation managed parks.

My Observations

1. There is huge variety of trees in the garden and each tree was labeled with its name in English and Tamil.

2. The park is designed well with center meeting space and long running pathways.

3. This park was an initiative of Corporation of Chennai and the NGO Nizhal, with the purpose of cleaning a dump yard full of debris on the bank of Adyar river.

Nizhal's statement of purpose

Nizhal’s statement of purpose

4. The community planted 300 saplings of 150 species of tropical dry evergreen forest.

5. I like the poster at the gate that called for ‘Shram Dan (Donate service)’ on every Sunday.

Lend a hand

Lend a hand

6. Friends of Kotturpuram tree park meet every Sunday evening in a nearby plan and carry out activities for the proper use and enrichment of the park.

7. The park is used as a great community conversation space, learning about nature and species of trees and above all building pride in the neighborhood.

Its a great example of Design Thinking in Action which connects

a. Waste spaces into usable parks and
b. Connecting parks to Specific purpose of Trees and environment awareness and
c. Connecting it to a  self empowered community.