Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category

My Diary – Earning while learning – New Education Pedagogy

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

We had a two-day Mission Samriddhi Summit 4 at Chennai where we spent time listening to various initiatives that are driving the social impact.

Here, I am sharing Project Agrindus – Integration of AGRIculture and INDUStries that was initiated by Dr. T. Karunakaran at MIGRI, Wardha to educate children of deceased farmers’ families in the district of Yavatmal, Maharashtra. He selected 35 children of the deceased and designed a great programme based on the principles of Nai Talim.

A few observations from the programme are listed below:

1. He designed an integrated programme on Personal Development, Knowledge Imparting and Skills Development (4 hours each).

2. The 35 students were divided into groups (pair each) and were asked to form virtual companies.

3. Every student pair would be given two acres of land where they would be guided to cultivate crops as per their choice.

4. The profit from their cultivated land would be sold by the students and 60% of the proceeds would be given as income of the students.

6. There is a computer centre where all the students would be given basic training on computer programming.

7. Experts from Scientific Agriculture and Industry were called in to voice their experiences and provide students ‘Hands-on’ techniques that improve productivity of the land.

8. The students were familiar with the company’s nuances and every student were named as Directors of the company.

9. In last 5 months, there was a case of M&A among 2 out of 10 companies.

10. The students have grown the agriculture land so well that they will take back between Rs. 30,000 and 50,000 on completing the course.

This is the first time in an education system where students are being paid (earning) formally while learning.

Kudos to the new model of education which can be absolutely relevant in Rural development context. These 35 students will be the next-generation entrepreneurs and leaders of ‘Self Empowered Units’ (Rural India) like what the IIMs have produced for managing a corporate structure.


‘Just ideas’ to ‘Implementation of ideas’ – Unmukt

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

I will be conducting a full-day programme on Design Thinking named ‘Unmukt‘ on 26th Nov 2016, Saturday at Hotel Sofitel, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A lot of people who visited FinTech 8012 Design Center, wanted to attend the programme. And fortunately, this time we’ve decided to allot 40 seats for the external participants.

The programme covers powers of boundary-less thinking (Unmukt) and how Design Thinking helps in moving from Mystery of Business to Heuristics and then to Algorithm. It also talks about the role of emotional elements in moving Design Thinking from ‘Just ideas’ to the ‘Implementation of ideas’.

I am attaching a cost of Rs.10,000 per participant. This is to demonstrate serious interest in the principle of Design Thinking and Unmukt. This fee will not be collected by anyone in my office. The participant has to donate Rs.10,000 to charity of their choice and communicate to the programme coordinator.

Dr. Anbu Rathinavel from School of Design Thinking is coordinating the programme. Those who are interested can write to

Lifetime Achievement Award by CII

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Govt. of Tamil Nadu have conferred me the Lifetime Achievement Award on 28th September, 2016. I feel humbled by the recognition from peers and colleagues of the industry.

This is an outcome of vision of Konarks and Partners at Polaris who dared to dream big and achieved it.

This is an outcome of the customers who trusted with their critical banking system technology with us.

This is an outcome of the wisdom of the all the Board Members as well as consultants who advised us at every step in our journey. Above all these, it is also an outcome of the support of all of you who helped me in shaping up my thinking.

Thank you one and all.

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


‘Unless you solve somebody’s problem, you won’t make money’

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

‘If they are not ready for a 10 to 20 year journey, they should not become entrepreneurs.’
‘They should not get lured by the money they may make in a short period; money may be there today and it may disappear tomorrow.’

I was the son of a government employee, with no background in entrepreneurship but I had the entrepreneurial spirit even as a school student.

Soon after graduating from the Delhi College of Engineering, I chose to walk the entrepreneurial route with two of my friends. In 1993, I started Polaris Software Lab with just Rs 10,000. By the time I had sold 53% of its share to the US-based company Virtusa last year, it had become a Rs 2,100 crore (Rs 21 billion) company.

Now, my attention is focused on Intellect Design Arena Ltd., a products development lab, and on being a mentor and angel investor to young entrepreneurs. I also launched Start up Nukkad, where young entrepreneurs can meet and share ideas.

I an interview with‘s Shobha Warrier, I have explained why Narendra Modi’s Start Up initiative needs a bit fine-tuning.

From government jobs to entrepreneurships

When I was young, we were so subservient to government jobs; the only dream every person had — and this happened after 1947 — was to get a government job.

Rural India, however, has always been self-sustaining. Every person living in rural India was an entrepreneur. Where were the government jobs there?

I would say the human mind is an entrepreneur’s mind, always trying to create something new. (more…)

Little Good News #11 – MittiCool Clay

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

MittiCool Clay Creation, a small-scale industry that produces hand-craft items, is situated in the city of Wankaner, Rajkot District. This project has been initiated by Mr. Mansukhbhai Prajapati in the year 1988 with very small investment and zeal for innovation in the field of clay products, during which he first developed a basic clay product called Tawadi (tava) with hand pressing system first time in India.

To list a few of his hand-made inventions:

  • In 1995, he developed the first clay water filter.
  • In 2001, he developed a unique product – MittiCool Refrigerator – from a special clay for the rural people who do not have electricity in their villages.
  • In 2005, he discovered the Non-stick Mitti Tava that was introduced for the very first time in India.
  • And, in 2009, he discovered another innovative product Smart Cooker – made up of Terracotta Clay.

It was for the first time in history of India that somebody has taken patent rights for clay-made home products. With his great efforts and creativity, he was honoured as ‘RURAL SCIENTIST’ by the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam – former Scientist & President of the India, at the 4th National Awards Function in New Delhi. Since then, he never looked back with his creative mindset and attachment to clay. He also developed many innovative products that were appreciated both, nationally and internationally.

Mansukhbhai’s work has been appreciated in various media channels like Discovery, NDTV, National Geographic Channel, IBN-7, BBC World, and in magazines and newspapers such as ‘India Today’ and ‘The Economic Times’ which ranked them (MittiCool) 3rd in the whole world for the innovative clay products. This effort was first recognised by Prof. Anil K. Gupta of National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Ahmedabad. Since then, his work was recognised worldwide.

He is not only implementing his knowledge to himself, but also imparting knowledge to the present and forthcoming generations by establishing the ‘PRAJAPATI HASTKALA VIKAS TRUST’ where he has trained more than 500 students for this art. This trust is run by the Government of Gujarat.

To know more about MittiCool Clay Creation:

Mansukhbhai Prajapati receiving the National Award from the Honourable President of India - Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Mansukhbhai Prajapati with the Honourable President of India – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Patents rights certificate for clay-made products

Patents rights certificate for clay-made products

Emotional Health and Compassionate Leadership

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Leadership 2.0 was the topic of the event organised by young enthusiasts from Silicon Valley under the banner of SPIR-IT who believed that the role of Emotions and Compassion drives creativity and individual high performance. The SPIR-IT Summit was held on 19th March at IMAGE Auditorium, MRC Nagar, Chennai at 9.00 a.m.

I liked the topic of the conversation. They were able to invite many great thinkers and bring them to Chennai. The few names are Bruce Lipton from USA, Bharat Mitra – an Australian by birth but a Indian by heart, Sister Jayanti Kirpalani from Brahama Kumaris, Dr. Kiranmai, David Kilowsky, Raghu Ananthanarayan, Nilima Bhat, Dr.  Lakshmi Andiappan and N Sivasamban. The event was put together by Bala Kishore and Janardhan Chodagam.

What I appreciate is, amidst many self-development programmes on skills and competencies which are taking center stage, this programme conversed about the fundamental questions of Emotional Health and Compassionate leadership in today’s high-pressured ‘Hire and Fire’ environment. To me, these are the basic elements of Design Thinking that drives higher throughput. For Design Thinking, one needs a secure environment where one can have respect for his opinions and perspectives besides his skills and expertise. It is the emotional health that drives ‘I know it all’ which I call ego, to ‘I need to know’ listening.

An Empowering Dialogue

An Empowering Dialogue

Design and Digital Transformation

Friday, November 27th, 2015

ET Now, India’s most-watched business news channel, will telecast a special Intellect feature this weekend, titled “Hands-on Digital Transformation at 8012 FT Design Center”. I am sharing a link to the promo video of this telecast.

You can watch the full 23-minute feature on November 28, Saturday, at 8:00 pm IST and a repeat telecast on Sunday at 7:00 pm IST. Through interviews and footage of the facility, It shows how Design Thinking weaves business, technology and operations to drive tangible benefits for our customers.

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’.

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