Those who have wept because of it, understand it.

While the anxiety levels are drawing their sullied power over our tenacity from the current atmosphere, the stinging upheaval of remorseful moans fills the soul of those looking forward to their morning tea or evening walks.

Touted as “The Last Sunset” – photo of an 87-year-old man returning from CT Scan with this doctor in Wuhan, China

A stricken feeling of loneliness while being cut-off from the entire world is overwhelmed by the sudden sense of loss. The mind wanders to moments of the past to seek their presence in those good-ole’ days only to stare into the abyss of the present.

The possibility of this experience being surreal for thousands of people is the burden that the crown bore until now. It has been the pursuit of more than a billion people to scourge the pandemic from the face of this illustrious earth.

If these appeals fall on deafening ears, it does not make those who do not heed them, right. It makes them a culprit at best and a victim at worst. Not a single day goes by when I do not empathize with the tremors of pain inflicted upon the thousands across the world.

In the loneliness of his exile, and in the gloom of the rains, his ailing body needed a little tender nursing. He longed to remember the touch on the forehead of soft hands with tinkling bracelets, to imagine the presence of loving womanhood, the nearness of mother and sister.

Rabindranath Tagore in “the Postmaster”

There is a sense of mystery that drives a quelling to seek answers to a boundless question – when will this end?

#Reality of Today – Step 1 towards ascertaining our Right to Life

There has always been a time in the history of this great caravan of humanity when sinister strikes the ignorant and the innocent alike. A time when the reality of today is perplexing and intimidating our very way of life. A myriad of emotions settles in our hearts as the disease plants its foothold globally. The Spanish Flu, the H1N1 outbreak, the Ebola virus and more recently the Nipah virus, all begot qualms in the startled population but none as much as the threat of unknown we face now while attempting to contain the novel Coronavirus or the Covid-19’s excruciating will to be omnipresent. 

Having given up the control of our workplaces, restaurants, and beaches while we attempt to shelve the remainder of our lives in the disinfected cocoons of our homes, it may feel like humanity has consented to the overlordship of the Covid-19 virus. A characterization agreed to be a case of a bad PR disaster by the faltering leadership in many regions of the world while in actuality, it is an effort to create a sanctum for the existence of our posterity.

Social-distancing and adopting cautionary advisory tips issued by WHO and respective health ministries are, in fact, a rebel-move against the virus which has confronted us with not only a major public health crisis but also with an unsettling economic condition. 

This moment calls for resilience, discipline and empathy, a combination of qualities befitting the brave soldiers of humanity – the healthcare workers, the delivery and sanitation personnel, and other stakeholders actively engaged in the containment of the pandemic. The entire world needs to emulate their psyche to “flatten the curve.” A task which is absolutely necessary to ration the burden on our health infrastructure.

The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

John F. Kennedy

Reflecting on this thought, we must know that in this situation that our actions today shall cast a direct impact on every man’s “Right to Life.”

Design Thinking #2: Essentials of Learning to Design one’s life

Video Credits: TEDx Talks

Design Thinking, as I have read & blogged about has been a novel approach to problem solving stemming from our individual creative abilities. My entire understanding of this methodology has come from workshop experiences (One with Dr. Arup & One with Mr. Puntambekar) and secondary research, at this moment I am absolutely intrigued by the perspective brought in by Mr. Burnett in the above video where he talks about “Designing one’s Life,” an absolutely pertinent technique which places the Design Thinking concepts at the central pedestal of our choices-driven life.

Watch the video to find the context of William Gibson’s quote:

Future is already here, it is just unevenly distributed

BUSTED! #1: PwC gets banned from Auditing listed entities in India for 2 years!

PwC-Bldg

(Pic Credit – Livemint)

Yes you read that correctly! PriceWaterhouse Network firms & other firms operating under the PriceWaterhourseCoopers Brand have been banned from issuing any audit certificates with respect to statutory compliances of listed entities & intermediaries in India. This ban has been issued by SEBI in light of the Satyam scandal of 2009. The order comes after a long arduous battle of words between the regulator, the ICAI & the PwC representation with regard to the responsibilities of an auditor. The strictures imposed on PwC have been outlined in the capital market regulator’s 108-page order.

Well this leaves the leading auditing firm’s publicly traded clients open for poaching! If this isn’t alike to the Pearson Specter Litt’s down slip, then I don’t know what is. The Indian firm had started bleeding clients since the scandal but didn’t take a major revenue hit. The firm is also supposed to cough up a hefty sum of Rs. 14 Crores (which includes 12% interest!) towards penalty.

This leaves us asking the question whether anybody in the Street earns an honest-day’s living anymore? Are we still human enough to own up mistakes? The markets which are driven by investor sentiments – can they be affirmed by cold expression of opinion?

An overview of the order can be found here –
http://www.livemint.com/Money/Y47acOIxS2uXDmTzG1xKDP/Price-Waterhouse-firms-banned-for-2-years-over-Satyam-scam.html

Design Thinking #1: Workshop #1 by Dr. Arup Mazumdar @ Planning Forum – NM College

The Design Thinking interest group of the Planning Forum –NM college was initiated on 1st July, 2017 under the guidance of Dr. Arup & Ms. Madhulika Mazumdar.

Ironically, the primary question of “What is Design Thinking?” wasn’t the first touch points of the session, instead the centerpiece of DT “the user experience” & “the interest of stakeholders,” became the highlight of the session.

The undergrads who composed this interest group were stifled in the face of their own feelings, when Dr. Arup asked each participant to write their feelings in a few words on a paper-strip taped to their pockets. Figuratively speaking, the participants wore their feelings on their pockets & Dr. Arup read their personalities in a manner alike to pulling “a rabbit out of a hat.” This was followed by an activity where in the participants had to depict four triangles with the help of six pencils. The participants missed the answer by a dimension difference in perspective.

The focus of the workshop then shifted towards Leadership. What is Leadership? The answer to this question was a dual combination of “Things” with “Right!” Leadership, according to Dr. Arup is a dilemma between “doing Things Right” and “doing the Right Things,” and for a Leader the correct out would be “Doing the Right Things-” it is that skill of a person to do the things which are right for the organization & taking the leap of faith, undertaking the risk of what the future entails on making a particular choice.

The workshop was a journey of activities & the goal was to initiate the concept of Design Thinking. The pivotal introduction of the concept was brought in a unique way by presenting the interest group with a challenge – a case study on the Education System in its current state, the content of which was corroborated from various research papers and Dr. Arup’s own findings. The goal of this challenge was to accomplish a set-up wherein the ultimate User-Group or the Stakeholders feel involved evoking the vital Empathy.

Deliberating with this idea, the novice undergrads set out to Define the problem, seeking Solutions by writing any idea which crossed their minds on a post-it, applying the concept of Psychological Distancing and mobilizing the perks of Perspective for a Time-defined Process of two rounds each of 10 minutes.

At the end of everything, Dr Arup’s method of gauging the mind-sets of participants showed an evident shift in thought processes with the change in “words” being written by the “Designers” to describe their current state of being. From “Anxious, Excited, Intrigued, Enthusiastic and Perceptive,” the descriptions closed onto “Happy, Joyous, Satisfied and Aware.” The workshop in a single note provided the participants with a CREATIVE skill to appraise the benefits of an altruistic VISION and the importance of EMPATHY.

Innovation Insight #3: Asking the Right Questions – Extension of the Creator Philosophy

In Update #6, I mentioned Paul Sappho’s idea that the 21st Century is a Creator Economy i.e. unlike the previous 20 centuries, everyone will contribute towards the growth of the economy.

Now that we have established that every person in the economy is a “creator.” It is time for us to seek upward mobility by Asking the Right Questions – the answers to which will lead us to connect the dots as to what is it that we need to ask questions for.

Q1. Who is/are the most important person/people for a creator?

Is it our parents? siblings? Co-mates? Definitely, the love of our lives?
Nope, doesn’t ring a bell. It is the USER/USERs of his/her creation which in general should be perceived as the global community. I say so because narrowing down the scope by installing barricades at the porch of the ideation process stifles the reinvention capacity. Create a niche, sort of (exactly like!) a target market only after being convinced of a sufficient cause to eliminate them from availing your creation. Kinder you are in giving access, Stronger is the foundation of creativity.

Q2. What should be the mindset of a creator?

Most people urge the “creators” to “Think Outside the Box,” which is cent percent worthwhile but while doing so why are we absconding the avenues of FEASIBILITY. Each Creation is the product of a Creator’s vehicles of thoughts – organized in hyperventilation or serenity or at the beats of heavy metal! Such Creation’s objective is to add value and it’s worth is ad valorem. Keeping this in mind, I feel we should assess our environment, perceive what is in the box, understand what is lacking & what is fulfilling & then let us sojourn into the seas of REINVENTION, which to me, would expand (at least explain!) the paradigm of “Thinking Outside the Box.” Ergo the reiteration of the previous conclusion!

Now, that we have the pointers for “Asking the Right Questions” as “User/User’s feasibility” –> “Reinvention – Thinking Outside the Box” we can gauge that we need to ask questions for determining the User’s feasibility to engage with our creation & for us to instill creativity upto the “Reinvention” capacity such that the user can make peace with the externalities of our creation thereby evoking a balanced & sustained solution for the user in the long run.

Stay tuned to further this connection in an upcoming Innovation Insight Post…

Daily Feed #2: Insight into a new role – the way to do Right Things

This year, I ventured into a new role as the Head of Department of  Design Thinking & Business Innovation Dept @ The Planning Forum – an intra college association . After toying around with the concept to find a right answer for the question, “What is Design Thinking?” I found a sense of satisfaction after arriving at this meaning of Design Thinking – A tool which spearheads the process of creating ideas evoking “the user experience” at its centerpiece. 

Further introspecting into the component words – there is light at the end of the tunnel – Design is the portrayal of one’s vision for the product. Thinking is what you do when you novate. The entire process in a corporate set up is driven by the ultimate user experience. 

Astonishingly, the premise of my limited experience has been the two driving factors of Design Thinking – transplanting reality into innovation. Reality can be explained as the difference between you and the future you; both of “you” will know the reality but in a different horizon of time. Innovation is something with drives you towards the future.

A new perspective showed itself as I researched & attended workshops. Nobody can thrive on belief and ideas by itself cannot sustain. Let us not rush to think outside the box ; first – look what all is in the box. The next step is to reinvent those that you find in the box by applying the best of your creativity.