Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2 (:-) (:-) 9

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Folks! :-)






Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Communication and KM

Not bad. I am finally beginning to make good (on second thoughts, it should be "some" instead of "good"!) progress with the KM initiative. An application that's a lot better and effective as compared to the previous one. A newsletter. A blog. And now...a micro-blogging platform! Yeah! Going to be positive and will hope for the best. I think utilizing every possible communication channel that is available, is very critical for the success of any KM initiative! :-) Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

ISPIM - Innovation Symposium

OK. I've finally managed to resurface into Blogosphere. Do you see me now? I've not been hiding but I've been running hither and thither. Whoever said "You can run but you cannot hide" had a brilliant brain. (Give me a teeny weeny opportunity to make an out of the context statement and be sure I'll grab it with both my hands! ;-])

Righto! I am sure you're waiting for the real story now. I was off to torture people at the Innovation Symposium conducted by ISPIM in collaboration with the Singapore Management University. I presented an idea that has been brewing in my mind for more than a year now. The idea revolves around establishing random connections between the employees of an organization to promote innovation. At a minimum level, I believe the implementation of the idea is likely to usher in a sense of belonging in the employee and help her understand how the organization understanding the various parts of the organization and then connecting the dots to make out what the big picture looks like. When I conceived the idea, I was hardly familiar with Twitter. In retrospect, I believe that this idea will find a new form if implemented on a tool like Twitter.

While at the symposium, I came across three key ideas that I found to be fascinating!

- Phantom Innovation - It was a study by two people from Sweden on inventions that solved a problem/challenge not originally meant to be solved by that particular invention. In other words, innovations that found accidental use in other unrelated areas. Not surprisingly, this paper won an award.
- Bionics - This one isn't really new. Product development inspired by nature! The imitation/emulation of nature's ideas. A car that looks like a Box Fish, a structure that resembles a spider's web and so forth. I have been fascinated by Biomimicry ever since I first read about it a few years back. In fact, I've been looking to buy the book by Janine Benyus but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere in Bangalore! :-(
- Blue Ocean Strategy - I got to go through a workshop that provided us with practical tools to enable people to use the concepts of Blue Ocean Strategy for innovation.

And then there were other familiar and yet exciting tidbits like studies to establish a link between KM and Innovation. I was thrilled to find that a lot of Innovation professionals were gravitating towards studies on collaboration and collective thinking. There was, as expected, a lot of talk about communities and wikis in the context of innovation.

One another interesting aspect of the conference was a very large representation from the Nordic countries like Finland, Spain, Netherlands, Austria...the countries that stand tall in the worldwide Innovation Index! Overall, it was the first ever time I got to see such a diverse set of Europeans all in one place!

Also, even though I tried very hard not to go on adding to my collection of unread books, I simply couldn't control the urge to pick up a book during the trip - Uncommon Wisdom by Fritjof Capra. Eager to read it. Will probably replace another book in my "Next 3 books to read" list.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


From Dave Pollard's blog: I love this list on Change Management....(emphasis mine)

1. Communities are the basis for change, and what they need more than anything now is excellent stewardship. Facilitators, please stand up.

2. The great value of networks is that they enable groups of people to organize, collaborate, do the work each is best at, and share the work needed to bring about the change, and then show others its value.

3. Change has to start with an identified need, not with a good idea. Generally, we only change when we must. Listen for needs.

4. We need to create safe places to explore and work on bold ideas. Skunkworks can often accomplish more than large amounts of funding.

5. Change, like great research, begins with asking important questions, and provoking respondents to self-change instead of trying to persuade or impose it.

6. To bring about change, be prepared to work with people, listen and understand what works and what is important for them, and engage them in ways they see value in and relate to. And be totally, brutally honest about what you don't know, aren't sure about, or difficulties in the path of desired change. And stay open to other ideas and concerns.

7.If you want to accomplish great change, give up the idea of getting the credit for it.

8. Experiment. The best, profound changes come from masses of iterative learning and exploration of possibilities.

9. Create the starting conditions for momentum, enthusiasm, sufficient resources, the right people, and don't worry about outcomes.

10. Make it easy. When you make it easier to change, to do the right thing, it will succeed more quickly and profoundly than if it requires a lot of work from every person.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

D(e)ad Funny!

OMG! How cheeky! :-D ROFL! This little boy is the most adorable genius I've ever come across...! Not sure if his dad would agree...what with such a "topsy-turvy" relationship (pun intended)! ;-) Believe me...the third box had me clutching my stomach! 

PS: Cartoonist: Bill Watterson. Pic sourced from

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." - Jim Rohn

Do you agree? And if you do, do you find yourself changing as you change your friends or shift from one place to another (office, city, school, neighbourhood)?

Monday, December 08, 2008


I blogging frequency has, perhaps, taken a beating primarily because of my increased activity on twitter. If twitter lets me get everything off my head and share links with fellow tweeple in a jiffy, I am not going to spend a lot of time thinking about writing multiple pages on the same topic, on my blog. Will I? Unless I am not very occupied at work and/or the topic demands a lot more energy from me.

On the positive side, this means that my meaningless statements remain just that - short statements - on twitter. Statements not more than 140 characters in length. They don't get transformed into meaningless and endless posts. So, while my twitter friends have to go through the agony of reading the statements, the blog-friends (who don't follow me on twitter. clever folks, these. the others happen to be clever but suicidal) live in the bliss of ignorance. This, I realize, may improve the overall reputation of my blog (Ha! I find that so funny), for most of my impulsive remarks are going to go to twitter alone. Provided I am not so bored that I have another impulsive urge to elaborate on them in the blog. (which is what I am doing now) Provided I show my brighter side on the blog. (which is what I am not doing now.) I know. I am elaborating on nothing in particular. And there's nothing bright about this post except that it will soon be over.

Actually, you know what? I think I know what is happening. I may be using blogspot's shoulder to shoot at twitter. Bullets though are made of feather. Meant to just tickle the damn tool. My way of telling twitter that it can't prevent me from expressing my character in more than 140 characters or even 140 words as long as I am on my blog.

I am almost done. It'll be over soon. It's just that I want to follow all my thoughtful posts with thoughtless ones and vice versa. I find it amusing to oscillate between thoughtfulness and thoughtlessness. It's like playing the swing and covering the entire path rather than staying only on top and risking a fall or continuously dragging one's feet across the ground. Take both the heady highs and the down-to-earth lows, if you ask me. The highs let me see the whole and dream of conquering life while the lows let me see life as it happens....and come face to face with it. Wipe off your tears now. I am quite done. I did contemplate keeping this post in the drafts folder forever and protecting myself from your wrath but I guess I am too sleepy to think so much. I promise to write the next post when I am fully awake. As I get ready to click the 'Publish Post' button, I have a vague feeling that I am doing something akin to jumping off a tall building. Please spread the net....

PS: A blog-friend had earlier commented on one of my posts tagged as Nonsense and encouraged me as he saw a flavour of Zen in Nonsense. I thank him for the inspiration. I just realized it would be excellent to combine my sleepy mood, zen and nonsense into one word for the title.

Friday, December 05, 2008


I discovered an interesting and inspiring website (actually, organization) today. - An organization that identifies, sponsors and encourages social entrepreneurs. I, obviously, looked up the Indian section and was thrilled to read about a whole lot of passionate and intelligent people going after their idea(s) to make our country a better place! Why don't we get to read more about such people in the papers or watch their interviews on TV? That, by itself, can inspire many more of us to get out of the mundane lives we lead and think beyond our monthly-paycheck.

Monday, December 01, 2008


It's been a week since I finished reading the book, "Presence" by Peter Senge and co. Finally managed to collate most of the thoughts that either reinforced my own beliefs and ideas, or gave me fresh food for thought, opened my eyes to aspects I've not been aware of so far, and gave me inspiration. This is going to be a looooong but very interesting post...! If you're a person that enjoys the kind of thinking that the book engages in, you may not really need to set aside a lot of time to read this post. You will find yourself too deeply engrossed to worry about the time :-)

The book is very unique and one of its kind. The core aspect of the book, in my view, is about the collective awakening to the purpose of mankind as a whole and each individual in it. It encourages both a solitude-based and collective-thought-based approach towards realizing where we are, what we are doing, and what we need to do. I see it to be an open-ended book that isn't really prescriptive. It declares that solutions will have to emerge through introspection and collective thinking. It introduces concepts and ideas that the reader later needs to chew in order to be able to apply. There is a spiritual and philosophical dimension to the book that corporates must not ignore.

I believe that whether the world listens or not is, among other things, determined by the source that it comes from. When someone who has accomplished a lot in the corporate world reveals some spiritual elements in his success, the world is bound to take notice. That way, I would not be surprised if this book has been very influential and changed the corporate world for the better. And I hope it continues to do so...

In the introductory chapter, the authors talk about organizations that "expand blindly, unaware of their part in a larger whole or of the consequences of their growth, like cells that have lost their social identity and reverted to growth for its own sake". This definitely struck a chord and also reminded me of our own busyness as individuals.

The authors also talk about today's educational systems as having been "inspired by industrial age school design with the aim of producing a uniform, standardized product as efficiently as possible"! How true and how revolting!!

They say "As long as our thinking is governed by habit - notably by concepts such as control, predictability, standardization and "faster is better" - we will continue to recreate institutions as they have been, despite their disharmony with the larger world, and the need for all living systems to evolve". We must understand that evolution is not necessarily about speed and volume!

"All learning integrates thinking and doing"

"Entrepreneurial ability is an expression of the capacity to sense an emerging reality and to act in harmony with it"

The authors quote the 'director' of the Truman Show in the movie The Truman Show "We all accept reality as it is presented to us"

The authors quote Michael Ray, the creator of the course on Creativity in Stanford - "1. Creativity is essential for health, happiness and success in all areas of life, including business. 2. Creativity is within everyone and 3. Even though it is within everyone, it is covered over by the voice of judgment."

"The challenges in organizations start with the frenetic pace many people feel compelled to maintain"

"When we're learning something new, we can feel awkward, incompetent, and even foolish"

The authors bring out the importance of knowing the 'whole' and the method to do that being the study of parts at length and seeing a reflection of the 'whole' therein.

The authors talk about coincidences in their own lives and those associated with the creation of the book and indicate that there is more to it than what meets the eye - They talk of an underlying force that works towards a single purpose.

They say that business leaders are those who know "how to distance themselves from the problem and to avoid knee-jerk reactions. They have developed the capacity to avoid imposing old frameworks on new realities". They talk about the need for suspension and redirection...the need for observing and 'slow' decision-making. I am going to reproduce a paragraph that appeals to me immensely - "If the situation is new, slowing down is necessary. Slow down. Observe. Position yourself. Then act fast and with a natural flow that comes from the inner knowing. You have to slow down long enough to really see what's needed. With a freshness of vision, you have the possibility of a freshness of action, and the overall response on a collective level can be much quicker than trying to implement hasty decisions that aren't compelling to people"

The authors derive a "theory" called Sensing-Presencing-Realizing. (observe. retreat and reflect. act swiftly with a natural flow.) This has also been referred to as Letting go and Letting come.

"True not to fill a barrel but to light a flame"

"When you discover what you're here for the forces of nature also operate in your service. When you see what you're here for, the world begins to mirror your purpose in a magical way. It's almost as if you suddenly find yourself on a stage in a play that was written expressly for you". Sounds like Coelho...

"Business growth should be sustainable and consistent with nature and consistent with life"

"Confrontations between even the most well-intentioned leaders usually just reinforce polarization"...!

"There's nothing more personal than vision, yet the visions that ultimately prove transformative have nothing to do with us as individuals" - a paradox

The authors quote GB Shaw "This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose you consider a mighty one, the being a force of nature, rather than a feverish, selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy"

"If you form and hold your intent strongly enough, it becomes true"

"If you know what's right, you don't have to make decisions. You just do it"

The authors quote Churchill "Leadership is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm"

The authors move on to provide convincing arguments in favour of prototyping (I believe this is in the context of pursuing our noble vision which is not likely to be crystal clear in the very beginning) - "Rapid prototyping is a way to avoid getting stuck in plans or trying to completely figure out 'the true nature of the emerginf whole'. Indeed, the true nature of an emerging whole can't be accessed fully without engaging in concrete experiments, improvisation and prototyping." "In its essence, prototyping accesses and aligns the wisdom of our head, heart and hands by forcing us to act before we've figured every-thing out and created a plan". The "essence of creative process" is to "create and adjust"

"Successful prototyping is something in between the extremes of either ignoring feedback or overreacting to every disconforming signal"

"If you're open in relation to your idea, the universe will help you. If you're open it wants to suggest ways for you to improve your idea"

The authors quote the founder of Gap Body "You have to have the vision and the deep intention that goes with it. But you also have to have the incredible capacity for self-observation and course correction in real time. The universe wants to help. But you must be able to observe and listen"

They say the true future is about seven steps/spaces - awareness, stopping, calmness, stillness, peace, true thinking, and attainment. It is a long, long, long process.

Here is a KMish set of statements:

"The leadership of the future will not be provided simply by individuals but by groups, institutions, communities and networks". "The most important thing going forward is to break the boundaries between people so we can operate as a single intelligence".

They say that the bane of the measurement culture is that "people start believing that something is real only to the extent that it is measurable". The authors opine that the soft stuff is often relegated to a secondary status and this is ironic as it is often the hardest to do well and the primary determinant of success or failure. (Relevant to KM again)

Stillness creates a capacity that no longer fragments who we really are from what's emerging.

A great reflection of where the world is heading these days; A participant in a workshop conducted by the authors is quoted as follows "I worry much more today about unquestioned answers than about unanswered questions".

The authors talk about people who pursue their deepest desires in harmony with the world as those dance with destiny but out of free choice or will. "You feel as if you're fulfilling your destiny, but you also feel as if you're freer than you've ever been in your life. It's a huge paradox"

An individual's cultivation, the authors opine, happens out of three things: "Meditation", "Study of the scriptures", "Committment to service"

At the end of the book, the authors share an awesome discovery (by a Japanese photographer) that water has intricate patterns in it that can be observed through sophisticated technology. What's more awesome is that the water patterns become extremely beautiful when the water is exposed to music and prayers. The authors thus try to prove that there is some mysterious cosmic law that revolves around vibrations. Subsequently, the authors derive the idea that "thought creates reality" from this phenomenon.

Overall, this is a sort of enchanting book touching upon eclectic aspects that can change the way we lead our lives. What it calls for us to adopt the book's teachings is the utilization of the authors' very own U theory - sense, presence and realize. (observe. stop and reflect. act.) I don't know if that sounds like a casual and matter-of-fact review. But like the authors point out in the book, this is a long, long, long process and I hope I have subconsciously let it begin within me. I think the trick is to really silence our minds, be still and absorb what comes to us without letting our prejudices and past impact our attitude.

Thanks to CZ for recommending this book! I hope there will be a time when I can come back to this post and you - CZ - to share what it ultimately leads me to. :-)

Creative Thinking...

It's been a crazy week. A cautious trip to Chennai that could have very well been canceled. An adventure at 5.45 AM....being subjected to a heavy downpour on a huge, isolated and dark road with no transport in sight for around 15 minutes. Locked up in a house for 2 days with nowhere to go. But, finally, a decent return-journey that had more sunshine than rain. Most importantly, anger, helplessness and sorrow in response to the Mumbai war. Verdict: Feeling quite dis-oriented, groggy and somewhat dull. Determined to bounce back though! What could be better than catching up with some good ideas on creative thinking?

Check this out. (Move your body, eat right, express yourself, socialize, solitude, serendipity, engage all your senses, laugh. Note that today's internet tools definitely help us express ourselves, socialize, and invite serendipity). Want to add "Be Silent/Meditate" to this list...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Finished *Waiting for the Mahatma*...! :-)

Just finished the book "Waiting for the Mahatma" by R.K. Narayan. I feel like chuckling at the thought of what my expectations and ideas about the book were when I picked it up. I expected it to be something highly philosophical and revolving around the Mahatma's ideals and virtues. Not that it isn't somewhat though. I assumed it would be about how the protagonist lets the Mahatma lead him...and turn around his life from something meaningless to something 'deep' and 'intense'. Overall, I was under the impression that it would be a serious story.

But....I must say that it turned out to be a cute book rather than something on the lines of what I expected! :-) Really cute! (I haven't probably called a book 'cute' before this! LoL.) It made me smile and chuckle now and then.
The book transports the reader to the famous town of Malgudi with so much typical RK.N style! There are a few places in the story where the reader is likely to get confused about the author's view of India's struggle for freedom. But I guess the reader shouldn't attempt to read between the is a wonderful read if one just reads the story for what it is - a naive man's life and love, with the Indian Freedom struggle as the backdrop - and suspends all judgment and opinions. But I think the ending was really touching. I got so involved in it that I forgot to close the book for a while and simply sat staring and gurgling at the last page.

Where Do You Belong?

So, where do you

Monday Morning Blues. Time to do something - go green? - about your work.

Weekend "Weakness". Time to do something about your life...outside of work!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Final Sanity Check. Failed.

The wait isn't still over. You must excuse me. Millions of mad monkeys! It's, after all, Friday!! :-) However...if you insist (hmph) on some concrete evidence in favour of being (or continuing to be) my friend, read the following carefully:

1. From The Life of Samuel Johnson - "A man who talks nonsense so well must know that he is talking nonsense" (No, I haven't read the book. God knows what the context of the statement is. But if you noticed, I am discreetly laying a claim to be good at nonsensical talk!)

2.“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men" - Gene Wilder (Maybe Gene's surname prevented his friends from getting violent in response to his wonderful statement. But I am going to bravely tag along and nod in agreement. Of course, what "now and then" means is an entirely subjective thing! And once again, if you noticed, I am discreetly laying a claim to be wise.)

PS: I have a secret (not anymore, I guess) wish to replace "men" with "women" (and therefore "he" with "she") in every single quote that seems to completely ignore the existence of women. Grr. Makes it so inconvenient for us women to quote people!

Update: If you are a child in the garb of an adult...or at least have a teeny weeny bit of child-like sentiments left in you, I am sure you either have a smile or a grin on your face now. don't have to examine the grin on our little doggy-friend's face (above). Your grin doesn't necessarily have to be that good. Even a mediocre grin will do. But if you don't happen to have any sort of grin on your face...freeze immediately. Don't move a single muscle on your face. No twitching! Get up and go over to the nearest and clearest mirror and check for a raised eyebrow or a slight scowl or perhaps a somewhat dazed/puzzled look. If yes, I must give you the bad news. You may be suffering from Adulter. That's a variation of cancer that grows unabated and destroys the child in you gradually. But you may find various cures, nevertheless. Recommended doctors - children/pets. Do let me know when there's an improvement. :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Once upon a time....

No. Apologies. Not as yet. Your wait is not really over. (If you happen to be a regular and persistent - don't tell me! - reader of this blog and have somehow - miraculously - been here long enough to realize that I do manage to write one or two good posts a year....or make that two years) This isn't, I am afraid, going to be one of those rare great posts. As usual, it is another aimless post with no goal(s) in life whatsoever. Flash in the pan brilliance is definitely a bad thing in blogging. You have to keep hoping that your readers are patient enough to wait till it finally comes and hits them out of the blue. Not that I really want to put your life in peril by suggesting that you come back to this blog again and again in the hope that you will see a flash some time or the other. Just a thought, you know. Sigh. Hopefully I may succeed in cheating you by mentioning that it looks like the next 'good' post is being gradually brewed in a remote and minuscule corner (fictional, did you say?) of my otherwise inactive brain. I hope you'll be kind enough to recognize it when it is served. (Of course, I will need help in recognizing such a thing) I dread to think of the day when even that r and m corner (ok, have it your way...fictional) stops working and goes to sleep. Anyway, let me not worry about that right now.

I'd drawn this stuff (above) using an online drawing-board software. My message to you, the reader, is very clear. Remove all doubts and stop speculating (just because you stopped doing that in the stock market, it doesn't mean you must try it in on my blog, of all the places) for here it is. Just wanted to say it is quite funny how I seem to choose to draw more or less the same pic every time I sit down to draw and don't have any cartoons for inspiration. Almost as if I have been secretly programmed. Makes me think this must be a real place that I probably grew up in, in one of my previous lives. Or maybe it's the larger part of my - non-functional - brain at work. I never seem to get bored of drawing the same old nameless tree with some nondescript grass around it, a stream flowing from south to north (yes, that's the way I imagine it), the beautiful and bright sun shining down on the tree and the stream, a clueless bird (bird-like creature?) hovering around (however, the bird sometimes finds company and is a part of a flock of clueless birds), some pebbles of varied sizes and shapes in the stream, and finally yours truly sitting under the tree with books, music and a cup of yummy cold coffee with ice cream. Does this happen to you? I mean, do you end up drawing the same thing again and again? I am beginning to think that this may even be the consequence of a painful drawing imposition during my childhood days. Maybe the teacher made me draw it so many times (in the hope of getting me to draw something that looked like a place on earth) that I can't think of anything else to draw. Or maybe this is the consequence of a deeply embedded thought that is trying to tell me that I need to go off to such a place and save mankind (from me). Or, well, mmmaybe the thought actually conveys that such places can only be seen on paper in future?

Thanks for sitting through this ordeal. You deserve to enjoy a break in a similar looking place if you have access to it. Toodle-oo for now!

PS: Doesn't the bird-like creature look more like it is crawling than flying? I knew it all along but the bird refused to listen to me. And you don't have to tell me...I know you've now given up in case you happened to be looking to find at least some traces of sanity in me. I can't, unfortunately, blame it on alcohol because I am a teetotaler. Hmn.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Word Therapy

This is just a simple idea that came to me all of a sudden. I like it. But what I've done with it is not so great. I think one can get more creative with it...perhaps make use of better tools to realize its full impact. But, well, ideas evolve....sometimes on their 'own' and, of course, when more people adopt it. So, consider adopting it and feel free to suggest/make improvements.

I love words! Some words (and phrases) are so powerful that they evoke intense feelings, thoughts and even spur us into action. They can make us dream, visualize things and march on to make them a reality. Words can excite. Words can inspire. Words can lend energy. Words when combined creatively can, I believe, cause permanent change. Advertisers are likely to swear by that. That's why I am in awe of people who go around sporting a cool bag of lively words and display immense talent (and, sometimes, a sense of humor) in pulling out the word(s) exactly when it is (they are) needed. (But words can also be misused...making them double-edged swords. Ask the media.)

Righto! I don't particularly think I've got very creative with words in my write-up so far, but here's my idea! And I am calling it Word Therapy. Simple stuff. A 'Do it yourself' exercise that can massage your mind and soul. Think of some key words that excite, inspire, motivate, energize you. Think of the words that explain you. Think of the words that make you. And put them all together in the form of a colourful collage. Group the words if you feel like. Then, simply stare at the collage. Let your eyes wander over the words. Pause every now and then. See the connections...known and unknown. Absorb the words. Let them lend you their energy. Even let them hypnotize you. Maybe you'll feel the difference - the words could wake you up, put some action into you, inspire you, make you believe in yourself.....and what not. At the risk of exaggerating, I am inclined to say that it could even contribute to the making of your character depending on the intensity with which you do it. And, well, you anyway get to decide what you want from the collage.

I just tried it. I can't say the collage looks as nice as I would have wanted it to. But I can, nevertheless, feel the impact. Take a look. (It might look better with some nice symbols and small images at appropriate places.)

Does it do something to you, if at all? What would your word therapy collage look like? Would you like to create one and share it? And, hey, feel free to spread the 'word'! :-)

Human Angels

From DailyOM. Reading this made me feel good, positive, peaceful and one with the universe...even if only for a fleeting but precious moment. Inspiring enough to share it here. Haven't we all come across people who make us feel better during the worst of situations? And sometimes they don't even know how much of a difference they've made to the person in distress. I'd love to have such a quality...the quality of filling someone's heart with hope, faith, love, courage, confidence and inspiration. It overwhelms me to even imagine a world full of such people. Paradise...!


Beings of Light

Human Angels

During each of our journeys, there are those inevitable moments when someone comes into our life at precisely the right time and says or does precisely the right thing. Their words or actions may help us perceive ourselves more clearly, remind us that everything will turn out for the best, help us cope, or see us through difficult situations. These people are human angels – individuals designated by the universe to be of service to those in need at specific points in time. Some human angels make a commitment before their births to make a positive contribution to the world at a particular moment. Others were chosen by the universe. All human angels, however, come into our lives when we least expect them and when we can most benefit from their presence.

A few of the human angels we may encounter are in professions where helping others is an everyday occurrence. But most of them are regular people, going about their daily lives until called upon to be in the right place at the right time to bring peace, joy, help, or heal someone when they most need it. You may have met a human angel in the form of a teacher who gave you a piece of advice that touched your soul and influenced your path. The person that momentarily stopped you to say hello on the street, delaying you long enough to avoid an oncoming car or a collision, is also a human angel. They may offer nothing more than a kind word or a smile, but they will offer it when you can draw the most strength and support from their simple action.

You may be a human angel yet not know it. Your fate or intuition may guide you toward other people’s challenging or distressing situations, leading you to infer that you simply have bad luck. But recognizing yourself as a human angel can help you deal with the pain you see and understand that you are there to help and comfort others during their times of need. Human angels give of their inner light to all who need it, coming into our lives and often changing us forever. Their task has its challenges, but it is they that have the power to teach, bring us joy, and comfort us in times of despair.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

7 Rules of KM

Dave's updated list of 7 rules of KM has been doing its rounds in blogosphere and twitterworld for almost a month now. It just occurred to me that the second rule could possibly have an addendum (not a rule for knowledge sharing per se but one relevant to KM nevertheless) - *We are sure of what we know and are capable of improving it only when we act on it.*

Monday, November 10, 2008

Music is My Mother Tongue

Yay! Yippee! Yay! Finally! No, I did not get to go to the moon...but, hey, I had an out-of-the-world experience nevertheless. I got to attend a 2-hour music concert by S.P.B in Namma Bengaluru. Perhaps the best thing about attending the concert was that it was not planned in advance and came as an unexpected surprise. We went over to the venue almost 45 minutes before the concert began (don’t ask me why) but I managed to kill time with premium popcorn (popcorn that costs more because it is accompanied by music) and amused myself by watching people stream in, screen the ground, eye random chairs, avoid the dirty ones and the ones next to people who seemed like recluses, move from one section to another every few minutes and finally make up their minds and settle down somewhere once for all.

S.P.B was punctual and made his entry bang on time. I smiled at the stage and the speakers and took a few deep breaths as if to inhale the music in the air. I knew that the concert was multi-lingual and was looking forward to some of my favourite Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi songs. S.P.B was supported by 4-5 other local singers and a popular Kannada singer-TV anchor. I thought S.P.B was, not surprisingly, cautious about the crowd -He felt it necessary to mention that all languages were the same in his view and for him, personally, there was actually just one language – Music. That statement of his, btw, triggered off a spark in me actually. I’ve decided that one of the best ways to express my undying obsession for music is to say “Music is my Mother Tongue”. Thank you. Thank you.

When SPB sang the first Tamil song, he chose one that referred to a deity in Kerala and even said “We are now going from Karnataka to Kerala!” ;-) As if people would imagine it was a Malayalam song. Fortunately, he got a little less conscious when he sang the other Tamil songs. Sigh. I wish we did not have to be so scared in our own country!

As I sat through the lovely songs, drinking in the music, I did allow myself to be distracted. There was this active little kid next to me who contributed to the entertainment. He first interrogated his dad about where the latter had parked the car and why he could not park it in the VIP lot and whether the car was safe outside. The kid then went on to brainwash, bully and emotionally blackmail his dad into buying most of the available snacks at an alarming frequency. When I thought that was all the kid would be interested in and there would be no more entertainment from him, he demonstrated his versatility. He insisted that his dad demand S.P.B for a particular song that he (the kid) was apparently fond of. His dad gave in and got up and lifted the little boy and presented him to S.P.B (who was too far away and engrossed in his song to notice) a la the famous Lion King scene, while screaming for the song. I giggled as softly as I could and turned back to focus on the stage. A while later, a tiny hand made its presence felt in the periphery of my vision. It was drawing imaginary sine waves. As you may have guessed, it was our little friend again. I marveled at the talent and thought to myself that kids are now even learning to conduct music and turned back to the stage a little dazed. Soon enough, I realized that the character under question was, ahem, simply imitating our legendary singer. So much for a budding prodigy.

Coming back to the music, I let out a whoop of joy when S.P.B sang two of my most favourite Kannada songs - Naguva nayana and Jotheyalli.

The supporting singers attempted to cater to the universal request for Anisitude yaako indu and Ninnindale. But I must say that I was not particularly thrilled…it was nowhere near the original. Sonu Nigam is inimitable. Period. (Forget the videos, folks…just soak in the music. At least, that’s the way I like it. Watching a video sometimes kills the beauty of the music! :-()

Coming to the Tamil fare, though I was left craving for a lot more, I was lucky to listen to two of my favourites - Sundari kannal oru and Guruvayurappa. S.P.B also sang Engeyum eppodum, which turned out to be something that made most of the audience go quite crazy.

So, that’s that. Sigh. I wish there were live music concerts in office. That would inspire me tons. Anyone listening? Hmn?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Human Mind...

I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened - Mark Twain.

Aaah! :-) What a way to teach people not to worry unnecessarily, eh?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Umm. Er. Well. Huh...

Umm. If you've been wondering.....yes, I am alive. But ain't really kicking. Rarely have I been away from blogging for such a long time (2 weeks is a long time given my erstwhile blogging frequency) while still leading a routine life.....Makes me wonder how I survived without imagining that I must be dead, before blogspot happened to me. Patience. Let me explain what I mean by that baffling statement. Because Blogspot tends to bluntly 'tell' me whether I am thinking or not. And to not think - about something profound, creative, worthwhile - for too long a time is suffocating. Don't get me wrong. Silencing the mind is a great thing. But if I am not thinking about something 'important' for, say, more than a week...I almost feel like a log of wood (aka dead). To think but not be able to express the thoughts is a different feeling. To stop blogging is almost equivalent to have stopped thinking, at times!

Been busy with some official procedures, but that shouldn't be stopping me from thinking/writing, however stupid an exercise form-filling happens to be. Sample this...I had to make a card for a friend who celebrated her birthday recently and something tells me what I came up with is the stupidest card ever designed by any human on earth. If you're thinking that the financial crisis may have something to do with it, you're not right. I don't work with any of the financial majors. I guess I just have to wait for this phase to go away...or even better....see it as something that will save my blog-readers from the agony of reading my posts. The thing that makes me somewhat happy though is that I recently managed to get my brain active enough to write a strong letter on behalf of a friend's friend who is waiting to get back some money that she was cheated of. Apparently, the letter made a difference and the organization that cheated her has woken up and is talking to her to understand what exactly can be done to recover from the situation...though there is no guarantee that she will get the money back as yet.

What all this means, anyway, is that I am hungry. Extremely. Looking for some food....for thought. Almost starving, actually. And, please, I am not looking for "fast" food. Note to self: You should probably try and take some time off and finish the book that you started reading a couple of weeks back - Presence. Will surely make your brain feel better.

I did catch up with my blog-feeds after a week's look for something that would bring some life back into me. I found three posts that changed my mood. Here they are, in the order in which I found them.

- This one made me guffaw
- This one made me stop, think and wonder about life
- This one made me introspect on my own tendencies (on prescriptive thinking)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Google Vs Wikipedia

Bill talks about Google's potential decline in the wake of more sophisticated versions of Wikipedia. Being a big fan of Google, I am not sure I know how to respond, without getting a bit emotional. But then I am a fan of Wikipedia as well. :-) Coincidentally, the other day, when I was in a local KM community meeting, someone spoke about an article that apparently suggests that the birth of effective and meaningful social networking hints at the death of search. That was surely an Aa..ha! moment for me and I continue to entertain the idea. (After all, it is akin to organizational KM's shift from repositories to communities...isn't it?) Only time can tell how true this prediction is going to turn out to be. But here's some food for thought....whenever I want to learn about something brand new, I tend to visit the Wikipedia while I go to Google if I am looking for a specific article or ideas on something I am somewhat familiar with. Does this tell you something? And, btw, how do you choose between W and G?

Bill points to this elaborate article on Google Vs Wikipedia 3.0.

Update: Atul's interpretation of this post has made this debate/dialogue even more interesting. Go here to read his thoughts and my response to them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Intelligence is Diverse, Dynamic and Distinct

Thanks to @gapingvoid for his tweet link. This video is absolutely brilliant indeed! Ken Robinson is hilarious and extremely thought-provoking. His remark, "Intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinct" and his subsequent classification of intelligence should find essential application in the way children are understood and brought-up. I don't know about other countries, but his talk seems incredibly relevant in the Indian context.

On a related note...many of you may have come across T-Shirt art that proclaims "I was born brilliant. Education ruined me!" and I've believed that to be very close to the truth rather than a sort of half-truth or a complete joke.

PS: The original video is here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Prosperity Index

The last time I got really involved and excited about deciphering and analyzing such a matrix was, I think, when I worked on some assignments in the Economics class. Thanks to MT for pointing to this intriguing report.

Believe me, this index can really challenge some of your beliefs if you're looking at it for the first time. Some of the discoveries as reflected in the Index reminds me of the proverbial battle between perception and reality (reality here means government-generated numbers and surveys which, of course, can also be challenged). I think it is fascinating to see the correlation between the last two parameters of the index - Religious Freedom vs Religious Belief. (I find the whole concept of including 'Social Supports' parameters in this index to be a very worthwhile idea.). What can possibly surprise you is the discovery that India does well on the 'Low Unemployment' column and does not do as well as we might have generally imagined on the 'Religious Belief' column.....what with India being considered the spiritual capital of the world. Australia tops the overall ranking. Singapore tops the Economic Competitiveness ranking (and, of course, the 'Commercializing Innovation' ranking). South Korea's high ranking on the 'Commercializing Innovation' column goes a long way to reiterate how the country has leaped into the limelight over the past decade or so. India does not do well in the 'Better Education' column! :-( And no surprises on discovering that European countries are great on the 'Comparative Liveability' parameters.

There's no end to the number of indirect discoveries and conclusions one can arrive at based on each of these columns and, of course, based on correlations between some of the columns. If you happen to make some interesting discoveries, please do leave your thoughts here.

PS: Can't help wondering about the direct and indirect implications of the countries' performance in the 'Better Education' and 'Community Life' columns, in the context of KM and Collaboration....! ;-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Music Madness

This one's taken a long time coming. This is a song that I should have ideally raved about long back, given that it has a huge impact on me every time I listen to it. And, ironically, I should have at least spoken about this song in lieu of its unsuccessful attempt at getting me into serious trouble.

But first things first. Why do I like this song so much? Because it is a complete package...with so many wonderful dimensions to it.

music has been composed by the one and only Maestro, Ilayaraja and the way it reflects the mood of the song to perfection can very well go into the encyclopedia of music.

lyrics are so moving that it leaves me quite speechless.The urge to memorize the lines is unavoidable even for a person who is more musically inclined like yours truly.

The actress,
Sridevi, is a favourite. One of the few Indian actresses who can claim to be genuinely versatile and amazingly talented. Her Charlie Chaplin act in Mr.India left me in complete awe of her. If she isn't brilliant....then I don't know brilliance when I spot it. And of course, in this very song, her talent for acting oozes out of every single frame.

And then...the voice!
Suresh Wadkar! Ah! There is something about his voice that awakens my soul...
And not to forget....I'd perhaps give a million dollars to see the live performance of the flock of birds from 00.20 mins to 00.26 mins. And perhaps another million for a rendezvous with the cute puppy that tags along with the actors. :-)

Overall, this song is a heady mix that puts me in a trance. It is the first
play list on my iPOD. Hold on. You read it right. It is a play list....a play list with just one song. :-P

Coming to the experience that I alluded to earlier, the story goes like this. It was one of those fresh and delightful mornings and I was staring at the world with unseeing eyes on my way to office when the radio station that we had tuned into decided to do the morning air and me a musical favour and played this song. I was getting to hear it after a long gap on that, the unexpected joy made me rediscover nature. (
Umm. I told you it puts me in a trance!) Unable to experience the joy alone, I turned around and grinned at my co-passengers in glee. To my utter disappointment, no one even noticed. In retrospect, I think that should read "To my utter joy, no one noticed". If anyone had, I am sure I would have had to look for alternative transportation the very next day or perhaps agree to be accompanied by a psychiatrist from then on. How about you? Are there any songs that make you behave like you just escaped from the zoo? Eh?

Friday, October 10, 2008

See What I Found... :-)

I loved reading this post! Maybe because I have a thing for enthusiasm and expertise (knowledge) :-)
It also led me to another wonderful post on passion, on the same blog. And do follow these posts to catch up with amazing blog conversations, from some really thoughtful (and passionate) people!!

I left some excited comments and thought I'd reproduce one of them here...for it provided me with a wonderful opportunity to reconsider and collate many of my previous musings on the topic of competition and passion.


Brilliant post and, once again, brilliant conversation as well! It feels so good to see your posts provoking such introspective and genuine conversations. :) Here are some additions to this wonderful conversation.

- I suggest that all the people who are passionate about passion and success read the book Success Vs Joy by Geeth Sethi. It is simply awesome. Check out some of my comments on the book here

- And check out some of the things I discovered and wrote about with re. to competition



here - (Even I believe Google is what it is more because of its own passion rather than an intention to do better than others)


and here

and here as well

- Finally, I shall play my own devil's advocate - Gary Kasparov says he is what he is because of Karpov! See this. ( can't expect simple and unilateral solutions to life's complexities!)

Waiting to see more such conversations on topics close to my heart! :-)

Making it Simpler is Simply Stupid

Next time someone says "Keep it simple, stupid" when you think you've tried your best to simplify and don't deserve to be at the receiving end of the much abused KISS principle....try this - "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." And, hey, do tell them it was Albert Einstein who said it. Har Har. ;-P

PS: Finally, if you feel like, you can also tell them that I told you to tell them. Stop. Something tells me I must learn to make everything complex but not complexer!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

KM - Best Practices


KM Queries

KM - Training Needs

KM - Competency and Skill

KM - Organizational Knowledge Base

KM - Individual Domain Knowledge

KM - Project Management


How does KM help in the identification of Best Practices?

Does KM drive or simply enable this? Drive

Traditionally: In earlier times, I guess most of the best practices would be left to the management to be discovered and spread across the organization. Benchmarking practices, meanwhile, would enable formal best practices transfer from across the industry. Apart from discoveries and promotion by the senior management, board meetings and internal conferences would perhaps serve as a convenient platform for identifying, discovering and sharing of best practices within the organization. Word of mouth would probably be heavily relied upon among other things.

KM’s value-add: KM can bring in a formal process for best practice identification and transfer and can also provide an efficient technical platform for the purpose. KM can also add value by targeting tangible business benefits from best practices transfer and formally monitoring and reporting these benefits to the top management. This in turn will provide more tangible reasons for its pursuit.

The idea: One of the best examples of how KM can drive best practices transfer can be found in the book Learning to Fly. Please read my previous post on this here. This book outlines every detail that one may require in planning and executing a best practices transfer initiative. Starting from bringing people together, identifying best practices, deciding on who should learn from whom, how it can be sustained and monitored etc. For organizations really serious about best practices transfer, the KM team can be engaged to even develop exclusive dashboards that help the top management perceive the benefits and progress.

The details- culture, process and technology: The culture will have to be driven by the top management, exclusive campaigns and advertisements, incentives and recognition for sharing and reusing best practices and so on. The process is best explained in Learning to Fly. The technology could be in the form of a platform for listing and rating best practices, forming groups of people who want to learn from the group that shares – repository, discussion boards etc, and a dashboard for monitoring the progress and benefits of the best practices initiative.

The Logic of Analogy

On my mind this morning.....if you can churn out accurate, interesting and thought-provoking analogies on the spur of the moment, you will make a great trainer/coach, be capable of influencing people, sound intriguing and convincing, make for an entertaining speaker, and even stimulate more ideas. So, how can we possibly become good 'analogy generators'? There are two things that occur to me -

a) read a lot - vertically (specific subjects covered in depth) as well as horizontally (variety)
b) learn to be creative, that is, learn to make connections where they are not so evident!

On the other side, interestingly enough, even force-fitting an analogy between two unrelated fields may lead to surprising and exciting discoveries or perhaps - once in a long while - result in an innovative idea worth pursuing. Analogies can, I believe, create new paradigms.

Observation: I have noticed that Spiritual thought-leaders, more often than not, make good use of analogies. I guess they are forced to do so. Otherwise, they are likely to be perceived as vague and assumed to be in the realm of abstraction!

What is (are) your favourite analogy(analogies)?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Emotions - Influence - Crowds

Not so new. But good reading. Focuses on emotions in the context of accepting advice.
Brings out the importance of understanding the subject's emotions - state of mind - before attempting to influence her. This is a bit of a digression, but as a KMer, I not only 'am thinking of influencing individuals but also groups of people - mass communication - and that is a different ball-game altogether. It is a paradox that influencing a crowd can either be very difficult due to there being a complex set of independant minds or very easy due to there being a flavour of herd mentality. But then, one must remember that herd mentality cannot be sustained and can only cause harm because of its sole reliance on emotions.

Laughing Riot

I watched this 1941 black-n-white movie on TV yesterday and enjoyed it immensely! Makes me smile even now. (I love B&W movies!) I just stopped short of rolling on the floor and laughing at times. At first, it seems like an absolutely lighthearted, silly, slap-stick comedy with no care for logic or maturity. But underneath the veil of comedy, there were a couple of important and not-so-hidden messages for the people of that era (and maybe even for us). A delightful sugar coated pill, in short. Apart from the humor, the content of the messages was another reason why I enjoyed the movie. It appears to be one of the oldest movies celebrating the concept of feminism....or at least equality....and it indirectly celebrates literacy as well. Overall, it was a ridiculous and jolly riot worth every frame.

The hero and his male servant were tremendous with their expressions and the latter's character was that of a typical illiterate and dumb villager who is capable of following orders without any thought whatsoever. The movie has its leading women helping their husbands with their education! :-) I was so kicked about this movie that I decided to check out Wikipedia for information on it and was not disappointed. Wikipedia has everything under the sun! :-) This movie will bring a smile to my face whenever I think of it. Sabash Sabapathy!! :-D

Update: Here's a link to the movie in the IMDB, with a positive review! And I just realized that this is akin to Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster stories except that Bertie has the most intelligent companion in Jeeves.

Social Media in Business

This is a brilliant all-in-one list of how organizations are making use of Social Media (Blogs, Wikis, Microblogs, Communities: discussion boards, networks, second life, Video, Podcasts, Photos, Mashups, Voting, Crowdsourcing, Meetup, Bookmarking, Widgets). The most popular, not surprisingly, seem to be Blogs, Microblogs and Communities. Goes a long way to show how social media can change the face of business. Be it communication, branding, interaction, feedback, innovation et al. I am ready to bet my last rupee that these things are and will continue to be brilliant for businesses (and non-profit), really. But only if the entity under question is so passionate and innovative that it stands out of the crowd and knows exactly what it wants out of the web 2.0 paradigm. It cannot be there to just join the bandwagon. There is so much information out there in the WWW that it will turn out to be nothing more than a sticky and horrifying mess of posts, tweets, questions, discussions, forums, files and utilities if there is no method to the madness. (What a paradox, eh? Leveraging on crowd power is by the show of leadership and highlighting differences from the rest of the corporate crowd!).

Hat-tip: Thanks to Dina for her tweet pointing to this list! :-)

The Little Treasures of Life

From today's DailyOM. Comes at a great time. What a pleasant surprise just after my previous post on happiness! :-) I really loved reading this and think you will too!

Treasure Hunting
Discovering the Little Things that Make Us Happy

Life is full of little wonders that can make us happy. The sound of a baby’s laughter, a good book, the comforting smell of a favorite old sweatshirt, and the warmth from a cup of hot tea are simple pleasures that can easily put smiles on our faces. These “little things” are easily accessible to us and can be sources for finding happiness. A key to doing so is taking the time to put those rose colored glasses from childhood back on so you can easily find the joy in all the “little things” that life has to offer.

Finding a puppy rummaging through the laundry basket, trying on that perfect shade of lipstick, or discovering the extra change you left in your back pocket can turn into moments of delight. Like kids digging in the sandbox for buried trinkets, we may even begin to experience happiness when we engage in the seemingly mundane. Figuring out a software program can feel like deciphering a treasure map, and that first sip of tea in the morning can taste like a forbidden delicacy. Swaying to music playing on the radio can turn into an interpretive jig, riding a bike can seem like flying to the moon, and getting a phone call from that special someone can feel like winning the lottery. A pickup game of basketball becomes an exciting match among champions, and observing an elderly couple walking hand in hand can turn into a meditation on peace and contentment.

When we begin rediscovering that the little things in life can make us happy, we naturally want to share this joy with others. We may gush over a friend when we run into them unexpectedly, praise a street musician for their talents, or blow bubbles for the neighborhood kids to chase. We may even start to think of the little things we can do to make other people happy, which in turn makes us happy all over again. There is an endless supply of little things and little moments that can make us happy. All we have to do is look for them, and they’ll magically start to appear.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Happy Pursuits or Pursuit of Happiness....?

Dave Pollard points to this article on the pursuit of happiness. I couldn't agree more with the author, John Barlow. John says one ought not to pursue 'happiness' but realize that happiness comes free with (primarily?) four acts. Well, one can always argue that what it means is that we should nevertheless pursue something or the other! As in the four activities that John advocates in order to experience happiness. But,hey, don't you think all is well as long as we know how to be 'really' finding and doing what makes us happy. To be honest, I personally believe that in most cases people don't pursue happiness per se, but genuinely go looking for something that they can do to be happy. Or, yes, they get so distracted by the challenges and unpredictability of life that they are unable to experience even the extremely obvious happiness that stares them in the face all the time.

John says "I have found four qualities that I believe naturally enrich the ecology of joy. When I'm capable of sustaining them, they sustain me and continue to do so even in these strange days. They are: a sense of mission, the casual service of others, the solace of little delights, and finally, love for its own sake". In his article, when he elaborates upon the sense of mission, he goes on to say how being creative (in the pursuit of a mission) can make one experience great joy. (Yeah!)

It is the sense of mission that all of us need to have or find. It is the creative outlet that we all need to discover. Casual service for others as John explains it should be a lot easier than we think. Coming to the little delights of life, they are extremely easy to spot for some and pathetically unobservable for others. I have no clue how anyone can be taught to appreciate the scurrying of the squirrel, the forlorn look in the eyes of a pup, the mirth of a child, the flight of a flock of casual birds, the orange sunset on a beach, the sound of a flute and so on. I suspect it has to be there...within be able to find the awesomeness of such seemingly mundane things. And then, we have finding joy through love. I guess it is easy to fall in love but the difficulty is rather in sustaining it! And that's because love is rarely unconditional. And even if you expect nothing in particular from others, the complexity of handling love increases as we get into situations involving misconceptions, lack of transparency, deceit, selfishness and what not. So, is it a blind obsession of sorts for mankind that presents itself as a solution? Duh! Maybe! More understandably, it may not necessarily be in ignoring such problems that you get joy, but in being able to accept and get over them (forget and forgive) for your own sake. So, let's listen to the story of Jack... :-)

Jack had found his mission in life

For it filled him with immense passion and purpose

And there was no sense of strife

It made him stretch and learn

And made him believe he was a significant part of this wonderful world

It made him jump out of the bed every morning

He loved helping others whenever he could

At work and outside of it

He enjoyed nature, music, children and art

He had a family and friends he loved from the bottom of his heart

He knew how to give. He also knew to forgive and forget.

Jack was, truly, a happy man...!

So, the answer, I presume may lie in these - large and little - happy pursuits rather than the pursuit of happiness for its own sake.

PS: Attachment to God and detachment from everything mortal and temporary - worldly - is seen as another happy pursuit in the Indian context. And this is generally what most Indian housewives (of the previous generation) want to engage themselves in, to get away from the so-called pangs of life.