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...