Archive for the 'new ideas' Category

A new journey – Sparkling Mindz

It’s been a while since I posted out here…life has been hectic, life has been venturesome!

About a year ago, an idea struck me that simply summed up as –  the only thing that can make you stand out in the crowd is how you think, learning to think should be taught at a much younger age than it is taught today and that, it should be fun while you are at it! So, I started Sparkling Mindz along with a group of like-minded individuals, who have been a pillar of support in the growth of this organization.

You may be wondering what Sparkling Mindz is? It is an after school program that provides children an opportunity to grasp thinking skills in a fun way!

It is exciting to see the children’s eyes light up they feel empowered to think, generate ideas and then apply it in their day-to-day lives! They learn to transform into confident, thinking individuals…

You can read more about the programs and about us on our website www.sparklingmindz.in and view pictures from the workshop at our facebook page. Do help by spreading the word and becoming a fan on our facebook page!

More on the journey soon….but do write in with your thoughts and comments. Most importantly, help us reach out as far and wide as possible by spreading the word around to those who can benefit and help us make an impact on millions of lives.

IIT heads complain of plunge in quality

Today I read a news article in Times of India titled, “IIT heads echo NRN on plunge in quality”. The whole article goes on to talk about how the seats in IITs today are getting filled by students who are fatigued by years of coaching and in the larger scheme of things, don’t even want to be an engineer. It is sad state of affairs, indeed. But to hear the heads of the institutes complain, instead of do something about it, is sadder. This could have been easily seen coming and here are some thoughts of mine

1. If you set up an exam that is hard to achieve and pass through and prevent people with interest from joining unless they can showcase aptitude 2x the current level of education system. This kind of ‘fatigue’ is bound to happen. We, as Indians, are proud to pass through tests that are seemingly insurmountable and that give you a certain kind of ‘elitist’ status over others! Take the civil services, for example. Most people taking the exam don’t even know what they will be doing post the selection! It is the same with students who are getting coached to get into IITs (and to a large extent the CAT fever too! – they are being taught how to beat the system!!!) – while it will take you across the threshold, it will not get you inspired and motivated to become an excellent engineer or an excellent manager (or a good anything)

2. Next, what have the IITs themselves done to inspire the students joining to wake up out of fatigue and create interest? Is there an emphasis on innovation, creativity or even applying the skills being learnt beyond the basics? If so, where is it being showcased? It is a chicken and egg story and only if you focus on inspiring students will they get inspired and motivated – the other way round is an ideal dream, but can you make it a reality by just cribbing about it?

3. Now, lets look at the industry. These children who join the IITs are very smart and the smartness flows to where they money is. If money is in engineering, they will continue being engineers, if it is in pharma/FMCG/ITES companies, they will get trained to become sales people for Pharma/FMCG/consultants, as the requirement might be. Look at it from their point of view and the society’s point of view, if you are the best of brains and you are not earning the best of salaries, you are a loser! There is no premium on thinking, being different, being unique or standing up for what you are passionate about (let alone sometimes even figure out what is it that you are really passionate about!) and then what about the self-fulfilling prophecy of these large institutes that the most successful people come from there?

4. That brings us to the story of change. What should change to make this better? The mantra is – Innovation and Creativity to create a “thinking generation” of students! The institutes needs to innovate at a much faster rate and create a new form of entry criteria, a new way of working with the corporate world, a new wave of innovation from their labs and that will create enough inspiration and motivation even in the most fatigued or uninterested child to beat and excel the system (where the system is aligned and focused in the right direction)

The seeds of change lie in you, if you are unwilling to lay them in the ground, don’t fret over lousy results!!!

PS: On second thoughts, whatever has been written above is a law of averages and I’ve seen enough inspired, motivated and self-aware IITians over my work life to be impressed by their smartness, hard work, dedication and motivation. So, please don’t take this as a personal note on anyone. I’m just responding to the system’s response on its own intake quality!

Helmet tell-tales

I’ve seen too many people push their phones into the helmets to enable them to talk while driving a motorbike. It poses a lot of risks, the obvious one being of concentration but the non-obvious one being of the phone falling down and the neck acquiring a partially bent position! Wouldn’t it be a great idea if we could have phone pouches inside helmets? Much cheaper and more efficient than headsets. Can prevent accidents to the phone! What do you think?

Whacky book launch ideas!!!

I’ve this strange quirky feeling inside me at times that wants to take the way things are done mostly and put them upside down, shake them up a bit and change how they look – while trying to achieve the same goal! It gave birth to my new venture and you will be hearing about it soon on this blog – so keep reading. But now, about book launches.

Why book launches and why this itch to revamp them? Well, I was at a large book store yesterday and frankly, quite overwhelmed by the number of books and new titles out there. More importantly, a question stood out for me – how can someone stand out in this melee? Of course, after the launch you are one amongst the crowd, so the launch is critical – so here goes the list!

5 whacky ways to do book launches:

1. Get everybody to answer a puzzle of some kind through your promotional materials that gets solved only when they get to the venue of the launch (assuming there is one!) – of course, you will need to give away prizes!

2. Get a poll going on various social networks on some relevant topic and create awareness about the book – make it interesting

3. Create a controversy (now, this is controversial, if you ask me – but I’m just throwing ideas around)

4. Do activities to get people to experience the book (don’t read it yourself, it is the tried and tested way, right?)

5. Last but not the least, get the most unconventional location possible for the launch – based on your target segment, it could be anywhere from the pizza place to beauty parlors and honestly, they will appreciate the foot falls more than the book stores!

Apartments and the private garden conundrum

My husband is a big fan of open space and gardens, so for him an apartment life feels constraining. That is when an idea struck me! I was just wondering whether in this space-starved world it would be a good idea for apartment builders to let owners occupy garden space on the terrace and plant at least certain limited variety of plants and vegetables? All for a charge, of course. Literally, a space of heaven on the roof! What do you think?

Playing with light and shadows

Recently, as I was driving on the outer ring road around noon time, I had a strange experience. I was about to move to my left on the three lane road when I realized that there was “something” on my blind spot. I steered clear. It happened again and then, once more. All this while, I didn’t have to adjust my speed or peer over my back – nothing! I saw the shadow of the vehicle and that’s what caught my eye as I was about to change lanes. The vehicle was an autorickshaw, the type used to carry goods, not people and the driver was happily tagging me.

It reminded me of another instance, where I observed a child make out all kinds of shapes and meanings from shadows and gleefully experiment with the movement of shadows! It got me thinking, there are lot of times our mind tries to tell us things as an interplay of lights and shadows, in those flashes of insights, but do we care to listen? Are we observing these subtle changes and warning signs? Especially, when there are difficult decisions to make, who and what are we listening to?

Umbrella Innovation

It is raining non-stop in Bangalore for the past few hours. I happened to be walking for a much longer distance than I generally do during a rainy day. Imagine this, I’m walking on a road, with a non-functioning drain, so road is acting as one and more than half the road is flooded with filthy water forcing me to walk in the middle of the road. Now, it is a two-way road and vehicles need to move both ways. A car almost narrowly misses me from behind and then another.

My spontaneous reaction both the times was to look towards my left and right in search of my rear view mirrors (as in the car) to check how I missed the cars. Well, obviously there were no rear view mirrors, so instead…an idea emerged. What if, we had a rearview mirror that could be attached to an umbrella or even better was part of foldable umbrellas and were foldable themselves so that we could easily use them when required and fold them in when not required.

What do you think? Would it be an interesting contraption to invent and use? Would you buy and use one if it were available in a store nearby?


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