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I happened to attend workshop on Design Thinking combined with Role of women in technology at tech-ed BLR 2011.This initiative has been gaining momentum vociferously and I expect some practical impacts if not sooner, later.

I reached the venue a little late and could see Jeanne Carboni briefing the crowd about the initiative of 7billionsOrg. She did show us the site wherein we could share our stories/ ideas and likewise. Facebook has greatly impacted any formal/informal networking site.  Room was fully occupied with participants. It was then handed over to Lucky (I don’t remember his formal name, sorry). It’s him in the picture below:


He had great patience to handle crowd while talking about versatile and debatable topics. He talked about ‘DESIRABILITY’ and ‘PASSSION’ as two main igniting factors to get exceptional/out of box results. He quoted few practical examples wherein new ideas were successfully implemented as they were backed by passion. He emphasized on Power of Desire stating if one has a burning desire to accomplish a goal, financial or any other factor would not hinder. ‘Where there is a will there is a way’. I could not oppose as we have the very example of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook.

He also talked about ‘CUSTOMER CENTRICITY’ being the mantra for today’s world. This word is too sensitive and complex to understand in its entirety. (At least for me)In order to explain the point he had beautiful slides as well. There was one slide wherein he explained the process to gain customer insights as:


I could correlate these phases with Waterfall life cycle model learnt way back in my engineering. There was a question asked on this particular slide which got diversified to so many directions that I lost track of original question. However, I was stuck in the portion, that we Observe and understand and the two phases should at least be overlapped /together. If someone reading this blog has an answer please comment as to why is Observe after Understand?

My takeaway from design thinking would be:  Help people with simple implementable/pragmatic ideas to make their day to day life easier (in a nutshell). In a broader perspective it has no boundaries.

Gradually the session moved on to some hands-on session (let me magnify it this ways). Participants were requested to prototype their ideas. This was little difficult for me to understand initially as we prototype a working model of a requirement. What would we prototype here?  Participants were divided into groups each containing members not much familiar with each other. We were asked to select any one from four given topics out of which I remember

1.      How social networking can help organisation in critical times?

2.      Gender Diversity

To my great surprise I had one colleague and an ex-colleague in the same team. Yeah! The name of the team was HUM PANCH + 1. 


(L to R: Ajay, Sunil, Sudipta, Kumud, Jyothi, Ipsita)

It was a very good combination of people. One manager, one lead and then team members. (Guess who was who from above picture.)The topic chosen was ‘Gender Diversity’ emphasizing on equal opportunities/trust/respect at work being given to people irrespective of them being men/women.

How do we start?  Well we decided each one of us would write topics of discussion on our own and common topics would be discussed.  Well I highlighted topics like

a)      Motivation at work

b)      Mental block – Women not as “responsible” as their male counterparts.

c)       Turtles in turtles - Exposing work the right way

My team member decided their topics as well. Finally we jotted down our points on dashboard and then a voting system decided the two topics to be finalized. It looked somewhat like this:

So the topics chosen were: Mental Block and Team Building Activites.

So now you would have to accept that there is a mental block prevailing in our industry. Somehow each one of us (ladies) in the team had a strong argument supporting the same. There were instances wherein discussions turned little hot but then we just calmed us down saying we might not reach to a solution right away. There was somehow a question as to which role in an organisation would suit for women and not for men and vice-versa. I can never have the answer for this question. Likewise topics like Motivation, generic methods might not be very effective for all individuals.

Now we had to prototype the idea. We all reached to a conclusion that we would show if everyone is treated same and is given same opportunities Progress would be faster and World would be a better place to live in.

Team at work:

We were given all possible things required for prototyping and we were successful in making a prototype of idea that ‘WHEN EVERONE IS HAPPY GLOBE IS UP’ whereas not the same when People are not happy together. We were asked to write down expectations from the workshop and I wrote “Seeing practical impacts sometime in the future”.

Few Chirpy moments:

Got to meet lot of new people like Abhishek Pattanaik, Ram, Abesh, Krishnamoorthy P, few other members. 

And then. ..We had a moderator there as well: