Contact me at bala@balaramadurai.net.

My Books

I have written a few books on various topics.

My Podcasts

I have recorded a few podcasts on topics that I am very happy to talk about.

Design Thinking

The learners get under the skin of the user/customer and solve problems for them. The approach is based on an age old theory (more than 2000 years old) postulated by Lord Buddha. The learners learn thinking tools from the design world, the TRIZ/ARIZ world, Indian arts, metaphors and the patent database. Finally, they utilize some tools from six thinking hats and Mr. David Snowden. They learn the course interactively through silence, videos, stories, inane jokes and interesting assignments.

Creativity and Innovation

This workshop module uses the ARIZ/TRIZ thinking methodology (You could say that this course is an offspring of the design thinking course). The learners bring in problems that they have been working on and I guide them to use ARIZ/TRIZ in detail. The learner brings in problems that they have already understood and are fairly certain about the problem to solve using the concepts in the course.

Technology Forecasting

If design thinking is for the NOW, technology forecasting is design thinking for the future. The learner uses a methodology called FORMAT - http://handbook.format-project.eu, a result of a European Union funded (~$3 million) project. The learner hones their skill to think of a future timeframe of more than 10 years. They will consider the potential of the current technology, but also the alternatives and how strong or weak is their technology of interest in comparison to the alternatives. Imagination, intuition, analytics and data crunching go hand in hand in this course. The predictions from the forecasting exercise are not as important as the questions of forecast posed (first stage of the FORMAT methodology).

Executive Coaching

“How does one execute a large innovation project within my company? Do I get personally involved or delegate? Am I listening or telling? I am doing my best, what more can I do?” If these are questions that keep coming to your head (and you happen to be the head of a company or department), you have reached the right place. One on one coaching can work wonders in clearing out the fog around some of the issues you may be facing in your workplace.

Intrapreneurship - A workout

Intrapreneurship is a conundrum of sorts, since it is making an entrepreneur out of an employee taking the risks of an entrepreneur with the friendly resources of a company. How did Mindtree achieve this in 2008-9? I introduce the participants to the company profile. I excite them with the remarkable history of a very different kind of company. How and why did they launch 550? Why is 550 a very different sort of program? How did the program bring out innovation and the creative entrepreneurial spirit of the company? The learners assume the role of innovation managers of companies of their choice to design and present an intrapreneurship program.

Client Speak

I have worked with many clients and I always like to hear that they come out from the collaboration happy and satisfied. Have a look at what the clients said about my work.

Updates (News and Blog)

I write occasionally about a few things that are dear to me - writing about life, teaching tools and techniques, and learning about technology. I plan to write more about health and writing in general as well. Stay tuned. Please do subscribe to my blog if you like what you read.

Podcast Enterprise: S2E13 The Obsession

on 2024-05-22

Space, the final frontier. These are the podcasts of the Podcast Enterprise. Its only mission: to explore story structures, to analyze our favorite characters and plotlines, to boldly talk what everyone has seen before

We will analyze all episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series or TOS for short using the following guiding structure:

  1. Synopsis or summary of the episode
  2. Story structure
  3. Character analysis
  4. Our likes and dislikes

The synopsis:

When Obsession opens you find Kirk, Spock, an ensign called Rizzo, Leslie, and a security guard. They are down on planet Argus X carrying out a survey for Tritanium, a substance harder than diamond. They are surveying the planet for this material.

They actually find this material and while they’re doing this, Kirk notices that there is some sort of a smell in the air. It’s a sickly sweet. It smells a bit like honey. And Kirk freezes because he recognizes the smell. He knows the smell and he has smelt it somewhere in the past, somewhere on the other side of the galaxy. So he sends the red shirts to examine this scent and find out where it is coming from and he also tells him that if he if they find a sort of gaseous cloud to fire at it because that is the source of the smell. The red shirts including Rizzo find this cloud they find but before they could fire at this gaseous cloud, it attacks them.

It kills them and it drains all the red corpuscles of their body.So they’re basically white colored. Rizzo is alive, just barely. He’s taken back to the ship. McCoy Gives him a lot of blood transfusions to keep him alive. Kirk wants Rizzo awakened so that he can question him. Kirk has some sort of an obsession because of this creature, and this is because of something that happened in his past.And when Rizzo is awakened, he describes the creature and then promptly dies. Kirk also has a problem because he has to rendezvous with the USS Yorktown, taking some vaccines and deliver them to a faraway planet, and those vaccines are perishable.

If they don’t get them to this planet on time, it’s going to be a real disaster.But Kirk is too preoccupied with this cloud to do any of that. He’s delaying. He wants to remain in orbit around the planet Augusta X so that he can find out more about this creature, but scans show nothing as time goes on. Kirk gets more obsessed with it. Finally, this creature leaves the planet’s orbit, goes into space. Kirk wants to follow it. He goes on warp eight until the engines are about to explode.

He slows down and the creature also slows down, turns back and Kirk orders for this creature to be fired at using the photon torpedoes, but they go right through the creature and it begins to advance on the ship. Now, the problem here is that there is a certain character, Ensign Garowick, that Kirk has been constantly and continuously berating throughout this episode. Ensign Garowick is made to feel guilty for a certain event. He’s so upset that in his room he throws a plate onto a certain ventilation system control and the control jams, the creature finds a opening through that ventilation control.It enters the ship and Kirk has a problem because the creature can kill 200 people at a time. He knows this because the last time he encountered this creature was 11 years ago when he was aboard the USS Farragut as a young officer.

It was the same creature at the other end of the galaxy that attacked the USS Farragut, attacked everybody else aboard the ship except Kirk, who survived, and killed them.That was about 200 people it killed at one go. This is why Kirk has an obsession with this creature. This thing is inside the USS Enterprise and Kirk orders that the radioactive waste be flushed into the ventilation system. They have only about two hours left of breathable air and finally, they managed to get this thing out and it’s moving towards a certain place, Tycho IV, which is where it originates and that is also where the USS Farragut was attacked.

Kirk orders the ship to go there and find this creature and use an antimatter blast to attack it because this creature is apparently made of some unknown material called Dikeronium so they go there and unleash an antimatter blast. Kirk pulls off a feat of heroism. They destroy the creature and come back to the Enterprise, and finally, Kirk has some measure of peace of mind.

That brings us to the end of this episode. Thank you for listening to the Podcast Enterprise. Please do share your reviews with us and please share this podcast with any of your writing friends or trekkies. Live long and prosper!

Stay tuned in for our next episode! Enjoy!

Continue reading

Podcast Enterprise: S2E12 The Deadly Years

on 2024-05-08

Space, the final frontier. These are the podcasts of the Podcast Enterprise. Its only mission: to explore story structures, to analyze our favorite characters and plotlines, to boldly talk what everyone has seen before

We will analyze all episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series or TOS for short using the following guiding structure:

  1. Synopsis or summary of the episode
  2. Story structure
  3. Character analysis
  4. Our likes and dislikes

The synopsis:

When this episode opens, you have the USS Enterprise in orbit around Gamma Hydra IV, and you have Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, a Lieutenant Galway, who’s a new character for this episode and Hansen Chekov, they are beamed down to this planet and they’re there for a routine resupply mission.And on this planet, there is a, there is an experimental colony, which is headed by a certain Robert Johnson, who is supposedly 29 years old.

Now, when they beamed down on this planet, Kirk and the landing party find Absolutely nobody. The area is deserted. There are some buildings, but there’s nobody, so they decide to split up and examine what’s going on.Chekov enters one building, finds an extremely old dead man, and he loses his marbles a little bit. He calls out to his captain. He comes running out in absolute fright. And because he is so frightened, the rest of the landing party go into that building and they find this old man. And McCoy, after he does an examination of the dead body, reveals that this person died of natural causes of extreme old age.Now this is very puzzling for the landing party and for Kirk because none of the colonists on Gamma Hydra IV were above 30. So who is this old person? Now While they are deliberating this, an old man and an old woman come into the building and he reveals himself to be Robert Johnson and he says he’s 29 even though he’s extremely old and his wife, Elaine, he says she’s 27 and they’re not in good shape.So They’re taken back to the Enterprise.

Now, on board the Enterprise, Elaine dies of old age and Robert Johnson also dies of old age, because they are just so old and there is something that is causing accelerated aging in both of these characters. And apparently all the other colonists also died of this sort of accelerated old age.Kirk convenes a meeting in the briefing room to try and figure out what is going on. You are introduced to a new character called Janet Wallace, Dr. Janet Wallace, who is supposedly an old flame of Kirk’s. They try to, They try to figure out what exactly is going down on that planet. They hit a dead end, but as time goes on, they find that they themselves are subject to the aging.And each of the characters is affected by this aging process in a different way. So McCoy, he’s growing old very fast and he’s becoming very cranky. Spock is growing old and he’s feeling very cold and he’s not able to take the low temperatures on board the Enterprise. Kirk is becoming a little senile, and that is a big problem, because there is also a Commodore aboard the Enterprise, a Commodore Stocker.He wants to go to Starbase 10.

Now, because of this aging process, this aging problem, basically, and how it’s affecting the crew, Kirk cannot go to Starbase 10, despite Commodore Stocker’s protests. Everybody’s growing older and older. The most affected seems to be Lieutenant Galway, who’s aging much faster than everybody else, despite being 10 years younger than Kirk. They’re constantly trying to find out why this aging disease has afflicted them all. Nothing seems to be happening. Kirk gets more and more senile. He gets, He gives orders, he forgets he he has given those orders and he gives those orders again. And then just as they get and then They are also very close to the Romulan neutral zone, which means it’s very dangerous.

You cross the line and the Romulans will attack and Kirk is trying to keep it together.He’s not able to and finally Spock finds that there is some sort of radiation on Gamma Hydra for that is causing this aging process, but by now Commodore Stocker has had enough. He’s watching the Captain go senile from this aging disease. He’s watching the rest of the crew members get old. The landing party.I mean Only Chekov has not been affected and they don’t know why.

Commodore Stocker decides that he wants to take over the Enterprise because Kirk is so inefficient right now. And as he does so, he convenes a disciplinary hearing to remove Kirk from his position.Spock is also not in a condition to take over the Enterprise, so Commodore Stocker, who has absolutely no field experience, decides to commandeer the Enterprise. And that turns out to be an absolute disaster because he has no idea how to deal with the Romulans.

He directs the ship to go right into the neutral zone.They’re attacked by Romulans. And while this is happening, Kirk is panicking down in the sick bay because he’s old. He can’t do anything. He’s got arthritis due to old age. He’s senile. And at the same time, his mind is clear enough to realize that his ship is being attacked and there’s a green horn at the helm.And this is when they find out why Chekov wasn’t, wasn’t affected by the aging disease.

It’s because of adrenaline. Spock, despite his age, somehow manages to produce a serum. This serum is injected into Kirk so that he can recover and become young again. And it works with, Although the injection of that serum looks very painful, Kirk, however, manages to recover. He goes back to the bridge and relieves Commodore Stocker of his disastrous command and gets the Romulans to stop attacking with a very clever ruse involving a bluff and a carbomite device and a bomb blast, which doesn’t really exist.

And this episode ends with Commodore Stocker finally acknowledging that he’s well aware now of what a starship can do with the right man at the helm.

That brings us to the end of this episode. Thank you for listening to the Podcast Enterprise. Please do share your reviews with us and please share this podcast with any of your writing friends or trekkies. Live long and prosper!

Stay tuned in for our next episode! Enjoy!

Continue reading

Podcast Enterprise: S2E11 Friday's Child

on 2024-04-24

Space, the final frontier. These are the podcasts of the Podcast Enterprise. Its only mission: to explore story structures, to analyze our favorite characters and plotlines, to boldly talk what everyone has seen before

We will analyze all episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series or TOS for short using the following guiding structure:

  1. Synopsis or summary of the episode
  2. Story structure
  3. Character analysis
  4. Our likes and dislikes

The synopsis:

When this episode opens, you find the USS Enterprise approaching the planet Capella IV. They are going to this planet so that they can negotiate with the alien Capellans for their mineral Topaline which is basically something that is used for their life support for the life support systems this planet capella four has an abundance of it and The mineral has to be mined, but to get to that you have to negotiate with the Capellans first.

And now these are, these people are a very war like kind of violent race of huge humanoids and it’s very difficult to deal with them and to negotiate with them, but Captain Kirk wants to do it anyway. He approaches this planet, he beams down and he also has a lot of issues with the Klingons because they want the Topaline as well.

So when he beams down to this planet, he finds a Klingon already there. Now, The catch here is that, McCoy has already been to this planet and he knows some of the ways of the Capellans, which Kirk does not know. But before they could do anything once they beam down there, one of the red shirts is killed, and this is how the episode starts.

You have conflict almost immediately where one of the members of the Enterprise is killed. Now, after that, the Capellans, being who they are and being this martial and very difficult to deal with group of people, decide to confine Kirk and the landing crew, including Spock and McCoy to this tent. It’s a little hard for them to gauge what the Capulans want at this point.

They are waiting there when this woman brings in some food and Kirk almost accepts it, but he is not, but then McCoy persuades him not to because that will lead to further complications. They meet with the High Teer or the leader of the ten tribes of Capella, who listens, he’s an elderly person who listens to them, but they can’t really negotiate with him because of the Klingon, who seems to get along much better with the rival of the chief of the Capellan tribes.

And Kirk and, long story short, Kirk and the landing crew find themselves in all sorts of skirmishes. The current Teer of the Capellans is threatened to be overthrown by this younger and brash, more brash individual who calls himself Maab. He gets along quite well with the Klingon, apparently, which is bad for everyone concerned.

The Klingon named Kras is the Klingon representative on Capella 4. He gets along quite well with the rival. of the current rival to the current Teer of the Capellans, who is called Mab.

And he creates all sorts of trouble for the earth people because he understands apparently the ways of the Capellans much better than the earth people do. And the Capellans do not want silly things like medicine and education. They want war all the time, and so especially with the rival to the current Teer assuming charge after a bloody coup

Kras has a better chance at getting the mining rights and get securing the mining rights for the Klingons. Kirk, after much confusion and after a lot after the current Teer is murdered by the rival and the Capellans find themselves with a new leader, Kirk and the landing crew find themselves in a lot of trouble.

First off, the consort of the previous Teer. They find themselves with her and on the run towards a certain group of hills and they have to go there, find the cave. She’s pregnant. She’s about to give birth. She does not get along with McCoy who wants to help her. And at the same time back in orbit with Scotty in command, the Enterprise is lured away from orbit by a distress call from an S. S. Dierdre, but as Scotty discovers later, the S. S. Dierdre is not in that quadrant, and this was a fake distress call from the Klingons, apparently, and they try to waylay the Enterprise and create trouble up there in space, and Kirk and the landing crew down here, along with Spock and McCoy, they have to deal with this woman called Eleen, who is a Capellan.

A search party consisting of the Klingon, Kras, and the Capellan, Maab, as well as all of the other Capellans have been released to search for Kirk, destroy them, and just get rid of their presence from Capella.

Kirk and Spock manage to somehow outwit this hunting party that has come after them. Krass reveals his true colors and turns himself against the rest of the Capellans. They manage to convince the Capellans to accept this alien’s Is that the widow of the previous year, alien’s son as a new leader of the Capellans. It’s all quite complicated. And basically the Capellan, mob who has been nothing but a pain for the Earthman up to this point, decides to sacrifice, sacrifice himself so that the Klingon can be brought down. Ultimately, there’s a new baby leader for the Capellans.

A mining treaty is secured, and, Kirk and the crew are back in the Enterprise, and the Klingons efforts to kind of thwart their for the efforts of the toward the diplomatic efforts of the Enterprise and the federation is completely thwarted and they’re able to get the mining treaty and the mineral that they needed for the life support systems.

That brings us to the end of this episode. Thank you for listening to the Podcast Enterprise. Please do share your reviews with us and please share this podcast with any of your writing friends or trekkies. Live long and prosper!

Stay tuned in for our next episode! Enjoy!

Continue reading

Podcast Enterprise: S2E10 Journey to Babel

on 2024-04-03

Space, the final frontier. These are the podcasts of the Podcast Enterprise. Its only mission: to explore story structures, to analyze our favorite characters and plotlines, to boldly talk what everyone has seen before

We will analyze all episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series or TOS for short using the following guiding structure:

  1. Synopsis or summary of the episode
  2. Story structure
  3. Character analysis
  4. Our likes and dislikes

The synopsis: When this episode opens, you have the USS Enterprise orbiting the planet Vulcan. This is where Spock also grew up. they’re waiting for a Vulcan ambassador Sarek to board the Enterprise. There are already 114 delegates on board and this is to take them to a third planet.Where they want the United Federation of Planets to gather and decide whether they want to admit a planet called Coridan into the Federation.

Coridan is a planet with a lot of dilithium crystals, vital for space travel, and they have a lot of it giving them Federation membership will allow them to have protection, Keeping these di lithiums crystal safe.However, it also throws a wrench into the plans of smugglers.

Sarek the Vulcan boards the Enterprise. He has a human wife called Amanda, and it is revealed that he is actually Spock’s estranged father. His mother, Amanda is a sweet woman . However, she is having a bit of trouble dealing with Vulcan logic and emotionless behavior. Spock apparently joined Starfleet, which his father did not want him to do. His father wanted him to continue the tradition of remaining on Vulcan and focusing on Vulcan science instead Spock chose otherwise, and that is partly what has caused this estrangement.

And as the delegates are now all on the ship, they find that there is some sort of attack coming in from outside from a ship moving at warp 10, which means it is much too fast for the Enterprise to pursue or fire at it moves too quickly and none of the phases hit this particular ship. So as that is happening, You also have all the delegates come to the common room of the Enterprise and they’re having food and you find a lot of alien races there. One particular alien race, the Tellarites, two of them, the Tellarite ambassador approach the Vulcan Sarek and try to get into an altercation with him.Regarding the planet Coridan, it doesn’t work out that well. And you are also introduced to a rather martial and savage alien race called the Andorans. They are blue with antennas on their heads. They are also not particularly friendly. Now, as all of this is happening, you find that something is going wrong within the Enterprise, because it seems that there are signals coming from within the Enterprise that are communicating with that fast moving ship outside.And then, you have the tension between the delegates. And while all this is happening, Kirk finds that he’s stabbed by the Andoran.

There are two of them, the ambassador and his associate. The associate attacks Kirk and he’s injured. And then it also turns out that the Vulcan Sarek has something wrong with him.Basically there is something wrong with his cardiovascular system and he gets equivalents of heart attacks continuously. Now the only way to save him is for Spock to give blood to him. Captain Kirk has also been injured. There is some intrigue about the ship. They are being attacked by this outsider ship and Spock has to assume command.

He refuses to give a blood transfusion, which his father so desperately means because duty comes first. And he holds on to that belief, he holds on to that belief so strongly that he becomes unreasonable, holding Vulcan logic over everything else, and his mother is infuriated with him.And what happens is, now, if the Vulcan ambassador dies, it will be a problem. Also on a personal level for Spock, in spite of him pretending that it has no effect on him. Kirk decides to get up, go to the brig, and pretend that he’s okay so Spock relinquishes command and gives his father the blood transfusion he needs.The enemy ship pursuing them starts to attack, they have to play dead and try to disable the ship.

They find out that one of the Andorans, the one that had attacked Kirk, is actually not an Andoran.He’s some sort of an interloper or some sort of an impersonator. And the ship has been communicating with him the whole time. One of his antennas is fake. Maybe both of his antennas are fake.And there is a receiver in one of those antennas. They bring him to the brig for Kirk to deal with him. They find that he is part of a smuggling ring. Now the issue is how to stop that alien ship and bring some sort of peace so that Corridan can be admitted into the Federation peacefully.Kirk decides to have the Enterprise play dead so that the smuggler ship slows down, which it does, and then they fire at it and disable it.

That brings us to the end of this episode. Thank you for listening to the Podcast Enterprise. Please do share your reviews with us and please share this podcast with any of your writing friends or trekkies. Live long and prosper!

Stay tuned in for our next episode! Enjoy!

Continue reading