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: S2E07 Catspaw

on 2024-02-22

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:

Captain Kirk is worried. The USS Enterprise is in orbit around the planet Pyris 7 and there’s something wrong because a landing party has gone missing on that planet.The landing party has Sulu, Scott, and Crewman Jackson. They’re not able to communicate with them, and there’s some sort of subspace interference, so Uhura has not been able to contact them.

They get a message from Jackson, who’s promptly beamed back onto the Enterprise.There’s a voice coming from his throat, but he’s dead. Kirk realizes that there’s a problem down there on that planet, and he must have himself, McCoy, and Spock transported down there and try and figure out what’s going on. He leaves de Salle in charge of the Enterprise. And these three, they decide to go down and investigate what has happened. So now while they’re down there, they find that this planet is totally wrong. First off, there is mist where there shouldn’t be mist.

And there’s a lot of fog where there shouldn’t be fog.There are echoes of voices, and then they find three heads floating and screaming at them and talking about curses. Jackson, even though he was dead, warned them about being cursed. And now, down there on the planet, they see these three floating heads of witches, who speak very melodramatically.They also warn the Enterprise of a curse of dying and they should keep away from that planet. But Kirk and the landing party decide to investigate They navigate the fog. They find a big, huge medieval type castle.

They enter the castle. They find a cat, a black cat. Very witchy looking cat. They follow the cat, the cat leads them here and there, and then ultimately, without them really realizing what is happening, they find themselves in a big huge hall, facing an individual called Korob.He’s dressed like a wizard, he has a wand in his hand, he’s able to talk to that cat. Korob is some sort of alien entity, who thinks that he has understood humanity or he wants to understand humanity.

He thinks that showing them castles, wizards and cats and some sort of witchery will entice them.He also calls them honorable for some reason. He talks about loyalty and being very forthright. He attempts to tempt the landing crew with some food, which they do not eat. Then he loses his cool a little bit and tries to tempt them with gemstones. Again, they’re not impressed with that. The cat goes out of the room.It comes back as a woman who calls herself Sylvia. She is apparently the collaborator of Korob. And she has some sort of an evil streak to her. She has these three men imprisoned. This is the second time they’re being in prison, they find that both McCoy and Sulu have been hypnotized and they’re no longer on their side.

They’re on the side of those two aliens. The aliens have some sort of telekinetic power and they also have the ability to override your free will and make you do what they want you to do.Kirk and the landing crew must find a way out of here. McCoy is also captured and brainwashed and turned against them. Korob is very disturbed by Sylvia’s evil nature. She tells Kirk that she is experiencing sensation for the first time. She’s also infatuated with Kirk.Then she realizes that Kirk is returning her affection by trying to get her wand for some reason, because that is a transmuter that changes the environment. And both of these aliens are dependent on those transmuters. They have to use those transmuters and create an environment that is suitable for them.

They also are here apparently to study humanity. Kirk manages to fool Sylvia by pretending to be affectionate with her.She realizes it a little too late, and Kirk and Spock are returned to the dungeons. They manage to get out of there with Korob’s help. And then the cat, Sylvia is apparently able to change form. She’s able to take on the form of that cat. She tries to threaten them. Kirk and the crew somehow through some sort of mind trickery, they manage to evade her.

He gets that transmuter wand that she’s been using. That is the device that has created the castle, and that is the device that allows Sylvia and Korob to change shape. It is the device that has created some sort of a hospitable area within that planet.

He destroys the transmuter, and then what happens is the castle disappears, the torture room disappears, the dungeon disappears, everything disappears, including the forms that Sylvia and Korob have taken. Now, because they have lost their forms and the transmuter has been destroyed, both of those aliens who resemble tiny puppets, they fall over and die, and Kirk and the crew are able to go back to the Enterprise.

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!

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Podcast Enterprise: S2E06 The Doomsday Machine

on 2024-02-07

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 Enterprise with Lieutenant Palmer at the communications console, receiving some sort of a distress signal from across space. And it seems to be from a distress beacon of a starship. But they can’t make anything out of that distress signal because of heavy subspace interference. But she does figure out the word Constellation. And so the Enterprise must find the source of this distress signal, and then they enter a star system called L370. When they enter L370, they find that the sun is intact, but all seven planets have been destroyed.

And they cannot figure out why those planets have been destroyed, because only a supernova or a star explosion can cause such a destruction. There seems to be nothing of the sort there. So they cross L370 and they go over to L374, which is the next star system. And there they find except for the two planets closest to the sun, all the other planets have been destroyed. They also find the source of the distress signal and that is the USS Constellation, which is basically a sister ship to the USS Enterprise. Kirk gathers a small landing party and along with Scotty and Dr. McCoy, transport over to the USS Constellation and try and figure out what happened here.

He leaves Spock in command of the Enterprise. Now when Kirk transports himself to the USS Constellation, they find that the ship has been almost completely abandoned. There’s nobody there. It seems that everybody left of their own volition or they were kidnapped, something of that sort. They also find that the captain of the USS Constellation is still on board. This is Commodore Decker. He’s in a state of shock. Which means that Dr. McCoy has to somehow revive him using a hypospray. And when he does that, Commodore Decker is in a state of absolute trauma. He’s not able to talk properly, but eventually, Kirk figures out that there is some sort of a planet killer running around destroying planets and solar systems. It leaves the suns intact, but it destroys all the planets that it comes across. And then it uses the debris of those planets for fuel. As to what happened to the crew of the USS Constellation, Commodore Decker had them transported down onto the third planet of the system of L374, and the third planet was subsequently destroyed by the planet killer, which is why Commodore Decker is in a state of absolute shock and trauma.

To have him treated, Kirk sends Dr. McCoy and Commodore Decker back into the Enterprise. Now this is where things get a little interesting because Commodore Decker wants to have this planet killer destroyed, and the Enterprise, much to its shock finds that the planet killer has returned to L374. Apparently it is because they are there and this machine, the planet killer is a machine and some sort of robot. It’s a doomsday machine designed to destroy everything in its wake. It has detected the Enterprise and it has come back into L374. And here Commodore Decker, he uses his power and his slightly deranged mentality to assume command of the Enterprise.

He wants to destroy this thing called the planet killer. He can’t do it because the Enterprise does not have the technology to pierce the pure neutronium hull of this machine. Kirk, meanwhile, is trapped on the Constellation. He gets Scotty to somehow rig the engines and get them working. Commodore Decker wants to take the Enterprise and ram it into the Planet Killer’s throat. He wants the Enterprise to destroy by going into the thing’s maw. This is where… Spock has to use his powers and relieve him of duty by exciting suicide because you’re not supposed to use a starship to commit suicide. He uses that clause in the federation regulations and relieves Commodore Decker of his post and re assumes command of the Enterprise once more.

Commodore Decker is still unhinged. He goes down to the shuttlecraft hangar. He picks up a shuttlecraft, takes it to the planet killer without authorization, and he literally rams the shuttlecraft into the maw of the planet killer. He doesn’t do much damage, but there is some slight energy drop in whatever emanations the planet killer has been giving out. Kirk uses that information to turn the Constellation into some sort of a bomb. He has to time it perfectly. He has to take this Constellation, ram it into the planet killer’s throat and detonate it. And he also has to get out of there within a 30 second margin, which is all very dicey, but he pulls it off, gets back to the Enterprise and the planet killer’s destroyed completely because of that detonation.

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: S2E05 The Apple

on 2024-01-24

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: We have the US’ Enterprise orbiting a planet called Gamma Trianguli VI, and a landing party has beamed down on the planet’s surface. This landing party has Spock, Kirk and Chekov.

There’s a new character called Martha Landon and a lot of red shirts, at least three or four of them, and McCoy. They go down to this planet and it looks a lot like a peaceful garden of paradise, except for the fact that the sky is a violent orange, but we shall ignore that for now. In any case, they’re down there, they’re examining this planet. The temperature is a very beautiful 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Everything is very temperate. There’s a lot of greenery. It’s very lush. It’s beautiful. But as is a case with planets like these, there are always hidden secrets. As they wander, one of the red shirts is killed by a peculiar plant that turns in his direction and fires darts at him.

It kills him instantly. And then now Kirk is disturbed because there is danger on this planet and it’s not as peaceful as it looks. Kirk has already lost a man. Scotty reports from the ship that something has gone wrong with the ship. The ship is losing power from the anti-matter pods, and they’re not able to use the transporter to get the ground crew back onboard the ship, and this is a problem. So, while this is going on, Kirk and the crew have to stay down there, examine the planet, and Spock also reports that there’s some sort of humanoid following and they have to figure out what that is, and they have to find a way to stay down there and stay alive while Scott does whatever repairs he can do on the Enterprise in space.

Spock finds a peculiar rock that looks strange. It looks attractive. There are multiple colors on it, but as he tosses it aside, he finds that it explodes like a landmine and things go quickly downhill from there because more red shirts are killed with these landmines and then they find that there’s a village nearby that they should not interfere with according to the prime directive, but they may have to anyway. They find the humanoid trailing them and Kirk gives him a punch, which makes him cry, for some reason. This humanoid is a strange looking, coppery skinned person with white hair and a pair of antenna sticking out of his neck and a lot of war paint. And this humanoid is apparently a speaker and a listener of some entity called Vaal, which controls the planet. And they also learn that Vaal can control not only the humanoid, but he also controls the weather.

He can change it in the blink of an eye. Kirk and the crew, they go to this village. They find a group of very strange and childlike people who thinks Spock’s name is very funny. They try to integrate with the people there, but it’s very difficult because there are so child like there are no children there. So obviously there are a lot of things missing. It’s feeding time for Vaal. They want to go and see what this Vaal is. Vaal is a stone snake head that’s dozens of feet tall with a yawning, gaping mouth. The villagers of this planet go in there, give Vaal some sort of nourishment and keep it active.

And then Spock finds that there are a lot of subterranean frequencies coming from under the planet’s surface and it’s spread out over a large area. So they come to the conclusion that Vaal is some sort of a computer. It is not only draining the Enterprise’s power, from down here. It has also kept the villagers in some sort of fugue for about 10,000 years, and there’s been absolutely no change in that civilization for about 10,000 years. It’s a stagnant civilization. And now because of these outsiders, the villagers start picking up different, more bold habits, like they have no concept of love or romance, and then they find Chekov and the ensign kind of getting very friendly with each other, and then they try to mimic that, which makes Vaal very angry because he has forbidden all such interactions.

And he gives orders to Akuta, who is his listener, to have the landing party killed. But of course, these villagers have no idea how to kill anybody. They kill one red shirt because the red shirts have to be killed. One red shirt is killed. That’s the last of the red shirts. Everybody else is not a red shirt. The villagers look physically very strong, but they’re absolute weaklings. They cannot handle any sort of pressure. Their temperament is childlike. So the landing crew of four or five manage to overpower these people. They keep them in a hut and then they go to Vaal to try and deactivate it.

And Kirk with a little technical knowhow and some wizardry manages to get Scotty from the Enterprise to fire phasers at Vaal, forcing Vaal to drain all his energy, trying to defend itself. And then short circuit itself, which is, which is a very short scene towards the end. Then they go back to the Enterprise and all as well. And the, basically you have Kirk and McCoy as usual, trying to rag Spock, who’s naturally very confused because he does not understand human humor.

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: S2E04 Mirror, Mirror

on 2024-01-10

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: So what we have here is when this episode begins, you find that the USS Enterprise is orbiting an alien planet, Captain Kirk, Scott, Dr. McCoy and Uhura down there on the planet. They’re trying to negotiate something with the alien race that calls themselves the Halkans. They’re talking to the Halkan council and they’re trying to get access to their dilithium crystals.

So now the Halkans have this peace policy that is taken to the absolute extreme, and they’re not giving the dilithium crystals to the federation because they believe that the dilithium crystals will eventually be used to harm somebody. And according to them, the loss of even one life due to something that they did cannot be tolerated.

So they’re not giving them the dilithium crystals. There’s also an ion storm happening around that planet and it is hitting the Enterprise. And so Kirk and the crew, they have to get back on board. While they’re trying to use the transporter to get Kirk and the crew back on board, something happens, there’s a power surge.

Kirk and the landing party appear in the transportation room. They disappear completely. And then they reappear somewhere else, apparently wearing different clothes. And they find themselves facing the transportation room crew along with Spock who has a beard. This is all very confusing for Kirk and the landing party.

They also find that this place where they are in it is very much like the original Enterprise, but it’s also different. There is some sort of a salute that they must adhere to, everybody salutes them in a strange way, unlike the Enterprise that they’re used to. They also find that the people here are quite cruel.

And it doesn’t take long for Kirk, Scotty, McCoy and Uhura to realize that they’re actually not on their own Enterprise. They’re in a parallel universe. And this happened because of the ion storm striking the Teleporter machine at the time of their transportation back into the ship.

And now here the problem is they have to find their way back home. But it’s difficult to navigate this new Enterprise because everything is actually barbaric. Cruelty is a norm. Officers ascend in rank by assassinating their superiors. It’s very difficult for Kirk to actually control the ship and here also, they’re on a similar mission to get the dilithium crystals from the Halkans, their counterparts from the parallel universe were on a similar mission to get the dilithium crystals from the Halkans, but here, since the Halkans aren’t giving them the crystals, they’ve been ordered to destroy cities and destroy the entire civilization, and then take these crystals by force, which is not something Kirk wants to do. He still gets along somewhat with the Spock of this universe.

He’s almost assassinated by Chekov. There’s also a lot of trouble with Sulu, who’s a security chief here. With some conference with Scotty, McCoy and Uhura, they decide to somehow get themselves back into their own universe. They have to use the ship’s power to divert that power to the transporter machine and get themselves teleported back at a particular time.

And then they find that they have just about half an hour to do it. Kirk also has to deal with a lot of other things because his counterpart in the parallel universe appears to have this wife mistress kind of woman. And she shows him some things about his cabin, including a sort of device that anhilates his enemies, and then one thing leads to another.

Spock in the parallel universe somehow discovers that the Kirk onboard the Enterprise is not the real Kirk, and then he has to take care of him because it’s going completely against the wishes of Star Fleet command of this parallel universe. And eventually what happens is they manage to rig the power systems of the parallel universe Enterprise, put everything in place to have themselves transported back home. And then they also find an unlikely ally in the Spock, the bearded Spock of the parallel universe because, despite the cruelty around him, again, he does have some integrity, some loyalty towards the captain.

He’s willing to listen to Kirk, even though that is not the Kirk he’s used to. And Kirk somehow tells him to kind of instigate a revolution so that this universe is a lot less cruel and then their places are swapped and they find themselves back in their original setting.

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