Contact me at bala@balaramadurai.net.

My Books

I have written a few books on various topics.

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.

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.

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).

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.

COEXIST - Actionable Stories for Sustainable Change - C - Choose a hero, issue

on 2021-02-25

What is common between Captain America, Lord Rama (in Ramayana1), Marlin (from Finding Nemo2), Katniss Everdeen (from The Hunger Games3), Harry Potter, Neo (from The Matrix4) and Ishaan (from Taare Zameen Par5)?

They are my favorite people from these stories, but they also happen to be heroes of their stories.

One of the key elements for a story is a protagonist or hero who leads us through the story. The hero is relatable - we are able to relate to their situations. If we like them, we root for them to succeed in their quest. This is the core of the hero’s journey template of stories. You can take any of your favourite stories, you will find a hero at the center of the story. This hero is some human (or animal or robot) you cared about and now want them to achieve their goal in the story (usually against all odds).

In this series on how to write stories, we explore how to write actionable stories for sustainable change. In this post, we explore the first step to getting the story going - Choosing a hero and an issue (an urban wetlands issue).

Continue reading

Teaching Teachers - There is always a first time - TCET Mumbai

on 2021-02-17

I have been taught by so many teachers and I owe everything I’ve learnt and achieved to every teacher that I have come across. No, this is not a “Happy Teachers Day” post. 😁

So, how do I teach people whose profession is to teach people? Will they find my teaching methods as immature? Will they take me seriously? Doubts running in my head.

More than a year ago, Prof. Lochan Jolly from Thakur College of Engineering, Mumbai, reached out to me to hold a workshop on TRIZ. Almost instinctively, I agreed. Just as an afterthought, I asked about the level of proficiency of the audience. That’s when the good professor hit me with the news - The room will be full of teachers and professors.

Contradiction - I love the experience of being in a room and helping people apply TRIZ on a problem they care about. But, since I had never taught teachers before, I would probably hate the experience of worrying about if I was doing a good job or not. Talk about love-hate.

Right? Nope, wrong. The teachers were wonderful, so much so that I felt at ease. Not only that, I felt I should have suggested a two-day workshop instead of a one-dayer.

Continue reading

Dunkirk - A Technology Forecasting analysis

on 2021-02-09

Dunkirk, a movie by acclaimed filmmaker, Christopher Nolan, has three merging story lines. It is an intriguing World War II plot and tracks three soldiers.

When Prof. Dmitry Kucharavy and I launched a course on Technology Forecasting on NPTEL, it struck me that one of the topics in the course is so similar to this movie. The topic was decision making. There are three types of decision making - Strategic, tactical and operational decision making.

Tommy (the foot soldier), Dawson (on the Moonshot), and Farrier (on a Spitfire, fighter plane) are the three merging story lines in the movie.

Strategic (long term, but unpredictable), Tactical (Medium term, but part-predictable), Operational (Short term, but fast-paced) are the three types of decision making modes.

Continue reading

Karmic Design Thinking e-book now available on Amazon

on 2021-02-04

After an overwhelming response to the paperback version of Karmic Design Thinking, many of you enquired about an e-book version. I hear you loud and clear. Here is the e-book version (Amazon Kindle version, to be precise), available in your local Amazon marketplace, no matter where you are on the planet.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VRW2WJ5

Continue reading