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.

Ask the Design Thinking Doc - How do I visualize the pet-hair clothes problem?

on 2022-01-19

Design Thinking as a skill can be learnt by practicing the methodology on real world problems. I run an online course on Design Thinking on a Govt. of India platform called SWAYAM where close to 25,000 learners have learnt Design Thinking already.

What I have got in return (apart from lots of love :)) is the variety of questions that have been asked by so many curious learners. This Ask the DT Doc series can be helpful to whoever is either a beginner, intermediate or advanced learner of Design Thinking. (Also checkout https://dt.balaramadurai.net for the book on Design Thinking)

This post will cover the question “How do I draw out a customer journey map for a pet hair on a human being?”

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Knowledge Management - A tough nut to crack

on 2022-01-12

Knowledge management is the preservation and continuation of knowledge with a group of individuals. This could be in a company, family/household, college, roommates, etc.

Larger the group of people, the trickier it gets to manage the flow of information and preservation of knowledge, as we in a company that I worked for, found out. This was the time when I worked for a high profile team in a large company, not so difficult to guess, considering that I only worked for a few companies in my adult life :)

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COEXIST - Actionable Stories for Sustainable Change - The End

on 2021-08-05

The final battle, challenge, finale, climax

You can call it whatever you want. This is it!

You’ve been prepping the hero and their team for, the entire story. Let’em have it all. There are certain battles which are epic and form their own story (You can apply the COEXIST structure just for the ending sequences).

Let’s recap. In the COEXIST storytelling method, we

  • chose a hero and an issue in step C;
  • wrote our grand story in one-line in step O;
  • made our hero “get out” of their comfort zone in step E;
  • gave them an external threat for them to battle in step X;
  • moved the hero from reaction to action in step I;
  • removed the help of their best friend/mentor in step S;
  • pitted them against the very thing that they never faced before on their own in step T;
  • and now, describe the final face-off in its entirety and give them something special as well.

Let’s go back to the stories that we have been tracking.

In Finding Nemo, Nemo, Marlin and Dory ask the fish to fight against the might of the fishing net. “Just keep swimming” is the mantra that these three tell all of the fish caught in the net. Marlin’s son does manage to free up all the fish and Dory, however Nemo lies at the ocean floor. Of course, Marlin, Dory and Nemo are united and as a special, we meet offspring, the Turtle, as the exchange student.

In The Matrix, after several failed attempts at being stopped, Neo reaches a telephone to be transported back to the real world. He faces his last challenge, he is shot by the agent at point blank range. Trinity throws a contradictory statement at Neo, which somehow revives him. He is now unstoppable and destroys Agent Smith. As a bonus, we see Neo do a flying thing at the end.

In Titanic, the tough challenge is to gain her senses to attract the attention of the rescuers, evade Cal and enter the US. She becomes an actress and finally has the heart to throw the Heart of the Ocean necklace into the… well… ocean.

How do you perform the final step of The End?

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COEXIST - Actionable Stories for Sustainable Change - T - Tough challenge

By [Bala Ramadurai] on 2021-07-14

“What makes heroes heroes?” It is the ability to surmount tough challenges that everyone else before them gave up on.

So far, the hero has always had some help and they never truly believed in themselves or their own ability. The heroes were never in such a hopeless situation all by themselves before. We, as authors, have really set them up so that they can excel at what they are really good at, in the story - Be a Hero!

Let’s recap. In the COEXIST storytelling method, we

  • chose a hero and an issue in step C;
  • wrote our grand story in one-line in step O;
  • made our hero “get out” of their comfort zone in step E;
  • gave them an external threat for them to battle in step X;
  • moved the hero from reaction to action in step I;
  • removed the help of their best friend/mentor in step S;
  • and now, pit them against the very thing that they never faced before on their own.

Let’s go back to the stories that we have been tracking.

In Finding Nemo, Marlin has to now fight his worst enemy, his own parental instinct, to let his son do his own thing. The toughest challenge he faces is to help Dory, who is caught in a fishing net, while protecting his son, Nemo.

In The Matrix, Neo has to now fight his worst enemy, Agent Smith. One of the toughest challenges he faces is Agent Smith in the subway station, followed by many more interactions with the Agents, all this while trying to get back to the ship within time (There are sentinels attacking the ship in the real world).

In Titanic, Rose has to now fight for survival against all odds. With Jack gone, Rose has to get picked up by the rescue teams, not be detected by Cal and still make a life for herself as she had promised Jack before he died.

How do you perform the step of T - Tough Challenge?

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