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No, I didn’t always wanted to do that. Title the post with a complicated number. Go ahead and copy this in to your favorite search engine and find out what it is and come back here and read the rest of the article. After that, you will have to figure out how this number is related to Kinderspark, the recently concluded innovation fest for school children conducted by Mahindra & Mahindra. Here is one more thing of intrigue - how is a Marvel superhero related to the whole thing?

Great! Some of you did find out what it was - the number of possible solutions in a Rubik cube. Wow! That’s a lot for a toy or puzzle which is so small, colorful and intriguing. I am, of course, referring to a 3X3X3 puzzle which is still a very popular puzzle for everyone.

Somebody had gifted this toy to my kid as a “return gift” for a birthday celebration. My kid wondered what to do with this for a while and was bored almost instantly. This cube collected PM2.5, and PM10 particles on it.

Then, one fine day, while I was bored, I picked it up and messed it up bad. Then, I tried to solve it without any luck. When one can’t do something well, one goes to their favorite search engine, like most of you did before reading this article. There it was. The solution or rather a manual on how to solve it.

Boy! Was it difficult! I gave it hours of my time to learn to solve the puzzle.

Pocket-sized dynamite, Sayantan Mukherjee, co-trainer, ex-student and good friend, along with Shankar Venugopal and his team invited me to this Avengers’ theme event. Not knowing what it was, I, of course, quizzed Sayantan. He, with his limitless patience, gave me all the answers. A whole bunch of school kids were to learn about Design Thinking, Innovation, Business modeling and a host of other interesting topics. They were to be coached on presentation skills as well. He was wondering if I could give them a guest talk.

What could I possibly tell these high school children? My gaze fell at the Rubik cube. I wondered if I were one of the Marvel characters how would I solve it. In my past career, I used to be a microscopist (Transmission electron microscopist, to be precise, but, that is a conversation for another post). So, the answer was plain and obvious - Ant-man!

As Ant-man, I told the kids about Rubik cube. How does one get from 43_252_003_274_489_856_000 solutions to 1, use an algorithm? Then, I told them about how problem solving is a multi-dimensional puzzle and that one needs to follow an algorithm - the Innovation Algorithm.

Creative Problem-Solving is like…

The Algorithm

There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

  • Morpheus, from “The Matrix”

I wondered if the kids would have been able to use the algorithm. Maybe, it was too complex for them. Boy, was I wrong!

The teams not only knew the algorithm of problem solving, they applied it so well in their applications as I saw it with my own laptop screen. They worked so hard to make the presentations so good, professional! I wish, I had been in their team working as well! Next time, Bala, next time, I told myself.

A LinkedIn post by a parent of a student who participated in the event!

I congratulate the entire team led by Sayantan and Shankar for organizing it so well and making sure that all the children performed to their highest potential. If they want me again, Ant-man will be there!

Rubik Cube Commercial

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