I can't find a suitable book, so let me write it for you - SVEC Tirupathi

2021-03-24

In September 2019, I got an email from Prof. Avanija from Sree Vidyanikethan Engineering College, Tirupathi. The gist of the email went something like this:

Dear Sir, can you please recommend a good book on Design Thinking that we teachers can use for teaching and may also be useful for the students to learn from?

When I read this, I was surprised, since so much of literature and books have been written on the topic of Design Thinking. So, I did a basic search for a book on the leading libraries of the world. It is not that I didn’t find any books. I didn’t find a book which could go alongside an academic course.

So, I responded.

“Dear Madam, you are right. Currently, there seem to be no books which match your requirements. However, are you willing to wait for 3-4 months?”

Avanija Madam kindly agreed to my weird request.

What I had in mind was what I learned from the writer community - “If you don’t find a book you want to read, write it.

Little did I realize that it would take 6-8 months and 7 iterations with my professional editor - Anita Nagarajan. The end result is here: https://dt.balaramadurai.net

Meanwhile, the little exchange with Prof. Avanija eventually led to a full fledged 2-day workshop alongside Dr. Shankar Venugopal (Vice President, Mahindra & Mahindra). The structure of the workshop was as follows:

Part Module Time
Part 1 Intro 45 mins
Part 2 Empathize-I 120 mins
Part 3 Empathize-II 60 mins
Part 4 Analyze 60 mins
Part 5 Solve 120 mins

We gave some mock scenarios for the mix of students and professors:

Target Customer
An out of town student
A differently abled student
A demotivated student
A very shy brilliant student
An exceptional prodigy

The participants had to empathize with this type of users/customers. Later, they had to also think of solutions.

What do two facilitators do when they have half a day free?

Shankar and I finished a sumptuous lunch and had half a day to kill. That’s when we decided to explore the temple city and guess what we saw - a Telugu movie where the protagonist made empathy his business model (How apt for the premise of a Design Thinking workshop!). I understood about 20% of the dialogues maybe, but empathy is beyond language, correct?

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