Instead of weaving a final cryptic veil of shrouded euphemisms for our mental challenges, or making hallowed emotional proclamations of overcoming self doubt, or encoding my half lessons and advices behind an anecdote, weighted and tempered by cadence and tone to try and catch your attention, I wanted to share my collection of insights from some of our workshops earlier in our trip, for 2021.
Through CSTEP, Google, Jaaga, The Ugly Indian, Hasiru Dala, and others, we have received deeply thoughtful and insightful encouragement from MBAs, PHDs, Directors, technicians, historians, grassroots organizers, artists, waste pickers, and community leaders. We can all triumphantly report that we have filled in many of the voids in the pages of our coloring book. I savored this appetizer period in our education, and dutifully recorded the responses to my most reliable question when our audience got sleepy or ran out of thoughts to fill the air. “What advice would you give us as we begin work with our organizations, and try to develop a project in such a short period of time?”
The fireflies of responses I caught are here, flickering in a mason jar of wishful encouragement:
● Listen, make sure your organization understands that you understand their problem.
● Go back for questions only after you have done sufficient work.
● Wow your organizations with your ability to think laterally.
● Share perspectives with one another, consider your blind spots.
● Be meaningful and passionate.
● It’s a tough journey, not everything will be successful.
● Come up with a good solution first, field test second, and address business and social challenges in the field.
● Really good ideas come in lots of places, and from talking to lots of people.
● Involve your stakeholders.
● At halfway check in on what is good and bad, do it socially, and celebrate it.
● Copiously document your work.
● Any problem can be solved.
● It's ok to fail.
● The status quo has the highest inertia, but always can change.
● Have a bias for action, India’s chaos affronts the status quo.
● Focus on learning.
● Understand the caveats of your customer.
● An imperfect solution is a solution.
● Look into other sectors.
Thanks for the shared space.