Saturday, December 15, 2007

Osmosis - Celebrating Innovation @ MindTree

Osmosis - MindTree's annual technology festival

The whole of MindTree looks forward to this mega event that is scheduled in the month of December every year, where MindTree celebrates innovation. Osmosis the celebration of the nerd within all of us as we like to call it. It is MindTree's way of celebrating technology through showcasing achievements, through collaboration in form of discussions and various events & contests. We have lots of knowledge sharing that happens through out like daily quiz, crosswords etc. I had heard a lot about Osmosis, but hadn’t had the opportunity to be a part of it. I was eager to be a part of this celebration. My wait finally ended this morning when I got to experience the ‘Heat’. Boy! It was truly a memorable experience.

The specialty about this year’s celebration was the ‘unconference’ sessions that MindTree had organized. For the uninitiated, ‘unconference’ is this really cool concept of sharing thoughts where the audiences get to choose what they wanna listen to. Since osmosis truly stands for celebrating innovation, MindTree ensured that it would break the norms, by dropping the concept of having traditional conferences, and give this ‘unconference’ idea, a try and see if it works out well. By doing that not only did MindTree ensure that the ‘unconference’ topics addressed the intended audience, but also ensured that people get a common platform to discuss issues that would often be considered ‘unconventional’ for a conference. Trust me when I say this… ‘It simply rocked!’ MindTree is the first company in the corporate space to have implemented this new concept of unconference on such a big scale.

What was really cool about it?

1. To facilitate an unconference session you don’t need to have a mastery over that topic. The only requirement is that you should be able to guide the session in the right direction.

2. Also the topics to be discussed weren’t restricted to hard core technical stuff. For eg: we had topics like ‘I and my project manager’, ‘Are we losing Indian tradition because of globalization?’, ‘Self Deception’ etc.

3. The sessions are scheduled over a period of 45 minutes (between every session, we had a break of 15 minutes to facilitate people move to the respective halls, just in case they wanted to attend a different session of their interest), where it’s driven just like a group discussion, where people get to exchange thoughts and share their knowledge.

4. You are ensuring that the audience in the hall is present because they truly are interested to know about the topic, and not just for the heck of it! So you wouldn’t find people drowsing in the hall anymore!

5. I appreciate that MindTree broke the rules and was vigilant enough to pick up the changing trend of sharing thoughts! I consider myself fortunate to have got a chance to attend 3 unconference sessions in one single day. I attended these really enlightening sessions on ‘ Twitter for real time Micro Blogging’ and ‘ Jump start Open Social -- use existing networks for your benefit’, facilitated by Ujjwal Grover.

If you have built an impression, by now that Osmosis was all of unconference sessions and technology stuff, you got me perfectly wrong! We also had some real good fun. We witnessed a short play from MAG (MindTree Artists Guild), loads of song dedications (a stall put by Talent Acquisition Team), some hard core rock music by the October ’07 batch of MindTree.

All in all it was a truly festive atmosphere at MindTree. It’s also the time in the year that all the co-founders of MindTree are here to celebrate innovation with the rest of the family. I had a great time being a part of this festival. I am eagerly waiting for the next year’s Osmosis festival. I will definitely try to facilitate an unconference session!

Update: A few others who attended Osmosis wrote...

1. Shahnawaz Khan

2. Ujjwal Grover

3. Codelicious

Wanna get a flavour of how Osmosis'07 looked like? Follow the link below...

Shahnawaz Khan's photo take on final day

~IT's My Life

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Sunday, December 02, 2007


This might sound as a cliche... But do bear with, one last time. "The first impression in the BEST impression." Not really! It can be a bit deceiving at times!!

Yesterday I happen to speak to a colleague of mine, who spoke about a facilitator of his, whom everyone considers 'shrewd' a.ka. the villain! He told me that the facilitator was open enough to accept that he would be termed the 'Villain' of this story, popularly called 'Learning Interventions' at MindTree. The facilitator was well aware of the fact that people would find it exponentially difficult to understand the intentions behind his way of doing things. The facilitator, on the very first day made it loud and clear that the trainees should adhere to a list of 'rules' to be followed, to ensure discipline and decorum in the classroom. The facilitator didn't give a damn about the minority of so-called 'Boy! I'm not impressed with this facilitator' group. Unlike many of us, the facilitator was ready to stake his image of 'He is a really friendly person to approach' kinda image, that most of crave to build up, when we introduce ourselves to new people! He firmly believed that as long as his intentions were right, and he was successful in achieving the objectives (in his case... it was to ensure that he imparted right concepts to the trainees with full vigour), it was absolutely okies with him, even if everyone considered him 'shrewd' / 'unapproachable'. The facilitator 'promised' to take them all on a 'jolly' ride in 'hell', during the training. That's scaring!

But what he said in justification made absolute sense. He said, "For you to appreciate the comfort of being in heaven, you need to know how difficult it is to be in hell."

That really put me in to some serious thinking. What really bothered me after I ended the conversation with my colleague was, "Is the first impression always the best impression?" "Could it not be the BEST wrong impression you build about a person?" Come to think of it, you would realize that many a times we crib about an acquaintance, at a later point in time, when we realize that the so-called first impression we gathered about him/her was actually a myth! How many of us have the guts to say to this world at times, "Look... this is the way I do things. Take it or leave it. I know that my intentions are right, so I don't give it a damn, if you differ with my ways of doing things!" Trust me, many a time we compromise with end results (which should be the center of focus) by doing things which are influenced by this fear, "Oh my god! What will people think if I carry my self this way? Will I be able to convince everyone around me?"

Why does it happen?

I feel that you should to give any relationship a real good time to settle, even before you think of building up an impression about it. If you fail to do it, I can guarantee you that you are surely gonna crib about that relationship, some time or the other. It is absolutely okies to carry a neutral impression about people when any relationship is in the stages of infancy.

So the next time you pass a judgement about a guy/gal, being 'nice'/'shrewd', please ensure that you know their intentions pretty well. Everyone has a right to do things, the way they like it! If you feel someone is shrewd for all the right reasons in this world, then try to appreciate the good intentions behind it. I'm sure that they too would appreciate, if you could respect the candidness in their approach to life!

Statutory Warning: If you happen to be a first time visitor to my blog, wait for a while (read it as 'walk through my archives') before you build an impression. If you have already built one, don't go by it. Your subsequent impressions may change!

~IT's My Life

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