Tomorrow is “Guru Pournima”. I am writing to you taking advantage of the occasion. In modern times, someone from whom you learn is to be considered a “Guru” and you are my “Guru”. I have learnt a lot from you and continue to learn. On this occasion I wish that I carry on learning and you carry on astonishing me with your knowledge as always.
I still very vividly remember the September of 2007 at Goa during Kyoorius Design Yarta where the seeds of our association got sowed. At that time I was contemplating what exactly to do next, post my “Creative-i College” episode. The informal discussions ignited the very unique concept called “Elephantversity” – an Institute of Innovation. The discussions followed a series of meetings we had at Elephant to formalize the concept and finally I joined the ship on April 15, 2008.
All the way it was you who steered the ship in new waters. There are many instances where you provided right direction to this very unique concept of an institute of innovation. While across the world, there was talk about using design process for innovation, in India, there was no one who was doing anything concrete in this direction. You foresaw this and created Elephantversity. This itself is an indicator of your foresight and your hand on the pulse of what is happening around the world.
When the question of having eminent advisors for the institute came up, you single handedly got an impressive array of advisors on board. Right from industrial luminaries like Rajiv Bajaj and Atul Kirloskar to international innovation thinkers like Eero Mietinnen, GK Van Patter, Uday Dandavate everyone responded positively in single instance of your writing to them. This indeed is a testimony to the confidence these people had in you.
Traveling with you to Helsinki was also quite an experience. An institute which had barely started thinking of signing cooperation agreement with an institute in Design Mature country of Finland was an achievement in itself.
There are many more such instances which created the institute that it is today. I would not mention all of them. Your presence in Elephant has always been electrifying. Your leadership in terms of other new initiatives at Elephant also is something worth mentioning here. For instance, copper products initiative. On one side where designers and design houses have been talking about using design for social impact, you created a scalable business model through copper products which would support many artisan families. Your role in sewing up strategic partnership with Continuum, RKS is another case in point about your strategic vision.
All in all, I feel fortunate to have been associated with you and having had an opportunity to learn from you. I offer my sincere regards to you and close my monologue.
06th July 2009