Monday, March 9, 2009

Wired to Care

Recently, I attended another great Design speaker series at Rotman. Dev Patnaik, founder of Jump Associates spoke on two occasions:-
  • About his new book, 'Wired to Care', where Dev emphasized the importance of empathy in order to innovate in both, good and bad times. The book is a great read - totally recommended for every business and human!
  • A session geared specifically towards students, where students had an open conversation with Dev and Peter (Jump's media/communications person)
I must admit I have never in the last 2 years of my Rotman life felt after a session - "Yes, this is the company I would love to work for" so strongly except for this particular company. There were several funny and "aha" moments in that session. The energy in that session was so much cooler than at a cold informational session.

There were 3 instances, which completely blew me away:-
  1. Dev and Peter started the session with an exercise called "bam jump" or something with the word "bam" in it, where everyone gathered around in a circle and clapped their hands at "bam". This is pretty unusual in the recruiting world, but an excellent way to stump your audience and connect with them more. It sure made the students relax and connect with both, Dev and Peter. Also, everyone had to count down from 20 to 1 without overlap/repetition with eyes closed. As expected, we had to start from scratch several times, because of the competitive nature of the MBA students. The exercise made me realize, if you can learn to really listen to your audience, you can do wonders for your business.
  2. Dev and Peter also performed a 3 questionnaire game: a) Tell me one thing you like about me; b) Tell me something I don't know about you; and c) Tell me one thing you think we agree on - Although the game sounds trivial, it becomes harder after you repeat it 3 times and specially if you have known the person for long. Most importantly, you engage your audience/client through the game.
  3. Dev narrated a fascinating story about how he started Jump. He mentioned that he spent about 9 months working on his portfolio, because the company he wanted to work for was not hiring for another 9 months. Once he did interview with them after those 9 months, they loved his portfolio and hired him. Once he started working with this company, he hated them! He left and started Jump, because he felt,"damn it! there is no company around that I want to work for" :)
I was very impressed with the fact that both men were extremely transparent in their interaction; a very rare sight in business world.

The entire interaction/session said a lot about Jump's culture and values.
The entire session was also a great opportunity for a great conversation with some very fascinating people.

I am happy that I was a part of it :)

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