A small initiative that has blossomed into a beautiful trend !

Sometime back in early 2010 I alongwith Arvind, Narain and Ram were discussing on a city based community initiative to identify accident hotspots on ECR and curb traffic regulation. What evolved was a presentation of the possibilities to an audience at Ideacamp.

This caught the attention of Sanobar, a RJ by profession and then a newbie to TKF events. She put us on a Chat with the ACP Traffic Ms Sonel Mishra and me and Ram started the initiative of Capacity building CCTP (Chennai City Traffic Police) on Social Media.

The engagement involved creating awareness of the power of Social media to the Stakeholder group and discussing strategies of the rollout with the team. We powered the entire team on Facebook and twitter and primed for an official Launch on August 15, 2010 . Then we had to face the challenges of end user resistance to technology adoption and thereby a protracted delay in the rollout.

On one end both me and Ram had aggressively campaigned about this online and the media was eager to see this take off. Slowly we started facing queries from the community on credibility of the group and all such outburst. We interfered once to post on the search on Tamanna . Other than that we maintained the integrity of the site all along. Slowly the Knowledge Transfer happened in the month of May 2011 and today the wall is buzz with activity .

Today the Chennai City Traffic Police Facebook wall is nearing 8000 users online and daily action taken reports happening. We have transferred all knowledge artifacts to the Government and I take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of Ram and rest of the Team at The Knowledge Foundation on a job well done ! Thanx Team and we have made a difference !

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An interesting evening at KCommunity Chennai !


I have been a member of the KCommunity since its inception . I was introduced to the KCommunity by Mr Raj Datta, way back in 2007 when he was the KM head at Mindtree . Subsequently i have been driving a lot of KM initiatives for TKF, Fuente and lately for Railsfactory too. Eversince have been a passive member of KCommunity and due to hectic schedules not able to go for any of the meetings.And so finally dropped in yesterday to meet Mr Sukumar Rajagopal, Mentor of the KCommunity and other folks that and what a pleasant evening it was ! A small closely knit group with just a agenda to share knowledge and best practices across corporates.

Yesterday there was a very interesting session at KCommunity on the topic ” Art of Story Telling in Corporates ” by Ms Archana Raghuram , Sr Program Manager Outreach of CTS. The take home message is ” that we need to capitulate on the compelling stories that happen at places of work and tell them to people. Doing so will interest people both within and outside the organization ” By following this method people who listen to you tend to keep you in mind for long and you slowly become synonymous with the story. And there are certain steps to do the same.

And I have been lingering on this thought for quite sometime building the corporate presentation for one of our associate as they had so many interesting incidents in their startup four years back. The session last evening has reiterated the message that nothing can go wrong on the age old technique of Story telling to present your ideas as well as keep your audience engrossed in the conversation.

That’s a Fiver

Come this April we complete 5 years of the birth of an Idea called The Knowledge Foundation. April 5 way back in 2006 we had completed our First Barcamp Chennai (India’s Second Barcamp) and that evening a few of us understood the power of what is possible within a group of highly motivated individuals working towards a common cause. Ever since that day we have journeyed together through memorable events and newer formats .

Most of us have forayed in different directions but took a lot of learning that we had into building / evolving better communities, workshops, codesprints, photowalks, online and offline clubs. Some of us have shaped careers from this experience, most of us have used this as a excellent platform to hone our presentation skills and all of us have used this platform to voice our take on anything discussed under the roof.

Whatever said and done there are a few things that we are proud to have accomplished at a very high level.
1. We totally redefined the way knowledge can be shared either free or near free in chennai. We redefined the way business networking landscape happened in Chennai.
2. India is always about volumes . And what best place than here to put “ Crowdsourcing “ to best use. 80% of our events have been successfully modeled on Wisdom of crowds.
3. We totally deconstructed and shared the dynamics on how to organize knowledge based events to varying degrees of perfection.
4. We have inspired a genre of social thinkers , domain leaders on the art of building communities both online as well as offline. A lot of patrons who have been a part of TKF or attended TKF events have gone forth and build communities of their own.

Honestly I write this is not to brag about what we have done in the past 5 years but is a resounding call to all who have walked with us any given day in the last 5 years attending any one of our events and found that we made a difference to join us in celebrating 5 years of that journey. Sort of a Thanksgiving to the entire patronage of TKF.

Invariably i have mailed this to all who have walked with us immaterial of where we stand today to join in on celebrations. I leave it to the group to suggest how best we can do this celebrations .

Ideacamp, India Search Summit and Socialmaxx : Forthcoming initiatives at The Knowledge Foundation

How many times have you felt an awesome idea and wanted to validate it with a peer group ? How many times have you felt that you are found sitting at a great idea for so long that you find that competition has been capitalising on that ? And how many times have you reached out to your community to build something together ? The answer to all this  #Ideacamp .

Events like #barcamp , #ignite have ventured partly in this direction but with Ideacamp we just want to celebrate ideas (any domain) and understand  how collective brainstorming can take things to the next level. This platform will seek to validate ideas as well as gather support in building a team around the idea. The key component of Ideacamp would be the audience. The more diverse they are the greater will be the input to the event per se.. Already we have members from ISOC Chennai trying to connect the event with global thinkers. Due to be held in the third week of May 2010 Follow developments on twitter and facebook by tracking the tags #ideacamp

Search meets Social and Social meets search. A few weeks back twitter announced with twitter predictor it was able to predict box office success.Lately a lot of commercial organisations are listening to social media streams like twitter , facebook, linkedin to understand their customers, service levels as well as online branding. Naturally its imperative that we combine both streams without diluting content in each of these domains. Searchcamp has been renamed as India Search Summit Owing to the tremendous success of the previous two editions of Searchcamp , we wanted it to grow into a larger and serious initiative that can bring together more Search professionals so that we can take it to other cities in India on the long run.

The Knowledge Foundation has already done events in the past like Buzz140  ( #buzz140 ) on twitter (2009) , India’s first Facebook Garage in Proto.in Pune edition (2009) , its time that we elevate the bar to combine all into one focussed event on Social Media. This time we want to combine popular tools like LinkedIn also to the discussion . India Search Summit and Socialmaxx will be held on consecutive days at the third week of August 2010. We welcome volunteers and enthusiasts who can join us to help in these initiatives . To follow development updates on this event pls search for #socialmaxx

Barcamp Chennai – A Sneak Peek

BarCamp Chennai is running its third edition tomorrow ( April 11 , 2010 ) at SRM University . A Few initiatives where i have been closely involved since inception are trying to gain shout to volunteers for taking their initiatives to the next level.

First would be Proto.in which is looking forward to create a sort of online database for all its 100 + entrepreneur alumni as well as for the innumerable entrepreneurs who couldnt make the cut. We have a very ambitious plan on building this community to take forward all our linkages into a sort of an exchange where it becomes a platform for startups to complement / supplement one another as well as create communication channels that are independent. One of the common issue that we find during the evaluation of Startups for our edition is that most of the startups are either at early stage of development thereby not ready yet or sometimes missing a critical component that could make them go big. ” A la Crunchbase ” for Indian entrepreneurs will be a big plus from all points of view. And if we can keep it community moderated it will seek to help that larger group. We look for participation from web development firms to partner with us on this initiative as well as more ideators to fine tune this to create a maximise value for entrepreneurs, investors, and the business community.

IdeaCamp initiated by Nambirajan has been taking great shape. More details on what the “Idea camp ” is all about will be available tomorrow for all participants. Nambi says ”  if you came with an idea you should leave with the idea sharpened,better and with more possibilities for the future and if you didn’t come with an idea you go away with a lot of ideas..” This might get touted to be the next big ticket event in Chennai for us. Already ISOC Chennai has expressed its willingness to support as well as bring participation of Global ISOC Leaders into this discussion. Sivasubramanian Muthusamy, the president of ISOC Chennai is one of the key ideators who is working alongwith us to finetune the event format to a better shape.  There is also a call for volunteers in this space to take things forward.

RiseCamp initiated by Aditya Kaul is also being discussed on similar lines but with Social change as a key focus. The camp is planned to be a residential 2 day event bringing together social thinkers, governmental cause champions and entrepreneurs into one common platform to brainstorm about building solutions to tackle social problems in the Indian context. Risecamp essentially aims to use crowdsourcing to spark social innovation in social entreprenuership in India.

Elements5 is getting a boost to the next level joining hands with Y4C (Youth 4 Change), Tata Jagriti Yatra and similar organisations. E5 is sparking of a huge online initiative where social media and blogging will play and proactive role in knowledge dissemination on Eco and green issues. Announcements on E5 clubs in colleges is due to follow soon…

As a part of the Planning team of Scrum Day India, which is being planned for Aug 14 in association with Scrum alliance USA. The event will be held at Pune that will invite more agile enthusiasts as well as professionals from diverse backgrounds to create awareness on SCRUM as well as Agile methods. I will give you more details on a separate post soon….

Copenhagen Summit on Carbon Emission Reduction !

6 Months since i wrote a blog post ! There has been a mental shift all these months that those who don’t do any thing at ground level are that ones that have time to blog. Pursuing on this belief and getting hands on into so many initiatives got me so busy and blogging got a lower priority on things… Slowly i found that apart from the tight circle of influence and friends , ppl were unaware of what initiatives that we were pursuing or putting to shape. So here i am back to old ways to reach out to those who have been online contacts so that we can update you on what is going on at Chennai and at The Knowledge Foundation.

Later this year 100 countries across the globe are getting together at Copenhagen to sign a key treaty on Climate Change and initiatives to reduce the carbon foot print of individual nations. This we believe will be a big step towards safeguarding the ecosystem from an unending spiral of destruction owing to development/industrialisation. Pls follow the key tenets of the campaign at the following url ( http://www.hopenhagen.org/ ) .

For the last 6 months i have been a part of a Climate Change Diplomacy group of 20 researchers from across the world convening at a study on the initiatives pursued by individual countries for climate Change. Some of the most active proponents of this cause or European nations, island states, many countries in africa. Some of the developing countries like india, brazil are debating on the extent of tradeoff one can pursue given the exponential growth that they are witnessing right now. Countries like China and US seem to contribute majorly to the GHG (Greenhouse gas) emissions.

The previous meeting of the UNFCCC was at 2007 wherein the Bali Action Plan was drafted in a effort to preserve the forest and ecosystem.The initiative was focussed towards tech transfer that can aid poorer countries to leapfrog over development and ensure they leave a lesser carbon footprint.

We at the Knowledge Foundation are rolling out a campaign on Climate Change as a part of Elements5 . The campaign is to substitute CFL lighting at rural schools across tamil nadu. The rationale behind the campaign is that we intend to reduce energy consumption in schools that are currently using filament bulbs and tubelights with better energy saving alternatives like CFL. We are currently talking to a lot of colleges garnering volunteers to help us in the rollout of this campaign. Will update you more as we go on…