It took an armoured vehicle specialist’s chance meeting with a turtle conservationist to come up with the idea of how to make the world’s toughest tank using the same cellular structure that makes up the turtle shell. So yes, we must reach out and talk to different kinds of people… Innovation will require different minds to collide.
With 21+ years of experience in the corporate world including working at Unilever as Global Brand Director and at Mahindra Holidays as Chief Marketing Officer, Indranil decided to strike out on his own in 2013 and move to Goa – one influencing the other. He founded StoryWorks, the first Indian company that focuses exclusively on business storytelling, by harnessing the power of stories to help companies and individuals become more powerful communicators.
If you had to draft an elevator pitch for the work you do today, what would it be?
I personally think that the elevator speech concept is highly overrated. No idea can be sold in the 20/30 second one can potentially get in the elevator. However, what I can do if I get that opportunity, is to grab the person’s attention so that he/she calls me in to his/her office to know more. So my ‘elevator spiel’ is – “I help individuals and organisations harness the power of stories to communicate with their teams in a way that connects, engages and inspires. So if you are struggling with getting important messages to stick with your team, I am the person you could call. Here is my card…”
Show me the money! Will there be a greater need for stories & storytelling in the corporate world?
The world is becoming a noisier place every day. The number of people and organisations trying to reach us with more and more messages is increasing every day. In parallel, we are all losing our ability to pay attention and we flit between this noise and our ever increasing ‘productivity’ devices.
Hence, the requirement to find ways in which our messages can be understood and remembered will only increase and with that will increase alternate methods such as storytelling.
What do you do when you are stuck with a problem?
It depends on whether the problem is something I feel I would be able to solve by myself or is it beyond my expertise. If the former, then I just try and step back and think. How did we get to where we are and where do we need to go? Look for alternatives and weigh the pros & cons. But I am not someone who waits for perfect answers and after I am reasonably satisfied with what I have thought through, I act.
If I am out of my depth, then I always reach out. I have believed for a long time that ego is the worst enemy of solutions.
When we’re in school, we’re told cheating is bad – ‘Don’t talk to each other, don’t discuss.’ And then as we come out of it, we begin to realize that there’s something called “collaborative thinking” and it’s not bad! What’s your opinion?
I still believe cheating is bad. Whereas using other people ideas to build my own while giving them the due credit is the best way to get ahead in life.
Great ideas comes when information from different disciplines collide. It took an armoured vehicle specialist’s chance meeting with a turtle conservationist to come up with the idea of how to make the world’s toughest tank using the same cellular structure that makes up the turtle shell. So yes, we must reach out and talk to different kinds of people.
Innovation will require different minds to collide.
What would your advice be to a young person at the start of his or her career and confused about pursuing passion versus being pragmatic?
Follow your passion. No questions asked. If you follow your passion, you will be good at it and when you are good at it, people will pay good money for it.
Don’t spend all the money you earn on travel. Put aside 10% of everything you earn. You may never need it, but it will create peace of mind.
If you could do some time-travelling and go back to meet yourself at 17, 25, 35, what would you say to your selves then?
17 – You can’t begin to understand how lucky you are. Not everybody who starts out in a small little hill town in a north east gets an opportunity to get out and get the kind of education you have managed (Computer Science Engineering) so thank your parents, thank your stars and seize the day.
25 – Don’t spend all the money you earn on travel. Put aside 10% of everything you earn. You may never need it, but it will create peace of mind.
35 – Think about stepping out of the cocoon of corporate life in the next three to five years. Find what you will be passionate about and make your plans.
What is the kind of supplementary informal learning that you engage in that helps you in your work?
I read a lot, surf in the area of my work & listen to a lot of talks including on TED.
What is most rewarding about your work?
There are several rewarding elements of my work. The joy of seeing adults rediscover the power and joy of stories even at work is awesome. The second, almost as rewarding, is not having a boss!
What’s your advice for a resume that’s just about to enter circulation? What are the musts it should have that recruiters look for? And the absolute don’ts, if any?
Genuineness and authenticity. Do not lie.