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Spirit of TechWorks

Posted on: 08 November '10

Last year I met Prashanth during the TechWorks demo held at Arboretum. There was a huge crowd around his TechWorks, I was curious to find out what it was. What I found there was a passionate person behind a powerful idea, called the Typing Button (patent pending). In this post I interview Typing Button TechWorks creator Prashanth Kamath, who joined us 3 years ago and is now part of the Assistive Technology Group.

Murali:  Hi Prashanth, How did you know about Osmosis TechWorks?
Prashanth : I knew that Osmosis TechWorks was a big event in Mindtree – even before I joined the company. The year I joined, I made it a point to visit Osmosis events. I was so impressed – I wanted to participate in it once. Basically I’m a person with a technical bent of mind. I believe that by participating in such an event – one can get an opportunity to network with like minded people. From a long term career perspective, this is very important.
Murali: What made you participate?
Prashanth : When I began my career in Mindtree – I was part of People Function. I always wanted to be on the technical side of things. I saw Osmosis TechWorks as a possible opening – that could help me transition into a more technical role.
Murali: What was the genesis of your idea? Did you get other ideas that were equally compelling, how did you choose?
Prashanth : I have many ideas – so lack of ideas was never a problem. The problem was which idea to work on. I wanted to do something that could be implemented in a short time – and at the same time show to the audience that it was indeed something worthwhile and interesting. So I started working on one of my small project ideas – The Typing Button.
Murali: Whose need does Typing Button address?
Prashanth : Essentially Typing Button is a virtual keyboard for the differently abled. I got the idea to develop this application after I saw one of my friends from school working on the computer. He finds it very difficult to use the keyboard. I visualized a solution that might help him. It can be of use to anyone who prefers using the mouse instead of a keyboard [it’s a Assistive Technology Product]. Being physically disabled myself, I have a deep and natural passion for working in the area of Assistive Technologies.
Murali: How important was passion for the idea?
Prashanth : I strongly believe in the power of an idea. An idea is good – only if you are able to take it forward. If it remains an idea in your mind – it will not have any value to the rest of the world. So I’d say – working on your idea is much more important than having a good idea. Only when you work on your idea – you begin to ask questions. Only when you start asking questions – you realize how good or bad your idea really is. Once you start working on your idea – you realize the actual complexities involved and how you can take your idea forward. To do all this – passion is of utmost importance.
Murali:  What motivated you to build Typing Button?
Prashanth : Osmosis being tech fest, there are prizes up for grabs. So, one has to have a desire to win. Then your idea / TechWorks should appeal to the audience. Keeping all this in mind, when you start working on something, you have to be intensely and internally motivated. In my case, the motivation was natural. I wanted to prove that I could handle a technical project – even though I was not qualified for the job.
Murali: What came in the way while building Typing Button?
Prashanth : One of the first hurdles I faced was the lack of knowledge. But the lack of knowledge, by itself is not a serious impediment. To be successful in any technical project – one needs to have a desire to learn. I believe that learning never stops in life. As far as hurdles regarding implementation are concerned – they keep coming up from time to time. I faced many such challenges. I feel it’s very important that one should know exactly what one is doing. Clarity of purpose and action are crucial. When you know what exactly to do – you can figure out how to do it sooner or later.
Murali: What do you think is the best outcome or benefit for you personally from doing Typing Button?
Prashanth : I think, being able to participate in Osmosis / TechWorks is a reward in itself. Not everyone gets a chance to be a part of such an event. And not everyone get to walk away with a prize. But more than anything else – I feel, it helps you to grow. You gain an appreciation for other’s work. You also get a chance to bring to life – your own application of technology. That way, you appreciate Technology better than before. At least that was true in my case.
Murali: Is there a message from you to TechWorks participants this year?
Prashanth : I’m not going to say much out here. TechWorks has changed my life and my career. Now I’m working as part of the Assistive Technology Team. TechWorks provided a platform for me to launch my career – and I think I used it to the fullest. Now, are you smart enough to follow suit ?

Many thanks to Prashanth for his willingness and responses.

 

  • Prashanth is one of the most passionate individual I have come across during the Neuron idea management process in my tenure. Thanks for this post, and so glad to know his new innovation.

  • Geetha Chandar

    Dear Murali,

    This is awesome really. Kudos to Prashanth! His ‘creative intelligence’ and passion shine through his answers to all the very interesting questions posed by you.

    I had read this in an article which was published in HBR about ‘The Innovator’s DNA’ and Prashanth embodies what has been said here:

    “Imagine that you have an identical twin, endowed with the same brains and natural talents that you have. You’re both given one week to come up with a creative new business-venture idea. During that week, you come up with ideas alone in your room. In contrast, your twin (1) talks with 10 people-including an engineer, a musician, a stay-at-home dad, and a designer-about the venture, (2) visits three innovative start-ups to observe what they do, (3) samples five “new to the market” products, (4) shows a prototype he’s built to five people, and (5) asks the questions “What if I tried this?” and “Why do you do that?” at least 10 times each day during these networking, observing, and experimenting activities. Who do you bet will come up with the more innovative (and doable) idea?

    Studies of identical twins separated at birth indicate that our ability to think creatively comes one-third from genetics; but two-thirds of the innovation skill set comes through learning – first understanding a given skill, then practising it, experimenting, and ultimately gaining confidence in one’s capacity to create. Innovative entrepreneurs in our study acquired and honed their innovation skills precisely this way.”

    This MindTree Mind sure has oodles of ‘CLASS’ Values!

    Thanks and regards,

    Geetha