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'India's youth is our biggest asset'

Last updated on: August 24, 2010 15:45 IST

'India's youth is our biggest asset'


Prasanna D Zore

Dr Rekha Shetty, author of the recently published Innovate! 90 Days To Transform Your Business, wants to become immortal. And it's not too difficult, she claims.

"I think writing is the ultimate immortality that everybody seeks. If you want your footsteps on the sands of time you must write," she insists. To become immortal, she has been writing since she was a kid.

Innovate is her third book after The Way To A Healthy Heart and Corporate Strategy: Mindspower Innovation. Her fourth book The Happiness Quotient is due in September.

With over 22 years of work experience in the corporate sector -- Nine years in United India Insurance, then for seven years in Apollo Hospitals as group vice president since its inception and as the co-founder and managing director of Farstar Distribution Network since 1993 which focuses on companies becoming more innovative and develop the culture of innovation Dr Shetty has a postgraduate degree in medical and psychiatric social work and PhD in management from Madras University.

In an interview with Prasanna D Zore, Dr Shetty discusses her book, success mantras and how India's youth can improve their creativity and productivity.

Did your academics help you in your career?

I started my career like anybody else at United India Insurance. My education really focused on what I did because I was for many years in the field of marketing and building company brands from scratch. I don't think my education was directly connected to what I am doing today except that education always helps you to think logically and gives you the tools of creativity.

And education doesn't stop at graduation, post graduation or PhD. Education is a matter of investing everyday in learning new things and developing your mind and making it better till the day you die.

What is your latest book about?

Innovate: 90 Days to Transform your Business offers a time bound map to transform one's business in a given time period. And this transformation happens by involving everybody in the culture of innovation. This book is for everybody who's looking for transformation.

If someone were starting a new business, s/he would find this book very useful.

The book works on the premise that innovation, like aerobics, fitness, depends on daily practice of looking at the world with a different attitude. This works on a very simple, day-to-day activity chart. Basically, this book looks at innovation and transformation in a new, doable way.

Image: Book cover: Innovate! 90 Days To Transform Your Business


'India's youth is our biggest asset'

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What inspired you to write this book?

I have been involved in practicing and consulting on new product development, innovation and turn around of companies using out-of-the-box thinking for the last 23 years. I have always been preaching a method, which should be easily replicable, which everybody could learn and practice together.

For innovation to reflect and impact the bottom line of a company we need the whole company to practice it. I was looking for a formula to think out of the box. And that's how I came to create 47 thinking tools, a formula by which anybody can think differently from the way they have been thinking so far.

This book clearly is an essence of my last 23 years of practice on innovation including my PhD thesis. The book really works for a company where thousands of workers can think likewise on innovation. The book is the offshoot of my years of practice and involvement.

Is your book meant only for innovating companies? Does it help students to think innovatively?

My book basically focuses on a different way of thinking. For instance, how do you frame a wild idea like zero cost or zero rejection, doubling profit and productivity or achieving your goal in 50 per cent of the time originally allocated?

My book talks about thinking tools that affect all four quadrants of your life. And these are: Personal, professional, social and family. All these four are affected by your attitude and by the way you think.

These thinking tools are transformative in nature at the very basic level. You can become a much more inspired human being with a much more interesting life when you use these thinking tools.

This is your fourth book? How do you manage to pen so many books?

I have been writing since I was a kid. And many of my books that I am publishing now have been the result of my writing for many, many years. My next book The Happiness Quotient is due this September. I love to write and read. I think writing is the ultimate immortality that everybody seeks. If you want your footsteps on the sands of time you must write.

Image: Dr Rekha Shetty

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'India's youth is our biggest asset'

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How can India's youth transform their lives, enhance their creativity and inspire other fellow Indians?

I would request every fellow Indian to be aware of the fact that today India is on the brink of world leadership. And to further enhance this leadership position the minds of 1.2 billion Indians is our biggest asset.

If you look at our mind then every human mind has the capacity to store the equivalent of 7,550 volumes of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

I would urge every young Indian to furnish that mind-computer and use it freely. I request every individual to unleash their time, effort and energy in developing their minds. Today the pace of change is so swift that the companies that develop problem-solving manuals become obsolete in no time. But if you equip every individual with a very fast thinking, flexible and innovative mind India can solve any problem as it arises. We wouldn't have to look at manuals to solve problems.

Your success mantras...

  • Think out of the box or altogether eliminate the box
  • Learn new skills and develop new talents every year
  • Co-operation and collaboration and not conflict should be your formula while resolving problems
  • Think big and stick your neck out to achieve your ideas
  • Read and learn from everything that happens to you
  • Don't wait for opportunities; walk out into the street and grab opportunities by the collar
  • Enjoy life as much as you can

Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
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