Some joyful glimpses from “One in a Million Day” celebrations at Pitney Bowes Software, Noida, INDIA 🙂 More about the event >> here.
Much recently I’ve been reading about nurturing creative thinking, innovation and out-of-the-box thinking and how some purposeless and light and artful team-engagements can positively contribute to a team’s creativity. Some like to call this “planned spontaneity” ..and I like this phrase too 🙂
We are celebrating “Culture Week” at my organization this month where we celebrate “Diversity and Inclusion” in all it’s form and spread awareness about the same. This involves various fun as well as informative workshops and activities that help in spreading awareness about the matter.
In my parallel world, outside office that is :), since past few years I’ve been video-blogging extensively about a lot of ancient and medieval heritage and archaeological sites in and around my city…mostly on weekends. And seeing my video and photo blogs on social media, my office friends have often expressed their liking for such excursions and heritage/photo-walks….and how every time they are not able to find time for doing something that they like!
One fine day recently.. I was reading some articles on the web about best practices for nurturing Planned Spontaneity in Corporates when the “Culture Week” invitation mailer arrived in my inbox. The mailer mentioned about a “Photography Competition” with “Diversity and Inclusion” as the key theme. I suddenly saw some dots getting connected and thought that what if I take my team out for a heritage/photo-walk on a weekend …where we just walk sedately on the grass, take some candid snaps and also learn about how the culture has shaped up since the ancient ages through the medieval and modern times! I was perhaps very hopeful that this activity will help us experience some moments of planned spontaneity and creativity which we’ll be able to apply at our office work as well…and also will fetch us some nice shots for the photo-competition 🙂
I floated the idea with the team after our daily meeting and some of them seemed to like it….and it was fun to see the enthusiasm grow as the weekend arrived 🙂 We chose the Mehrauli Archaeological Park for our visit – it is a place that has been a major settlement ever since the ancient and medieval times and has seen so many human civilizations come and go! The area is still an active hub for archaeologists in this town and is literally littered with ruins from the ancient Indian empires, the Sultanate period as well as the British empire!
We reached the site early morning on a Saturday …roamed around…discussed about the history of the place..clicked snaps..played badminton and Frisbee.. had moments of hearty laughs.. and the heritage/photo walk was followed by some awesomely delicious authentic traditional food 🙂 It was fun to see grown-up “Engineers” playfully roam around like kids mimicking birds, enjoying the magic of trick-photography, clicking selfies and photographing cute little dogs and piglets apart from the monuments and ruins in that ridge!
The team seemed to have loved the experience and I’ve treasured some of these moments in the photos shown below. Really looking forward to more moments of such planned spontaneity ahead 🙂 Amen!
Some awesome folks at my workplace got together to cook some simple yet interesting dishes..put up food stalls..and the fund collections went for charity 🙂 We even invited a ‘shakarkandi‘ (roasted sweet-potatoes) wala to host his stall within the office premises…and ofcourse we all pretended to be food-show TV anchors while tasting the food 🙂 Was fun to be kiddish amidst tough office deadlines..and for a noble cause… all in good taste! Here’s a quick glance at the experience! 🙂
Happy to share.. we completed yet another successful cycle of JORAD today – our sweet little community service effort with contributions as low as Just One Rupee A Day (J O R A D) !!
The collections during past few months were awesome (more than 25K!!) and were used to donate Groceries and Personal Care items for the elderly at a nearby old-age home. Thanks folks for the support.
You can also start this simple initiative at your own workplace. Read this quick story for more details 🙂
With collections as low as just one rupee a day (JORAD) during past 5 years we have been able to contribute food/groceries/cash worth Rs.1,70,000 by now. Wow..feels great each time when we contribute the collections quarterly to a nearby old-age home. Really happy to be a part of this simple and effective community service program. Here’s a quick story about how it actually started with a Grilled-Sandwich 5 years back 🙂 It’s a very simple idea and I request you to try and start something similar around you as well 🙂 Cheers n thanks for reading. Best wishes!
Here’s a real life “story” from my life. Something that happened at my workplace, within my small team.. but it touches several hearts across the company and even the society outside. It binds together a diverse cross-section of the social strata, and everyone has a separate reason that associates them with this story. Something that touches “Diversity & Inclusion, Employee Engagement and Community Service” efforts together in a beautiful manner. Hope it’ll leave an impact somewhere. Amen.
2008. The India office was still new. The in-house café at the office served some awesome grilled-sandwiches !
Time flew ; the office grew ; and so did the café’s menu!
One fine day, while re-arranging one of his office drawers, Aditya noticed that the petty change from the café bills, that he had been callously dropping in the drawer, had now accumulated to an amount decent enough for 4 more sandwiches – that’s like a onetime meal for a small family !! He shared this observation with Sujai, his team mate, and this time they made a conscious effort to save that “petty change”. Within a month Aditya, Sujai and a few more team-mates were ready with a good handsome amount that they then donated at a local orphanage. The idea worked well – it was like just one rupee a day, and you end up helping someone in need! ..and they started calling it JORAD (Just One Rupee A Day) !
Soon there were more people reaching out to this group, willing to contribute. Even people from newer teams, who were otherwise strangers, would call-up and express a wish to connect. The word spread really fast by word-of-mouth. The collections were made and then a small group of enthusiasts would make a trip to a local food store, purchase stuff for the donations and then together visit the nearby orphanage or the old-age home. And while this happened, friendships occurred !
The JORADians now realized that the idea was proving to be a nice reason for initiating inter-personal communications as well. People who would never connect with each other over official matters, or perhaps people who preferred to shy away from fun events as well – even such individuals willingly volunteered for JORAD, contributing money and even a helping hand to the core team in making the final donations. This beautiful interpersonal-connect proved to be a key byproduct of this effort. Realizing this, rather than simply placing a typical “donation box” at a convenient location, the JORADians decided to appoint more individual volunteers across the floor who would be available to other colleagues to talk to them about JORAD and to collect their contributions as well.
Since its inception, this noble novel initiative has worked well successfully, with participation from people across the India office. To top it all, even with every individual contributing a negligible amount, JORAD has been able to contribute a value worth Rs.90K (ninety thousand Indian Rupees) back to the community and priceless relationships within the office! A true win-win scenario – both for the external beneficiaries as well as for the employees.
A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.
– Lao Tzu
A journey of 90 thousand miles begins with a grilled-sandwich.