Saturday 20 September 2008

Breaking out of Stealth

To tell or not to tell - is a dilemma which haunts most individuals when a new idea hits them. I won't pretend to have an answer. I'll just take you through how we went about breaking out of our stealth mode.

But first, let me clarify my stand on this issue. Even I am an advocate of the new age culture of democratizing innovation. But I do believe a stealth mode is necessary for an idea, at least in a non-ideal world like ours where most ideas end up being born into their graves. Stealth protects you from losing motivation about your idea even before you get a feel for its true potential. Stealth helps you shape your idea to reflect your own self, before letting it grow freely and rapidly in an open environment. Having said that, I do understand that a prolonged stealth mode is as likely to kill an idea, as letting it out before a wrong crowd.

Fortunately, in our case the idea was born within a team and hence reduced the risk of reaching a stale mate under stealth. The real break-out moment came during the winter holidays. With a 11page white paper, me & Sindhu knocked the doors of every neuro-psychologist, social psychologist, evolutionary biologist and psychology doctors we knew. At the same time, Nakul was speaking to HR directors and business heads of several companies in Mumbai. We even found ways to get introduced to experts in the field of computational and cognitive neuroscience from a few major research groups around the globe. In 10 days, I had 100+ conversations labeled "Vita" in my gmail account and we had personally interacted with 15+ individuals from relevant groups.

What did we get? Insights - loads of it & a very promising network of people who were convinced more because of our energy than the idea, which was still looked upon in disbelief like a magic trick that you could not break. To me, the theory was so beautiful, it had to be true. It probably worked in our favor that our framework was already able to predict a good number of behavioral traits which were only inductively asserted till then.

A few people truly liked our idea and got involved in developing it further, while most others liked us and that gave us the confidence to continue working on the idea. By this time, we were convinced that our idea is well ahead of our time and hence almost stopped working on the business aspect of it. The business was turning into a science project.

[Thank you list: Dr. Anders Sandberg, Dr. Ahalya Raghuram, Dr. Vidyanand Nanjundiah, Dr. Manjula, Dr. Keshav Kumar, Ms. Renu, Mr. Rituraj, Dr. Anita Ghai, Dr. Kusuma, Dr. Shobini Rao, Mr. Vijay Rao and Dr. Suman Kapur]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Superb! fully agree