week 4 – move on up

I think week 4 has been my favourite week so far. It has been filled with productive and interesting work both independently and with my Client along with some really wonderful Indian experiences!

This week I ran a customer persona and customer journey workshop with Prashant. The aim of the workshop was to learn exactly who Bamboo Houses’s customers are, their problems and learning how we can best engage with them.  We were then able to identify gaps within the current communications and come up with goals and tailored solutions to develop the communications. I have loved putting into practice the new tools and ways of working that I have learnt here. I planned my work with Prashant incorporating human-centred design methods, which I am finding a really creative and productive way to work and solve problems. I have really enjoyed the process of truly empathising with Bamboo House’s customers to understand their needs, then identifying and brainstorming opportunities for development and finally prototyping, testing and implementing solutions (which I am currently in the process of!). Check out the Design Kit by IDEO if you’re interested in learning more.

Week 4 was also my turn to run a workshop for the other Social Starters volunteers! I had chosen to base my workshop on micro-finance, leading into ‘the 21st century career’. I had last studied micro-finance whilst at university so preparing the workshop was great for me to get back up to date with the industry and refresh my knowledge. I learnt that India had suffered a huge micro-finance crisis in 2010 which Telengana and Andra Pradesh were actually at the heart of. I would definitely recommend reading Banker to the Poor by Muhammed Yunus if you are interested in learning about how the micro-finance movement began. Secondly during my journey here I have been thinking much about what careers, life and work mean for the new generation of so called ‘millennials’ and how organisations can adapt. Did you know that 51% have experienced physical or mental health issues as a result of their current job, 64% would like to make more of a social impact through their work and 54% say they cant see themselves working in their organisation in five years time? I loved running this section of the workshop, debating and discussing with my my fellow volunteers!

Free time this week was was packed with a ton of interesting activities. On Wednesday we did a Dialogue in the Dark tour. This was an exhibition, lead by a person with impaired vision, which puts you in situations – like crossing a bridge, going to the supermarket – but in complete darkness, awakening the senses and experiencing what it is like to have impaired vision. This was such an interesting experience and it was incredible to get to know our tour guide Mohsin without seeing him.

On Friday night we watched Lion at our local cinema, we paid 150 rupees for a ticket (just under £2)! I got comfy, with my first Magnum in about a month, and was deeply moved by this heart-warming story. It was extra special to be watching in India too, albeit the fact that intervals and cinema ads in India are very strange!!

Saturday, I’m pretty sure, was my first down day in India so far. I spent the day reading (I am making my way through A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth), writing, sleeping and watching the sunset at Golconda Fort.

Sun setting at Golconda Fort
Sun setting at Golconda Fort

We had an incredible end to the week by visiting Madhavi and Mohan’s organic farm on the outskirts of the city. Madhavi is a Client of Social Starters who is the founder of Sattva Lifeskills,  providing alternative non-academic job training to young adults with learning difficulties. She is such a badass, inspiring woman!! They are growing all sorts on the farm from mangoes and watermelons to chicoo and lentils. I loved it! We enjoyed a huge feast sitting around a table under the shade of a tree, eating eggplant and bindi curry from the farm. There was also fresh mutton (goat), which I did not eat since I have been vege for over a month now. Good food, great company and a beautiful setting. It was a perfect way to end the week.

Lunch at the farm
Group photo at the farm…’say chapatiii’

I shall leave you with Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield… soundtrack to my fourth wonderful week in Hyderabad.


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