Thursday, December 4, 2008

Change is the new cool

Are you a change maker

Yes?  Why? Do you think you have changed something, created value and made life easier for someone?  No, why not? What has stopped you from making things happen? Ah, the usual reasons, no time, not enough opportunities, no cash, and "oh - the - stars - are - not - well aligned" syndrome or "I - have-always-wanted-to-do-something-but-I-will-do-it-after-I- buy- my-dog" reason?

You must have watched the US President- Elect Barack Obama's campaign about the change America needs. And you should try to spend 20 minutes watching Prof. Hans Rosling talk about the change the world has undergone and will undergo. And then, ask yourself do you relate to all these issues to piece them together to form a big puzzle, or are you lost in the train of information? 

From the familiar market crash story in the "Wall Streets" all over the world to the terrorist attacks in Bombay and the strikes in Thailand, the conditions are adverse, too bad to be true, but as the saying goes in a hurricane even pigs can fly. This is when we need to take our wings out from the closet and do the things that we have always wanted to do - the timing cannot be better suited to be an activist of things that you have always believed in.  

Lets make it micro focused now: when you think of SOC, you probably think of those intensive project meetings, sitting endlessly in the lounge or in the discussion rooms and rotting till you are self-convinced that you will get that elusive A+ in that module, or probably slogging hard for labs and PE's only for you to come out from the exams and say "No lah, NUS = No Use Studying". But have you asked yourself what do you think is wrong? Or what do you think can be made better? Is it the system, the modules, the syllabus or the attitude of being too caught up with the A's and the B's? Whatever you think is the cause, have you been proactive in voicing it out or tried to come up with solutions that you think can make things easier?

One such example from my end would be to voice out on starting an entrepreneurship cell within SOC. The reaction is cliche - "Aren't there enough happening already - the S&S, NES yada yada". Sure, very true; but what if you have an option of pursuing a project from a module into an entrepreneurship venture in lieu of other related modules? The grades can be awarded by an external jury / venture capitalist / business coach related to your company. Of course the structure needs to be fine tuned, but don't you think this will incentivize you to find real world practical projects which you have had a keen eye on? May be yes, may be not. But it's an attempt to change things within a system. And if it does, voila, you have something that has changed your experience called SOC.

And if you get into the macro perspective: In the wake of terrible events happening in places like Bombay, Bangkok, Israel - Palestine etc, do you think you are doing something that is changing the lives of people. How about saving the environment? How about protecting HIV patients? And did you forget to close the water tap, or not waste the food you got from the food court today? All these are issues that the world has been trying to solve, but what's cool today is that they are being brought under 1 banner called "Change" - something universal that people can relate to. Change has always been the buzz word for management consultants and the likes, to keep changing and cannibalizing things that you think can be made better in a company. But when people talk about it over dinner and at family events (thanks to a man named Obama) one slowly starts to understand that change truly helps redefine a lot of things and not surprisingly the impact is quite amazing to be true.

We are riding along in a generation that is trying to change the way things normally work. Make sure you hop onto the train, and inculcate change in your everyday life style, from caring for that old man trying to cross the street to pursuing things that will change yours and probably other's world for the better. The world is watching, can you live it up? 

1 comment:

juliana said...

The time was always ripe for change (if pigs need fly in hurricanes, it isn't just now that the global weather took a turn).

But Obama did many a favour by "branding" "change", putting it across as not only a necessity and obligation but a somewhat cool movement. And it is timely. There are so, so many things happening now (on top of the political, socio-economic examples that you mentioned) in technology that if we don't move now, we not only fall behind, we fail to ride this exciting wave.

Change need not be the "frontpage, headlines" kind. Whether "the world is watching" or not, it's high time to rethink a few things - education, copyright, business models...

Even the way we think, what we think of, require some renewed introspection. The challenge is to break long held traditions and deeply ingrained mentality.

My 0.02SGD on yours.