Positive deviance – To solve wicked problems

November 3, 2012 § 3 Comments

This is an interesting thing I came across in the past few weeks –

Positive deviance (PD) is a problem solving approach to solve supposedly wicked problems. In a nutshell, we spot the positive outliers, investigate as to what makes them so and see if the rest of the population can do the same. PD approach has been used successfully to solve issues of malnutrition in some African countries! 🙂

According to Sternin and others (2010), Positive Deviance (PD) can be summed up as follows:

  1. Solutions to seemingly intractable problems already exist,
  2. They have been discovered by members of the community itself, and
  3. These innovators (individual positive deviants) have succeeded even though they share the same constraints and barriers as others.

Source: Unknown

What appeals me so much is the simplicity of the concept. All the time, one reads about models on strategy or marketing that are tough to recollect after few days and becomes a speck in a matter of weeks.

But this one seems so straight forward, easy to understand, explain… what a relief! reminds me of Occam’s razor! 🙂

– Arun Vallappan

An Outlying Dream

December 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Dreams –

No idea how they form, why they occur, what they mean.. but man, they are so good. May be dreams are a way of remembering our past..?  I think there should be many categories of dreams. Some fall under “I wish it was this way”, “most pressing issue or thought in the present”..

Of the many dreams i have had, one that stands out is in which, I do something so horrible (i dont even want to mention), that I wonder, “How can this happen, am not such a bad person, may be this should be a dream”, and then I wake up.

The below one I had now, i think is an outlier too..

(some background information – my grand-mom passed away couple of years back. actually she brought me up. in the last few months, i shifted with my parents to a new house)

So, the dream happens in the old house, hall, sit-out, everything so clean and looking true! My grand-mom says she’s gonna leave. I kiss her bye on her cheeks and break down, crying. In a sublime way i realize she’s not going to come back. my mom looks at me from the sit-out quietly. she does not say a word.

something i don’t understand – though this dream happens in the past, the present state (where my grandmom is nt there), seems to have been known to me. + my grand-mom has not seen the new house. Is that why, the location was the old one? also, can a dream feature a group conversation, say three or four people including the dreamer?

then in another part of the dream, in my bedroom, within the same old house, i open up Google to check the time. Because, am not sure, how can i be in India, while I should be in Toronto! And normally to check the current time at another part on the world, I use Google. So, same way, I start with “Time at Canada”, hoping I can search for “Time at India” after that.

A page pops up, the usual one, in which at the top left , near the search box, current date/time is normally shown. But, the time/date text seems fluctuating, like so rapidly, its a blur! Am like, “WTF, What’s happening”…

something i don’t understand – does the concept of dream happen in a time-frame of its own? i have never had a dream (or at least don’t remember one), in which i know the date/day in which it is happening. why? 

Then after few moments of trying hard to understand, I wake up to see my Toronto apartment! Over!

So many questions! and no answers! Uffffffffff…

Bring It On…

December 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Winter is sneaking in.. Given that I have not experienced a -20 till now, think its gonna be fun!

So, I walk around the lanes, and one thing that stands apart are the trees, with no leaves! Like hollow promises! Standing tall, thin, frozen, a sad subset of their past…

They look dead, yeah, just the looks! would really really take a lot to deprive the tree of its life. The purpose is to stay alive than to thrive! And if you think hard, all it takes is the right weather, a warm, caring sun, a mild soul touching breeze, and a whispering “spring”… for the leafs to prop up..

In just the same way, people sometimes act dead, like in the story with a bear and two friends! So dead that you need to dream hard to believe that life and love still exists within!

Some endeavors, and wishes fall in the same bucket! They pretend as if they would cost your life..as if you will be chasing it for eternity.. but it does not work that way. Things fudge, they give in!

So, know your history, believe in the future, retain your voice and hibernate, stick in there, just be there, be around, keep your head up, for some more time, be alive, the sun will come out, the trickle will start, long last forgotten words will be spoken, and the impossible will happen!

We can climb outta hell… one inch at a time. In any fight it’s the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch

– Al Pacino as Tony in Any Given Sunday

What’s really a life without that inch! Bring It On! Let’s see!

Something on Inspiration

September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

A caution : This one below somehow got stuck in my drafts for a long time (6 months actually!  :)). I hope it’s not too distant.

How do we inspire someone? In the sense, become more than an object of likeness and cross the point where people like to emulate you and take your ideas?


Entrepreneurs inspire me a lot. Even if he is a founder of a failed start-up or an once-upon-a-time successful company. A successful business man like Sunil Mittal or L N Mittal, yes, they definitely are in the top league.. and inspire me.

Scientists?? Sure, they are the creme de la creme in their own field. When Feynman talks about thought-process it inspires me. I look silently and wow at their passion in research and continued dedication towards their interest.

I will always love, respect and honour you no matter what may happen in the future

I will always love, respect and honor you no matter what may happen in the future

Politicians who have made it big. Yep, Vajypayee or Karunanidhi (for the wrong reasons). Rahul Gandhi, inspires a lot of young generation voters in the country. Definitely worth emulating him.

So, do we get inspired by people who does things with their life, which we actually wanted to do? Or want to do in the future? Or something which we failed to do and someone else picked it up successfully? Looks like a close cut?

But, I see one similarity between all the above people. All of them did what they wanted to do, with full heart. Never complained about being themselves. They are more happy and satisfied to be the way they are knowing that in their brief existence in the planet they did their best to live life to the fullest, listening to their heart instead of mind. Captain Gopinath! Another man who resigned his army career in 70’s with just 6000 rupees and no clear intention of what he would do next. He became a farmer, udipi hotel owner, stock broker, automobile dealer…and finally what we all know of him, someone who started Air Deccan! 🙂

Coming back to what it takes to inspire someone..

Truth! Truth seems to be the real inspiration!

Arun Vallappan

Another wish

June 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Every now and then, we all get inspired by someone, real or fictional. Me, I have been mad enough to name my passwords as Frank Lucas or Chris Gardner!!

Anyway over the last year, it has been good to be acquainted with two more of those elite people. Count of Monte Cristo & Mr. Jeeves!

Haa! It really elates my spirits to know about the Count’s audacity, knowledge on almost everything under the sun! & Jeeves’ thoughtfulness &  attitude. Kiddish it may sound, I wish I grow into one of those characters! Let’s see!

Making up with the little one

May 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

I never really understood why, from the very 1st day of our introduction, we never got along well. She starts making faces when I try to get near her. On the verge of crying as I get in a hand’s length. And definitely screams at anywhere closer on any direction! Whenever we make eye contact, she never misses to make that symbol with hand that means  “I am at war with you, buddy!”

Playing with hair oil and face powder. Typical, is nt it?

Hmm. Seeing her run around happily with the rest of the folks did cause a bit of mixed reactions. In a way its justified, I guess given that I was the youngest kid in my family and not many of my closest relatives have kids, I have not spent an enriching time with kids. That’s bad luck.

I have known her since (her) birth. Till, may be, her 7th month into the world, she cried all the time. If there was one moment, when she did n’t cry, it was during her sleep. Needless to mention that she sleeps after exhausting all the energy by crying! So, miserable to her mom and people like me to witness such a state of agony. Anyway..

Now, in her infant mumblings of words, pranks, she means the world to people around.

Last night, our relation took a big turn for the good. Her words were directed at me, so were her little fingers.. She buzzed “zooo zoooooo”, flying past me, her way of snuggling with people! Finally, she made that elusive symbol that signified “We are good! :)”.

The world does get a little bit better !!

Love of my life

September 10, 2010 § 2 Comments

It’s been a long time, since i posted something, 🙂 but last few months have been raising hell. just like that, shot in titanic, where the ship sails fine (for couple of hours) after hitting the glacier, in retrospect, things look quite!

neway, i just want to tell one thing! more often than not, we associate words & emotions with different people/places. like, say, i hear delhi or any part in north India, am tempted to think of college days or football, i would tend to remember my school days coz thats when i played it last (ok, shakira would also pop up 🙂 )

but, i guess there could be only one person who would come to mind when one hears anything related to love or feel a breezy evening, beautiful morning or get up in the middle of a night or watch an awesome movie, when all you want to do is just sit quiet with that person, may be hold hands, you could look in the eye…

It’s a beautiful feeling !

Arun Vallappan

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