• Shyamala Prayaga

My experience of launching the Web 2.0 Community in Mindtree

It was really a great experience to launch the Web 2.0 Community in Mindtree. It was indeed heartening to see a huge participation for the launch. Based on the previous experience of community launch, we expected close to 50 Minds for the launch and booked Kalpavriksha 1. But the participation was three times more than that, so we had to open Kalpavriksha 2 and 3 as well. The launch was really a stupendous success.

The idea of starting a community came to my mind after attending the Adobe RIA (Rich Internet Application) Architect Summit on April 3, 2008. This Summit was all about rich Internet application and user experience, and Adobe flex application. I was highly impressed by this summit and was wondering how we could benefit from this at MindTree, and how to keep ourselves in pace with the latest tools, technologies and concepts.

My initial idea was to start an RIA Community here, and with this idea I approached Sagar Paul (General Manager – IT Services). Sagar told me, “Yes, as long as you take the responsibility.” Sagar’s approval gave me positive energy to start this and I approached my Project Manager and supervisor, Rajesh Nataraj and Goudhaman Sundaram. Both of them were quite happy with this idea and guided me on how to go ahead with forming a community. Taking this further, I approached Shahnawaz Khan (PROGRAM DIRECTOR – KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT), who was very excited about this idea and suggested the name ‘Web 2.0 Community’, as he felt that ‘RIA’ would make it a little niche and limited to technologies, whereas Web 2.0 would be a broad term. He also added that he would be interested to be one of the Champs for this Community. This really boosted my morale, and from here the journey began.

Shahnawaz told me that we needed to come up with five or six Champs to start the community along with the community’s mission, vision, plans, etc. From the day I attended the summit, Ganesh Mohandas Nayak from my project team kept encouraging me, and I continually shared all my ideas with him.

Luckily, I had two Champs ready to contribute, but needed three more. I approached a few communities to know if someone was interested in joining me as Champs and volunteer for the Community. To my surprise, Rajesh Barde and Sridhar Ramakrishnan from my team agreed immediately. Anil M Kumar was also prompt in accepting my offer to become a Champ.

Each step I took was very exciting and made me more positive, thanks to the encouragement I got from everyone around me.

Ideas started flowing from all the champions to launch this community. Rajesh Barde came up with the wireframe of the Web 2.0 logo and significance of it, and Anil gave it the visual effect.

Significance of the logo

  1. Digits 1 to 12 depict the clock, which in turn means ‘over a period of time’..

  2. The numbers are in black, as the color stands for ‘fast’ and ‘permanent’.

  3. The Web is woven across and spreads everywhere, from a small concept to a wider reach – thus making it a revolution.

  4. The grey color of the web depicts that it has reached every nook and corner and it could spread further.

  5. The magenta pointer depicts that the Web has moved from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. It’s magenta to signify a new era that we have moved into, and we can experience a difference.

  6. The word ‘Web’ in sea green color, and the word ‘Community’ in grey depict a revolution in its true sense, and is a mixture of People, Process and Technology.

  7. ‘2.0’ in magenta is of the same color as the pointer that shows us, as a community, that we are here to realize our vision: ‘Help the Organization in understanding and leveraging Web 2.0 for its Customers and internal needs’.

By now, our vision, logo, and plans were ready. Also, we got a green signal from Raj Dutta (VICE PRESIDENT – KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT) to start this community; KM created space in the Connected Minds page for it, and IS created the mail list.

The next step was whether to go for a ‘big bang launch’ or a ‘soft launch’. Finally we all agreed for the big launch. But whom should we invite? The person who immediately came to Shahnawaz’s mind was Balaji Krishnan (Vice President – IT Services), Head of Internet and Emerging Technologies Practice. It was a matter of pride for us that Balaji agreed to inaugurate this Community. We started the advertising camp, through banners and hoardings

We decided to start with a formal inauguration, followed by a session on ‘Web 2.0 – a prelude’ and a game on ‘harnessing collective intelligence’. For the launch, we also decided to come up with a unique idea of ‘virtual ribbon cutting’ in the form of rich media with sound. As we wanted to represent Web 2.0, the next generation Web, our presentation was also aligned to it, with a rich look and feel.

All the Champs worked hard to make the launch a grand success. Sridhar deserves a special mention; he worked even on weekends to prepare the rich ‘Web 2.0 – A prelude’ presentation. We were all set with posters and flyers.

Finally the Big Day arrived. I was a bit tensed as I had never spoken in front of even 50 people and this was my first experience to speak in front of such a huge crowd. It was 4 pm, Kalpavriksha 1 was already full and we all were in dilemma whether to open Kalpavriskha 2 or not. Shahnawaz was not very affirmative on the idea of opening it, but the crowd was getting larger and many people were standing, so finally we had to open it. As soon as we did that, the entire space got occupied, and then we had to open Kalpavriskha 3, too!

Balaji spoke a few words about the Web 2.0 revolution, and clicked the virtual ribbon’ and inaugurated the Community.

Next came my turn. For a second, I was scared to see such a huge crowd, but gathered all my courage to start the presentation. This was my first presentation in front of 150 people, and I really loved it. The presentation was all about introduction of Web 2.0 and the Web 2.0 Community.

As decided, we also had the game on ‘harnessing collective intelligence’. We filled a box full of chocolates and asked everyone to guess the correct number of chocolates. The idea was to get the average of the guesses, and the average would be close to the result

It was a great experience altogether. And I found the best example of ‘wisdom of crowd’ and ‘harnessing collective intelligence’ among the multi-talented Web 2.0 Champs themselves, who came up with many ideas that made this event a life-time memory for all of us.

Actions speak more than words, and the crowd who gathered for the launch speaks about the success of Web 2.0 community.

#Experience #personal #Web20

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My name is Shyamala pronounced as shaa-ma-la. I am a UX evangelist turned product owner defining experiences and vision for autonomous digital assistants. 

I am a civil engineer by education, and before moving into user experience and product, I worked as an architect with a construction firm for 2 years. My passion for design and building great things for users pushed me into the UX speciality. I am a self-made UX designer with no formal educational background into UX, but my passion helped me enter and succeed in user experience.