Yearly Archives: 2014


Meditation at the Workplace

300024933_9aedf3f9b1_zIt would be incorrect if we looked at meditation as a means to increasing productivity. Because that’s what meditation is NOT. It’s the exact opposite of doing. It’s a state of not doing, and not seeking. And ironically, meditation may yet be a way to increase your employees’ productivity, to reduce their stress levels, and to prepare them to take on the world.

What is Meditation?

There’s no right answer to that question. It’s perhaps a state of absolute harmony through the end of conflict or the end of duality. Many people attempt to answer that question, and the most beautiful description, in my knowledge, has been given by J. Krishnamurthy:

In this 57 minute video, Krishnamurthy very cogently describes the meaning of meditation, and says that there’s no prescribed “technique” to achieving a meditative state.

After listening to this lecture, it seems incorrect to suggest that we should “use” meditation to “achieve” any results. That in itself is the beauty of meditation at the workplace. Empowering employees with the skill of meditation could mean coming together without a purpose. The by-product of which is—an understanding of ourselves, and observation of all situations that we’re in, as they exist in the present. 

Here’s how meditation can be introduced at the workplace:

Meditation in Training Sessions

People get drawn to things they perceive as beneficial. Unfortunately, urgent and important work almost always seems more beneficial to people than soft-skills training. And trainers wish for a magic wand that could grab their audience’s attention and could get them involved in a training session.

We discovered through a series of training sessions conducted for over 6000 employees of a client that meditation can be that magic wand. It brought people in the present moment, and held them there for a good amount of time. Not just that, it also brought in “commitment” and “seriousness” for the rest of the session. Of course the session too needs to live up to the audience’s expectations to keep them involved. 

Meditation as an Employee Engagement Tool

In our experience, those who attended workshops that started with a meditation, wanted to take up meditation as a daily habit. They formed meditation groups within office and started attending these regularly. 
Meditation is a life skill that helps people cope with the stresses of daily life. While other forms of entertainment (like watching television, playing games online) tire people out, meditation rejuvenates them. Even if you do it regularly, meditation disrupts routine, since each day is a new journey to your inner self.
Many big corporates like Google, Apple, Cisco offer meditation classes to employees. The trend is growing and even psychiatrists are prescribing meditation as a means to control several psychosomatic diseases and to manage stress. 

Methods of Meditation and Resources

“The World Health Organization estimates that stress causes American organizations approximately $ 300 bn a year.” Is higher productivity really a by-product of meditation? In this video, Arianna Huffington, Matthieu Ricard (a Buddhist monk), and other practitioners discuss how meditation can cause a change in the mind of leaders and make them more effective.

If you’re convinced you wish to begin meditation practice in your organization or wish to add to your leaders’ life skills, help is just around the corner. Several organizations, including Design Storm, offer meditation practice services to get employees engaged in meditation.
Remember there’s no right way to meditate, and individuals can explore texts and develop their own way. So, get your yoga mats out and start off a meditation group at office. All you need is a music system, speakers and some good music / guided meditation CD.
If you wish us to help your employees get started, you can contact us at: We will answer basic questions on meditation and provide support in getting started. 


Image of Meditating Man:




The Expert

As learning experts, we can surely relate with this video. We often find ourselves caught up in situations where:

  1. The customer knows what they want.
  2. They know it all wrong.
  3. You’re pressurized internally by your organization to simply execute what the customer wants.
  4. And you better get it right.

What is the way out? How can we generate awesome learning experiences, and keep our customers happy? 

Five ways to handle these situations:


I Begin at Home

Lead up and educate your teams. Customers may not always be right, and the sales people / project managers need to be educated about what is wrong with the customer’s demand. Experts rarely communicate with this end of the spectrum.


II Educate the Customer

Each time you find yourself cribbing about a customer’s understanding, ask yourself these questions—

  1. Did I make an effort to educate the customer? 
  2. Did I simplify things enough? 
  3. Did I show them the implications of what they’re asking to be delivered?


III Say No

If your answers to the questions above are “Yes”, refuse to do the project. Saying a “No” means you’re honest. Explain why you’re refusing. It may not win you the goodwill of your customer in the short-term, but in the long-term they’ll know you were right.


IV Position Yourself Well

Most great experts don’t pay enough attention to how they position themselves. You’re not here to take orders, but to understand a problem and to arrive at solutions. Take a hint from the way doctors have positioned themselves. 


V Involve and Collaborate with Customers

Learning is not an exact science, and designs will evolve as you ask more and more questions, and collaborate with your clients. The more you involve them, the more they’ll understand your point of view.


We’re all guilty of being the ill-informed, confused customer. We’re this way to interior designers, architects, lawyers, accountants and to almost everyone we deal with. So, while you educate, resist, question, push back—be nice to your customers. Nothing works better than that. 

Google University Consortium

Google’s Treasure Trove for Educators – Part II

In an earlier post we shared some exciting tools and apps from Google for educators:  In this part II of the same post we’re back with some more jewels. These Google tools transport us in space and time. They connect us with people from across the world, and give us a first-hand experience in global collaboration. Read on to explore.

VII Google Cultural Institute:
Take a trip through museums from across the world, and become a curator of your own gallery. This is a rich resource that covers art, history, and culture under one space.

Google Cultural Institute

You can visit these online museums anytime, as many times as you like. Your students can even create their own galleries, and that is how they may end up knowing more than they would from a physical visit to a museum. However, would these reduce the excitement of visiting a physical museum? Doubt it. In fact, the experience is almost better than a book (apologies book lovers), and lesser than an actual visit.

VIII Google Tour Builder:

Your students can become explorers, navigators or army generals making strategic decisions. Get them to tell stories using the Google Tour Builder, and they’ll connect with history, geography or culture, like never before.

Come up with your own creative uses. For example, take up a journalistic assignment of documenting changes in your local area since the new government took over. Or allow employees to explore your organization’s growth story using this tool. The possibilities are endless. 

“Teaching history is about teaching stories.” Watch how this teacher uses Google Tour Builder to bring stories to life.

IX Google Historical Voyages and Events:

Much along the lines of the resources listed above, this Google Certified teacher is trying to get schools from across the world to create voyages of the great travellers to explore your culture and history.

X  Google Skymap:

“I can find in my undergraduate classes, bright students who do not know that the stars rise and set at night, or even that the Sun is a star.”—Carl Sagan

Source: [CC-BY-SA-3.0-usvia Wikimedia Commons

Enlighten your students with this open source mobile app, which is Google’s “window on the sky”. To have some fun learning, you could organize a star gazing party around this app.

XI Developers University Consortium:

Google University Consortium

And here is another hidden treasure: Free online courses on Android Mobile App Development, Interactive Web Development, and Programming.

Use technology to facilitate wonders, and share your stories below. We're all eager to learn.