Inspiring Story: Can’t go to vote, then vote on the go - Right2Vote

Inspiring Stories

17 May 2017

Inspiring Story: Can’t go to vote, then vote on the go - Right2Vote

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

#Inspiringstories@Awfis is an initiative by Awfis Editorial Team to showcase the brilliant business ideas and the journey of our startup member community.

Neeraj Gutgutia believes in doing what is right, whether at work, or in his personal life.

Right2Vote, shared work space
Team Right2Vote

It was in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while working with Prashant Kishore, a political strategist, that he realised the many limitations people face when asked to cast their vote. Even the most responsible among his friends faced hurdles and obstacles that prevented them from being a responsible citizen.

The reasons varied from the mundane like unable to take time off from work, the distance and being unwell, to the more serious issues like lack of a voter id card, being registered in a different city, or worse, finding out that someone has already voted in their name.

An entrepreneur by heart, Neeraj gave much thought to the problem, and eventually came to the conclusion that the physical voting booth was central to the issue. Instead of bringing the voter to the booth, why not bring the booth, albeit, a virtual one, to the voter?

This was the idea and the foundation upon which Right2Vote came into existence.

With his experience of 14 years in a corporate set-up with leading corporates like Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, Hiranandani Group, Neeraj, a Chartered Accountant and MBA from IIM Indore by qualification, decided to take this plunge. He, along with his 12-member team had already forayed into banking authentication, security and transactions, and realised that the best practises from banking industry can easily be replicated on to Right2Vote, which is today the world’s first mobile verified voting platform.

Interestingly, this platform need not be limited to political elections, and can also be deployed by large corporates to help come to decisions which involve the whole company. Top management, which doesn’t always know ground reality, can unknowingly take flawed decisions that are rarely countered by juniors. With this platform, corporate decision-making gets simplified. This platform can also be used for professional body election, college election, housing society election among others.

Neeraj asks, “If everything has moved to the mobile today – shopping, banking, bill payment – then why not voting?” Fair thought, we say.

Right2Vote is a B2B2C company where people pay to hold their election on this platform and for the required election management. Voters have to pay nothing, and instead, they get the ease and convenience of voting from wherever they are.

Customers can save up to 90% of their cost, time and effort, while enjoying greater voter participation, 10x better verification and 10x better security. The payment procedure is simple. Billing is on a PAAS (Platform As A Service) model, where customers pay as per features used and the number of people invited to vote.
To give an example, a high-end poll with Aadhar-based verification and high-end encryption, the platform costs just Rs 10 per voter. Now compare that to Rs 1000 plus  per voter in booth-based voting!

When asked about the viability of the service, Neeraj is confident that the idea will pick up. “It is not a question of whether it will happen or not. It is only a matter of when.” Mobile voting is the future and when customers see advantages like a 90% fall in voter drop-out rate, 90% saving in cost, time and effort, as well as greater security, they are bound to see the merit in shifting from a traditional booth-based voting model to the mobile app.

Neeraj and his team hope to help conduct the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on this platform. When he crunched the number for us, this is what we saw: $5 billion, 2 months and the physical effort of over 1 crore people go into a successful Lok Sabha election. With this platform, the team guarantees to bring it down to less than 1/10th the cost, 1/30th the time and 1/1,00,00,000 the human effort.

Talking about his vision Neeraj said, “Our vision is to ‘Make Democracy Real’. Right now, a substantial percentage of the population is denied its voting right due to booth-based voting and then voters are blamed for not voting. By providing voters the facility to cast their vote from a secure mobile device, the accessibility problem will end.”

Right2Vote is an essential service that is strongly rooted in an existing need. Neeraj’s heart is in the right place, and his and his team’s experience and passion to make voting through smartphones a reality will see them achieve success very soon.

We at Awfis think Right2Vote is solving a real world problem with an innovative approach and it is awesome to have such inspiring ideas brewing within our Pro-working centres. We wish Right2Vote luck in their journey.

How the lockdown taught us collaboration & other management lessons

Inspiring Stories

07 July 2020

How the lockdown taught us collaboration & other management lessons

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Unlock 1 has seen many get back to their office spaces and adapt to the new normal of masks and social distancing. It’s a good time to reflect on the many lessons we’ve learnt during the lockdown and how we can apply it to our corporate lives. Sometimes, all it takes for change to take effect is the lack of choice. As we grappled with being locked at home, we geared up to learn new skills, find new ways of entertainment and we collectively managed to remote work effectively. Here’s a look at some lessons we can take back to work with us:

Are we all Digital yet?

Somewhere between forgetting to switch on the mute button and switching off the camera, we all grew up to be digital. The world before the lockdown was divided between the Digital Natives and the Digital not-quite-there-yet. What stopped us from adopting technology which existed to make our lives simpler and help us work more efficiently? And yet, how come when it came to personal usage, we easily figured out Firestick/Chromecast streaming and the latest cell phones? Learning happens out of interest or necessity; and at a company level the interest must trickle top down. The leadership team and managers need to bring in a culture of systemic learning and that begins with them upskilling to lead by example. This serves a dual purpose – one that accepts not knowing everything is normal and second that it’s never too late to learn.

The Key Takeout: For organisations to innovate and evolve, there needs to be a culture of learning. The ‘why fix it if it ain’t broke’ philosophy is the biggest roadblock to innovation.  

Workload equals loads of work?

It’s fascinating how we seamlessly divided house tasks based on innate ability – the younger ones for physically-intense housecleaning, the ones who knew cooking took up kitchen work and the rest did dishes and groceries. Some people rotated duties but each family found its own rhythm. Each person was accountable for their work, knew the others’ tasks and trusted them to do it. Of course, things work differently in the corporate world with its clearly demarcated job profiles and associated qualifications; however, we can take a leaf out of this and relook at how we can assign work beyond qualifications. Align teams to a short-term common goal, clearly define how they’re contributing to it individually and collectively, and acknowledge that effort and result.

The Key Takeout: Working collaboratively by its very nature takes away the sense of ‘it’s not my job’ and builds a system where each one is aware and thus appreciative of the work the others are doing.

Time: Too much of a good thing?

Humans are creatures of habit which is why when faced with what seemed like infinite time, we used it exactly the way we are accustomed to spending it. The workaholics worked, the fitness freaks worked out, TV addicts binged and almost everyone learned to bake! But at some point we got a sense of too much, even if it was something we enjoyed, we started missing the office, the routine. How does this apply in the corporate world? If you let people chill and do what they love for some time, you’ll get them more refreshed and charged up to work rather than restricting them to strictly work during work hours. By forbidding things, we make them more appealing. This is not a carte blanche to slack off but a more lenient work style where half an hour on YouTube or a game of Scrabble is acceptable and doesn’t have to be done behind the boss’ back.

The Key Takeout: If work is no more restricted from 9 to 5, why should fun have set timings? Set boundaries but don’t make work and life mutually exclusive.

Focusing vs flexibility?

The easily distracted, and that’s pretty much all of us, will find a distraction worth their time. Pets and children replaced colleagues, chores replaced coffee breaks and SOs replaced bosses. On the other hand, we were saved from focusing on what to wear, what is she wearing, where to go after work, the meeting that should’ve been an email etc. The lockdown brought home the truth on how much time and energy is wasted on things of little or no significance. Despite the increase in daily chores, the lack of an office environment, and distractions at home; most people reported being more productive while working from home. Should this mean an end to office as we know it? Yes and no. The office as we knew it – singular location, fixed timings, everyone & everyday reporting – needs to give way to a more flexible, work from home and work near home approach. The flexibility may differ between industries, organisations but the core approach needs to evolve.

The Key Takeout: Focus on what’s essential and become a more outcome/goal-oriented workplace. Does it really matter if the person delivers an exceptional presentation wearing trousers or pyjamas?

When the lines between office and home are getting increasingly blurred, there’s merit to introspect and apply learnings from home and family to help teams work better.   The lockdown tested and demonstrated our potential to trust, collaborate and handle a crisis; and it would be a shame to not carry some of this back with us as we head back to office.

Why do Leaders Swear by Thinking Fast and Slow?

Inspiring Stories

27 April 2020

Why do Leaders Swear by Thinking Fast and Slow?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

According to Daniel Kahneman, human beings have fractional thinking – System 1 and System 2; where System 1 is the gut, intuitive thinking, and System 2 is analytical, problem-solving and reflective decision making. Overall, both aid our judgement, where for some situations system 1 (fast thinking) provides the foundation for System 2 (slow thinking). But in many conditions, these work independently – for example, first impressions are formed solely by fast thinking. However, best decisions are made when both these methods are running simultaneously.

Hence, leaders swear by thinking fast and slow because it provides multiple business advantages such as:

Error Minimisation: Leaders encourage employees to indulge in fast and slow thinking because it reduces errors. If a person applies any of the two independently, there is a higher chance of tilted decisions. For example, when a person thinks too fast, it leads to cognitive biases, leading to erroneous results. For example, A project demands the regional sales of X product. But an employee registers only ‘sale’, conducts a quick search and quotes global sales while providing no figure for region-wide sales.

Enhanced Productivity: When a person effectively balances both slow and fast thinking, productivity rises sharply. This promotes wise thinkers who analyse situations rather than rely on quick judgments. For example, in a team, two employees do not get along and indulge in ruthless competition. A leader, who applies fast and slow thinking, will adopt a sound strategy to form better relations between the two, such as joint mediations or a combined project. But alternatively, in a quick response, if a leader fires the underperformer, it will be a loss to the team.

Rational Decisions: Decision-making is the basis of management and hence, needs to be made rationally. For example, a team needs to vote for a leader. Some employees, instead of carefully assessing the candidates, might make an unreasonable judgement based on superficial qualities. This will lead to the selection of a wrong candidate, which could be avoided through balanced evaluation based on multiple factors, including appearance, attitude, career trajectory, team spirit, etc.

Quick, Calculated Response: Hasty decision making or slow thinking can both result in a disaster independently. Hence, employees need to be quick but also calculated in their responses. Assume a scenario where a client is angry, and the employee reciprocates with the same emotion or worse. In such situations, the employees should be prompt yet calculated with their replies, calm the client and ensure error rectification.

Better Negotiation: For leaders, negotiation is an everyday task. One of the most important factors that can help a leader win a negotiation is how well he/she understands the opponent. The principles of thinking fast and slow help one to better understand the opponent and ultimately win an argument.

Thinking fast and slow advocates a healthy balance of the gut and factual thinking.

How to Harness the Power of Lateral Thinking to Enhance Creativity?

Inspiring Stories

20 April 2020

How to Harness the Power of Lateral Thinking to Enhance Creativity?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

As working professionals, productivity and creativity come at the apex of keeping a business going. The world out there is competitive, the industry stops for no one, and innovation becomes the key. Therefore, it becomes vital to continually engage with unique techniques to produce out-of-the-box ideas. Lateral thinking can help you work those grey cells and keep the creativity flowing.

What is lateral thinking?
The term was first coined by the famous psychologist Edward de Bono. He summarized the need for lateral thinking by saying, “You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper.”
Once you are presented with a problem, how do you get to thinking about its solution? Lateral thinking can help you break the barrier of age-old solution-driven techniques that have become redundant in the modern age. While practising lateral thinking, the answer is searched in indirect and creative light. When your perception about the problem is tweaked, the solution-driven mind is forced to think of alternatives and come up with solutions that are unique to one’s experiences.
Steps to harness the power of lateral thinking
A few things that can help you execute lateral thinking perfectly are –
1. Stay curious. The only way one can look at the question/problem from a new perspective is when they are questioning everything enough. Ask yourself questions about the whole concept before working your mind towards solutions.
2. Since lateral thinking has only one rule, i.e. think outside the box, there are no restrictions on the order in which the thought must proceed. You could also ideate solutions first and then think backwards. It will help you garner creativity.
3. Switch personas. Sometimes thinking differently could be difficult. An effective technique would be to think of yourself as a different person and run your thoughts as if you were someone else.

Why should you practice lateral thinking?
There are many pros to this technique. Some of them include-
1. It pushes you towards alternatives. When you look at the problem in an unusual light, it naturally will invoke newer solutions, something that will be more creative and unique.
2. It boosts productivity. Eliminating redundancy and monotony, lateral thinking will drive impressive ideas, keeping you motivated enough to not give up and keep working.
3. It makes your solution/product a potential game-changer. Most start-ups or early-stage companies rely on products and solutions that can help them impress stakeholders, including investors and consumers. A novel and out-of-the-box idea is sure to grab eyeballs and get the ball rolling for you.
4. It can be used during interviews to test the creative potential of the candidates. A talent that can drive your business towards incredible heights must be screened well!