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  • Lead or be led

    by Rishika Gupta In human interactions, you may feel there are few people whom you get along with easily, and few people that no matter how hard you try, their tend to be miscommunication and frustrating because there is just such a huge gap between what one conveys and what the other understands. Now picture this happening in a business setting. When working or entrepreneuring, you interact with a spectrum of professionals and you have to prepare to work with every type of personality. A helpful way of gauging human personalities is by understanding yours. Taking a Myers-Briggs Test [MBTI] is a great way of self-reflection. Do note that this is not an accurate representation but a helpful tool in gaining an insight in your personality traits. When you master what motivates you, wonder how you can motivate others? Be a leader in your workplace and life and inspire those around you, or better understand the nature of your managers to adjust your working style to match theirs, or vice versa. As per Ivey Business School, there are 13 managerial leadership styles: · Autocratic: Effective in showcasing strong leadership in times of crisis. For example: Elon Musk at Twitter. But what that may do is alienate the workforce as it essentially means that it is only the leader/managers whose opinion matters. · Affiliative: They consider their team as their affiliates and important to business decisions. It’s people over profits and integral to ensuring that their opinion matters. · Bureaucratic: Bureaucratic leaders tend to be traditionalist and believe in forms, policies and procedures. · Coaching: A coach takes a mentor like role for their associates. They nurture their talent by identifying which characteristic is best suited for a role and provide opportunities to grow and succeed. · Democratic: Involves considering their teams’ inputs in form of opinions and efforts. They believe that employees are closer to the problem than leaders and value their contribution. · Laissez-faire: The leader takes minimal decisions and delegates the work. For example: if an upcoming event is to take place, delegating the preparation and decision-making power to his/her subordinate · Emergent: This involves a sort of style which you may embody yourself. Emergent leaders are ones who take up the leadership mantle when no leader is elected or assigned. They earn goodwill within the organization for taking initiative and convincing teammates to organize and work together. · Pacesetting: A leader who leads by example and would expect of his team members what he/she expects of himself/herself. Setting goals to achieve and surpass consistently is a key feature of a pacesetting leader. · Servant: A servant leader places more emphasis on the stakeholders they’re responsible for. A CEO may be accountable and prioritizing shareholder interest, or a manager may do as the line manager says, with little consideration for himself or his team. · Strategic: A great thinker who considers all aspects before making a decision. Growth is the name of the game and one who is empathetic but also strategic. For example: would help schedule leaves in such a way a team member is not left to manage the entire workload. · Transactional: Such a leader is focused on the tasks completed, ensuring required needs are met and would do little to go above and beyond for his employees. · Transformative: Someone who encourages you to go the extra mile little by little. If a target for 100 sales calls is set, they would motivate you to fit in 10 more and reward you for it, in turn helping you exceed your expectations and work better. · Visionary: Finally, such a visionary is one who can bring about change. A changemaker to inspire and extract creativity to take the company ahead. Learn more about leaders, leadership styles and see how you can grow in your career, sign up for the WorkEx Bootcamp’s Leadership Track featuring Leadership Principles by HBS Online in collaboration with Podar Enterprises.

  • Negotiation across your career

    by Rishika Gupta When you’re in college and just starting out on your career, questions of self-doubt can plague your mind. When you’re on the cusp of entering the real world, a key skill that not many discuss is the art of negotiation. As an employee, the first stage of negotiation you would come across is at your first job. Through your course you may have taken up internships, but a key difference here is that in an internship, your salary is fixed and your main goal is to gain exposure and experience. The priorities when you’re starting your first job are very different. Now you’re looking to set up your own life and earn a living, in order to maximise that, it is important to keep self-doubt aside and negotiate your worth, while being respectful to the company budgets, policies and bosses. The best way to reach and identify common ground is to do your research. Speak to mentors and professionals in the industry to identify what is the average pay range for your role. Also be mindful of the experience you bring to the table. For example: if you’re a fresher with minimal internship experience, you would not be in a place to negotiate a higher salary package; but if you have 4-5 internships under your belt, safe to say that the HR team would respect the experience you bring as compared to someone more inexperienced as you would require lesser training as well. Within your role, if you work with vendors especially, finding the best value for money sources would enhance your value to the firm. In a place like India, you can always find the next best or in most cases, more affordable option for any item. The key differentiator can be creating strong connections with those suppliers so as to form your own base to advance in your career and knowledge. A key differentiator between junior and senior members of a team is yet again, experience. Negotiation is a nuanced art wherein the right way of talking can result a 10% cost reduction and strategizing partnerships for long-term benefits. As a student this may seem daunting especially since the world is more ruthless than ever. When speaking with someone, always try to identify what their motivations could be. Most likely, they too have some targets to meet. Forming a friendship can mean that you form a level of commercial trust and receive best prices from both sourcer, supplier and seller. A great way to practice this skill is to participate in events or select roles in internships that involve speaking to outside stakeholders. Negotiation involves the process of extracting value from a scarce resource, which may not always be money. Within the organization, finding a mentor to give insider advice on how to get your proposal approved, or which is the best place to find the cheapest source of office equipment. The benefits are endless. Negotiating for time with them is also important in highlighting ‘your edge’ as someone who knows how to help both parties involved in the deal. As you’re up for the promotion, these skills would be the necessary soft skills a leader ought to possess to drive incremental value for the people, purpose and profits in an organization. Create your own learning journey, or make the process just a little bit easier by learning tips, tricks and theories from the one of the world’s best business schools, check out the Negotiation Mastery course as part of the WorkEx Bootcamp, sign up today!

  • Design Think(ing) to Innovate

    by Sakshi Chavan Design Thinking is about taking a human-centred approach to innovation that draws from a designers toolkit to integrate the needs of the consumer. Simply put, it is about thinking about a business problem with sensitivity, and not basing the innovation process solely on numbers, adding a touch of human intuition. Commonly referred to as creative thinking, this process plays a pivotal role in shaping the products and experiences that you hope to translate in the customer experience. Integrating Design Thinking into development processes unlocks business potential. It adds a layer of assuring that the products intended for customers is not only meeting a consumer need, but also economically viable in terms of feasibility and profitability. The approach is a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. Involving five phases—Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test—it is especially useful in open-ended and abstract problems. Some of the most successful organisations such as Google, Apple and Airbnb have employed it to notable effect. Design-led companies such as Apple, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble and SAP have outperformed the S&P 500 by an extraordinary 211%. As per IDEO, an organization who is often credited with inventing the term “design thinking” and its practice, believes that the concept of design thinking is such that: “Give someone a fish, and they’ll have food for a day, teach someone to fish and they’ll have food for life”. Similarly, if you launch a product, it may give you temporary success, but if you learn design thinking, you would have cracked the code to pushing out successful products consistently. Design Thinking and the Process Design thinking’s value as a driving force in business makes it a popular subject at leading international universities. With design thinking, teams have the freedom to generate ground-breaking solutions. Using it, a team can gain hard-to-access insights and apply a collection of hands-on methods to help find innovative answers. The process involves the following 5 stages: Stage 1: Empathize—Research Your Users' Needs This step involves obtaining an empathetic understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve, typically through user research. Empathy is crucial to a human-centered design process such as design thinking because it allows you to set aside your own assumptions about the world and gain real insight into users and their needs. Consult experts to find out more about the area of concern and conduct observations to engage and empathise with your users. You may also want to immerse yourself in your users’ physical environment to gain a deeper, personal understanding of the issues involved—as well as their experiences and motivations. Empathy is crucial to problem solving and a human-centred design process as it allows design thinkers to set aside their own assumptions about the world and gain real insight into users and their needs. Stage 2: Define—State Your Users' Needs and Problems Next you accumulate the information gathered during the Empathise stage. You then analyse your observations and synthesise them to define the core problems you and your team have identified. These definitions are called problem statements. One can create personas to help keep your efforts human-centred before proceeding to ideation. The Define stage will help the design team collect great ideas to establish features, functions and other elements to solve the problem at hand—or, at the very least, allow real users to resolve issues themselves with minimal difficulty. In this stage, you will start to progress to the third stage, the ideation phase, where you ask questions to help you look for solutions. Stage 3: Ideate—Challenge Assumptions and Create Ideas Next, you’re ready to generate ideas. The solid background of knowledge from the first two phases means you can start to “think outside the box”, look for alternative ways to view the problem and identify innovative solutions to the problem statement you’ve created. There are multiple ideation techniques we can use—such as Brainstorm, Brainwrite, Worst Possible Idea and SCAMPER. Brainstorm and Worst Possible Idea techniques are typically used at the start of the ideation stage to stimulate free thinking and expand the problem space. This allows you to generate as many ideas as possible at the start of ideation. One should pick other ideation techniques towards the end of this stage to help you investigate and test your ideas, and choose the best ones to move forward with—either because they seem to solve the problem or provide the elements required to circumvent it. Stage 4: Prototype—Start to Create Solutions This is an experimental phase. The aim is to identify the best possible solution for each problem found. A team should produce some inexpensive, scaled-down versions of the product to investigate the ideas you’ve generated. This could involve simply paper prototyping. Stage 5: Test—Try Your Solutions Out Evaluators rigorously test the prototypes. Although this is the final phase, design thinking is iterative: teams often use the results to redefine one or more further problems. So, one can return to previous stages to make further iterations, alterations and refinements – to find or rule out alternative solutions. In the Define stage, you will organize the information you have gathered during the Empathize stage. You’ll analyze your observations to define the core problems you and your team have identified up to this point. Defining the problem and problem statement must be done in a human-centred manner. In employing design thinking, you’re pulling together what’s desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows those who aren't trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. The process starts with taking action and understanding the right questions. It’s about embracing simple mindset shifts and tackling problems from a new direction. When done right, design thinking will help you understand the mindsets and needs of the people you're creating for, surface opportunities based on these needs, and lead you to innovative new solutions starting with quick, low-fidelity experiments that provide learning and gradually increase in fidelity. The Four Principles of Design Thinking There are four principles of Design Thinking as laid out by Christoph Meinel and Harry Leifer of the Hasso-Plattner-Institute of Design at Stanford University, California, are: The human rule: No matter what the context, all design activity is social in nature, and any social innovation will bring us back to the “human-centric point of view”. The ambiguity rule: Ambiguity is inevitable, and it cannot be removed or oversimplified. Experimenting at the limits of your knowledge and ability is crucial in being able to see things differently. The redesign rule: All design is redesign. While technology and social circumstances may change and evolve, basic human needs remain unchanged. We essentially only redesign the means of fulfilling these needs or reaching desired outcomes. The tangibility rule: Making ideas tangible in the form of prototypes enables designers to communicate them more effectively. Design is transforming the way leading companies create value. The focus of innovation has shifted from being engineering-driven to design-driven, from product-centric to customer-centric, and from marketing-focused to user-experience-focused. For an increasing number of CEOs, design thinking is at the core of effective strategy development and organisational change. The Takeaway To conclude, Roger Martin, former Dean of Rotman School and author of The Design of Business, asserts, “Design-thinking firms stand apart in their willingness to engage in the task of continuously redesigning their business… to create advances in both innovation and efficiency – the combination that produces the most powerful competitive edge.” Learn more about Design Thinking in Startup Design 101 module, part of the WorkEx Bootcamp. References

  • The Importance of Strategy

    by Vedant Podar and Rishika Gupta Business Strategy teaches tools to imbibe and grow in a fruitful manner. Simply said it gives direction to targeted efforts and achieve the desired results. To a student, strategy can help chart out the path to education. Today, education is an investment and each parent and individual invest considerable capital to prepare their child or themselves for the competitive world we work in today. The schools and colleges we went to shape who we are today. When choosing an educational board in India today, we are spoilt for choice: SSC, CBSE, ICSE, IGCSE, IB and more. Each have differing financial commitments as well. Parents may choose to save up to send their child abroad for international exposure, or the individual may prefer staying close to home to build the career in the place they want to be. Crafting the education strategy at each stage can help make the most of investments, institutions and individual effort. When applying for colleges, now more and more students opt for career counsellors to guide their decision. A strategy is curated for target scores, essays, testing, schooling and career options. Similarly, a job search strategy can differentiate successful from unsuccessful applicants. Today it takes more than merit to land your dream job. Networking, attending events, online courses, recommendations, university degree and extra-curriculars are essential to demonstrate leadership capabilities and skillsets necessary to fulfil the role. LinkedIn can be the largest tool at your disposal as you craft connection requests, pitch yourself for the role, and secure recommendation or an interview. In the world today, we’re spoilt for choice with new roles coming up on a daily basis. As we work with advancing technologies, the scope for new skills and education opportunities arise as well. Today more and more people are opting for a degree in Data Analytics, Information Systems or Computer Engineering. With WorkEx Bootcamp, we look forward to bringing these essential skills from Harvard Business School and in-house courses curated by international faculty. Just like the concept of strategy plays an important role in the operations of a large corporation, similarly it is essential for entrepreneurs too. A strategy not only forms initial milestones for a startup which it should achieve, but also creates a roadmap – a path which guides how the business should run and the targets it must hit to continue growing, be it in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years and so on. A strategy inherently defines a business and contains a set of values which gives it purpose – essential for an entrepreneur, especially when he/she must work with new individuals who are a part of the team. It gives the company, and everyone working in it, a vision, which guides their actions and decisions. However, one thing necessary to remember is that for an entrepreneur, a business strategy, though necessary, should not be rigid in nature. The startup ecosystem is constantly evolving and is facing challenges due to changes in the external environment. Pandemics, Technological Disruptions, Political crisis, etc. are all factors which can threaten the life of a startup. In such times, the ability to adapt one’s strategy, and pivot in the times of difficulty, is critical to thrive in the long run. Thus, strategy should be flexible and should be reviewed from time to time to make sure that the entrepreneurial activities being undertaken are in constant alignment with the opportunities present in the external environment. Come discover the ideal personal and business strategy for you as you explore what your next step should be: as a student, as a professional or as an entrepreneur. WorkEx Bootcamp’s rigorous and accessible course will give you the boost to level up! Register now for the WorkEx Bootcamp.

  • Our CEO: Vedant's Entrepreneurship Journey

    by Vedant Podar I always had a dream to start my own business, to run my own company and create a positive difference in people’s lives through a product/service, but I always thought it was an eventual, not an instant. By that I mean I had envisioned it happening after having worked a corporate role for a few years post college before starting on my own entrepreneurial journey. In summer of 2018, with free time I decided to intern in the family business. It is a privilege to have a place to work and grow something that is part of my family and I’m so grateful to my parents for creating such a platform for me. I worked on a research project about the education landscape in India and we were brainstorming what form of online course we can launch to fit the needs of the market. One of the ideas was to create a short course which would focus on upskilling young professionals in India, by teaching them a combination of hard and soft skills which would make them more employable and provide them the skills to differentiate themselves in India’s incredibly competitive employment landscape. We were looking to tie up with a prestigious university and offer the courses a lucrative price point so that we could roll it out to the masses as an equal opportunity course to boost one’s employability and attractiveness as an employee or student or both. It was a very enriching experience, where I gained my first inside into the education and edtech industry, after which I resumed university. Co-incidentally, during the next semester, I became friends with exchange students who were marketing and finance majors. We bonded over shared interests and in a short span of four to six created an underlying trust for both the friendship and each other’s skill sets. I approached these two friends with the business idea that had stayed with me from the internship. Over the next year, in our free time we brainstormed the idea, researched about its feasibility, spoked to potential consumer audiences, and worked on creating the perfect product. The pandemic hitting in 2020, gave us a new boost in terms of time and energy to focus more on our goals. The pandemic changed a lot for us. One of our main difficulties with our business idea was people being averse to the concept of studying online. However, due to the pandemic, there was a rising trend in online education, and the sudden acceptance of online learning created the optimal environment to launch our start-up – Podar Eduspace Tech. With online education we also had more time available to really invest in Podar Eduspace – be it branding, financing, or launching. Every business idea needs funding, and we did take out a loan that we had to manage alongside launch expenses. It was a risky decision just like any business launch. But being an entrepreneur means taking a chance in the idea you believe in. This is the simple story of how Podar Eduspace Tech came to be, just being in the right place at the right time with the right people. The initial launch has now progressed to a mature business requiring adaptation to ongoing challenges. With education and offices returning to physical locations, people have reduced leisure time and we need to pivot to a new strategy and adapt to new threats and create an opportunity. We have seen that the Edtech industry is slowing down in terms of growth, with some large names having to lay off people to cut costs. Every industry has its up and downs, and we still believe online education is the future to provide affordable, impactful learning across locations worldwide. Time will tell of how Podar Eduspace progresses, but we remain committed to our creation of a knowledge system of students, professionals & industry-leaders to share, create, and mentor experiences and upskill and empower Indians to reinvent.

  • Understanding Soft Skills

    by Sakshi Chavan In a constantly changing environment, the one thing you can count on, is the skillset you possess. Over the past 5 years, constant shifts in the global economies have spurred digital transformation in education, workplace, and home life. The pace of modern life has accelerated, and in order to keep up, the student today is constantly looking for new skills to add to their arsenal and remain relevant. Soft Skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. These skills are essential to the next job interview or application. It is something that would help in differentiating from competing applicants and show how valuable one can be to the team. in order to climb the career ladder, here are some soft skills to develop: 1. Problem Solving Problem-solving will help in effective crisis management. There are times when a situation may get out of hand due to numerous reasons and being an effective problem solver helps one remain solution oriented. Students should know how to effectively adapt and solve problems with an appropriate solution for the situation. 2. Creative Thinking Thinking creatively is of great importance as it leads to the using the power of imagination and expanding lateral thinking. Students need to be creative in their approach in every aspect and it helps them understand the world in a better way and come up with answers that might give the rest of the world a new perspective. Ideation and creation are, thus, very elemental parts of education. 3. Teamwork Teamwork is the most essential skill required at every stage of one's career. Working together will always help in producing more. Students must understand the importance of unity. No work is free from conflict, and a key enabler of success is one’s resilience to confront the problem rather than each other. 4. Decision-making When faced in a perplexing spot, to become effective leaders, one has to learn how to weigh pros, cons and possible outcomes to consider. Forming your unique perspective is important to express your viewpoint and amalgamate the experience and knowledge of peers to choose the option with the most favourable outcome. One of the earliest decisions made is the stream Indian students in the Indian system need to choose, forming the foundation of their career journey. 5. Intra-personal skills Skills that help you understand yourself, your emotional intelligence, your thoughts, your beliefs and opinions on topics are key features of intra-personal skills. Only when you try to understand yourself, will you be able to understand others. Knowing your own strengths and weakness will help choose complementary skills (be it with business partners or groupmates) to achieve desired results. 6. Leadership Skills Class elections, student union elections and club presidency are early forms of testing whether you like to lead or to work with leaders. Being one isn’t easy and such experiences help train for the future. A quick-thinker can make the right decisions, coordinate other people and pull off an event as well. Stand out by investing in leadership position to stand out from the pack. 7. Positive Attitude The ability to exude positivity in an intense atmosphere, such as in an educational setting, makes one a joy to be around and is a soft skill which just makes one pleasant to work with. Enthusiasm, confidence, cooperation, patience, respect, and a sense of humor, being a vivacious personality helps put everyone at ease and will make your career a happier one as well :) 8. Communication skills Be it a student or a working professional, this skill is required for every individual. This is a basic skill required for everyone to communicate. Sensitivity and calm response to aggressive behavior helps develop emotional maturity to manage and work with multiple personality types. We must work with other humans and most errors in the working world happen due to a lack of simple communication. Brainstorming: Having strong communication skills allows you to contribute to group discussions and produce thoughtful ideas to help the company as a whole. Seeking advice or help: Communicating effectively allows you to ask for help regarding a problem you’re facing. The better and clearer the communication, the easier it is for others to understand what you’re saying and provide you with the assistance you require. Active listening: When you’re an active listener, it’s easier to fully understand what someone says. For example, when you’re in a business meeting, actively listening to the speaker ensures you know the points that were discussed and what’s expected of you. 9. Flexibility When you’re flexible, you’re better able to cope with sudden changes in the workday. When you cope well with change, it can even inspire others to do the same. Patience: This refers to your ability to accept or tolerate certain situations that arise. When you work alongside other people, having patience can help you reduce conflict and better achieve long-term goals. It also helps you establish greater professional relationships in the workplace. Adaptability: When problems arise, you need to be able to move your schedule to fit the company’s current needs. Being adaptable not only helps you remain calm during stressful situations, but it also shows your boss that you’re willing to set aside your pre-planned schedule to accommodate emerging problems. Interact with like-minded peers and invest in holistic development of yourself. Register now for the WorkEx Bootcamp.

  • Skilling Gap and the way ahead

    by Sakshi Chavan In today’s digitalised world where automation and artificial intelligence are no longer considered the distant future but rather a technological transformation that amplifies business processes and enhances the customer experience, we need our youth to be skilled. The COVID-19 pandemic has also deepened the existing skill gap, and millions of young people, specifically those marginalized, have now been left with inadequate access to education and skill-development opportunities. Even before the pandemic, the education and labor system was struggling in its ability to prepare young people with future job skills. Unemployment is not a new issue in our country. According to India Skills Report 2022, only 48.7% of India's youth is employable. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) released the unemployment status report of India for December 2021. According to the report, the unemployment rate in the country was 7.91% in December. It was 7% in November. The highest unemployment rates were reported in Haryana (34.1%), Rajasthan (24.1), Jharkhand (17.3%), Bihar (16%), and Jammu and Kashmir (15%). While the youth population (ages 15 to 24) grew 30% between 1999 and 2019, the labor force participation rate globally decreased by approximately 12%. With automation coming into play, the jobs held by the youth are at risk of being automated, at an accelerating pace. In a survey, 36% of CEOs said they were focused on improving productivity through technology and automation. The world’s youth deserve much more, and the entire nation has a part to play to ensure their participation in the global economy. From businesses to governments, nonprofits, and NGOs, there is a need to recognize the urgency of this skilling challenge and prepare now for a more sustainable future. A study made by PwC in association with UNICEF reveals how the skill gap in India can be reduced. The process suggested by the paper includes the following steps: a) Identify the skills needed for jobs of the digital future b) Helping the youth obtain the skills necessary c) Creating a system to certify the skills the youth has acquired Here are a few suggestions on Closing the Skills Gap: 1) Creating a national skills mapping system that includes a taxonomy of general skills and categories with ways to measure skills competence. 2) Using corporate training to support a national skills-building engine that features proven private-sector upskilling programs and government policy frameworks that are efficient, scalable, and affordable. 3) Building a national digital skills verification trust platform — like a secure distributed ledger or blockchain — that enables youth to register and store their skills credentials. 4) Developing skills forums to improve information-sharing among key stakeholders that address trends in the job market and identify skills gaps, skilling programs, and skills youth need to thrive. Upskilling It is another crucial step towards reducing the skill gap. Upskilling is not simply teaching people how to use a new device. That device may be obsolete by next year. The upskilling experience involves learning how to think, act and thrive in a digital world that is sustainable over time. Understanding what skills are required in a particular country/ or in an organization is equally important. Answering this question can help to build a pipeline of workers suitably trained for the future labor market that requires both digital and relational skills, whether in regular employment, entrepreneurial ventures, or the gig economy. Building a national digital skills verification trust. Beyond interviews, aptitude tests, and online portfolios, employers lack a standardized, low-cost way to verify the skills new employees claim to have — regardless of their formal education level. Creating a global or national verification system enables employers to identify the most useful skills for their current employees and set up new hires for success by indicating what additional training they should consider. Although micro-credentials and digital badging are a start, a national system built on a technology platform such as a distributed ledger or Blockchain will help employees track and store their skill base and provide employers with a trusted and easily verifiable assessment method. India is one of the youngest nations in the world with the average Indian being 28 years and with 59 percent (88.97 crores) of its population between 20 and 59, India could be the world’s largest pool of youth resource. To convert this pool into human capital will require a steadfast focus on skilling and education. The skill gap which is a bane can be transformed into a boon for the Indian Economy through our conscious efforts and by embracing technology.

  • Metaverse Madness and its meaning

    We’ve been surrounded by the constant hype around the metaverse, the Google definition of it is described as: a virtual reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. It is essentially the next frontier for technology. The current internet that we’re connected to – be it from our phones to our tablets and laptops, we connect to Web 2.0. The internet as a whole has passed through multiple evolutionary phases: Web 2.0 was the shift from the use of the internet to look up information, to now being used as a platform for user-generated content, and to interact with each other: be it through social media, communities on Reddit or video gaming. The metaverse concept is based on the future of online interaction. We have currently reached the highest level of experience possible on the current frontier, and now to conquer the next frontier, the world is gearing up for Web 3.0. Web 3.0 is the third generation of evolution for the internet. The future of technology lies in the metaverse where users can participate as avatars. This is the basis of the booming cryptocurrency, NFT and innovation investments. NFTs are essentially pieces that you can have verifiable ownership and is the first step to creating your online status symbols. One of the industries predominant presences in the metaverse is fashion. As such, they invest in individual expression in the metaworld where these pieces help them create a realistic version of themselves in the virtual space. The easiest allusion to metaverse-world is to look at video games. Interactions in the metaverse would mimic the video game world where users interact with one another. Recently, Fortnite held a Balenciaga event, and Timberland opened a shoe factory. LEGO is creating a virtual world to educate and teach children through LEGO. This might seem overwhelming, but what is key is how we view the metaverse as the next step of digital evolution and interaction. In the late-90s, we were sceptical of the internet’s purpose and usage. Just as the internet has now become the norm, we pre-empt a similar adoption of the metaverse. With any change there is hesitation, and we are at the cusp of exploring the new. Very little is known about the possible applications of the metaverse. For example, there is scope for it to be used to reduce loneliness amongst the aged and immobile by giving them a place to interact and move while being in the same location physically. With social media creating a new opportunity for influencers and content creator industry, the metaverse holds great scope for exploring and innovating. The reason we see brands and companies investing early on is to be part of the early adopters. Any technological disruption faces an innovation cycle. The metaverse is at the early adoption stage and to prove its applicability and becoming the norm, it needs to cross the ‘chasm’. SOURCE: WikiMedia Commons The chasm represents the fundamental threats it may face and the true test of the next big disruption in technology. Some of the threats the metaverse would have to address is availability and safety: 1. Availability: a current but accurate image is that to truly immerse oneself in the metaverse, we require VR headsets and, most definitely, access to the internet. Just as Facebook and Instagram have become commonplace, the metaverse yet has to prove its mettle as the chosen medium for interaction. It may heighten the existing digital divide present in the world and marginalise communities with lack of access to these technologies and create opportunities for those with access and hinder active and complete participation. 2. Safety: Since the technology yet has to gain widespread adoption, not enough is known about its safety. As the metaverse becomes more popular, we would see greater scope for scams and attraction of crime. Just as cryptocurrency thefts have increased, the safety and privacy in the metaverse yet is to be tested. Overall, we do see how metaverse presents numerous opportunities and it is important to be aware of the ongoings in the world of technology. It is something that if leveraged correctly, can result in your idea being the next big thing. Learn more about the metaverse, crypto and innovation in our new module MetCrynN, part of the WorkEx Bootcamp, register now!

  • The Meaning of the Metaverse

    What is the metaverse? Metaverse is defined as a virtual reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. Did you know? The term first originated from a 1992 sci-fi novel: Snow Crash – a story in which they describe a story where software agents (spies) and human avatars of the protagonists interact in a 3D space. Metaverse is where you can interact and explore a digital world. The buzz originated from Facebook's rebrand to Meta. Brands such as Balenciaga and Fortnite are creating the ecosystem for the next in the metaworld. Form a deeper understanding about the potential this new technology will bring. Learn more about the latest in metaverse in our new module — MetCrynN, part of the WorkEx Bootcamp!

  • NFT and the industry

    NFTs have been trending everywhere, but do you know how they have been disrupting different industries? Here are a few of the industries! Gaming, arts, fashion and sports! Disruption signifies something that is innovative or ground breaking. In the industries, here are examples of NFTs: Gaming/Sports Industry: Tokenised point system The tokenised point system is another way to monetise fan contribution. The gaming companies can essentially by creating virtual assets of team rewards, players, gear and fan-based incentives to provide verified ownership of authentic team apparel and also providing transferable value as these items can be sold. Arts Industry: Programmable art It is art built on the blockchain. They are digital and interactive paintings that can be created and sold. The art piece's value can be tracked on the stock exchange. It blends and blurs the boundaries of traditional art and digital art. Check out for more! Fashion: Digital outfits As part of their marketing efforts, Balenciaga had launched minigames for a significant event in China. Additionally, Lancôme launched exclusive NFTs in collaboration with a well-known NFT-creator to build momentum and derive added value to launches. These are all ways in which fashion etches onto the next frontier of fashion and self-expression: creating luxurious value in the digital landscape as well. Find out more about NFTs and their value and applications in our new module — MetCrynN, part of the WorkEx Bootcamp - register now!

  • What are NFTs?

    NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are unique cryptographic tokens on a blockchain. These represent real-world items like art, music, in-game items, videos and real estate. Some fast facts on NFTs here: The first NFT was minted in 2014. Selling for $69.3 million, Beeple’s “Everydays: the First 5000 Days” is the most expensive NFT ever sold. An NFT transaction consumes around 48.14 kWh of energy. This is more or less the amount of power a typical American household will use in a day. The total value of NFT sales were $2bn in the first quarter of 2021. Buy them here, these are open platforms from where you can purchase your NFTs and start your collection: Zora OpenSea Rarible KnownOrigin Mintable Form a deeper understanding about the potential this new technology will bring. Learn more about the latest in crypto in our new module — MetCrynN, part of the WorkEx Bootcamp!

  • Decrypting Crypto

    Cryptocurrency – one of the latest new 21st century financial instruments of the digital world, is becoming more and more popular as an investment day by day. For those who are unaware, a cryptocurrency, or crypto is a virtual currency which utilizes digital blockchain technology to act as a means of exchange for all kinds of transactions online, buying of goods and services or making payments (Investopedia). Although Crypto has been around since nearly a decade, digital transformation and more awareness has fuelled its rapid adoption in the last few years, which has made crypto more popular amongst individuals and corporates across the globe. The world of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin is indeed very exciting, and financial investors do get attracted to the prospect of having low transaction costs coupled with faster money transfer, but one key thing for any new investor to understand before exploring crypto investments is volatility. Cryptos are probably the most volatile form of investment one can find – because it’s entirely speculative. There is no controlling authority or presence which oversees how crypto is functioning. Prices of cryptos fluctuate day in and day out based on demand and supply by investors and user sentiments. It is not like equity where in India SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) regulates the securities and commodities market. This makes it difficult to have confidence in crypto, as there is no regulatory framework which can be relied upon. We have also seen how the value of different cryptocurrencies can fluctuate based on statements and comments by influential individuals or organizations. One tweet by Elon Musk on Dogecoin where he posted the words “Doge” caused the price to rise sharply the next day. On the other hand, when Tesla announced that it will not accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, the value of Bitcoin crashed. One can see 200% rise in their invested sum within a day, but an immediate fall back also within hours – thus it is extremely unpredictable, and sentiment driven. However, high volatility does mean that the chances of high returns is also possible – which makes cryptos indeed an attractive investment. As an investor who wants to take a dip into digital currencies, I would urge any reader to first be aware that crypto is not a risk-free investor – so one should be prepared for losses. If you are someone who monitors their portfolio every day and bounces off based on its gains and losses – and does not have the capacity to take a hit – then crypto is not for you. I would advise any potential investor to start small, get a taste of the market and then once you’re more comfortable with the fluctuations and the volatility, invest more. Starting slow will boost your confidence to undertake bigger, more educated risks later. One more key step is to be globally aware of events happening related to digital currencies. As we saw, a simple tweet can cause major price fluctuations. So even if you are in India, understanding key financial events in US or Europe can impact your investment and profitability. Lastly, as we have seen, digital currencies are susceptible to hacking. Digital hackers have been able to breach the blockchain security to steal data and billions of dollars have also been lost to scammers and Ponzi schemes. Thus, being diligent about the currency you’re investing in, and the company you’re investing through to be secure. There has been a tremendous interest and focus towards the crypto industry, but the market itself is constantly evolving, with investors not convincingly knowing how the long-term prospects of cryptos will be. Although cryptocurrency, in my opinion, is definitely not a very safe investment, the way forward it seems is that it is here to stay. As an investor, being aware of the different financial investment possibilities is critical to diversify one’s portfolio and given how crypto adaptation is increasing day by day, even in larger organizations and Governments, it is necessary to be aware of it, in order to manage potential risks and to avail of the benefits as an investment. The world of crypto and digital currency is exciting. The volatility means that one can form a fortune or lose a fortune in a matter of minutes. Thus, being prudent about investing, and being aware of risks is essential to try and maximize profitability and gauging your risk appetite. Learn more and master the world of Crypto in by signing up for the WorkEx Bootcamp, and demystifying Crypto in our newly launched module – MetCrynN. Sign up HERE!

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