New India: Wearing Different Hats


On India leveraging technology, especially in education, for a new
future –
• Personalization is the biggest advantage that technology has given
us. Initially it was mass learning; the same curriculum delivered
across classes using the same pedagogy. The output, like the input,
was more or less the same.
• Technology has encouraged asynchronous learning; different children
can consume information and knowledge depending on where they
are in their learning journey. It caters to individual needs.
• Going ahead, if this can be made the norm across the country – then
India will create a generation of learners whose potential has been
leveraged optimally. They will flourish because they will neither be
over nor underchallenged by the system. There will no regression
toward average and this will be good for the nation.
The intent behind starting WhiteHat Junior-
• Original idea of WhiteHat Junior was that kids should be builders
and creators. Studies show that kids are at their creative peak by
the time there are about five years. Thereafter, this declines every
decade as more and more rules and systems enter their lives. White
Hat wanted to ensure that creativity remained their destiny forever.
• Coding was the first step in this direction because coding would let
the children build games and apps. The intent was to get them to feel
that if they could build apps they could go ahead and do anything.
• Technology would push some of the kids into science and technology and others into the field of arts and literature. Technology often
pushes kids into the right brain sphere – WhiteHat Junior wanted to
get into the creative side, which is why it chose coding, music arts.
• One on one teacher was also very important because the teacher
can give very person-specific feedback and optimally leverage the
creative potential of the child. Also, this model would help provide
the child with recognition and encouragement.
• This resonated with a personal vision for India where more and more
creative people flourished.
On technology adoption to be future ready –
• The world is moving towards a situation where all routine tasks will
be taken over by technology (AI). The currency of the future will be
what one is creating or building. The age of mechanized work is over.
Yet the school pedagogy is mostly unchanged and not future focussed.
• Countries like US create cutting edge products; this situation in turn is
the product of their education system, which holds abstract thinking
and social sciences as important as maths and science.
• In future the world will belong to those that stand at the centre of
right and left brain. The system has been too focussed on developing
the left brain; one will have to look at the right brain too. Coding
stands at the centre. It uses logic to create things.
Message to entrepreneurs in waiting and those wanting to scale up –
For entrepreneurs in waiting
• The act of creating something for the first time opens up a new chapter
in one’s life. The creative well within needs to be filled with more and
more diverse life experiences.
• One needs to build and create something of one’s own very early in
life – it could be a book; it could be a blog. The experience of doing
so opens up the door to newer worldviews and could finally lead to
that one business idea.
For entrepreneurs wanting to scale up
• People across the world are more similar than dissimilar, so all products should have a global intent right from the start. White Hat Jr was
taken out of India early in its lifecycle; it is doing very well outside.
70% of its revenue comes from outside India. All entrepreneurs
should have the confidence to take their products outside. No merit
in the conventional journey – test and grow your product in India
and then take it outside.
• Technology moves very fast hence waiting to launch outside India is a bad idea. Someone is bound to come up with
a similar idea there by then. Whichever country comes in
the value stream of innovation will win in the long run.
The Indian way in business
• Took a year off at the peak of career to live in an ashram and then
go to the Himalayas to learn meditation. Personal reasons behind
the move; the need to understand the meaning of life and deal with
mother’s early demise