Saturday, September 01, 2012


Onio has been sending out a quarterly update of  happenings and inspirations on Innovation and Design at Onio, as a newsletter 'Onion Peels'. This time when we sent the newsletter one of the replies caught my attention. While the context is set in India, yet it applies to several other parts of the World. Also the things mentioned are taken for granted now, yet to imagine a situation a few years back reminds us of the blessings (our generation) have and that we are a part of the mega-change that is taking place in India. Story-telling is an art and this email brings out the best of a hidden story-teller in a scientist (the author of this email) par-excellance. Thank you Mr. Mukherjee for this wonderful expression.

"Dear Manoj,

Just wanted to give my feedback......

It was great reading PEELS and really reflects on a setup that's full of energy and transformation be it in Design or Branding.

It was especially interesting to read the experiences of Ms. Fee Schmidt Soltau that she has so eloquently brought out. What caught my imagination that standing on your terrace she noticed the change that our country is going through. Probably we are so much part of it and deeply involved in our small way that we just fail to notice.....

This also got me thinking on the changes that we are seeing in our life time ( I take it that we belong to roughly the same generation....). Some of the amazing things that's personally left me gazing and thinking sometimes maybe small but have affected each and everyone of us. I thought of just sharing them with you :

a. Would you imagine the great ecstasy when I used the ATM for the first time maybe just about  10 years back before which we all used to spend hours in the bank with tokens and waiting endlessly for our call..... One cannot wonder how we have been able to network this all over our vast country where you can access your account anywhere and anytime. Believe me I have been amazed when I could access this in remotest places which sometimes my tours take me....

b. A similar experience has been with Railway booking and I can't forget my initial days of service when I used to spend minimum half a day patiently waiting with a small form in my hand hoping that the counter shall not close for lunch. Now you can do the same on your laptop or mobile and we take it so much for granted. Just imagine the vast rail network and millions of people would have thought this would not be possible in India.

Better graphics - better future -  Mumbai airport

c. Mobile communication is also one wonder of such change and transformation. Seeing the newspaper-man or doodhwala coming in a three wheeler (you no more see them on cycles)  talking on a mobile really brings a smile as again during my first posting, I was in Manali, HP where there was one blooming telephone in the post office and we would trudge 3-4 km on Sat-Sun just to see if it was working and if we could get in queue with a hope to talk to our families and loved ones back home.

d. One also cannot forget the revolution that that the auto industry has brought about. My office with 750 employees used to work in 1991 had two cars which were personally owned and we used to stare in awe when they drove by.....(can you imagine one was an open hood standard like the old Hindi movies with Rajesh Khanna or Dev Anand etc....). Today our office is so flooded with 4 wheelers that parking is a problem.

e. Another marvel I have witnessed is Air travel which we cannot but be in awe of. Could any of us imagine that in barely about the last 10 years this amazing change has happened. When I see families taking out their Dabbas in the 'no frill' flights and share parathas and achaar with their co-travellers it again leaves me wondering. Thats a WOW experience deep down....

There are so many other such amazing marvels that have happened in our generation that I feel fortunate as well as honoured to be part of it because don't forget that maybe 50 + years from now future generations will look back and wonder at what and how WE made it happen. That's the driving force that motivates each one of us ........

I guess that says it all since you and your team at Onio are so much part of it, churning out bright new ideas and innovating on a daily basis bringing about that change that shall make history. I personally have also gained a lot each time I visited you just watching your team strive with that positive energy and full of vigour."
Ms. Fee Schmidt Soltau had interned  with Onio an year back. She was involved in a cross-continental brand-strategy assignment with me. Briefly she touch upon some changes India is going through, in her letter. This feedback letter was from Mr. Alok Mukherjee, a senior scientist with one of the defence labs in India. As Onio, we have been privileged to be working on several assignments with defence labs and the brilliant scientist working there, in the past eight years. Mr. Mukherjee was the one who spotted us first, through a news piece on Onio several years back. It has been a wonderful experience working with him all the way through. As Onio, we are proud of the country's defence labs.