Some thoughts on developing a National Policy on Entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is about creating wealth – about creating value for another and in the process, value for oneself.
It is about leveraging the creation of wealth – about creating a lot of wealth for a lot of people, efficiently.
What is created by the enterprise is wealth as that is what empowers the recipient.
The process of creating this is wealth as it provides opportunities for the gainful employment of skills.
The monetary returns from this activity is wealth as it can be translated into other things that one values.

Entrepreneurship is about fulfilling nature’s way of connecting living entities in symbiotic survival.

Entrepreneurship is good for the individual as it is good for the lot. And is therefore to be encouraged. It keeps nations and their people healthy.

Entrepreneurship originates in the mind. It is this mindset that motivates the individual to strike collaborations to create the larger enterprise. While many qualities are perceptible in this mindset and some prominent ones would include:
Vision – an ability to see more than what others do. An ability to see opportunity where others don’t. An ability to perceive in the long term …..
Purpose – may emerge from the vision when it gets mixed with a strong belief in what is possible.
Realistic. An acceptance of one’s situation as it is – the advantages and the shortcomings as they are.
Innovative. An ability to innovate to achieve one’s goals with available or raise-able resources.
Belief. A strong belief in success – strong enough to take a big calculated risk.
Leadership. An ability to inspire others to align with one’s vision.
And so on.

The entrepreneurial mindset is valuable on its own whether it culminates into true entrepreneurship or not and is therefore to be encouraged. An entrepreneurial follower is as valuable as a leader. An entrepreneurial worker is a bigger asset to the company than a non entrepreneurial one.

A national policy on entrepreneurship will adopt measures irrespective of age, sex, financial backgrounds etc. to:

Help inculcate an entrepreneurial mindset in individuals.
Help interested and motivated individuals to make the transition to real entrepreneurship.
Help ease the process of starting an enterprise and therefore encourage more to embark on the path.
Help ensure that conditions for sustenance of an entrepreneurial venture is maintained.

The policy would take measures appropriate to the segment of society being addressed such as
Educationally qualified
Individuals who may not be formally educated
and so on

The policy would also recognise the differences in requirements of support when the business idea is a
A concept
and so on

All measures undertaken would be reviewed from time to time to for their efficacy so that the measures may be modified, withdrawn or replaced with new ones.

Dinesh Korjan
October 2012

My presentation at Abhikalpana, Design Innovation Conference at IDC, IIT Bombay on 26, 27 June 2012.


When we laugh we make unexpected connections. Even the physical sensation of tickling
makes us laugh because we feel good and annoyed at the same time – a connection
between annoyance and pleasure. A joke tickles the mind and we make connections
between seemingly un-connectable differences. Once we have laughed, we have made
this connection forever. We are not the same persons anymore because we now have the
‘connection’. This is normally the point at which we stop laughing for we don’t find it funny
anymore. Proof? Laughter transforms us. What else transforms us?

Last night while trying to write about all this I was trying to make connections between
random objects. In front of me were my cellphone and my pen. What were the
connections between them? Besides the fact that both belong to me and are therefore
connected to each other through me, is there a more direct connection possible?. I
decided to take a closer look. What do I do with the phone? Key in numbers to make calls.
Key in text to send messages. Talk. Listen. Charge the batteries and make place in my
clothing to carry it. And the most annoying activity? Keying in, of course. Why? Because,
for one, the keys are kind of small for my fingers. And you need to press the same key
many times to get a letter that you want. The bottom end of my pen seems to be correctly
sized for the keys. And it struck me, I would like to use the pen or a stylus to press the
keys sometime, especially for longer SMS messages if it would not slip off the keys. But
this could be done so easily by providing a dimple in each key. And it would not take
anything away from the keys either. It can still be used as comfortably or un-comfortably
by the fingers as before. Now why didn’t somebody think of this before? I would love to
have this feature on my PDA too. And it is so much easier to implement there as the stylus
is part of the product unlike a pen with a cellphone as pen sizes vary and the dimple sizing
would have to accommodate a variety of pen ends. Okay what happened here? I made a
new connection between my cellphone and my pen. But this time I am not laughing. I am
excited as I have made a discovery. I have invented. I have innovated. Aha, I am
transformed again.

There is yet another kind of transformation according to Arthur Koestler (Koestler, Arthur. The Ghost In The Machine. London: Picador Pan Books Limited, 1975.). If laughter can be described as the ‘ha ha’ experience and the flash of enlightenment in discovery as the ‘aha’ experience then the third kind of transformation would be the result of the ‘ah…’ experience. This would be a self transcending experience when one is moved (literally to tears). When one is in awe or in wonder or absorbed completely in something other than ourselves as in watching the sunset or looking at a rainbow or viewing a performance, listening to music, enjoying poetry and so on. What is common between all the three experiences is the act of ‘bisociation’ or the bringing together of different contexts or sets of rules or just plain differences. In the ha ha experience there is collision of the contexts while in the aha experience the contexts are fused together. In the ah… experience there is juxtaposition of the contexts as both exist simultaneously. While reading a poem one can appreciate the meaning of the verse as well as the rhythm of the sounds at the same time. The contexts are just juxtaposed.

Which brings us to the question “Why should we innovate?” Maybe because innovation
can transform us.

Dinesh Korjan – November 2003.
(Written for NPCC Journal, Mauritius)

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(In response to the question “What will the car of the future look like?” at )

I would imagine the car of the future will be much like the car of the past. It may not run on petrol though and would have to be old-age friendly but will probably be the means for personal transport. We think otherwise only because of the present congestion on the roads and the rising population growth coupled with the oil crises etc. But as trends in most parts of the world show, population growth will level off in the next few decades and will decline thereafter as is happening in much of the western world. (Take a look at The Depopulation Problem by Philip Longman ) We could be in a situation where public transport is the more expensive option with fewer people to distribute costs. Besides, public transport alone will never fulfill all transportation needs.

In a way aren’t we asking, ‘Would it be better to replace private enterprise with State alternatives?’ Well, so far such models of governance have not been satisfactory. Besides, Nature would prefer variety and difference to sameness?

A mother and son visited us this morning. She must have been in her sixties. She was slender, bespectacled and dressed immaculately in a silver grey sari. She had a presence which made you respect her immediately. The son was young, tall and extremely respectful towards his mother. He seemed to be charged while at the same time hesitant about impending changes in his life.

That is why there were here. They want to start a business. Actually, the son wants to get into business and his mother is planning to fund him seed money. They didn’t look as if they were rolling in money. Which meant they would be using up most of their savings. The new business better be real good.

Well, how good can a ‘roti maker’ be? Yes, a gadget to make rotis for the over worked Indian housewife. You put in atta on one side and you get garam garam rotis on the other. I have heard this one before. In fact, I have discouraged two other budding entrepreneurs with similar intentions.

What is a designer’s role really? Is it to question what the client wants to do or is it to do a good job of whatever comes your way? Well, you have to restrain your initial feelings and give an unbiased ear to the client.

“So, how many prototypes have you made so far?” I wanted to know.

“Well, we haven’t made one yet” said the son, “But, what do you think of the idea?” he asked.

I took a deep breath. So many great ideas never find a life. It is a long and treacherous journey from bits to atoms. I too generate a lot of good ideas, myself. In fact I have a collection of them filed away in lots of sketches and notes. All waiting for the right amount of funding of both time and money. And one prototype is never enough. James Dyson claims to have made five thousand prototypes before launching his vacuum cleaner. We cannot afford that many. We have got to do it in a lot less – fifty maybe? Even that is a lot of time and money without counting the effort that goes into all the frustrations and ecstasies of conceptualising and detailing. It is not that I don’t have the patience to nurture and find the right iteration that could find a life for itself. But they haven’t even started yet. And it just felt like such a long climb.

So I told them “Don’t put your money into this or in me. It will take a long time and a lot of money to develop a decent product.” A cloud lifted. They relaxed. The mother even gave me the hint of a smile. They thanked me profusely for the advice and left. Yes, they did save a lot of money for the hour they spent with me. All the money they never spent.

Now here I am. Another client lost. Another project gone. And both had come seeking me out. This is becoming a habit with me these days. How I long for that typical day when a client lands up and says “Mr. Korjan, I have always made at least a hundred times of what I invest in you. I don’t know what to do with all this money, now. So here’s a million dollars – give me whatever.”

Wicked, but I like it that way.

Design Thinking is different in the way design solutions are different (from, say, management solutions) while engaged with the same problem. Invariably, design always throws up a new creation (tangible or intangible) or re-creates an existing entity that redefines the problem state altogether.

(comment in response to Don Norman’s article on Design Thinking at

I have about three working definitions for design which I am reluctant to reconcile into one – not just yet. They go like this.
1. Design is meaningful creation. There is always creation in design whether you are dealing with tangibles or otherwise. You always end up creating something or non-thing that did not exist before. Meaningful – because it is a conscious, deliberate process. The process is always meaningful even if the end results turn out to be meaningless.
2. Design is a process of increasing Contrast or Uniqueness. Whether visual or otherwise we always add value in such a way that it is different from all that exists. Therefore all the attention that a new creation gets could be explained like the flow (of electricity) that happens when you have a (potential) difference.
3. Design is about re-arranging information flows. In order to bring about change it is necessary to change the relationships i.e. the various interconnections which determine the qualities of an entity (an object in our case). These interconnections are the structure of the object and are primarily channels of information flow. When a connection is altered the information flow is altered and the behaviour / output is altered. Lovers getting married, clubbing a camera with a cell phone, adding GPS to traffic navigation, count-down units at traffic lights, changing the seat height of your chair etc. etc. are all examples of such structural alteration and therefore alteration of information flows leading to change in behaviour / quality of experience.

Yes, there is a middleman in the practice of design, who filters what benefits are passed on to the ultimate beneficiary and how much the designer should get rewarded in return. Yes, the client is a middleman – we ought to be able to get to the people more directly.


Does the future happen
or is it made?
it happens
each of us
or do not make
our future?