All Talk and No Action Saturday, December 26, 2009

Below is a friend, Dhawal's, first day account of the Tata Jagriti Yatra. Dhawal is a Certified Franchise Executive and promotes Franchising opportunities through his venture Way2Franchise

I have never been so excited as much as I have been for this trip, I have awaited TJY since almost over a month, since I was shortlisted. We were called at 8 am at Ravindra Natya Mandir, staying in Mumbai, gave me a little comfort. I reached about at 9 am, met over 400 vibrant young men and women, and exchanged ideas. We had breakfast, got done with the formalities and it was lunch time. Then finally we were inducted into the process and institution.

TJY is an initiative of Jagriti Sewa Sansthan, a non-profit instituted by Mr. Shashank Mani. I went through the notes and the handbook, a part of the Yatri Kit.

And the excitement just kept growing. Post lunch, Ms. Rewati Prabhu and Mr. Shashank Mani presented about how it all began and introduced the 3rd edition of TJY. The mammoth TJY event is organized by a skeleton team of about 8.

We practiced the Jagriti Geet. More on that a little later.

TJY is a great event, the audience mix is more of students (potential entrepreneurs) than actual entrepreneurs, between the age of 20 and 25. I met a lot of engineers during these days. There were about 20 international participants as well.

Now we start getting a glimpse of what it is all about. We begin the evening session with an introduction to Mr. R Gopalakrishnan. Mr. Gopalakrishnan, spoke briefly, initially mentioning that this was not going to be an elongated speech, where he talks about how great the Tata Group is, what they have been supporting it all this while. How happy the Tata Group is to support this initiative. He gave a few examples of India and its greatness.

Then we had another brief edutainment session by Mr. Manish Tripathy of the Mumbai Dabawalla’s association. This was the one that kept us all glued, I don’t remember when I was more attentive. Briefly dwelling on the history and the origins of the Dabbawala, he mentioned how a Parsi Banker, who wasn’t happy dining elsewhere for his daily meals, while he was at work due to its inherent problems.

He then signed up for the Dabbawala Service, to express his love and devotion to his wife, his colleagues then signed up for it as well, since they too wanted to express their love towards their spouses. Even those that are single and prefer to eat outside sign up for, they deliver restaurant food. This service gradually expanded, all thanks to Word of Mouth.

For those that are not aware about the Dabbawalla's, The Dabbawala service is pick up and delivery services of home cooked meals. It began 119 years ago with a humble Parsi gentleman.

Some more accomplishments:

  • Prince Charles as Brand Ambassador, One fine day, prince Charles calls up one of their members asking to meet up, the members decline meeting him at a fancy five star restaurant, and ask him to meet up at Churchgate railway station at 11:30. Since this meeting in 2003, the Dabbawalla’s have been invited by leading B Schools across India and internationally to speak about their systems

  • Even Richard Branson the maverick entrepreneur of the Virgin Group, visited the Dabbawallas and ferried the tiffins of his employees from Dadar to their office at Churchgate

A lot of the times, the cynics confront and ask if they will continue existing. To them, Manish had another hilarious response, i.e they will be in business as long as husbands will keep loving their wives, ‘Jo Biwi se kare pyaar, woh Dabbawalla se kaise kare inkaar.

Some of the Key Management Principles:

  • Be inspired about what you are doing, when you feel about it from the heart, the passion will flow

  • Do not diversify in what you don’t know, i.e. Stick to your core competency

  • Do not employ, highly qualified people, the Dabbawalla’s employ only Thumbs Up (Angutha Chap / Illiterate), as commitment matters not qualifications

May be the Dabbawalla’s could expand in other cities if such a demand exists, maybe they could franchise their system and know how and provide more business opportunities to other illiterate, uneducated people. Similarly, a lot of social franchising options would open up in parts of India, which would uplift the lives of many, like the 4500 Dabbawalla's in Mumbai.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dhawal, nice account of day one. I know how much you have been looking forward to being on Tata Jagriti Yatra. Your account of Dabawala's brought back loads of memories of TJY 2008, which I was on. Tripathi really managed to get the crowd in to huge excitement.

I hope the rest of the yatra works out to be as exciting. Please continue to post your insightful and well researched blog posts. I will follow them through the yatra with great interest.

All Talk and No Action said...

@JupiterOrbit - Thanks for stopping by. Will keep posting Dhawal's experiences.

Anonymous said...

I envy the guy..superb exp..mukta keep posting..really looking fwd to dhawals exp.. :)


All Talk and No Action said...

@allthecrap - Yep, I will keep posting. Lots to learn just by reading.