August 8, 2012 by Administrator

Day 2. Whole 30.

Day 2 is over. Just in case if y’all are wondering what I’m eating here it is:

Yesterday:
Meal 1: Egg omelet w Spinach, Mushrooms, Onion; Half an Avocado; bowl of cherries.
Meal 2: Lettuce wraps; Carrots
Meal 3: Pork Chops w Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes; More carrots.
Bonus: My blood sugar dropped after I fell asleep so I panicked and ate a bowl of Kix. Forgive me, I have sinned.

Today:
Meal 1: Chorizo (yeah, might not be compliant) and egg; Sautéed Mushrooms
Meal 2: Leftover from Meal 3; Spinach salad; Cucumber
Meal 3: Lemon pepper swai; Spinach salad; Broccoli.

Hmmm. I haven’t eaten fruit today. Might pop a few cherries in for good measure. Today I realized a very angry beast awakens within me if I go too long without eating. Definitely don’t need to wait til 7 to eat anymore. Well bye kids!

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August 6, 2012 by Administrator

Whole30 for Diabetics

This morning I started my Whole30 eating transformation. It’s very similar to the Paleo diet and I am actually currently nabbing recipes and meal plans from the Paleo world. Anyways, so I woke up this morning ready to go for  a walk and lo and behold, my blood sugar is low. Which means I needed to eat. And I needed to eat something carb-y or sugary to get it up quick. Dagnabit. Plus I’d already thrown away all my tempting sugary foods in an effort to be fully dedicated to my program. So, what did I end up eating? A bowl of cherries as I went about cooking my breakfast. I foresee that I am going to have to have a plan as to how I can treat my low blood sugars without upsetting the plan I have started. Any tips anybody?

 

As for the rest of breakfast this is what I ate:

 

Spinach/Mushroom/Onion Omelette.

Half an Avocado.

 

I feel good. I think I’ll make it to lunch without being hungry. I forgot  to bring water with me to my internship so I’m pretty sad about that but I’ll go get some ice water later. Anyways, have any of you tried the Whole30/Paleo diet? What are some of your favorite recipes/meals?

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August 1, 2012 by Administrator

India the Elephant.

One night in our last week we had a dinner with Ambassador Swashpawan Singh. As we were wrapping up a very intellectual and stimulating conversation, he described India metaphorically as an elephant. An elephant is a large, but gentle creature that is slow to be angered but when it does it can be quite destructive and hard to restrain. Many of my experiences in India can be wrapped up by these descriptors.

Large. Of course this is the easiest. India is large in the sense of space. Where there is little space to move horizontally, like Mumbai, sky is the limit and that space is made theirs too. India is large in the sense of people. 1+ billion faces, each with their own story, yet living and moving seamlessly as one huge collective, India.

Gentle. The meek spirit of some of the people I’ve come across is so endearing. The kindness of strangers that was at first hugely unexpected is now a memory that I will cherish for life.

Slow to Be Angered. Indian traffic was the best description of this. Cars seamlessly wove in and out of lanes and apart from the honk there was usually no aggression displayed. In fact, the horn seemed to be more of an announcement than the act of aggression I always knew it to be.

Quite Destructive and Hard to Restrain. I don’t know of a single occasion when I saw an Indian person completely or destructively angry. However, my guess is I probably don’t want to see one.

India was a mind-opening experience. It took me out of the my smaller worldview and showed me new ways of life other than the 2 cultures I have been accustomed to. Though I read about maintaining an unbiased view in my international marketing and advertising classes, experiencing India taught me not to look at things through my cultural lenses but just to look and see. See the things that are happening around me and see without judgement. See, and not think “good or bad” but just see and then think “what is the driving force behind things being this way?” For that reason, I think I will be a better advertiser. When I realize how much circumstance and culture drives actions, desires, wants and needs, it is more important to me to know what drives my consumer and connect to that. I look forward to implementing that in my future professional roles.

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July 28, 2012 by Administrator

Land of a Billion Social Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Most would agree India is a large country with equally large Problems. With its sheer numbers, some problems encompass so many people and are on such a large scale that it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the idea of attempting to solve them, especially through innovative sources like the social entrepreneurship model. While I do not claim to be a social entrepreneur by any means, I believe the first step to battling today’s problems is keeping a keen eye out to see them. Which brings me to the article I read today in Hindustan Times.
The article was named “Living with Radiation as a Backdrop” by Rajat Arora and was the second of a three part story called Towering Trouble. In this article, it described some New Dehli residents’ radiation related ailments and their subsequent desire to have the towers removed. While telecom providers have 20 year contracts for the ground they occupy, the residents feel blind-sighted and trapped by unanticipated health hazards that the radiation from the towers present. Priti Kapur, a B-block Defence colony resident, bought a radiation detector after she began to experience migraines. Since then, she has been invited to visit many a neighbor to help detect radiation in their homes. She also found that radiation was particularly heavy in her bedroom so she purchased radiation protecting curtains from the United States.

Lightbulbs flashed in my head when I read this story. While radiation in the neighborhoods is a long term problem that desperately needs to be resolved, one can begin to try to treat the short term symptoms. You can’t deny there is a new need for radiation detection and blocking devices. While this is not something that will fix the possible cancer causation, it is the beginning to creating a better life for the residents. I also wonder if there are air towers that do not cause such radiation and the subsequent side effects. That’s the interesting thing about observing. It gives you a glimpse that draws you to want to know more. Now, I want to know if all air towers adversely affect nearby residents and how radiation can be blocked in a long and short term scope. Maybe it could turn into an social entrepreneurship opportunity, with adequate research and a little creativity?

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July 22, 2012 by Administrator

I didn’t see a peacock, but I might have seen a unicorn.

As we leave our tour of smaller cities in India and return to “Big City India” or Dehli, I have resigned myself to the fact that I probably will not see a male peacock in India. My first reaction was to mentally disparage India for not having enough male peacocks available for my viewing and sole enjoyment. Of course, the contrary voice inside reminded me that I might have seen a bald eagle, America’s national bird, no more than twice in my entire life. Of course, the eternal optimist in me assures me I still might see one casually drifting with traffic in downtown Dehli and hope is not forever lost. There are still 8 days worth of opportunity for India’s national bird and I to meet.

Fast forward to my possible unicorn sighting. While visiting Jaipur, we went on a hour drive to the countryside to visit a palace built by one of the former nobles in Jaipur. It had been turned into a hotel and we were set to have lunch and tour the facilities. Finally, we were in a place that resembled my home state of Mississippi in the fact that there appeared to be more trees and greenery than people. We passed a white animal laying in the grass, and my first thought was “Ooh a unicorn”. Which is why I say, I might have seen a unicorn. Or an ox.

The post title and my resulting meaning behind it kind of explains a lot of my experience of India. I came to India looking for a peacock or certain preconceived notions about the people and places I would see. Getting here, I didn’t see what I expected to see but I saw something else. The unicorn part of India was the goodness of the people, the hope that seems to permeate every single ounce of Indian existence. Books like We Are That Way Only tell of growing Consumer India and the increasing hope people are having for a better existence in the future for themselves and their family. Dr. Alvey also showed us an article about how a new use for the Guar plant was revolutionizing lives of Indian farmers in the state of Rajasthan. The plant previously used as a cheap food source is now very useful in the fracking industry in the United States. Farmers that used to live in huts and barely support their families are now able to build homes and provide a better life for their families. The “unicorn” is the positive changes that happening in India today, gearing it to be a major player in the world economy. The “ox” part is the reality of the challenges India still faces amidst its forward progression. India still struggles with centuries of inequality which leads to contrasting levels of literacy and living conditions, sometimes within very close quarters of each other. The ox is how a large population is still suffering from sickness simply from drinking unclean water. An ox is not as pretty as a unicorn, just like these challenges are not as pretty as the promises India offers to its population as well as multi-national companies and the global economy that are looking to take part in the excitement. Of course, one could take the easy (and delusional) way out and call the situation a unicorn and ignore the challenges but that will not work in the long run. In The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, C. K. Prahalad argues that poverty can be eradicated using innovations that can also create a profit. For social entrepreneurs, India is a ripe land for picking as long as the proper time and effort is taken to really understand the consumers and their social climate in order to create products that will take care of some of the “oxen” or challenges that India faces. Once products and companies like these are in place, I believe there will be an even brighter, “unicornic” future for India. But that’s just my little two sense, from the girl who might have seen a unicorn or an ox.

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July 21, 2012 by Administrator

The Everyday Business of Indian Streets

“Bangles, bangles for 300 rupees, ma’am. No? Ok 250.”

“10 pens for 100 rupees, ma’am, they make a great gift.”

Jaipur is a tourist destination. For the first time since the airport, I saw large groups of European tourists as well as American and Asian families vacationing. More importantly, there, like all of the cities I have seen thus far in India, I saw the entrepreneurial spirit that seems to run abundantly in India. Every where shop owners and street vendors alike were pitching their product in the very saturated market that was the tourist facilities. One didn’t win with every customer, but I’m sure (or at least I hope) the vendors were able to convince some to buy their product.

In We Are Like That Only, Rama Bijapurkar describes the prevalence of self employment in India. He notes that less than 10 percent of jobs are in the organized sector with the informal sector largely driving employment in India. He also remarks on how this is reflected in
the mindset of Indians:

The rise of the self-employed and the service economy, requiring less capital and more sweat, has changed the mindset from one demanding social justice to one of grabbing economic opportunity- it is an attitude of ‘I can and I will’, especially visible in urban India.

These are my musings only but I believe self employment is allowing for a new upward mobility in post-caste India. Now, people are willing and able to create opportunities for themselves and provide for their families despite their family history or upbringings. I also guess that a lot of the businesses tend to depend on each other to survive and stimulate the economy. For the vendors that sell trinkets such as bangles and wood carvings, they help to support not only their families but the families of the handicrafters that create the products as well. Back to thinking about the tourist attractions, I no longer consider the constant flow of sales propositions as a real bother. I admire these sellers for seeking to master their destinies by participating in networks of businesses that is the Indian entrepreneurial market.

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July 19, 2012 by Administrator

H is for Hyderabad. And Hospital.

I met Hyderabad with many physical ailments. When I first got there, I had tummy issues which kept me from straying far from my hotel and familiar western toilet. However, I was able to attend a presentation from a very brilliant Indian man named Professor Sridhar Chari on some of the major challenges India faces. The challenges he described ranged from caste divides and inequality to how to position India in a place to “catch up” with China as far as economy and communicate a need for investments to nationals abroad. As a diverse country, Mr. Chari wondered aloud how to get a country to be concerned about the country as an entire collective instead of only seeking for the self and family or smaller social units. As a Nigerian, I wondered the same and wondered if that was the defining difference between us and developed countries.

Unlike most of my classmates, I got the highest honor of visiting an Indian emergency room. And by “highest honor” I mean sudden allergy to shrimp. Looking back, I wasn’t surprised it happened- my mom and my sister are allergic as well. In fact, I expected it would happen one day. I just didn’t expect it to happen in Hyderabad, where Benadryl isn’t sold on every street corner. It started with a few bumps on my arm. Bug bites, I thought, and went to the room to apply my Benadryl stick. Except, the bumps on my arm had doubled. And my lip was tingling. Oh, I’m having an allergic reaction. I told my roommate to call our professor. By the time she got there, a rash was growing rapidly on my face, arms, stomach, back, legs and my bottom lip was swelling. She calls the doctor. Doctor comes. Blood pressure’s dropping. Hospital time. I took an Allegra but I didn’t think it was going to do much. Looking back, it probably stopped the growing rashes and put a cap on the swelling. By then I’m also panicking since my body feels like it’s on fire, I’m throwing up, and my body feels like it’s on fire. When we got to the hospital, we had to take our shoes off before entering the emergency room. When I say room, I mean room. With a bunch of beds and curtains. Then the doctors come with the questions. Are you allergic to anything? Apparently, if I am sitting here swollen before you. I had 3 doctors for some reason, I’m not really sure who was treating me. I also had 3 nurses I think, which I still feel bad for sassing while I was under the weather. Eventually, they saw it fit for me to have hydrocortisone and a hour or so later I was sent home to enjoy fitful rest before I had to leave for the airport at 6am. Hey, a story to tell my kids one day right? I now fear seafood and hope to never have a reaction like that again. In life. Ever.

I’ve pretty much had a good dose of Hs and look forward to experiencing other letters of the alphabet. After this I have to write a post about Jaipur. J is for Juice, maybe?

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July 17, 2012 by Administrator

Zebra Printed Elephants and Social Innovation.

After the constant hustle and bustle of Mumbai, the calm of the “small” city of Pune was much welcomed from a small town girl like me. I use the term small loosely since the city has a population of 3.3 million people, slightly larger than my home state (Mississippi)’s population of 2.9 million. While we were in Pune, we visited two design firms and a university.

The first design firm we visited, Elephant Design, offered a wide range of design services including product design, information/graphic design, packaging, and interior design that captured the essence of the company’s brand and philosophies. In a particular case study they presented about Sakal newspaper, the designers were able to redesign particular issues and elements of the newspaper in a way that made the newspaper appeal to a wider customer base, including India’s growing young population. What I found most inspiring was that not only were they able to deliver results in the form of increased leadership, their social problem-related issue design caught the eyes of local governments and was able to impact change. One unique thing about Elephant Design is some of their branded promotional items contain zebra prints. When we asked why they had zebra printed things, they jokingly told us because the founders said elephant skin isn’t as pretty.

The second design firm was Onio, which mostly specialized in product research and innovation. It was very interesting the great research insights they found in order to create products that serve various markets, including Bottom of the Pyramid markets (BOPM). This company really sought to learn the DNA of whatever Indian consumer a product targeted in order to create a product that consumers want and can use. At this presentation, we discussed bottom of the pyramid consumers’ desires outside of functionality. Unlike what most multinational companies originally thought, companies cannot strip a product of most of its features and sell it at a lower price and expect rural or lower class consumers to jump at the product. Now consumers are seeking style, added features, and modernity to show their upward mobility to the world.

Both of the design firms seemed to use some of the 12 principles of innovation described in Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. For example, principle 2,
“Innovation requires hybrid solutions”, suggests companies must merge new innovations with old to create a quality product for these markets. Onio utilized this when they designed a new lockbox with touchpad buttons. With India’s climate, dust is a problem and can usually end up tampering with the functionality of the old key-based lock boxes. Using this relatively newer type of buttons helped to ensure functionality for a longer period of time. Principle 3 states that an innovation must be scalable and transportable across nations in order to reach other BOPMs. Elephant Design created a emergency wind-up cell phone charger that could be very easily scaled across nations. With mobile penetration increasing worldwide, I’m sure there are other countries that need products with the same infrastructure limitations and it would be easy to provide this innovation anywhere.

Like I mentioned before, we also got to visit Symbiosis International University. We visited their MBA program that held concentrations in advertising, public relations, and media management. It was really fun sitting in their campaign class, getting to meet the students and they even sang for us! At the bottom of this post there is a picture of a sign they had that I thought was very inspiring.

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July 10, 2012 by Administrator

Goodbye, Mumbai. Hello, ahead.

As our coach is taking us out of our first Indian city, I have some observations I wanted to share in retrospect of the last week and as I look forward to the next few destinations.

I’m pretty sure we’ve been exiting Mumbai for at least 45 minutes. I’ll probably never get used to the notions of “distance” and “densely populated”. Someone told me Pune is 3 hours from Mumbai, though I’m not sure if that’s 3 hours from our hotel doorstep or from whenever we leave this city.

Mumbai taught me that any preconceived notion I had could be demolished by a discovery just around the corner. It taught me to expect the unexpected and celebrate it. It shattered my notions of “poor India” and showed me hard working people providing for their families and creating a better future for their future generations. It showed me entrepreneurial spirit- from the taxi drivers to the street vendors to the companies we visited, young but full of promise. It showed me commercialism, with ads posted on every surface and shops both multinational and national boldly displaying their brands with pride. It showed me the most precious displays of affection with numerous couples lining the bay, rain or shine. It set me up with an expectation to learn, as long as I leave my preconceived notions alone and really observe like they tell me to in my Ethnography for Marketers book. It showed me the cultural things I read about in Mother Pious Lady and Branding India.

As I leave Mumbai, I look forward to looking forward. I look forward to gleaning from every situation that meets me in the next few cities. Pune is next, we’ll see where it leads and I look forward to gaining from that experience.

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July 10, 2012 by Administrator

Act Like an Social Entrepreneur, Think like an Ethnographer

Like my totally geeky spin-off on Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man? No? Oh.

In the book, Steve Harvey implies thinking like the man helps you to act in a way you know will produce the results you are looking for as a lady. In the same strain, thinking like an ethnographer allows you to have the insight you need to create products that cater to the bottom of the pyramid (BOPM) markets as well as execute a successful business model.

In Ethnography for Marketers, Hy Mariampolski states “Ethnographers attempt to understand subjects on their own terms while radically suspending their own assumptions and analytic categories”. For this purposes of this particular blog, I’ll use the example of “bathroom time” in India.

While my classmates where touring the Dharavi slum, I was on the bus which was parked right next to a swampy area that seemed to double as the public “bathroom”. Over the period of time, I witnessed about half a dozen men squat for a range of 2-3 minutes to 5-10 and do their business. My first reaction was to marvel at their upper leg strength…to me, being able to squat in that position for a prolonged time is no easy feat. I also wondered what it must smell like down there and if there was a heightened risk of disease in the muggy climate and swampy area that seemed to be everyone’s dumping ground. Between that and my recent discovery of the existence of the eastern toilet, I wondered why Indians insisted on putting themselves through such an ordeal on a regular basis. Sure, there were studies that claimed squatting was better for your colon but I was looking for more reasons.

A few days later, as I was watching my dual-flow toilet flush, I remembered a study that Quipper Research had presented to us on water usage in the slums of India. Typically, a lane would have access to a water pipe for possibly an hour a day and housewives would attempt to fill as many vessels or containers as they could to store water for the day. Aha! A lightbulb popped in my head. If you don’t have running water all day, how can you possibly expect to flush a western toilet which typically uses a gallon of water per flush? With limited water resources, you can’t. And with a family to budget water for, you shouldn’t. Suddenly, the eastern toilet made sense when I began to suspend my own assumptions and analytic categories. I continued to think….if you have been squatting all your life, it is probably not the painful ordeal I imagine it to be. However, I believe this observations serve as a base for more research. If I had the time or someone who would discuss bathroom time with me, I would like to find out what problems exist in the current infrastructure that would lead people to go in the public. Is there a way we can create more low cost eastern toilet facilities to keep excretions out of the streets where it could be spreading disease? Knowing the how and the why helps to formulate the what….as in what can I do to help? Which is why I say Act like a social entrepreneur but only after you Think like an ethnographer.

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