The first edition of the Bangalore Biz LitFest hopes to motivate the city's executives and give them a break from the daily rigmarole. Here's how it all came about.
Bengaluru. Snarling morning office traffic. A population of 10 million jostling for space. Boring office, same old chores. Two million working executives struggling for breath. Snail-paced late evening traffic back home. No small wonder that three-fourths of the respondents in a recent survey commented that they are deeply demotivated; They are not stimulated enough, either in their personal or professional lives.
We could relate to these boring data points without too much difficulty – because we are part of Bangalore too, and we are going through the same rigmarole. Based on the idea that was thrown up by Benedict Paramanand, Editor, ManagementNext, V Raghunathan, CEO, GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, Shankar P, Editor, Knowledge@Wharton, Shinie Antony, Economic Times Columnist and Sangeeth Varghese, Chairman, LeadCap Ventures, decided to meet to figure out a solution. Is there a way we can help Bangalore executives get their motivation back? Can we do this in a way that all of us can get invigorated?
Founding the Bangalore BizLit Fest
Through our coffee discussions, we realised that though there were several literary fests in the city, it lacked a business literary fest. Though business books motivate, empower and skill our executives, no justice was being done to this genre. In the words of Raghunathan, “Lit-fests have become common features in most cities in recent years. However, most of them remain centred around fiction. A platform for showcasing and discussing non-fiction works hardly exists.” Or as Benedict commented, “Business leaders and students have been reading business books, articles, and blogs, and watching films by authors, writers and filmmakers, yet, one rarely gets to hear them speak or dialogue.”
So, essentially we stumbled upon the idea of Bangalore Biz LitFest—centred on business, motivational and other non-fiction books—whose time we thought had come. Through this, we wanted to open up an opportunity for stimulating dialogue across members of the public, and some well-known authors and professionals from business and other walks of life on a weekend. We found that this fitted in well with each of our personal agendas – since that is important to make sure that each of us gave this idea their time, resources and efforts.
Inspired learning with fun
Bangalore Biz LitFest is an attempt to bring all kinds of people on one platform – the young and old, IT and non-IT, businesses and not-for-profits. It is not only meant for inspired learning, but also to have fun while doing so; for the audience, as well as the founders. There are takeaways for just about everybody who loves good business storytelling and wants to learn about how exactly that food chain works. Meticulously designed panels and workshops will cater to the needs of young managers and business or technology professionals; authors, publishers, distributors and others in the business books and literature ecosystem; students and educators; and others. Above all, Bangalore Biz LitFest promises to be an exciting place to network.
Bangalore Biz LitFest will come alive on September 26th at the sprawling Century Club in Bangalore’s Cubbon Park, a buggy-ride away from the city’s downtown and commercial districts. The day-long fest, incidentally, the first of its kind in the world, features invigorating dialogues and refreshing interactions with more than 30 leading authors, movie screenwriters, publishers, corporate leaders, technology professionals and non-profits from across the nation – all focused on fuelling the immense potential of Bangalore.
Speakers and authors
Speakers like R Gopalakrishnan, (Director, Tata Sons) and Vinita Bali (former managing director of Britannia Industries) will stoke the business side of conversations, while Kumud Srinivasan (MD, Intel India) and Sadagopan (Director, IIIT, Banglore) will appeal to the geeks. Shombit Sengupta (Founder, Shining Strategy) and Harish Bijoor (Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults) will help look at our world from the marketing and branding perspectives. We have also ensured that the younger crowd is not left high and dry. We have Rashmi Bansal (author of best-selling books on entrepreneurship), Shradha Sharma (Founder, YourStory.in), and many others devoted entirely for the young Bangalore. To top it all up, there is a creative session led by Grammy winner, Ricky Kej.
Fortunately for us, a formidable group of sponsors and partners could immediately see merit in our proposition. So, we have Knowledge@Wharton, Westland, Sage, Great Lakes Institute, NHRD, Yourstory, all of them coming forward, extending their hands and hearts to the cause. This has ensured that though most good things in life come at a fee, ours remains free.
This journey has been special for all five of us. It helped us discover new friendships, fresh perspectives, explore bright ideas and instill new thoughts. We can vouch that we are no longer a part of the three-fourths who are struggling with their motivation. Come September 26th, we are hoping that we can reclaim at least some of them to the side of those who have rediscovered their mojo.