Because Sometimes Free is Valuable

Whenever I have helped someone I believe their thanks is sincere and heartfelt. Can’t beat that wonderful feeling, so I do my best to make time and pay-forward.

Amongst the many that pay-forward, I was really intrigued by the iSPIRT community. A group of best-in-class entrepreneurs (and one could say even, celebrity entrepreneurs) coming together to share their knowledge with fellow and new entrepreneurs. With the hope to share some of my knowledge I started my engagement with iSPIRT running design thinking roundtables.


I have had the great fortune of having exceptional mentors teach me what I know about creating solutions that delight customers; design thinking – a mindset and a process to get inspired by customers, focus on trying things quickly and learn as you go to create solutions that will create awesome customer experiences. It was now my time to pay-forward. What started off as a pro-bono effort has brought me to today where I can proudly say that I am amongst the few privileged to be a part of this highly trusted iSPIRT Maven community.

Practitioners like me synthesize and create new-knowledge in a specialized field. This, in my case, is in Innovation & Design Thinking. A large part of such specialized human-knowledge, however, is stored as experience. It is tacit knowledge. The more you teach, the more you learn. Your knowledge gets refined almost everyday. So of course I wanted to share my knowledge fully expecting that I will be learning by teaching.

I was requested to do it pro-bono and sign into their Maven-code of Ethics which fundamentally is to commit for a pay-it-forward model, not expecting any payback in any form from any participating startups.

Do our audience even trust a Practitioner who is providing pro-bono services to be of high-quality, I wondered?  We live in a culture where often quality if assessed with price and I wasn’t sure at first what I should expect. However, after just doing a couple of Round Tables I realized that trust is indeed created when people give selflessly in a pay-it-forward model. And, it is this very high degree of trust that allows entrepreneurs who are a part of the roundtables to provide open feedback to practitioners (aka Mavens) like me to continue learning and refining our craft. This is indeed priceless. Add to the this, the satisfaction of working for the cause of building a Product Nation together with many spirited Entrepreneurs.