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Well Bitcoin is the villain of season. An unprecedented ransom ware called “Wannacry” has stuck 150 countries and 230,000 computers. and counting. Any guesses for the channel in which they have asked the money? Well if you have not locked yourself in an island, it is the dreaded #Bitcoins. As I had mentioned in my previous post, Dark Side of Bitcoin- Part 1, the strength of this crypto currency (de-centralization), the anonymity, the lack of agencies through which transactions pass though, the loose regulations. all these are in fact, one of its weakness. Since these are the best tools for hackers. The loot of this ransom ware is $69 Million+ in Bitcoins.

And here in comes Blockchain, the alter ego of Bitcoin. It stands for making every transaction permanent and crystal clear. For this reasons – there is more of trust, even by banks (which are getting disrupted by Blockchain).  But it is not just the banking sector that is getting excited about Blockchain, there are lot of non-financial use cases too. 

A snap shot of same is as follows 

Also note that like most of us, am also beginning to hop on to this wave and know more. I might have missed some grand use cases – please be kind enough to share your learning as well :)

Thank you so much in advance.

 

PS: The views expressed here are my own 

More here

A report from Pagefair says that approximately 200 million people worldwide have installed ad-blockers. This obviously came as bad news to marketers who had been relying heavily on paid ads as part of their marketing strategy. Lucky for them, content marketing is a way to continue marketing efforts and reach consumers with messages they need.

The fact that many of the companies out there are swaying towards content marketing should not come as a surprise Content marketing works by getting people interested in content that matters to them. This also serves a hidden purpose wherein the brand that you represent gets promoted as well.   But what if your target consumers do not understand your content? This is the reason why multilingual content marketing strategy has become the wave of the future.

Why multilingual? Isn’t English enough?

According to Statista, English accounts to around 1500 million speakers worldwide in a population of 7.4 billion, i.e. 20.27% only! Some of the major spoken languages include: Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi-Urdu, Arabic, Portuguese and more.

This is why going multilingual matters. It already ensures a strong overseas base, even before your content is out there. Getting the language right is half the battle. People who know English (in places where it is not their native tongue) still prefer content in their native tongue.

The ‘Can’t read, won’t buy’ study showed that more than 56% people in over 10 different countries preferred buying in their native language. The study also showed that people were six times less likely to spend time on a webpage that did not speak their language. Going multilingual is important – it is no longer about efficiency, but rather, it is a necessity. Without language translation, it would be pointless to target an audience who don’t speak the language that you do.

So, how do you prepare for going multilingual?

 

1. Conduct a thorough research and understand your market.

Mastering Content Marketing is no easy feat. It takes time and resources. That is why it is very important to know as much as you can about your market. If you are new to the type of market you want to fit in, and then think about how appealing your product will be for people of different cultures. Adapting your product and content to the local preferences is key. Globally successful businesses consider other factors like culture alongside multilingual translation services.

 

2. Your core message is important. Develop it.

Think about your brand. Think about it as hard as you can. Ask yourself, ‘Why is it appealing? What is that one thing about my brand that makes it stand out from the thousands of others in the market? Am I promoting an item of luxury or something ordinary with a twist?’ All of this should be thought of with one thing in mind. Cultural diversity. Is your brand checking all the boxes of the requirement for people of different cultures? This is where giants like Pepsi and KFC stand out. Their menus communicate with everyone, no matter where they are from; but at the end of the day, it serves the same quality at all of its outlets.

 

3. Localizing your content the right way.

Automatic translation is always there to help you, but it does not always translate as per the context in a sensible way. Content marketers should never rely on this process of automatic translation. You will not get the response you want all the time. The best way to overcome this is hiring local writers for multilingual translation services to make sure that your message gets communicated the way you want it to. It might not be a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the native preferences. But how can one find the right translator and verify if the translated content is 100% accurate? That is where Language Service Providers (LSP) or translation companies can help you. Translation companies will help in choosing the right translator considering your target dialect, intended audience, domain and much more while ensuring the quality of the translations.  Apart from this, they also help in choosing the language that is best suited for your requirements. Dealing with translation companies ensures a much smoother experience.

4. Simplification of content management.

Content management has never been easier. Management systems like Drupal, WordPress etc. make it very easy to manage and simplify your content as opposed to content management  five or ten years ago. In addition to supporting multiple languages, the customers can also change the language interface whenever they want! Local media managers can further help you in simplifying this process while also keeping all of your accounts up to date, ensuring a quick and efficient response.

 

Multilingual approach to marketing is still relatively new as it requires a lot of manpower, analysis, research and focus. It can be incredibly rewarding if done right. There are very few companies that are established in the multilingual marketing industry. This does not mean that there isn’t fierce competition. Every minute, companies are looking for multilingual translation services to reach audiences that are farther away from them. There may be no competition when it comes to the big brands like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s because they are already established in the industry. One must aim to be one of them but not forget that there are a hundred other people and companies that are vying for the same spot. The more unique your product, and the more honest work you put in improving your multilingual base, the better your marketing strategy which will determine how fast your product sells.

The Client

http://www.giissingapore.org/Our client is an international network of award-winning schools with 20 campuses across 7 countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, India and Japan. They have been honored with several international and international over a span of 5 years for achieving excellence in school education.

They approached Lollypop to re-engineer and redesign their existing ERP application, built in-house over a period of 10 years in alignment to the growing needs of school. Existing app is one of its kind and combines the features of multiple commercial ERP’s in one, in fact, ERP’s available in the markets just constitute to around one module of clients ERP.  With huge and complex functionalities and broader users in picture, the whole application was getting extremely difficult to handle, hence, they recognized the need to streamline its application to provide users with better experience.  We would be not only designing their existing application but also look at developing new mobile apps for different users. We suggested that as a precursor to re-engineering, research be carried out with the users of the application to understand their needs.

The need behind the research project

The research project was our endeavor to understand the needs of different users of the clients application on one hand and on other, we were trying to map out the actual necessity of a mobile app along with the need to re-engineer the existing desktop application.

Over a period of one month, Lollypop team spent two weeks at the Singapore campus carrying out ethnographic research and remaining two weeks synthesizing the findings.

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The expected outcome of the project was to understand usage patterns of users and arrive at a redesign strategy for web and mobile versions. Our client has been in operation for over a decade, it has a legacy of huge user base in place. The whole idea was to infer the usage patterns, concerns and unbiased feedback from the current users; this would be the foundation stone in creating the new mobile app that would aid greater adaptability and aid users with seamless experience.

The Team

Our Lead UX Designer Anandhi Hariharan and UX Designer Dhruvi Shah were tasked with the job of understanding the needs of varied users; and later map out the information to substitute the logic behind building the mobile app followed by re engineering the existing web application. As the Project Manager of the project, my role was limited to assisting the team with the individual interviews and interfacing between the parties.

Moushumi and Harsh from the client side played an integral role in organizing and coordinating our meetings with all relevant users and stakeholders. They also guided us on the existing system, process and its quirks and value adds.

Project Methodology

Usability Survey: We shared a UX Questionnaire with the users. It allowed us to get their responses at the earliest and gave us a holistic perspective of what the project should achieve. This paved our way in strategizing for the project and was the base reference for User Interviews.

Ethnographic research: Ethnography is a research strategy that gives us a detailed in-depth look at people’s behaviour, beliefs and preferences by observing and interacting with them in their natural setting. The objective of ethnographic research is to obtain information from people from their own perspective.

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Competitor analysis: While conducting the competitor analysis we identified that the existing product is not a direct competitor to any commercial product in the market as it is amalgamation of varied different products available in market. Our analysis helped us understand the practices that commercial products utilize in the education industry. However, since each commercial product is equivalent to just one module in the existing ERP system of our client, we could gauge how single modules should be designed.

Focus group discussions: We conducted a focus group interview with the teaching staff from across all the Singapore campuses. We spent about 2 hours with a group of 16 members who were class teachers, subject teachers, coordinators and HODs. Some of them were also parents with wards studying at the school. This exercise helped us map the common concerns and also helped us understand the main problems with the existing system. Session was then followed by a one on one contextual inquiry with all types of users.

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Outcome:

The research project culminated in a detailed report that laid out the needs of the separate users by mapping journeys from each user type, recording  their needs and defining the priorities for the next version of the application. The plan and road map document will form the basis for the remainder of the project.

Lollypop in Singapore:

The City State: The first thing that strikes you about Singapore is the disciplined traffic. Coming from a jampacked and overflowing city like Bangalore the stark contrast is almost unbelievable. Singapore takes care of its elders – right from them having preference for jobs as taxi drivers and other non-strenuous jobs to discounted rates across the Metro service and entry to various places like Sentosa, the zoo etc. Singapore makes an effort to make their lives easier.

Singapore has more or less the same amount of land area as Bangalore but has a larger airport, massive harbour and docks and more green spaces. The architecture and the design of public spaces is up there (if not better) with the best cities in the world. The amount of thought that has gone into designing public places, metro network and accessibility is mind boggling.

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The People: Singapore is a city in a hurry, but it manages to do so with an extremely high level of discipline. Before you go to Singapore you hear about the discipline and expect to see a policeman around each corner. Contrary to expectations you see a cop only once every few days. The restraint shown by the people to maintain decorum – from the queues in the metro and bus stations to the open access zones like the zoos as well as public consumption of alcohol without any ruckus being created is commendable. However, the local mandarin population is a private lot and not easily accessible; other than the odd cabbie who gets chatty about “President” Modi and India’s software excellence.

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The food: Singapore is as diverse as it gets when it comes to food except for their acceptance of vegetarianism (the one veg burger in McDonald's is listed under the ‘Fish & Vegetarian’ column). However, for the foodie that craves meat it is a paradise with its amalgamation of cuisines from across Asia as well as the zones that cater to the large groups of expats. Exclusive food and entertainment zones like Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Holland Village are wonderful places to relax over some ‘Singapore Sling’ or meet new people over a Tiger Beer. The hawker centers in each locality cater to the budget friendly traveler.

Conclusion:

Access to the actual user and first hand feedback from these users are an integral part of any UX driven project. The opportunity to speak to users across the 11-55 years age spectrum gave us great feedback and inputs on the diversity of the different user types as well as expectations on what is needed from a complete overhaul of the existing system.

The exposure gave us a very different perspective on how to approach different problems. Such opportunities at Lollypop boosts all of us here and helps us learn better.

By, THAMMAIAH AIYAPPA, Project Manager

 

If we’d ask, “What’s the one thing you cannot live without every day?” We are pretty sure a majority of you would answer that it’s your smartphone. And why not? A smartphone keeps us connected, helps us travel with maps, lets us buy stuff online and so much more. With so many reasons, there are times when we tend to have a love-hate relationship with our phones. Cracks in this relationship start appearing a year after using the phone or in some cases even earlier, if you've made a bad purchase. The phone you bought may turn out not as you expected due to several common issues like bad performance, shorter battery life, average camera, etc. to name a few.  At this point of time, you might start thinking of switching to another phone. That’s the time when your geeky friends will suggest you phones of different brands which will suit your exact requirements, or you’ll visit PriceBaba.com and keep playing with the sliders to get various suggestions. And eventually, you’ll find that one phone of your choice.  We at PriceBaba.com tried to figure out how many users are really satisfied with their current smartphone brand. The results turned out quite surprising.  All our findings are based on the survey which was taken by 300 respondents. Our survey included rating their current smartphone brand, how loyal they are to it and if at all they would switch in future, then which would be their preferred brand.  Our findings gave us some real insights into how the new Indian, as well as Chinese brands, have managed to gain the confidence of Indian customers.  Let’s deep dive straight away in to our findings:  

Brand Owners:

Brand Owners 

  • Out of 300 respondents, a majority of 21.5% people owned Samsung phones. Its not surprising as over the years Samsung has become the number one smartphone brand in India.
  • Motorola comes in second at 14%. The company was the first in India who managed to successfully sell phones online only. Their value for money devices like Moto G and Moto E have continued to remain popular.
  • Apple holds the third spot with 9.5% share. While the industry and customers likewise are shifting towards the trend of affordable smartphones, there’s still a considerably large amount of users who buy Apple’s expensive products, largely possible because of the company’s assumed rich-symbolic status in Indian society.
  • Xiaomi is the only new-Chinese brand which has managed to gain a position among the top five within just 9-months of entering the Indian market. It has outgunned established players like LG, HTC and Sony. The company’s budget-friendly devices with power packed specs are serving as a threat to the big players. Also, they’re largely responsible for popularising ‘affordable smartphone’ and ‘online flash sale’ trends in India.
  • Despite Nokia being sold to Microsoft, the brand still owns a 4% share, while the latter follows at 3% share. Microsoft still sells all popular feature phones under the Nokia brand.
  • After Xiaomi, Huawei and Asus are two other newly-entered International brands that have managed to gain a considerable 2% share. Their Honor and Zenfone phones have remained popular through online-only sale models.
  • Other brands which have a combined share of 19% consisted of Blackberry, Celkon, Gionee, Huawei, iBall, Intex, Karbonn, Lava, Maxx, Micromax, Microsoft, OnePlus, Xolo and YU.

     Average Brand Score:

Average Brand Score

All the respondents were asked to rate their current smartphone brand based on their experience with their phone. Let’s have a look at the brands that had enough responses to calculate an average rating. LG: LG which scored 8.9 gave the highest user satisfaction to our respondents. Probably because of the LG Nexus series which runs on Stock Android and is always the first to receive any update from Google. Apple: Second comes Apple with a score of 8.5. It’s no surprise as the company has a long-standing reputation for shipping excellent quality products. Xiaomi: Third is Xiaomi with a score as same as Apple. The company has pretty much won the audience by delivering products that offer great value-for-money. HTC: Despite just having a 5% share from our respondents, HTC did manage to earn a good score of 7.8 points. Like Apple, HTC has always maintained a check on quality and their new phablets, namely, Desire 820 and 816 have gained mass appeal as the pricing is right. Samsung: Samsung with the highest brand share scored only 6.2 on the satisfaction scale. The low score might be because of Samsung’s lower-end products which have never gotten software updates and TouchWiz UI in general has been laggy on those phones. Hence we presume, the user dissatisfaction.      

Loyal Users:

Loyal Owners

The next findings which we derived are the number of people who were not willing to switch from their existing brand. Judging by the avalanche of variety at the disposal of consumers today, 35% is a fair number and brands present in this share should take a pat on their back for keeping their users satisfied.

  • Samsung - Out of the 35% of loyal users, Samsung again takes up the top spot with 23% share. The company owns a wide variety of devices and they invest a lot in marketing them. Also, their phones have the best resale value and users tend to use Samsung phones over longer period due to that.
  • Apple - Apple comes second in the list with 21%. This could be owed to the fact that Apple has exceptional after sales service. They are also  known for a clutter free user interface and a very powerful camera.
  • Xiaomi: Third in the list is the Chinese manufacturer, Xiaomi. Within a year in India, they have already captured a significant amount of attention and generated a loyal fan base for itself in no time. The combo of power-packed hardware and a affordable price is their winning mantra.
  • Motorola: Sharing the 3rd spot with Xiaomi, the company got back in the game through near-perfect phones priced aptly.
  • HTC: Next comes HTC by contributing for 11% of the share. Over the years, the company has garnered a fair amount of loyal users, thanks to excellent hardware and recently, they’ve become more known for their best-in-class front-firing stereo speakers.

So out of the 65% who wanted to make a switch, here are the brands that were most preferred by them.      

Preferred Brands:

Preferred Brand 

  • Winning the race with a really high margin is Apple by scoring 27%. After scoring 8.5 points as an average satisfaction score and having the most number of retained users, no wonder it is the most desired brand for people who haven’t tried it yet.
  • Scoring almost half than Apple is Samsung with 13.5%. We had the highest number of Samsung respondents and also these users were the most loyal ones to the brand. Samsung has a varied product line up for everyone tastes, and along with that they’re known to promote their phones with big spends on marketing.
  • Contributing for 11.5%, Motorola is on the third position out of all brands. Motorola had the second highest share of respondents and got an average score of 7.75. The online sales model along with the value for money devices have surely gained attention, when especially coming from a big old brand.
  • HTC comes forth just at 10.5% behind Motorola. When it comes to loyalty, HTC users have proved to be loyal and also the brand scored an average score of 8 points which is pretty good. HTC has been coming up with different phones for the mid-range users, and this will serve as a good choice for the people willing to switch.

The report was created with contribution from Ruchita Mahimkar and Kushang Dholakia.

Sustainability can be a complex and somewhat distant topic, so today I would like to share with you a more practical perspective on the challenges around sustainability especially in the context of our cities, and some personal experiences around solutions.  Let’s start with why sustainability is a topic all of us need to worry about and do something about.  A recent ranking of top cities in the world on sustainability ranked Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen and Amsterdam as the most sustainable cities in the world. Equally it rated high-growth cities in emerging countries like Jakarta, Manila, and our own Mumbai and Delhi at the absolute bottom of that list (Mumbai was 47th and Delhi was 49th out of 50 cities surveyed!!).   In a different survey, out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 13 are from India!!  On a related note, if you do a Google search on “building sustainable cities” the first article that pops up is a Harvard Business Review article by John Macomber, and the case study he mentions of how not to build a city is Gurgaon!!  These global studies are an eye opener but at some level we don’t need them to tell us what is wrong with our cities.  We face problems like traffic congestion and pollution every day.  Let’s take the example of Gurgaon, the city I live in and work in.  It has one of the highest air pollution levels in the world.  PM 2.5 levels are at 966 micrograms/cubic meter, which is 4 times the concentration levels marked as unhealthy.  Therefore children are developing respiratory problems and many households are forced to install air purifiers.  While air pollution is more apparent, the depletion of the water table is perhaps even a more serious existential issue.  Ground water levels are depleting in Gurgaon at 2-3 meters per year.  At this rate, ground water reserves will be all but extinguished by 2030.  That is only 15 years away!!  Our fast growing cities like Gurgaon are a magnet of economic opportunity; however, it is clear that if they continue growing in this crazy, unplanned, unsustainable way, this party is not going to last.  History is full of examples of great cities that died.  I give some of our fast growing cities like Gurgaon not more than 10-15 years in which they will become ungovernable and unlivable and will choke themselves to disaster.  I am sorry I have started off like a Cassandra and talked about doom and gloom!!  Let me now turn to the glass half full side and focus on solutions.  I have had the opportunity to be a part of NASSCOM Haryana over the past 5 years, initially as the Co-Chair and past 3 years as the Chairperson of the NASSCOM Regional Council.  We set ourselves the vision of making Gurgaon the “Silicon Valley of the East”, and looking at the city’s growth we believed the opportunity was real. However, as we assessed Gurgaon’s competitive position, it was clear before we talk about a fancy vision we had to solve the more basic problems and ensure that Gurgaon was a sustainable and livable city.  As we analyzed the root causes, we came to a conclusion that the greatest challenge the city faced was poor transportation infrastructure.  This resulted in the city getting clogged with traffic jams, dangerous levels of pollution, and a sense of frustration & despair for the citizens.  As we thought about solutions it became apparent that we have to reverse our fatal fascination with cars.  Cars are the most inefficient way of transportation in so many ways.  They occupy large volume for the number of passengers transported and have high pollution footprint.  Our roads are bad and need to be improved, but no amount of road construction can keep pace with the growth of vehicles.  There is no option but to embrace public transportation and multi-modal transportation in a very pervasive way.  I am reminded of a quote by Enrique Penelosa, the former Mayor of Bogota in Colombia, “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars.  It is where the rich use public transport.” As NASSCOM Haryana we have been focused on this topic for the past 4+ years. We have been lobbying with the state government to make the necessary investments into public transport infrastructure – simple things like a public bus service, walking & cycling paths, and integrated approach to planning & execution. However, after a while we realized that the response from the government was very slow. We then changed tracks and decided that instead of worrying just about the infrastructure/ supply side where we had little control, we should focus more on awareness building and personal change. We felt the demand side actions were more in our circle of influence. Over the past 2-3 years, we tried multiple initiatives from “CEOs walking to work” to producing a music video called “Walk On” along with Dr. Palash Sen and his band Euphoria to promote walking and cycling.  Many of our awareness building initiatives had only limited traction, but we finally struck gold with the CarFreeDay initiative. The idea came up in August/early September in partnership with Gurgaon Police to celebrate the World Car Free Day on September 22nd. Plan was to encourage users of private cars to not use their vehicles and instead use more sustainable modes of transportation like the metro, carpooling, shuttle services, cycling or walking. The entire concept was based on encouragement and not enforcement. The only enforcement was that 4 roads were identified where parking of private vehicles was not allowed. To cut a long story short, the first Car Free Day was a great success with both the print media and TV channels giving it massive coverage. This traction motivated us to celebrate CarFreeDay every Tuesday in Gurgaon and we have now done 16 consecutive Tuesdays without a break!!  We can’t claim that CarFreeDay has solved the traffic and pollution woes of Gurgaon, but I think it has been a very positive initiative on many counts. There are 6 positives that I want to call out:  1. Corporates stepping up. Corporates are often accused of being insensitive to the social context in which they operate. In this case the entire CarFreeDay adoption has been led by the IT/BPO companies who are a part of NASSCOM.   There are 35-40 companies from NASSCOM and other industries who have embraced CarFreeDay and are recording average of 20-30% reduction in number of private vehicles on Tuesdays. Corporates are not just encouraging their employees to go CarFree but are making more systemic changes in transport options they are offering to their employees (e.g., replacing cabs with shuttle buses). Recently corporates have also started experimenting with community based solutions.  For example, Nagarro, Incedo, Snapdeal and number of other companies have come together to launch an open database of employees to pool demand for shuttle bus services.  2. Awareness building. The debate of going beyond cars and using more sustainable forms of transportation like metro, buses, carpooling and cycling has become center stage. Media has picked up the theme and has been giving it coverage every week. It has become a common topic for dinner and party conversations. Most heartening, schools have been taking up the CarFreeDay topic enthusiastically and the message is going to thousands of school children. Visiting a few schools on CarFreeDay gives me hope that we are beginning to see something similar to the momentum school children created with the “Say no to crackers” drive.  3. Great people coming together. Perhaps the most inspiring and enjoyable aspect of the CarFreeDay initiative has been the opportunity to work with some truly outstanding people. A motley crew of CEOs, sustainability experts and social activists have come together united by their passion to make a difference to Gurgaon and to solve a complex problem that affects all of our lives. When I see such talented and senior individuals coming together as a team and dedicating themselves to this cause in a true labor of love, I feel there is hope not just for Gurgaon but for our country!!  4. P-P-C partnership. In our country we have a very negative view of all government agencies. In the case of CarFreeDay, the Gurgaon Police has led from the front and been a great sponsor and partner for this initiative. They have not only provided the enforcement of no-parking in the 4 corridors identified for CarFreeDay but have led the outreach to schools and other agencies including the Municipal Corporation. This partnership between the Police, Corporates (led by NASSCOM) and citizen groups is a great template for how many of the grave problems that our cities face can be solved. We have the beginnings of a Public-Private-Citizen (P-P-C) partnership model that can be a game changer for our country. Many of the problems we face are so complex that government alone can’t solve them. This partnership model could well be the answer.  5. Entrepreneurs stepping in. One of the fascinating features of the CarFreeDay has been that a number of entrepreneurs have stepped up to provide solutions. Gurgaon lacks a public bus service and we have been lobbying for it for years. Over the past 4-6 months private operators like Shuttl and Ola have stepped in providing app based shuttle bus services, which is proving to be quite a game changer. Cykul has come in providing cycle stations to corporates making cycling a more feasible option. There have been a host of carpooling start-ups. There has even been a start-up (Baxi) providing app based bike taxi service. That is the beauty of India we now live in. Where government fails to provide public services, we have entrepreneurs jumping in to provide solutions. And often these solutions are more innovative and efficient. This is another example of the expanding circle of influence as we now do not need to be only dependent on government action on key civic problems.  6. Snowball effect. The CarFreeDay initiative is now not just limited to Gurgaon. In a short time, it has been adopted by Delhi and also smaller towns like Karnal. After much hit n trial over a number of years we finally got success with CarFreeDay. But often when it rains it pours. CarFreeDay has become a trigger that is bringing the transportation and pollution topics to a tipping point. The discussion is now snowballing with even the judiciary stepping in and forcing center and state governments to act. We off course have had the odd-even decision by the Delhi government. I will not go into the merits/demerits of that decision, but it is clear that sustainable transportation and pollution are topics that have now captured the public imagination (a bit like anti-corruption a few years back) and this movement will only grow in force.  To conclude, I want to reiterate the power of bottom-up and personal action.  I have always been fascinated by top-down, big picture solutions.  However, CarFreeDay has taught me that ‘’small can be beautiful”.  We kept making big plans within the NASSCOM team for sustainable transportation but did not get real traction.  But when we worked on an idea that was more bottom-up and touched people’s lives in a real way we got more traction.  Personally for me it meant making cycling to work a daily routine.  This daily action made our mission of sustainable transportation more real for me and put the many challenges in perspective.  This helped generate more practical solutions and even more intense, personal passion.  And therein lies the key lesson about positivity that I want you to take away.  Big problems can seem unsurmountable.  The best we can do is to break down the problems and just focus on the actions we can take personally i.e., which are in our circle of influence.  Those personal experiences lead to more intimate learning allowing you to connect the dots more effectively and come up with more practical solutions.  Moreover, the personal actions can set in motion a chain reaction that can become an unstoppable force.  Truly, once you have the right intent and take personal action, universe conspires to make it happen!!  The battle to ensure our cities are sustainable has just begun. There is a long way to go to solve the problems we face. Much work needs to happen on both the infrastructure side and in changing well entrenched personal habits. However, 2015 gives me lot of hope. Positive initiative by a few well-meaning individuals gave us CarFreeDay, which is having such a positive snowball effect. Now just imagine if many more of us were to take such positive initiatives? The opportunity for impact is breathtakingly exciting and limitless!!    This blog has been slightly modified and published with permission from Nitin Seth. The original blog can be read here - http://nseth71.blogspot.in/2016/01/building-sustainable-cities-power-of.html