Suresh Purohit envisions a better future through the lenses of creativity, innovation, societal application of technology and management of resources. He is a young manager and first-generation entrepreneur, armed with an engineering degree from Dharmsinh Desai Institute of Technology, Nadiad, a popular and reputable engineering institution. He also holds an MBA from The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. He worked in various roles in India’s corporate world, including project management, sales, marketing and techno-commercial management for almost a decade before stepping into his own ventures.Suresh is passionate about projects and systematic in his approaches. He admires Peter Drucker, Edward De Bono, Szar Zararia, Pradip Khandwala and Prof Anil Gupta for bringing a stream of creativity to his life and professional career. Along with Hitesh and Bharat, he founded an innovative and useful web portal. Suresh and his team firmly advocate theories of ‘why not’ and ‘it’s possible.’ OliveTrips.com is the first and foremost offering from them. This web portal was launched in India on World Environment Day, June 5, 2011 at the Centre for Environment Education. The portal facilitates carpools, bike pools and shared automobiles/taxis/cabs in India. It collaborated successfully with pals.in (Pure Air Lovers Society), the largest online environment community of India. It is palsin’s official carpool partners, reaching over 1 million registered users. Since launching, OliveTrips.com has received inquiries from Africa to extend the service.
What are you working on right now?
Many things and few things. I am in the process of collaborating with a few renowned NGOs, corporations and government bodies to broaden OliveTrips.com’s usage. The critical challenge we face is to create awareness of OliveTrips.com and to educate people about it. More than 80% of citizens think this could be a solution to many problems and when they learn about it, they are amazed.I am working on rolling out OliveTrips.com to a few other countries and am looking with a few good and inspiring partners.We are also working on developing a few other products. Our emphasis is on solving problems of mankind and society by applying different approaches and bringing together disparate knowledge streams.
Where did the idea for OliveTrips.com come from?
For a few months, I had been commuting to work via a road between Ahmedabad and Vadodara. It was around 120 kilometers (approximately 75 miles). I had seen many corporate employees doing the same, but there was no system in place to bring us together to share resources. I also noticed that many cars and vans were travelling with unoccupied seats. Additionally, many commuters were in continuous and almost permanent searches for better travel partners. After visualizing the same scenario all over India, we decided to fill the gap and launch OliveTrips.com. It is a free service to all citizens and allows them to share vehicles regularly or occasionally.Our first-hand experience and research played a vital role in designing the portal and setting the features. It’s a well thought out and highly regarded project aimed at helping society, the nation, commuters and the environment. It works in autopilot mode without any manual intervention.
What does your typical day look like?
I spend 2 hours a day managing OliveTrips.com, including working on various collaborations, exploring opportunities and developing marketing strategies. I also ensure that things are working right. I generate MIS reports and closely observe the trends.I spend 3 hours on new projects that are in the development stage. I have a few affiliates working on the projects with us.I spend 3-4 hours doing innovation consultancy. I meet with various corporate and educational institutions. When time permits, I meet new people, explore various other avenues and attend conferences and seminars.I always allot 2 hours to reading and developing study material for ideas, innovations and creativity. I like to observe trends and new innovation.The composition of the typical day changes depending on the priority and stages of the projects.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Interaction, reading and imagination are what bring ideas to life. We believe, “in the world, nothing dies faster than a new idea in the closed mind.” Many times, we apply various techniques such as brainstorming, wishing and unfolding techniques to generate ideas. Innovation has great potential to solve the problems of mankind.
3 trends that excite you?
Internet applications on mobile handsets, the growing importance of innovation in India’s educational institutions and improved and tech-savvy government programs.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I am fortunate so far in that there has been no worst job in my life. But, I have managed some very difficult clients. While managing them, I recall the theories and principles. Even they could not help me. I learned to develop patience and to be more strategic.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would love to pursue a few courses on creativity and art to have the right blend of art and management. I already have the management and technology domains under my belt. Formal art knowledge could work wonders.
What is the one thing you did/do as an entrepreneur that you would do over and over again and recommend everybody else do?
There is nothing wrong with taking calculative risk. We must deliver something different, beneficial and impactful. Make efforts to take the road less travelled. If not, then help others who are doing so. Life is not just about family, career and money. It’s also about trying to change the paradigm.
Tell us a secret…
The original charm of life is in exploring. Keep walking. Keep exploring. Keep learning and keep smiling.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
In India and many other countries, students use pencils for study. The pencil is not user-friendly when it becomes small in size. In most cases, they are discarded as waste. One could make this a social business by recycling them. First, collect the small pencil butts from schools by installing small collection box. Then, just assemble the pieces using a small manually operated tool to make them usable. One could make 1 usable pencil from 2-4 butts. One can easily sell such reusable pencils at 50-70% of the price of the original ones. The beauty of the idea is social entrepreneurship, job creation and the satisfaction of converting the waste into something good.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It’s a remarkable book covering many facets of business, life, career and ambition. The interesting part is that it’s a global book covering facets of technology and management. The discussions and examples are very inspiring.
If you weren’t working on OliveTrips.com, what would you be doing?
I surely would be travelling without the benefit of OliveTrips.com. I would be working on other projects or assignments and trying to inject more innovation into them.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @Official_kalam: Former President of Indian Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is a truly inspirational person. He aims to make India a super power by meeting and motivating the children and youth of the country.
- @chetan_bhagat: He’s a motivational and inspirational youth icon for Indians.
- @RNTata2000: Ratan Tata is the face of global Indians who creates value for society and the nation.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Edward De Bono, who developed the term “lateral thinking” and Sam Pitroda who is an entrepreneur, advisor to India’s prime minister, founder of C-SAM and largely responsible for India’s communications revolution.
OliveTrips Website: www.OliveTrips.com
OliveTrips on Facebook: www.facebook.com/OliveTrips
OliveTrips on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/OliveTrips
OliveTrips on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/2245154