Ram Badrinath (Founder & CEO, GlobalThen) on ‘Pawan Ko Kahin Dekha Kya’, a New Training Module for Drivers

A pioneer in the learning and training space focused on the global TTH vertical, GlobalTHEN has launched ‘Pawan Ko Kahin Dekha Kya’, a training module that transforms how drivers work and value their job. Scaled from the idea to execution stage, including the launch in a matter of just 9 months, the product is based on revolutionary OmniDEL approach to learning, conceptualised by Saurabh J Sarkar. Swati Maheshwari talks to Ram Badrinathan, Founder & CEO, GlobalTHEN, exclusively for YourStory.in.

Swati: Tell us about ‘Pawan Ko Kahin Dekha Kya’. What is the concept?

Ram Badrinath: ‘Pawan Ko Kahin Dekha Kya?’ is a highly interactive one-day workshop, designed to train drivers in soft skills, teach them the tenets of customer service and instil in them a sense of dignity. This venture will come as a much needed aid to cab companies, rental car agencies, tourist transport companies, government agencies, airline, hotel or even private car owners and other such organizations.

Chauffeurs in India don’t take pride in what they do and for the most part have little respect for themselves and their customers. To fill this gaping void in what is expected of them and what they are currently achieving, I partnered with and education visionary Sourabh J. Sarkar, to deploy his unique approach, OmniDEL. This platform stands for Omni Dimensionally Engaging Learningware. Learning and teaching processes often fail because the teacher fails to engage holistically with the students. Conventional training programs target only the mind, which leads to only partial learning. But humans have many facets such as body, mind, prana (the energetic self) and the spiritual self. The OmniDEL approach blends entertainment and education, and engages with every aspect of the learner. It inculcates a spirit of participation and of practice, thereby maximizing learning.

Tell us more about the training module.

‘Pawan Ko Kahin Dekha Kya?’ combines cutting-edge media, technology and physical and pranic practices with a classroom experience. This module uses a mythical character called Pawan, the ultimate driver, to teach chauffeurs everything they need to know. Through the course of the workshop, he will be like a guru to the participants, explaining rights from wrongs in a friendly, non-preachy way. Most importantly, the training program is highly engaging, scalable on-demand and economical.

To engage with the chauffeurs thoroughly, the entire module has been treated in a filmy way, complete with dialogue and riddles and songs. Issues like punctuality, knowledge, personal hygiene, safety, vehicle hygiene and maintenance, communication & etiquette will all be dealt with in the course of six sessions, 26 activities, group exercises, and a fun filled mix of music, drama and poetry sessions. It ensures that when a trained driver walks out of the door, he too is an embodiment of Pawan, the ultimate driver, and an asset to his employer and organization.

How many drivers have been trained under the program so far? What has been the response?

We have trained 220 drivers so far and the response has been overwhelming. We have received some great feedback from the drivers (who have attended the training), HOD’s of large car rental providers and industry players.

Some of the drivers attended the training after a long day of work, without having slept for 24 hrs and yet they enjoyed and remained engaged in the session, something that a PPT cannot do to an audience.

How much investment did it involve initially? How the funding was sourced?

The initial investment involved was almost 1 crore rupees for the first product, that is Pawan. We did an angel round in March 2011. Our angel investors include Deep Kalra, Founder & CEO of MakeMyTrip.com; Philip Wolf, Chairman of PhoCusWright; Rajiv Vij, CEO of Carzonrent; Peter Harbison, Executive Chairman at Center for Asia Pacific Aviation; Cameron Jones, Vice President – Commercial, SilverRail Technologies; Olivier Jager, CEO of ForwardKeys and Alok Mittal, Managing Director, Canaan India.

Are you looking at external funding in future?

Yes, we are looking at doing a Series A round of external funding in the near future.

Tell us about the team behind ‘Pawan Ko Kahin Dekha Kya’.

Across the GlobalTHEN team, we have various professionals who bring to the table different skill sets and knowledge not only about the TTH industry but also about training, eLearning, production, film making, editing and much more. Our team comprises of over 80 members who focus on the above areas as well as Sales & Marketing, HR, Admin, etc.

Do you face any direct competition? How do you tackle them?

For our first product specifically, we have competitors that focus on imparting road safety training to drivers and independent consultants imparting driver trainings. However, all of their attention is on driving skills and other areas such as defensive driving and learning how to drive. How we differentiate ourselves is that our product is based on soft skills, it is not teaching the driver how to drive, and rather it is taking care of the behavioural aspect of a driver’s learning needs. Its main focus is on customer service and ensuring that the driver is motivated and loves his job.

Tell us a little about the Travel, Transportation and Hospitality industry in India.

According to WTTC, the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality (TTH) is the largest global employer industry with nearly a trillion dollars of annual revenue and is experiencing dramatic, sustained growth in several emerging economies. India and China are the largest markets but the whole Asia-Pacific region is experiencing substantial growth in travel. India will add another 4 million people to its existing 12.75 million TTH workforce over the next decade and China will add 5.1 million to its 17.1 million TTH workforce in the same period.

What are your expansion plans with ‘Pawan ko Kahin Dekha Kya’?

The current training module is in the form of a Hindi narrative/dialogue coupled with songs and a video. We would soon have it in multiple languages like Kannada, Tamil, etc to reach out to a larger audience. We will also be creating refresher modules like Road Safety, Defensive Driving, Motor Vehicle Laws, etc.

To read more about them, visit http://www.globalthen.com