PMI Future 50: Young, Rising Leaders to Watch
PMI South Asia

PMI Future 50: Young, Rising Leaders to Watch

The next generation of leaders featured in the second edition of PMI’s Future 50 is creating social impact through meaningful projects. Despite the unprecedented challenges brought forth by the pandemic, these young leaders delivered their bold and innovative ideas that break the traditional mold. These selected 50 individuals across various industries and countries symbolize the power of changemakers needed in the Project Economy. We approached honorees from India to share their inspiring journeys.

What makes one a changemaker? What according to you are the top five characteristics of a changemaker?
A changemaker shows readiness and openness to embrace disruptions — be it technological or economic, or any other that can make a difference. They leverage challenges and disruptions to innovate. A changemaker is someone who more often takes a road less traveled and creates opportunities. It is not just about having an agile mindset but also an ability to influence an agile culture in the larger community. Changemakers are self-confident and live as an example for others to follow. They take responsibility to create a change and do not wait for any authority or assignment. They exhibit high-level examples of servant leadership.

The top characteristics of a changemaker from my perspective are:

Curiosity and empathy
Emotional intelligence
Innovation and creativity
Paradigm changers
Open-mindedness and adaptability

What are the biggest obstacles that you have faced to convert your ideas into reality?
The market entry barrier is one of the common obstacles, specifically with artificial intelligence (AI)-related solutions, which needs to be cost-competitive and reliable.

The solution has to go through a rigorous customer acceptance cycle until it can demonstrate consistent performance, provide return on investment in the short-term, and the end-user is comfortable using the solution.

Privacy is another important aspect to consider since we deal with data involving people.

Project management is considered an important discipline for young talent. Do you think so too? If yes, why?
Yes, millennials and Gen Z have the advantage of democratization of technology, which is available online. However, what makes the difference is the ability to take this technology to the end customer and build projects with teams. This is where project management comes into the picture. By tapping into this space of project management, young talent can make a distinguished career. By acquainting themselves with the principles of project management in the early stage of their career, professionals can pick up different capabilities and accelerate career growth.

Odisha-based Nexus Power was founded by twin sisters Nishita and Nikita Baliarsingh in 2019. The startup uses crop residue to create bio-organic and bio-degradable fast-charging batteries for electric vehicles.

What makes one a changemaker? What according to you are the top five characteristics of a changemaker?
Changemakers look at creative solutions for common problems. It is not just about being an entrepreneur; any individual who dares to address an adverse situation with a positive mindset has the capability of being a changemaker in society.

According to us, changemakers should possess the following five main characteristics – passion, vision, compassion, creativity, and courage. If we can create a quality composition by adding the right portion of these five characteristics, we will certainly make good leaders and become efficient drivers of change.

What are the biggest obstacles that you have faced to convert your ideas into reality?
The beginning was exciting but on shaky grounds. As we were just out of college and barely had money in hand, we had to bootstrap our business. After intensive research and an understanding of the e-mobility sector, we eventually stumbled upon a business idea.

The initial challenges were broadly in the technical sphere, with maximum time and energy spent on research work and experimentations. At a certain point, we wanted to drop the idea and shift to something else, but gradually things began to settle for us.

Currently, a lot of research is going into battery technology across the globe. We consider all battery manufacturers, EV manufacturers making their own batteries, and R&D institutes as potential competitors of Nexus.

We have not come across a firm offering a similar product based on the cell chemistry of Nexus. But with the way startups are coming up in India, it is difficult to predict the longevity of our uniqueness. That is why we have been filing for multiple patents and copyrights.

We have realized that entrepreneurship is not only about what we do physically but also about emotional strength, unwavering enthusiasm, self-belief, and team confidence. Most importantly, it is a journey that has no particular destination. We believe in innovating to sustain and dream of a greener planet.

Project management is considered an important discipline for young talent. Do you think so too? If yes, why?
Project management is an important discipline for young talent as it gives them the confidence to take on multiple tasks. It allows the person the freedom to experiment with one's work and push one’s limits.

Project management techniques are designed by keeping in mind the competitive and dynamic nature of the industry. That helps young guns keep pace with the changes and demands of an extremely fast-growing market. It not only helps in addressing day-to-day activities of a company but in also preparing individuals for adverse situations and making them efficient managers of last-minute setbacks.

It is a wise approach to be equipped with project management skills to make a change in the world. Young talent should challenge themselves at every step of their corporate life. After all, a ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what it is built for.

Read about all the young leaders who feature in PMI Future 50 this year from around the world.