Shifting Perspectives

Let’s start with two oft-quoted questions asked by Professor Teena Seelig. The first one goes, “how much is 5+5?”. Think about it for a minute if you must, but the answer is quite simple: 5+5 = 10. That is the only scientific answer. Centuries of evidence has confirmed this over and over again.

Now consider the second question: “what two numbers add up to 10?” Clearly, there are multiple correct answers, especially when we include negative numbers. Both problems use basic arithmetic and eventually lead to a final outcome of 10. But they also demonstrate how the spectrum of possible solutions depends on how we frame the question.

"If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first fifty-five minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes." – Albert Einstein   

This is the essence of our philosophy of ‘Shifting Perspectives’. Challenges and problems that seem insurmountable, can become scalable obstacles once we learn to frame the question differently. A seminal management tool, the SWOT analysis, does this when it connects ‘threats’ to ‘opportunities’.  “Shifting Perspectives” is not only a tagline. It represents our learning that every challenge is a matter of perspective. And if the perspectives around challenges can be shifted, it can give rise to creative, innovative solutions.  

“Shifting Perspectives” also alludes to our communication philosophy. Market and social communications both attempt to influence how people behave (the only difference being that one targets changes in purchasing behavior, while the other concentrates on health, nutrition etc). At the root of human behavior lie beliefs, attitudes and knowledge. Most communications professionals and sociologists agree that it is impossible to fundamentally alter beliefs or attitudes. But what can be influenced is people’s perspective: how do they view a particular issue / brand and how do they choose to interact with it?

For nearly a decade, campaigns to prevent violence against women would focus on the victim, without realizing that it could reinforce a culture of victim-shaming. Besides, the very reason such incidents took place was because there was a general lack of empathy. Violence against women, even with allusions to mothers and sisters, was not perceived as a “man’s problem”. A later approach stops appealing to empathy and problematizes male perpetrators and bystanders. This has the potential to shift the perspective on how men view violence against women in their societies.