Founder, The Thiagi Group, USA
Contribution to Society
This “Contribution to Society” Award recognises Professor Dr. Sivasailam Thiagarajan’s contribution to learning and development. 

Sivasailam Thiagarajan is best known simply as “Thiagi”, and understandably so, for the convenience of the “locals” in America, Africa, Europe, and elsewhere. Thiagi’s involvement in training and performance technology started in Chennai (originally known as Madras), India, where he was born into a family of schoolteachers. That family connection continues today: Thiagi’s wife teaches and their son produces computer-based training resources for Workshops run by his illustrious father. 

Thiagi’s power to inspire and motivate people to learn and perform comes from his humility and his egoless willingness to learn from the learners. Thiagi’s early career as a high school physics teacher helped shape his basic approaches to corporate training. But more importantly, the single greatest source of influence on his work, and from whom he continues to learn even after 30 years, is the group of people whose behavior he is trying to so commitedly change: the countless learners in his workshops, presentations, and seminars. 

With the aim of promoting active learning, he has innovated, developed and continues to promote a “Thiagi”-approach to learner-centred games, delivered through his high-energy sessions. Much to his own personal style of learning, Thiagi developed his game design skills from watching players. He learned his workshop skills by drawing lessons from participants’ feedback. 

If games helped him to position himself and offer a great tool to the world of learning, the need to ensure learning results in actual change in behaviour and improved performance led Thiagi to venture into Human Performance Technology (HPT) movement. In this, he was following his peers and doing the right thing as a learning and development specialist. He actively started out in writing instructional designs that focused on performance outcomes. Thiagi became a noted performance technologist in the corporate circles because he saw that instructional design alone was not enough. 

The Asia HRD Congress 2011 Awards Committee is delighted to honour Professor Dr. Sivasailam Thiagarajan for his commitment to the world of learning and development.