Small towns are leading next wave of innovation

A few weeks back some student projects of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi were featured in this column as an example of the lack of innovation in some of India's top engineering schools. A prime example was that of a coin sorter, several commercial versions of which are already available in the market. Secondly, why develop a coin sorter? How many Indian grocery stores need or use them?

This left me wondering why our top grade engineering talent is looking to solve problems that don't exist or which have already been addressed adequately. An answer came from innovation guru Anil Gupta of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad who has mastered the art of scouting for innovation at the unlikeliest of places.

He said if you are looking for innovative solutions to our problems from engineering students, go to engineering institutes and polytechnics (yes, they still exist) in small towns. You may have never heard of places like Bhadu or Miraj or Ambur. It is from such towns that the next wave of innovation seems to be rising.

Take for instance, a refrigerator in which LPG is used as a refrigerant instead of ozone-depleting CFCs. This has been developed by four young students of a polytechnic called Laljibhai Chaturbhai Institute of Technology in Mehsana in Gujarat – Birendra Kumar, Chintan, Mayank D and Mayank I.

The fridge compares well with NOW enough evidence exists to show that placebos – 'dummy pills' used in drug trials – do benefit patients in what is known as the so-called 'placebo effect'. But whether or not placebos can actually influence objective measures of disease has been unclear. Now a study that examined the impact of two different placebo versus standard medical treatment in asthma patients has given new insights. It has been found that while placebos had no effect on actual lung function, but they were as effective as a drug when it came to relieving patients' discomfort and their self-described asthma symptoms.

The study was led by Harvard Medical School investigators and appears in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. It shows that for the patient, the ritual of treatment can be very powerful. This study also suggests that in addition to active therapies for treatment of diseases, patients see the idea of receiving care as a critical component of healthcare. conventional ones in terms of evaporator temperature and temperature in chambers. It is portable and can find applications in pharmaceutical industry, dairy industries and cold storage. The cost of this project was an unbelievable Rs 1300.

Another group – R S Mane, Vinod Chaugule, Mahesh Todkar, Sachin Ghutukade and Shankar Karande from government polytechnic at Miraj in Maharashtra has developed a solar water heater for rural areas from waste material like tin boxes and wooden frames. They say it would cost just Rs 400.

Other recent innovations include solar water distillation system, portable drilling and milling machine, multi-nut remover etc. There are hundreds of projects to solve dayto-day engineering problems of small and micro industries.

Gupta says that many of these projects are born out of empathy for the common people and the urge to solve problems of tiny industries. You can't expect them to solve real problems if they are going to be a mere extension of the faculty's publication goals.

The brilliance of IITs can be optimally used to improve efficiency and design of devices developed by polytechnic students. It is a question of engaging students in useful projects rather than turning the exercise into an academic routine.

The Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI), founded by Gupta, is trying to connect students from all over the country with small and micro industries through a portal called techpedia.in.

Colleges and students post their projects, which can be picked by industry. Conversely, industries can pose their problems and seek solutions from students. The database contains some 1.1 lakh projects currently and is constantly growing.

It is high time government agencies like Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (the database has hundreds of solar energy projects) and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises make use of this information and support this unique effort.

 

Publish in : indiatoday.in big-ideas_398_071411080947

INDNOR conference on Social Entrepreneurship , NTNU, Norway

Honey Bee Network representatives participated in the INDNOR conference on Social Entrepreneurship: A catalyst for sustainable development, organised by NTNU, Trondheim, Norway 4-5 October, 2011. Over the two days, they gave three presentations viz.

Unlocking the doors of creativity early: nurturing innovations, promoting entrepreneurship", (Dr Nitin Maurya);

Dr Nitin Maurya also participated in the plenary debate titled 'Solutions for Sustainability'. The aim of the debate was to identify learning opportunities for Indian and Norwegian social entrepreneurs through an exchange of experiences on how social entrepreneurs develop solutions for sustainability. The conference was attended by other representatives from India, students, Norwegian social entrepreneurs, faculty members and other staff members of NTNU. The presentations were received well and the work of the Honey Bee Network & SRISTI in promoting grassroots innovations and entrepreneurial activities was much appreciated.

 

Heuristics/Resonance in Innovation as found during GYTI 2013 and afterwards

There are some morphogenetic resonance and cosmic resonance that we have been reading about and there are a couple of scientists who are working on some rational proofs of the same. But there is some other sort of synchronicity that was observed this year in Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards, 2013. The synchronicity was among more than 3 different projects that were done by engineering students across the country, in three different institution/universities located in three different states. There are some morphogenetic resonance and cosmic resonance that we have been reading about and there are a couple of scientists who are working on some rational proofs of the same. But there is some other sort of synchronicity that was observed this year in Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards, 2013. The synchronicity was among more than 3 different projects that were done by engineering students across the country, in three different institution/universities located in three different states. 

Earlier we often faced a question of possibility of co-creation during innovation process and co-creation after giving them a common platform. It again become tough to answer whether these heuristics are limited to same layer (tier-1, tier-2 etc. colleges) or it can happen in any layer. 

The Cases found during GYTI 2013 :

There were three entries received from  – Santosh Bhandari, Amrita Pathak and Vinod K from SRM University; Naveen Rai from IIT – Guwahati and from Margie Joshi, Vishal Patel, Jay Patel and Chirag Patel from Gujarat Technological University. All the three from 3 different states viz. Chennai, Guwahati and Gujarat. The concepts of the three project were by and large the same. They had been focusing on the design and manufacturing of the devices that help the people with disability. Two of them worked towards making devices that will help the blind be self-sufficient to a larger extent and the third one focused on helping people with disability in hear and speaking. There was also a fourth project that had the similar concept which will be talked about in the later part of this case.

What the team from SRM University, Chennai worked on was titled “Vision for Blind Using Ultrasound Sensors”. This project used the phenomenon of echolocation which is used by bats and other birds of the same family. They send an ultrasound frequency waves in atmosphere and detect the presence of various objects based on the reflection of the waves from various objects. Humans are deaf to this ultrasound frequencies. They used the same concept of sending ultrasound waves in specific direction and then based on the reflections of the waves they would determine a shadow image of the vicinity. This will help the blind to know what is around them, though through a shadow image.

Naveen from IIT-Guwahati named his project “ The Third Eye”. He uses a simple camera and attaches with it the circuitry for image recognition, implementing various algorithms of the same, and a headphone too. The camera will detect the presence of various sign boards, the number and density of people around him, any obstacle approaching in the walkway, etc and corresponding sound signal will be played in the headphone. As it always known that blind have stronger sense of hearing, they can identify various parameters as talked above.

The fourth case that was mentioned, fits in here. This project from IIIT-Hyderabad was done by Devender Goyal, Aditi Srninvasan and Nirali Savla. What they did they used the same components as used by Naveen but under a different implementation. The camera would capture the image of a person standing in front of the blind and store it in database along with other auxiliary information like Name, relation and most importantly a snip of the last conversation the user had with that person. Hence when the same person appears before the user, the image is searcher for in database and if match is found the details are played for user through the headphone; else it is considered as if user is meeting that person for first time and the image is captures and stored in the database.

The third project that was received from Gujarat Technological university was more focused on helping the people with disability in speaking and hearing. They have enabled a deaf and dumb to communicate. Using a data-glove and display they make the dumb wear the data-glove and make the signs. The circuitry fitted in the data-glove captures the movement of the finger and displays appropriate messages/text to the display. They are further working to implement the gesture vocalizer which shall speak out the sign language as used by the dumb, so that even a normal human communicate with the dumb.

Hence, the three earlier mentioned cases were given a Joint Award and the project from IIIT-Hyderabad was given an appreciation based on the decision of jury comprising more than 150 members from national and international universities, R&D Departments of MNC and others. 

The above illustrations will illustrate how multiple heuristics are happening across layers and different verticals. When we found one IIT, one Deemed University and one Local state university affiliated college are able to streamline their though with equal ease it also strengthen our argument that not only minds within elite campuses are only innovating. In fact we noticed the reverse in the described cases that the teams who were having grassroots level understanding and had some real life observations made it a level above others. The frugality was found to be more in case of the team who had worked in resource constraints when noticed all three innovations. In fact while interacting with the project guides and mentors we noticed that even they were not aware of the three different innovations being developed to cater common target. It ensures that a great amount of energy is being spent on re-inventing wheel in case a platform do not create systematic resonance across innovations and innovators. We also noticed that the approach was very clear that some wanted to add into form, some into features and some into functions for the common target using common available tools. Given a detailed possibility understanding a better prior art search the teams claim they could have been even performed better in their targeted verticals. It appeals all of us to create a pre design collaboration across common ideas and as early it can be synergized it car reach as far as possible. While a   country is involving a million students every year there is every possibility that such numerous cases can be located and connected virtually even before development or during the innovation process. We came to know about such scenarios after few years of they passed out and if such resonance can be organized systematically, organically and give   a physical and virtual stage we think the efficiency and productivity of innovations and innovators both will go up. We noticed this during our physical trial of similar exercise during our Summer School Program done at Sristi supported by ILO. Also we noticed that the resonance grew even farther when the teams after brought to common forum and after they depart too try their hand in taking them ahead with learning from each other. When Anshul from NIT Jaipur designed a broom making machine during summer school along with maulik, utkarsha and others they tried their best possible ways to develop, test and disseminate it. While another team lead by Raghunath looked at it they approached to solve it in differ3ent prospective. Here we saw a heuristic development or resonance in innovation even after the c0-creation workshop was designed. In a  team of some 2-3 dozen students we could validate the fact that given a stage even small groups can develop resonance and heuristics and it appeals all of us to systematize it make  systematic intervention of it regular academic innovation exercises within university to embrace such beautiful cases and define  a new pedagogy. We may find them in discrete cases here and there but a mechanism can scout and scale such scenarios in more systematic manner. Here platform like NMN at techpedia will play a role too.

Address by Dr. Sameer Brahmachari, Director general of CSIR and Secretary DSIR

CSIR opens doors of its laboratories for GTU students 

AHMEDABAD: Engineering students with innovative projects stand a chance of making their way into the national laboratories of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) or bagging CSIR fellowships. The director general of the CSIR, Samir K Brahmachari, while talking at Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) on Saturday, said that CSIR is considering opening its laboratories for validation and value addition of selected innovative projects of engineering students of GTU. Brahmachari was taking part in a seminar on "An attempt to promote innovation of engineering students" organized by GTU Innovation Council and Techpedia.  

Apart from saying that CSIR will consider lending support to these projects of GTU students from its 39 national laboratories, Brahmachari said that the organization will also create a fellowship for such innovative projects."We have made a proposal to institute such a fellowship in the 12th five-year plan," he said. 

Brahmachari said that the idea is to foster innovations which are Gandhian in nature and attempts to address the needs of the economically underprivileged people. Brahmachari also pointed out that the country needs a special social networking system for technological innovators. He said that such a networking will help in solving the issues of the 800 million Indians who are economically under privileged. 

During the event, head of city based charitable organization, SRISTI, Anil Gupta announced an annual national Gandhian engineering award which will be given by Techpedia, an initiative by SRISTI. The awards which will be given to innovative works which attempts to create more from less will be handed out in March 2012.As a part of the event, an exhibition was also organized at the new campus of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A). The exhibition displayed various prototypes of innovative ideas like generation of electric energy from dance floors, combining home appliances to save energy and other innovations for industrial purposes as well."The innovative projects were part of GTU's Innovation Sankul scheme in which students scout industries and pick up industrial issues and try to solve them. Apart from experience, the students get academic credits for these projects," said managing director of Techpedia, Hiranmay Mahanta.

Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards 2013

Techpedia.in, a platform created by SRISTI to foster cooperation between the industry, academic institutions and the informal sector and academic institutions. By collaboration and co-creation, distributed and horizontal innovation network can be created. SRISTI has established three national awards for innovative student projects in engineering, pharmacy, science and other applied technologies.


The First Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards (GYTI 2012) were given away by Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Chairperson NIF on 5th April 2012 at IIMA. GYTI 2013 awards received nominations from 25 different technical categories across the country from 110 universities in 21 states and a union territory. Out of 1840 nominations 958 nominations were accepted which were narrowed down to final 43 nominations inclusive of awards and appreciations. GYTI 2013 will be given in 3 categories: MLM (More from less for many) award, SRISTI Socially Relevant Technological Innovation Award, Strategic Innovation and /or Technological-Edge award. We had 175 reviewers across all the sectors from lead universities and industries e.g. IITs, IISc, TU Braunschweig, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Waterloo, Delft University of Technology, NITs, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Applied Material, GE, Pfizer Inc., and State Universities. We noticed a great latent innovation potential amongst various young participants and selected the best ones. A huge co-creation was noticed involving students from various institutes from different parts of country. Scouting- benchmarking and providing knowledge network to support such innovations for what Dr. Mashelkar Calls, “creating value for money or value for many” has been a key objective of this year’s endeavour. We noticed a common passion among all the short listed teams that they have added compassion and creativity to their skill sets and tried to bring in new ways for solving common and frontier challenges. Given a hand-holding support, many of them may wish to take their innovations to market. Team techpedia.in is trying to engage some mentors and resource persons for the purpose. In a mutually agreeable manner, the students/alumni, investors, and mentors can use the platform to forge partnerships for scaling up the validated technology to the users. Most teams have focused on solving local challenges in a frugal manner. The awards like GYTI may motivate them and trigger greater hunger for developing inclusive innovations. The innovation quotient can certainly go up as students of UG/PG and PhD set new benchmarks in generating innovative solutions to the pressing problems, or pushing the frontiers of technology or getting more from less for many (MLM).

Co-creation and decentralized innovation ecosystems improving skill and creating opportunity for youth : Bharuch-Ankleshwer

Nine colleges at Bharuch and Ankleshwer  came together to create a virtual innovation ecosystem during the summer of 2011 for linking its each single final year students to an MSME/industry and informal sector innovator. When GTU and Techpedia conceived the idea and started implementing across the  colleges of Gujarat , the  mission had certainly envisaged certain deliverable. Prof J.M.Patel lead the innovation cluster along with few colleagues from academia and industry at Bharuch where generally rural students used to come and study from the locality. The challenge was uphill  task as it required to link 1000 plus young students in Engineering, Pharmacy, Management  and MCA to a needy unit where they can spend  their summer to identify a challenge (IDP) on  which they can work on during their final year project work for nearly 10 months . Initially the response from the MSME clusters were certainly slow but the team of the clusters and colleges designed innovative process to manage it and  change in mindset was seen  not only within colleges but also across the clusters.  A huge co-creation based effort was made. While Techpedia  and university had asked to form groups and send for summer visit to locate challenges faced by formal and informal sectors , the cluster innovated within and also designed homogeneous and heterogeneous groups including Eng, Design, Management, MCA students in every team to explore all possible support to SMEs in integrated manner while addressing  a particular technology challenge. As  a result of which at the end of  1st 2 months of the exercise each single student was linked to a  SME and located an industry defined project/challenge. The faith of nearby cottage units and SME clusters grew up.  It went up to  an extent that the MSMEs started coming to colleges to pick best teams to visit their MSMEs and locate their challenges  and try to solve them. Certainly it was not a trade off between skill and experience of students  vs fresh thinking but  it did amazing impact but the young minds made significant impact. For an example while  a security system solution was destined by final year students of  a local college  and shown to local GNFC (  a huge public unit) they estimated to save around 15 lac rs per year compare to existing process. This may be a  small impact by a  undergraduate team but  it depicts multiple insights.  If 100s of such teams tart impacting   it will sum up to a huge contribution .It seems  the youth were unchallenged since years and we could never link them to community and nearby challenges so that they can put their hand together to solve them.

 
The  entire process in this huge co-creation was most frugally managed. The co-chair industry and academia decided to bank upon the existing faculties and staffs in colleges and accelerate the innovation related activities. Volunteers from Techpedia and university cemented the linkages where ever it required. Out of 600 plus faculties from 9 colleges under this virtual ecosystem they crated 1 on 1 mapping for faculties with local units/MSMEs/innovators and others. While linking 1000s of students to an industry looked to be an audacious dream it happened with  a month because every single faculty  linked his team/students to  1 particular MSME and maintained PR with that for the whole year. As a virtue of which they could unite 500 plus SMEs who came forward to share their challenges with the students and even came to their classrooms to narrate the challenges and expected possible  technological interventions via young students. It gave huge confidence to the young minds and they started honing their skill sets too. It was revealed in some cases the MSMEs were impressed by the student provided/proposed  solutions after 1st year of efforts during 2011-2012 academic year  and they offered to help in patenting and technology transfer in case of sheer novelty . Students while not having access to support system of IPR and other facilities did not stop and went ahead in drafting their own patents in 1st cycle which even inspired the faculties to aspire ahead and dozen patents were filed and most of the colleges filed patents for the 1st time because of these young folks. The system no more remained top down in terms of learning flow rather faculties started interacting students and SMEs more closely and it started becoming horizontal learning environment.The efficiency went up when students from diversified background , streams and professional background came together from different or same colleges to tackle particular or multiple challenges. Better synergy was harnessed   and the knowledge networks got evolved.  During this whole process some time even the colleges/departments/teams contextually modified the protocols shared by techpedia and university   as they feel it should be and later on such pedagogic efforts   became generic policies at university level too ! Students taught new insights to faculties and faculties to college authorities and university policy makers. It was grassroots level impact which reshaped the innovation process and frameworks. The things made perfect example of journey from public to policies for innovation management within university.
 
Slowly slowly the demand of dedicated  young students for summer visits grew up by the year of 2012 summer visit. While initially students use to struggle to locate a  SME for summer work, now the MSMEs started competing in tapping right talent.  The reverse flow had already triggered. MSMEs noticed that by closely working with the students they could better involve them in their day to day challenges and even benchmark their skills and efficiency. Initially SMEs never got resource to hire perfect talents and larger industries could never locate a right candidate in few minutes interview in general.  Few industry suggested that they would love to hire those students who are doing good efforts in locating IDPs/challenges in summer and trying their best during final year to solve them. It was noticed that some time the academic institute may not posses right kind of equipment infra to support the students but then the MSMEs offered helping hand very generously. It was probably for multiple reasons like not loosing  the right talents  with whom the industries had worked right from defining challenges till prototype making. The MSMEs and even larger units noticed that their transaction cost of hiring a right students after interacting with them intimately  for an year gives them better choice and attrition rate was  seen to be drastically reduced as right students got job at right industry where he/she/they are familiar  with and with right kind of skill sets. This triggered a huge appeal from both academia and industry to further move closure  and an opportunity fair was called by the clusters where students from all 9 colleges and SMEs/industries participated to find perfect matching as per the contextual need. 32 large units and dozen SMEs participated in day 1 and selected 600 students based on their summer IDPs and then 192 students were directly  given jobs based on their contribution and efforts. The young folks and experienced  MSMEs both had a  win-win opportunity and for the 1st time the MSMEs started hiring students based in innovative project works by students. It created huge impact in the mind set of the students and whole academia at large. When the process started  2 years back students were not getting an easy welcome always even if they wished to solve the challenges as a  part of curricula but now the entire process seems reversed.  Not only the MSMEs started coming to class room for locating teams for summer IDP scouting but also started hiring the same teams with very low transaction cost after the final year projects. Students in turn get  a better and practical hand holding at early stage of their innovation.  While 74 %  students took IDPs/challenges based on MSMEs in the 1st year during 2011-2012  around 70 % took them as final year projects again in 2012 with 30 % more students joining the league  within the state . Innovations by above means by students  and efforts are ensuring skill up gradation and  making them better professional graduates. While the country is chasing mirage targets of providing suitable jobs to young graduates and while we have more than 60 % population as youth these emerging pedagogies will certainly make impact to carter the skill  gap and incubate possibilities. Techpedia is trying to take such efforts across space and time so that the real spirit of collaborative learning and co-creation  and sharing with stakeholders within and outside may trigger new waves of changes with inclusive impact and sustainability.

Efforts of Techpedia and GTU Innovation Council bagged ASSOCHAM National Education Excellence Awards 2013 for Innovation

Efforts of Techpedia and GTU Innovation Council bagged ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) National Education Excellence Awards 2013 for making efforts on innovation and for Promoting Industry-Academic Interface . Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor Dr. Akshai Aggarwal, Registrar Dr. Gitesh Joshi and Mr Hiranmay Mahanta , MD Techpedia.in were present to receive the award at New  Delhi, India on 9th of April 2013. Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, the Union HRD Minister-, Govt of India gave away the award. Techpedia and GTU have done pioneering work for forging linkages between industry-academia and innovation. More than 175 patents have been filed by students in UG/PG level during this exercise. The students in Engineering try to solve a real life challenge faced by either formal or informal sector and put 10 months of his academic work to solve it. Many industries have submitted report that they have been benefited in great extent due to this effort. Techpedia started it's activity at grassroots level during 2010-2011 on developing a framework for this and GTU, ( Gujarat Technological University ) made concrete efforts to introduce policy interventions to set this new benchmark.

Meeting of Vice Chancellors, Industry Associations and Leading Entrepreneurs on Introduction to techpedia.in in karnataka

Meeting of Vice Chancellors, Industry Associations and Leading Entrepreneurs on Introduction to techpedia.in and for Finding Innovative Solutions for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Non-formal and Social Sectors through Project Works of Students of Technological University and General Universities.

Road Map

  1. Pooling of the projects done by the PhD, PG, UG and Diploma students during last three years or more will be coordinated by VTU for engineering colleges, Davanagere University for Social Science projects, and DTE for Polytechnics within a month before 31.5.2013.  

Action: Vice Chancellor, VTU, Vice Chancellor, Davanagere University and Director of Technical Education Department to submit the soft copy of all students Thesis/Dissertation/ Project Reports to Principal Secretary Higher Education Department.

  1. Initially the abstracts as per the annexure-1 may be pooled at University Portal as well as techpedia.in. However, eventually we should pool full digital copies of full reports for UG as well as PG level.
  2. Each college will nominate ten best projects in different domains for recognition at the level of University State and at national level.  

Action: HODs of PG Departments of Universities, Registrar of Universities, Principals of Colleges and Polytechnics to constitute a committee and select the ten best projects among all the reports and send the list to concerned VCs/ Director DTE which in turn are sent to Principal Secretary Higher Education Department.  

  1. The outstanding projects selected by committee of experts under VC, VTU and VC  Davanagere will be showcased in an innovation Expo in July every year.

Action: VTU would conduct the Expo after collecting the details of outstanding projects.  

  1. The student teams of all selected projects would be offered financial and mentor support for product development, entrepreneurship development, IP protection and wherever necessary, to showcase in product trade fares.

Action: Higher Education Department to constitute a committee to select projects, map mentors, and training in IP Protection and conduct trade fares.  

  1. The faculty member who has guided these projects will also be recognised and also through commendations recorded in their personal files/service records for future promotion and also encouraged for future participation in conferences arranged locally or abroad.  

Action: Higher education Department will issue a Government Notification in this regard.  

  1. A central innovation management team will be created through a project submitted by Dept of Higher Education to DPAR AR under challenge award scheme. Techpadia.in team will provide the first draft. Continued support for next two years will be provided by SRISTI so that the model will not only become stabilised but also supports other Universities and colleges.  

Action: Convener, e-Governance Unit, Higher Education Department.  

  1. The board of studies of VTU as well as General Universities and DTE will take up specific agenda item for approval to provide i) Credit for defining problems during summer vacation, benchmarking them and prior art search and developing synapses for final year project ii) credit for final year project starting in seventh semester to be completed by eighth semester iii) ultimately up to 24 credits may be provided to project related work. Including internships of six months.  

Action: VC,VTU, VC Davanagere, Director DTE

  1. Identifying the nodal officer in each college and Universities for liaising with MSME social sectors, and other agencies for organising visits of the students and pursuit of their projects.  

Action: Registrars of Universities, Principals of Colleges and Polytechnics  

  1. Central innovation management team will coordinate with ATI to identify the region-specific problems of public delivery systems rural or urban development and other social sectors. These problems will be shared with all the Universities for possible resolution through student project.  

Action: Higher Education Department  

  1. The workshop of the principals and MSME representatives, ATI and Social sector representatives will be organised in early June to create awareness about the goals and implementation issues of techpedia. in.  

Action: Higher Education Department, VTU and SRISTI  

  1. A camp will be organised with the help of IP firms and experts facilitated by SRISTI to file patents for the shortlisted projects of last year and this year. The goal is to file at least 1000 to 2000 patents every year.  

Action: SRISTI  

  1. The gross root innovators as well as other innovators may be appointed as adjunct faculty in various Universities also as to provide first hand exposure to the students and faculty about the innovators to think and act.  

Action: Higher Education Department  

  1. NIF will interact with top 20 or thirty institutions in disciplines such as pharmacy, engineering design, biotechnology, agriculture, etc., to engage them in adding value to the ideas of common people from around the country.  

Action: Dr. Vipin Kumar, CEO, NIF  

Annexure

List of Participants in the Meeting on MSME and techpedia.in at KSHEC on 29.4.2013

Principal Secretaries / Secretaries

  1. Dr. Rajneesh Goel, I.A.S., Principal Secretary, Higher Education Dept. Presided
  2. Dr. Shalini Rajneesh I.A.S., Secretary to Govt. DPAR AR, Bangalore
  3. Prof. K M Kaveriappa, Executive Director, KSHEC, Bangalore

Vice Chancellors of University and Representatives  

  1. Dr. H Maheshappa, VC VTU Belgaum
  2. Dr. Thimme Gowda, B. VC Banagalore University Bangalore.
  3. Dr. S S Murthy, V C Central University, Gulburga.
  4. Prof. S Indumathy, V C Davanagere University, Davanagere
  5. Prof. S A Bari V C Kuvempu University, Shimoga
  6. Dr. Balakrishna Shetty, VC Sri Siddhartha Academy of Higher Education, Tumkur
  7. Dr. Ramachandra Bhat, VC of SVYASA University, Bangalore
  8. Dr. Ambalaki Hiriyanna, VC Folklore University, Shiggao, Haveri Dt.
  9. Dr. Ayyappa, VC Alliance University, Bangalore
  10. Dr. Sandeep Shastri, Pro Vice Chancellor, Jain University, Bangalore
  11. Dr. Ivan Jose, Rep. Christ University, Bangalore
  12. Prof. A H Rajasab, Rep. Guburga University, Gulbarga.
  13. Prof. D S Devaraj Urs, Rep. Mysore University, Mysore
  14. Rep. Horticultural University Bagalkote
  15. Dr N Sahay, Rep VTU Belgaum
  16. Prof. S K Muttagi, VTU, Bangalore
  17. Dr. Dinesh Rangappa, VTU Bangalore
  18. Dr. R Venkataram, VTU Bangalore
  19. Dr. B Shantha Kumar VTU Bangalore
  20. Dr. S Yathiraj, Dean, Veterinary College, Bangalore Rep. KVAFS University, Bidar

Representatives of Important Organisations  

  1. Prof. Anil Kumar Gupta, IIMA, Ahmedabad
  2. Dr. Vipin Kumar, CIO and Director, NIF,
  3. Mr. Hiranmay Mahanta, Coordinator, techpedia.in SRISTI, Bangalore
  4. Mr. Panduranga Shetty, RV Group of Institutions, Bangalore
  5. Mr. Sangeeth Verghese, World Economic Forum, Bangalore
  6. Prof. T N Prakash, University of Agriculture Sciences, Bangalore
  7. Prof. M K Shridhar, Canara Bank School of Management BUB Bangalore
  8. Mr. Chetan Dixit, Rep. Karnataka State Innovation Council, Bangalore  

Heads and Representatives of Industry Associations

  1. Mr. Lokraj, Secretary, FKCCI, Bangalore
  2. Mr. J R Bangera Former President, FKCCI, Bangalore
  3. Mr. J Crasta, co-Chairman, ASSOCHAM, Bangalore

Representatives of Industries and Entrepreneurs 

  1. Mr. Rajkumar, R S, Bosch Rexroth Ltd., Bangalore
  2. Mr. Srinivasa Bidare, Chairman, Intent Design and Research Solutions, Bangalore
  3. Mr. R A Srinivas, Webb India Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore
  4. Mr. Parabrahman, Ex Chairman of CII, Bangalore
  5. Mr. Venkatesh Kumar, Director, Intent Design and Research Solutions, Bangalore  

Govt of Karnataka Representatives 

  1. Deputy General Manager, KSSIDC, Bangalore
  2. Mr. N Chandrasekhar, Rep. Secretariat Commerce and Industries Department
  3. Dr. M N Karur, Rep of Commissioner for Industries Development and Director of Industries and Commerce Bangalore
  4. Dr. Bhagyalakshmi B L, Director, Collegiate Education Department, Bangalore
  5. Mr. H U Talwar, Director, DTE, Bangalore
  6. Mr. Vishnu R Gangal, Advisor, TECSOK, Bangalore
  7. Prof. Nataraj Urs, Joint Director, DCE, Bangalore
  8. Prof. Seema, Regional Joint Director DCE, Bangalore
  9. Mr. U B Ulavi, Deputy Secretary, (Universities), Higher Education, Dept. Bangalore
  10. Mr. Prakash Kesarkar, Under Secretary to Govt., H. E. Dept. Bangalore.
  11. Mr C R Francis, Convener, e-Governance Unit, Higher Education Department
  12. Dr. Sharan C Padashetti, Coordinator, SPFU, TEQIP DTE, Bangalore
  13. Dr. N H Siddalinga Swamy, DTE, Bangalore
  14. Mr. Chandra Mohan, SPFU, DTE, Bangalore  

Principals of TEQIP Engineering Colleges  

  1. Dr. K Mallikarjuna Babu Principal BMS College, Bangalore
  2. Dr. G L Shekar, Principal, National Institute of Engineering, Mysore
  3. Mr. Lakshminarayana, Director, NIE, Mysore
  4. Dr. M N Channabasappa, Director, SIT, Tumkur
  5. Dr. Shivakumaraiah, Principal, SIT, Tumkur
  6. Dr. S V Dinesh, SIT, Tumkur
  7. Dr. B R Umakant Chief Executive (Project), Jayachamarajendra College of Eng. Mysore
  8. Dr. G M Shashidhara, Rep. Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering Mysore
  9. Dr. M K veeraiah Principal Sri Siddhartha Institute of Technology, Tumkur
  10. Dr. S Mohan Kumar Principal, SDM College of Engineering and Technology, Dharwad
  11. Dr. B S Sathyanarayana Princiapal, R V College of Engineering, Bangalore
  12. Dr. S S Hebbal, Principal, PDA College of Engineering, Gulburga
  13. Dr. S Y Kulkarni, Principal MS Ramiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore
  14. Dr. R N Herkal, Principal, Basaveshvara Engineering College Bagalkote
  15. Dr. S S Injaganeri, TEQIP Coordinator, Basaveshvara Engineering College, Bagalkot
  16. Dr. C Nanjunda Swamy, Principal Dr Abedkar Institute of Technology, Bangalore
  17. Dr. Ramatal, Principal, SKSJTI, Bangalore
  18. Dr. M B Patil, SKSJTI, Bangalore
  19. Dr. V Sridhar, Principal, PES College of Engineering Mandya
  20. Dr. P Deepa Shenoy, UVCE, Bangalore Dr C K Umesh, UVCE Bangalore
  21. Dr. M L Sudheer, UVCE, Bangalore
  22. Dr. K N B Murthy, PESIT Bangalore

 

 

Techpedia extended support to Dpt of Higher Education, Karnataka for harnessing innovative potential of youth

DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION, GOVERNMENT OF KARNATKA

 

HARNESSING INNOVATIVE POTENTIAL OF YOUTH

 

Meeting of Principals of Engineering Colleges, First Grade Colleges and Polytechnics   on Establishing Innovation Clubs for Finding Innovative Solutions for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Non-formal and Social Sectors through Project Works of Students of Technological University , General Universities and Polytechnics.

*****

Participants Present: List is enclosed in Annexure.

Innovation is the driving force of national economic through creation of  new wealth by promoting entrepreneurships in the country. In continuation with the meeting of all the Vice Chancellor of Universities in Karnataka, Heads of Industry Associations and some entrepreneurs last month one more meeting of all Principals of colleges and polytechnics in Bangalore was called to introduce them to the  roadmap for establishing Innovation clubs in Universities, colleges and polytechnics by Prof. Anil Kumar Gupta of IIM Ahmedabad. The constitution and establishment of innovation clubs was expected to be an important outcome. Prof K M Kaveriappa, Executive Director, Higher Education Council welcomed the Principal secretary and all the principals present and requested Principal Secretary to chair the meeting and conduct the proceedings. Principal Secretary thanked all the Principals for heeding to the call despite short notice and for assembling in large numbers. He specifically asked whether there are any issues that they wanted to express and needed to be addressed by the Government. Some of the Principals mentioned that there is a need for training the new incumbents to teaching profession; lack of permission from industries as well as the university for students’ project works in industry; and need for curriculum restructuring providing scope for creativity and experiential learning rather than overemphasising memory based learning and evaluation; need for introducing self learning and problem solving for which short semesters can be introduced. Principal Secretary briefed about the special purpose of calling the meeting and the need for thinking innovatively to usher in era of innovation by incorporating the innovative activities towards solving persistent problems and long standing issues in the society involving the youth by harnessing their innovative potentials. He requested Prof Anil Kumar Gupta, faculty, IIM, Ahmedabad, to address the Principals about the roadmap and tasks to be undertaken for establishing the Innovation Clubs in higher educational institutions.

Prof Anil Kumar Gupta while addressing  the Principals of various colleges in Bangalore emphasised that in order to unleash the growth impulses in the industrial and social sectors, promotion of innovation is inevitable. The innovations can be triggered by the MSME Entrepreneurs, officers in Public Administration, local bodies, various developmental agencies, communities and individuals.   Many of these innovations do not get further developed for want of technical or institutional support.   At the same time, there are a lot of unmet needs or technological institutional challenges of these sectors which have not been addressed for want of strong linkages between academia, industry, social sectors and public administration.

In this context, Prof Gupta reiterated the need for transforming the current approach of project work to avoid  repetitive projects far removed from the problems and issues of the real world.  The useful projects are also not  made available for the benefit of needy MSME entrepreneurs, communities and society at large. He wanted that no student should do what has already been done before, should focus on innovative and challenging problems that have remained unsolved for long.  The  premium on originality has to be thus  high. He also regretted that  even the solutions found elsewhere are not available when we want and where we want them as there is no database of such solutions or projects  in the State.  The problems encountered both in urban and rural areas are aplenty and crying for urgent solutions. Problems of siltation of tanks, sanitation, energy conservation,  sustainability are perennially afflicting our rural society. Similarly solid waste disposal, waste segregation, transportation, water scarcity and efficient energy utilization are haunting the urban society. He insisted on engaging the young students of Technological and General Universities, and also polytechnics to solve the persistent problems of MSMEs, Social Sector or Public Delivery Systems, and called upon authorities of Government and the Universities to reorient the Higher Education to make it more productive and purposeful.

He briefed about his experience in Gujarat where the initiative of www.techpedia.in developed by SRISTI provides a platform for building linkages between msme and developmental sector and academic institutions through GTU. The vibrant inclusive innovation eco-system requires challenging the youth  in the Higher Education to identify the problems, try to benchmark them and eventually attempt solutions for improving productivity, generating employment, conserving environment and improving the general well-being of the Society. This effort is noteworthy wherein 10000 real life problems of MSMEs were identified by GTU students during summer visit to MSME clusters and solved in situ by around  30000 students of engineering colleges and published on website.

It is proposed, therefore that the students of Technical Universities as well as General Universities are mobilised to identify unsolved social and industrial problems as a part of their curriculum and encouraged to attempt solutions through mentoring and guidance by faculty and industries in their final year project work.

There are about 4.5 lakh MSME units across 30 districts of the State, whose problems and innovations have to be spotted and supported with technical solutions. There are 220 technical colleges, 291 polytechnics and more than 2,000 general colleges. The students of Technical Colleges will visit the MSME clusters, social sector departments/agencies, rural and urban local bodies to identify the problems during summer vacation.  They will benchmark these and try to work upon them in the final year.

Each college will have an innovation club to pursue four goals i.e. search, spread, sense and celebrate.  The Hon'ble President of India has already launched such a National Innovation  Club at Nagaland Central University that has provided a direction to the nation. In this decade of innovation, National Innovation Council, National Innovation Foundation and voluntary organisations such as SRISTI have taken upon themselves a challenge of engaging youth for social and industrial reconstruction.  Each Innovation Club, therefore, will become a hub for searching creative solutions and  innovations in their hinterland. They will spread existing innovations in those regions; they will sense the unsolved problems and challenges in the industrial and social sectors. They will also celebrate the outstanding achievements in various sectors by inviting achievers to the colleges and learning from their life struggles, to get inspired to innovate in solving social and economic problems. Some of the members of the Innovation Club may also become Entrepreneurs by taking up the technological innovations to the next level. The mentoring of these Clubs will be done locally by the colleges and centrally by a Central Innovation Management Committee (CIMC)at the State level in the Department of Higher Education.

The initiatives for innovation are being spearheaded through the National Innovation Council chaired by Mr. Sam Petroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister, National Innovation Foundation, chaired by Dr. R. M. Mashelkar and organisations like SRISTI, Honeybee Network. Prof. Anil Gupta, Faculty at IIM, Ahmedabad, member of the National Innovation Council and the Executive Vice-Chair for National Innovation Foundation has taken personal interest to replicate the experience of techpedia.in implemented in Gujarat for building similar linkages in Karnataka through SRISTI, techpedia.in.   While in Gujarat, they had focussed only on linking technical colleges with the MSME Clusters, in Karnataka, the Government proposes to link technical as well as general colleges with not only MSME clusters, but also with social sectors. The Government believes that innovations have to be promoted in all sectors of Society and involvement of youth will bring freshness in approach and an irreverential attitude towards the persistent inertia in various sectors.

The key advantages of linking academia industries and social sectors are:

a) Promotion of originality so that no student does what has been done before;

b) Connecting the unsolved problems of MSME, public delivery systems, grassroots innovators, informal sectors with the Technical and General Universities;

c) Redefining the current systems of minor and major projects so that students get credit for not only identifying the problems and benchmarking them but also for addressing them in a most affordable manner;

d) Harness collaborative potential of students across disciplines, departments, colleges, and sectors;

e) Recognising that one team of students may not develop a complete solution in one or two terms, developing a relay model of project development so that two or three teams over two or three years in same college or different college may develop a concept into usable product of or service;

f) Challenge can be posed to the students emanating from industries and other segment of societies, public systems, etc., for which attractive rewards can be announced;

g) The aspirations should be to develop this platform as a potential hub for global outsourcing of high-tech problems in future. A mentoring network will have to be developed to guide the students particularly in those colleges where adequate faculty competence may not exist in the specific problem areas. Mentors from public and private sectors can be invited to not only guide students but also to offer their facilities for experimentation and solving the problems.

Student should be encouraged to develop IP protected solutions as well as open source solutions. A fund may be created to support protection of IP, acquisition of IP to make it open source for social and industrial applications; to incubate student ideas which can become enterprises, and pooling of various related project ideas into new products and services.

The innovations can take place not only in technological fields but also in social, economical, cultural, educational and institutional fields. First Grade colleges must be encouraged to develop innovative approaches to solve persistent socio-cultural problems. Various faculties can create entrepreneurial opportunities for artists, teachers, artisans, mechanics, and herbal healers through appropriate mechanism of value adding and value creation.

On the pattern of National Innovation Club all the colleges are required to establish innovation clubs (with proper Kannada word) to primarily pursue four goals, namely,

a)     Searching innovative ideas in public service system, MSME, Panchayats, farming/fishing communities, social sectors etc. These innovations should be benchmarked with prior knowledge and practices so as to identify unique contributions.

b)     Spreading innovations: the students will share existing solutions within the state as well as outside by common people, NGOs, or other institutions including state government to trigger experimentation, infuse enthusiasm for self-reliant innovation based entrepreneurial development,

c)      Sensing and benchmarking unsolved social or technological problems: It is crucial to map such problems  in MSME, farms, homes, communities, delivery systems etc., to reinforce the  the ability of younger generation to innovate and not live with unsolved problems indefinitely. Without benchmarking, aspirations will not rise and willingness to accept innovations may also not rise.

d)     Celebrate: assumption is that there are outstanding teachers, public officials, farmers, artisans, entrepreneurs or even traders who have brought about some extraordinary social change in the local region through own individual or collaborative efforts. Our society did not develop a culture of celebrating achievements of   local change agents till outsiders do it. This has to change. Each academic institution will invite such social and technological and entrepreneurial change agents and  innovators  to colleges and hear their stories, offer them token recognition, citation or a shawl or express gratitude and thus create a positive feeling of recognising unsung heroes of our society.

Prof Gupta identified the following tasks for Vice Chancellor of Universities and all Principals towards establishing Innovation clubs in their respective University or colleges, namely,

  1. Vice Chancellor of each University shall appoint a University Nodal Officer for managing University Innovations club and coordinate activities of College innovation clubs, and all Principals shall appoint a College Nodal officer for establishing and managing the activities of College Innovation Clubs in the colleges.
  2. Identifying the nodal officer in each college and Universities for liaising with MSME social sectors, and other agencies for organising visits of the students and pursuit of their projects. The Nodal Officers shall work with Panchayats, local bodies, District Commissioners, Secretaries of Zilla Panchayats, social delivery systems, artisans, MSMEs, during summer vacation and visit the individuals, communities and the authorities to explore their real life problems, social problems, economic problems, managerial problems, and technical problems. The identified problems will be pooled and a group of students would be assigned to study the problems vis avis current literature and patents.
  3. Universities shall set aside funds for Innovations at Universities and college level.
  4. The University Innovation Nodal Officer in collaboration with Registrar Evaluation of respective University shall pool all the projects done by the PhD, PG, UG and Diploma students during last three years or more will be coordinated by VTU for engineering colleges, Davanagere University for Social Science projects, and DTE for Polytechnics before 31.5.2013.
  5. The board of studies of VTU as well as General Universities and DTE will take up specific agenda item for approval to provide i) Credit for defining problems during summer vacation, benchmarking them and prior art search and developing synapses for final year project ii) credit for final year project starting in seventh semester to be completed by eighth semester iii) ultimately up to 24 credits may be provided to project related work. Including internships of six months.
  6. Universities shall hold a meeting of joint board of studies to work out the mode and means of including innovative project works and credits to be awarded for each of stage namely problem identification and synopsis writing with the help of mentors and guides and finally for project work in the final year.
  7. The university shall map and enlist all the mentors and guides along with their areas of expertise and interest, college-wise and discipline-wise, so that pool of expertise from different places and colleges would be available for the inquisitive students for mentoring and guiding their project work.
  8. There shall be faculty defined problems and student defined problems that can be taken up for project work with the cooperation of guides and mentors.
  9. Each college will nominate ten best projects in different domains for recognition at the level of University, State and at National Level.
  10. The outstanding projects selected by committee of experts under VC VTU and VC  Davanagere will be showcased in an innovation Expo in July every year.
  11. The student teams of all selected projects would be offered financial and mentor support for product development, entrepreneurship development, IP protection and wherever necessary, to showcase in product trade fares.
  12. The faculty member who has guided these projects will also be recognised and also through commendations recorded in their personal files/service records for future promotion and also encouraged for future participation in conferences arranged locally or abroad.
  13. The grassroots innovators as well as other innovators may be appointed as adjunct faculty in various Universities also as to provide first hand exposure to the students and faculty about the innovators to think and act.
  14. The workshop of the principals and MSME representatives, ATI and Social sector representatives will be organised in early June to create awareness about the goals and implementation issues of techpedia. in.
  15. A camp will be organised with the help of IP firms and experts facilitated by SRISTI to file patents for the shortlisted projects of last year and this year. The goal is to file at least 1000 to 2000 patents every year.

Prof S C Sharma, Vice Chairman, KSHEC, suggested that there are a large number of sick units in the State and the problems plaguing these sick industries also can be studied by a group of students especially from group of students from engineering background in an interdisciplinary approach.

Mr Ramsubramanian mentioned that his organisation works in collaboration with the most of colleges under VTU and has established Innovation Centres in many colleges and he would be glad to work together joining hands with techpedia.in and State agency in promoting innovation culture.

Principal Secretary directed both the Innovation Officer of VTU and Director DTE to immediately hand over and upload the soft copies of abstracts of theses, dissertations and projects works carried out by students during the last three years.

The meeting ended with thanks to Chair and all the Principals.

 

(Dr. RAJNEESH GOEL) 

Principal Secretary to Government

Higher Education Department

University Innovation Framework, Karnataka : Recommendation from Team Techpedia

University Innovation Framework, Karnataka :Recommendation from Team Techpedia  

1.1         Define Stakeholders

1.2         Policy Interventions by higher authorities of industry and academia

1.3         Ecosystem/Knowledge network creation within university framework

1.4         Fixing Time line /deigning academic  calendar design by university to accommodate the proposed linkages

1.5         Sustainable Incentive mechanism ( e.g. academic credits for solving challenges for students at GTU, financial incentives at PTU)

1.6         Role Segregation and definition among  various layers of stakeholders at university

1.7         Policy  execution Process at college  and university level

1.8         Benchmarking Process ( periodic evaluation of innovations and innovation management process)

1.9         Designing University based  ICT based virtual knowledge management tool

1.10      Mobilizing internal resources within academic framework: Setting dedicated team for managing innovation activities at University level.

1.11      Harnessing Existing academic administrators  associated with the University: can be assigned honorary assignments to coordinate prescribed activities.

 

Innovation Cycle at University level involving final year students

April-May, 2013
Policy Intervention & Contextual Innovation Framework design for universities
June-July, 2013
Industrial Shodh Yatra/ Visit to MSME clusters or Social Sectors, farms, Allocation of Mentors & Guides from Academia & Industry
August-November, 2013 (Penultimate Semester)
Innovation Process Design, Synopsis Design, Developing implementation plan jointly with MSME & Faculty Guide and benchmarking, prior art search
December 2013
Examination (Winter Industrial visits, Optional)
January -May, 2014
Actual Idea Implementation, Prototype to Product Design, IPR & Design process, Periodic Handholding Support from Industry & Academia
June-July, 2014
Final Benchmarking of each Innovation award exhibition, Pooling of Innovation and putting on ICT platform, Selection Innovations for furthering “KHO-KHO” Model, Exploring possibilities of technology transfer, student startups & other opportunities

Stakeholders

  1. DTE (Directorate of Technical Education)
  2. Department of Industries/MSMEs
  3. Vice Chancellor, Registrar & Controller of Examination of University
  4. Deans of University
  5. Board of Studies
  6. Individual college principals
  7. National Innovation Club at each college, Student Members & Faculty Members
  8. Industry Clusters/Chambers
  9. Placement Officers/ College Level Skill development authorities/ Industry-Institute Coordinator/ Entrepreneur cell coordinator/ Student Council Faculty advisors
  10. Head of the Departments
  11. Dedicated University based team for managing the innovation process
  12. Informal sector & Grassroots innovators
  13. Public institutions & social organizations
  14. Policy Makers

 Phase I: April-May, 2013

Execution Process

  1. A workshop with state education, Industry department, concerned VC & Registrar to Implement the suggested Innovation framework involving various stakeholders
  2. Notification from DTE/ University to colleges and departments and from the state Industry departments to MSME clusters and allied Industry bodies/ Chambers.

a)      State depts.: Education & industry are required to intimate the universities and all industry clusters before industrial visit of university students in summer. Grassroots efforts will strengthen the college level efforts but a focused and well planned top down directive helps in quicker and better implementation.

  1. Vice Chancellor/ Registrar arranging a meeting with University Deans, Controller of Examination to explore ways of Implementation within existing academic calendar of Final year students

    1. Different university have different academic frameworks of functioning and hence contextual strategy is to be developed for particular university and while introducing innovation as final year project work. A detailed feasibility analysis has to be done involving developing guidelines for examination of problem solving projects. At the end of the day, these projects need to be evaluated like any other academic subjects and it should fit into the current calendar.

 

  1. University authorities & Board of Studies to discuss and allocate academic credits for the final year students for their innovation work – problem/project identification, synopsis & prototype development, final semester project implementation, examination scheme for project evaluation, academic hour allocation to students for industry visit every week/month and providing handholding support for ongoing projects.

    1. Students generally prefer non-monetary academic incentives.  They have done projects more seriously when they were awarded academic credits for i) scouting problems in summer and ii) trying to solve them in final year. In some cases incentives like supporting of rewarding selected meritorious  projects at university level have also been given. In this case this selective approach helps certain group of students .
    2. Notification is must from university authorities to all college principals of Engineering, Diploma, Pharmacy, MCA & allied sectors explaining the  execution protocol for the entire university based innovation cycle.

      1.  While initiating  new mechanism, clarity is required among  all college level authorities. As the program affects many students across batches, so cooperation between all administrative and academic stakeholders at a college level is necessary. Periodic workshop chaired by top policymakers of the university before and during summer visit of students is required. Slowly the process gets systematized. MSMEs and others will show very little voluntary interest in the beginning. But by sharing the success stories belief in the process can be enhanced. Some MSME entrepreneurs may even discourage the students from visiting their units due to unfavorable past experience, or being busy with their work or having no faith in the ability of students in solving their problems. Some in Gujarat had even put noticeboard few years ago mentioning that students were not welcome to enter their premises. Things have, of course, eventually changed.
      2. One-day workshop of all concerned principals to brainstorm, understand & design strategies for implementing the above execution protocol.
      3. Principals & college authorities to communicate with nearby Industry/MSMEs clusters/chambers about the university strategy and organize meeting with industry leaders to share the same with the MSME units/Social Organizations in the vicinity.

        1. This is crucial and physical meetings with nearby MSME clusters before summer visits by students is necessary.  Some industry chamber/cluster/innovators should be invited to colleges and explain future course of action. The Principals have to take a call for this.
        2. The Principals of the college have to take all the faculty members in confidence about the proposed interaction between academia and industry or informal sector. A hands-on workshop may be organized for linking all the final year students with different industrial units or villages for their Summer Industrial Visits or learning expeditions.

          1. Responsibility and monitoring is to be democratized at department level and each HOD and faculty guide is expected to be in touch with their teams for handholding in case of need, right from problem identification, writing synopsis, doing literature review and prior arts search, to developing a solution or at least a proof of concept. Even getting feedback of user from MSME or informal or public sector will be necessary for the purpose.  This challenge can be addressed if institutional heads involve departmental colleagues in developing a clear strategy with definition of precise roles.
          2. A workshop may be arranged involving all the pre-final year students to explain the above process and make them mentally ready for the summer industrial visit for locating a challenge/ opportunity of innovation in product/ process based on a user or multiple users like MSMEs, Industrial units, social challenges, Grassroots Innovation, panchayats, public systems  & others. Clarifying all the FAQs and assigning pre-final year students to each faculty  of the concerned department will be necessary to have clear responsibility structure.
          3. HODs & Faculty members along with the students will prepare a format for documenting the Industrial/Social challenges (university may provide a generic format which can be contextually modified). Students and faculty guides have to form teams and locate a particular unit and keep the corresponding HODs informed. The HODs and the leaders of local industry clusters may monitor and mentor and extend a  helping hand to the students who may find it difficult to locate a suitable unit as per their skill and area of interest. Each college has to allocate one faculty who can monitor and take suitable measures based on the need when the industrial or rural visits for locating industrial/social  challenge take place. Despite all the circulars, clarifications and sharing information, there will be cases where one or the other reason will come in the way of students developing rapport with the specific entrepreneurs or village panchayat leaders or grassroots innovator or any other social organization.

Initially the MSMEs and others may not cooperate a lot. But this reluctance can be overcome through a department level strategy. Generally the academic decision takes time but the final year project concept is not new and hence a faster decision on summer industrial visit and credit allocation by University may ensure a good success. Though linking all final year students to an MSME/grassroots problem  seems challenging but more than 50 % students found an MSME of their own and college authorities must take help of local industry cluster to take care of others

Phase – II June-July, 2013

Process of Industrial learning expedition / Summer Visit

  1. Each college will help its student to locate MSME/ Industrial unit or social organization/ Grassroots Innovators  for scouting a challenge on which they will work individually or in a team during the final year project in pre-final & final year semester.

    1. Some units/MSMEs may show reluctance to let the students access their day to day process but here a proper clarity and information sharing can serve the purpose. The confidence of MSME entrepreneur can be gained be through a NDA (Non-Disclosure agreement) form designed by University.  Each student can sign it and it can be countersigned by industry before industrial visits. This will prevent apprehension about any loss of  IP. It can be made very clear that all the contributors to  the projects will mutually decide the IP aspects in case of need.  We have seen majority of MSMEs/Innovators do not bother about such issues and generously helped thousands of students during our past two  year experience but still clarity in the process may make it more efficient. We have even seen units/MSMEs sharing their challenges openly expecting teams from multiple colleges/universities taking  them as project to share multiple solutions. Some entrepreneurs  do not mind in keeping the challenges and solutions both as open source knowledge in public domain.
    2. Each team of student has to go for a summer visit to find a challenge/ opportunity for  attempting innovative problem solution  and intimate his/her/their HOD or Project guide. While the students will be going to particular unit:  MSME clusters or rural sites or farms, departmental HOD/Principal/similar authority may give a letter addressing the MSME/Industry and mentioning the purpose and exact support required to help students.

At initial stage students may get moderate welcome from the approached units but here faculty guide will play crucial role. Not all teams are required to get a challenge anchored in a MSME and take it as final year project next year. In some cases students may define the challenges from experience from faculty guides and innovators. The stress could be given to locate a technical challenge by students from any user and then take it as project in consultation with the HOD/Faculty guide. Students must be encouraged to take real life projects unless they wish to push a technological edge. That much flexibility should be there. After taking up a challenge, if a team drops an idea or takes a new one then also protocols can be set to provide this flexibility. Idea is  not to suppress the creativity of young teams and a sample guideline regarding the same is attached in the annexure: execution protocol sample.

  1.  Multiple teams may be allowed a single challenge in case of need as per the approval of HOD & guide. ( policy level guidelines for these are to be set so that students will have better clarity)

Much of the execution protocols can be left in the hand of student teams/faculty guides /HODs so that it will smoothen the process and faculty and students can focus on innovation rather than process formalities. The University may issue central guidelines but should provide flexibility to colleges and HoD or faculty guide for modifying the terms of the project depending upon specific context. The Feedback forms should be designed in such a way that different stakeholders can access them and draw appropriate lesson for improvements. The process should be specified for  project allocation and it monitoring at various stages, tracking progress of team work, grievance redressal related to the project work, project changes, industry interactions and local level handholding etc. In case of non-availability of local mentors the teams and guides can locally manage while exploring support system in consultation with the dept.

  1. Individual College may invite industry persons/ Innovators to their departments to share their need so that students may be able to better understand their needs and take their final year project.

Phase – III August – November, 2013

  1. Students are expected to submit the definition of the problem /project within 15 Days of beginning of the semester to the Head of the Department or faculty guide concerned and send a copy to the industry entrepreneur / user whose problem has been selected. All these problem definitions are to be uploaded on innovation portal along with the team details. Central innovation management spearhead (CIMS) team in the university is to monitor the process of submission of all these summer industrial/informal sector  based problem definition via University portal. The authenticity and originality of the defined challenge is to be verified by guides/HOds.

    1. There may be cases  where students may not take genuine challenge but it can be checked only at department level and departments must ensure this to  improve the projects for next year /final year.
    2. Each team has to present the problem definition in front of the whole class so that possibilities of convergence  can be explored. In some cases, the teams can be merged or rearranged. Final year students are to be trained in prior art search so that while presenting their synopsis based upon industrial challenge they can understand and improve the novelty of each innovation.
    3. As per the university calendar dedicated time will be given to the students every week to go and interact with their corresponding industries keeping their faculty guides in loop.

Here the Board of Studies has to carefully allocate number  of hours for industry-student interaction per week so that students can focus and get mentored by MSME mentors. A check mechanism of this process is to be designed and implemented at college level.

  1. During this semester all teams will finalize plan of action, prior art search, improvement based upon industrial feedback and prototype development.

Individual department at college level must keep a continuous evaluation process as per their suitability to track  the progress to  ensure regular progress by each team. Internal faculty guide/examiner may share/comment on these during the final examinations. This will add seriousness to the contribution by every team, and they will improve their efforts and outputs.

  1. Colleges may invite the representatives of contextual MSMEs/ Industries/ innovators/ Social Organizations to classrooms to address the students and monitor the progress of the project.

Many colleges/departments invite the MSMEs/Innovators periodically to every class room to strengthen industrial connectivity. It is in parallel and local units/innovators/MSMEs come to know across the hunger for innovation and start creating linkages and support systems. In few turns we have seen MSMEs coming to campus to select students and invite for summer visits to their floors/MSMEs. We have seen drastic change in the mindset of the students /faculties within two  cycles of our efforts since 2011 and even industries have come forward to support the teams at various stages. Sustainable linkages and engagements with local units/users/MSMEs will help in great manner. Some students may engage with larger cooperation and industries away from locality and that can be welcomed too from policy level.

  1. 6.     Each innovation club coordinator in every college will share the periodic progress/ needs to central team of innovation management (CIMS) at university level. This can be shared at dedicated innovation portal of the university and others. Lateral learning opportunities from these best practices can be encouraged among students within and outside the colleges.  
  1. 7.     Phase IV – December-January, 2013-14
  2. The Standard of innovations will depend on the quality of benchmarking process for each single idea/ problem definition. Hence, the university will nominate both external & internal evaluators from industries & academia to evaluate the progress of the innovation and extend suggestions to take it to product level.  A criteria of evaluation is to be designed by university authority pertaining to various sectors and shared with every guide (Both Internal & External) who will evaluate the project.

Accommodating external mentors/examiners in examination process may be challenging in terms of scale of requirement but if a proper record of industry mentors is kept right from summer visits then it can be done by the controller of exams and council of Deans. We have seen this disruptive measure bringing out significant results and inculcating innovation spirit with more sincerity among students. A proper benchmarking process for these final year projects will further improve the novelty.

  1. The University authorities have to map available experts from academia, Industry and public systems for submitted project/ problem synopsis to ensure evaluation by suitable mentor and suggest improvement for every project.
  2. Feedback from internal evaluator is to be collected for each team of project and submitted to the university, which can be taken into account as per the policy.

After  sharing the feedbacks with concerned teams, we have seen even greater interest among  students for  further improving their projects. Generally we have seen students do not get right amount of time to show case their real efforts of whole semester during this examination process and also some time the examiners are not from the same field in which students are working even though they may be in same department. Hence university authority must make it a major point to ensure the selection of the right mentors/external examiners to  match  the project domain  of the students. The students feel very encouraged when they see university-making efforts to evaluate  their projects fairly. The examiners are expected not only to examine the progress in consultation with the periodic evaluation recorded by internal guides but they should also  give suggestions to the teams to take the projects  to product level wherever feasible.

  1. After the examinations, the teams may again go to the original industry/ innovator and present the progress report. They can take the industrial feedback for future modifications and come with a plan by the beginning of the final semester of final year.

Phase V – Jan -May, 2014

  1. In the beginning of the semester the students will again present their action plans to the class and start working for making product from prototype. More times will be allocated to every team as per the university calendar every week so that they can frequently interact with the user/industry/MSME/Grassroots Innovators/public systems.
  2. During this phase the industry/farming/social organization  representatives  may be frequently invited. The  university  may also organize IPR workshops and link the teams with  design and fabrication support. Each team will try their best in converting their prototype to the product. Even if 10 % of the team make a useable product, it would be a great contribution.

University may set a dedicated resource/fund for supporting good innovations for filing patents/design and other similar help. University may have a mechanism to select good projects and then give support system. SRISTI’s techpedia.in will also like to upload all the projects so pursued and select the outstanding ones for Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Award. This year almost one fourth  of the awardees have received some offer of support for scaling up.

  1. 3.     During this phase FDP ( Faculty Development Programs) for strengthening  the capabilities of faculty  could be very helpful.

       4.     Phase VI – June-July, 2014

1)      Again during the final project evaluation both the external and internal evaluators have to benchmark the innovations carefully and help in selecting the good innovations.  Each team will present in front of their batch and present to pre final year batch also. This will help pre-final students in preparing for their  industrial/rural  visits after their examinations.

2)      Feedbacks for each team taken formally from evaluators may be shared with the university controller of examination. The analysis of the feedback will help selecting the best ones. Possibility of IPR/technology transfer and triggering student start-ups based on these solutions are to be explored at both central level of the university innovation council and at college level.

3)      All the final year projects are to be pooled centrally online at university level and abstracts are to be shared in public domain( at university level as well as at Techpedia.in level for national benchmarking.  Based on the feedback the projects which are to be allowed as kho-kho / relay during next academic year are to be short listed so that semi complete projects can be taken to the next stage of product development. They may become full fledged products after a  after few cycles of relay based projects at the same college or different colleges. The pass out students may keep tracking their projects if they are further taken ahead within or outside the same college. Student should be encouraged to submit full report in the university level repository. The abstracts may be shared with national repository at sristi, that is techpedia.in. Full reports may be shared for the projects nominated for Gandhian young tech innovation awards.

4)      Innovation exhibitions/ University awards for best innovations are to be given away to create further incentive and motivation. Every year the novelty will go up and it will set a culture. Commendation should follow for faculty and students along with other supportive stakeholders lie IP experts/designers/fabricators/NGOs/NGIs etc., in the cases of outstanding projects.

Setting up local chapter of National Innovation Club , VTU Karnataka

 

Setting up local chapter of National Innovation Club 

To harness the creative potential of youth, each college under VTU may  form  a team of students and faculty members to set up a National Innovation Club. The club will coordinate all the local activities related to innovation at college level. A vibrant knowledge Network has to be created across sectors and space in the state of Karnataka. Primarily the clubs will pursue four functions: [a] search, [b] spread, [c] sense and [d] celebrate creativity and innovation in the region. VTU will implement such an innovation model comprising its four lac plus students and faculty  members  across the state that almost every student will be inspired to do something new. Each National Innovation Club at college level will adopt and adapt these guidelines and execute in their college.  In case innovation clubs want to take up additional activities, they should feel free to do so. They can take up value addition in local ideas, test some of the innovations, modify the design or cover the whole value chain of Innovation including student based entrepreneurship. The club may also extend its efforts and include activities like skill development and other complementary activities. Some colleges may have already industry-institute cell or support system for innovation/design/entrepreneurship and similar activities. These teams and coordinators of the ongoing activities which already exist within the college  can also be taken into the Innovation team so that they can contribute meaningfully for the goals of these clubs.

VTU will issue a notification to all colleges to set up these innovation clubs by 16th May 2013.

General Guidelines for setting up National Innovation Club at Every VTU College:

1)      Each club will have an executive committee (EC) mentored or guided by a faculty member/s.

2)      The Executive Committee will have students of various branches/batches  as members.

3)      Faculty members: As far as possible, each branch will have one faculty member in the advisory Committee.

4)      Student members: Ideally, there should be one student from each branch and batch i.e. from mechanical engineering, there will be four students from each batch or year, first, second, third and fourth year.  The nominated students should be active in related activities and not necessarily based on their academic performance. Idea is to promote their innovative thinking and leadership skills.

5)      Industry members/external members: Principal /Director of the college may nominate some active local industry members, innovators, entrepreneurs, grassroots innovators, policymakers or representative of organisations related to innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry chamber as a member of the advisory club.

The members of the executive committee at a college will be nominated by the Principal/Director of the College. The Training and Placement Officer of the College, faculty from industry-institute interaction cell, alumni cell or similar authority from college associated with innovation/R&D may be a member of the Club. The Principal/ Director will be the patron of the Club. The coordinator of the innovation club will execute all the activities in consultation with various stakeholders and play crucial role not only in the club but also in entire innovation framework at VTU.  

Activities of Club 

The list of the Club members is to be sent to the concerned authority at VTU.  To coordinate these activities of the club, each College is required to publish the list along with their contact detail at their own website. VTU will also publish the name/contact detail of each coordinator of innovation club in all the affiliated colleges.  This will help forge lateral linkages between Innovation Clubs and industry clusters, social organizations, communities, public systems and within various innovation clubs too. The best practices of each innovation club along with activities/achievements may be published on the web link of the club in each college. VTU may design a separate web section on its website where the activities and other things may be highlighted from all clubs so that others will know and try to contextually replicate the best ones. The clubs may help each other, share resource and creating complementary strength amongst the nearby innovation clubs of the colleges. All colleges may not have all resources and support systems.  These clubs will create a horizontal support network so that each  team of students gets adequate help at their colleges right from problem/project identification to take it further,  if possible till the final  user. VTU will create a forum virtually on its web platform where all these innovation club coordinators across university will share ideas and create possibility of huge co-creation for designing better innovation policy and execute them locally.

Each student club member will remain as a point of contact for the respective department/batch and sense the unmet needs of the whole branch/batch and take it up for discussion within the club for suitable action. These may vary from locating an appropriate MSME, getting IPR support, design and fabrication need, mentoring support or other similar activities.

  • The club members will meet every month formally to gauge the progress and create strategies to improve ideas consistently and develop further agenda. The reports/findings/need gaps and others achievements are to be posted on the college web page of the club for lateral learning and finding opportunity.
  • The club will create connections between innovations, innovators, MSMEs, challenges, knowledge networks, related public institutions to provide the best opportunity to every final year student doing innovative projects.
  • The club will coordinate the capacity building workshops /seminars/innovator interactions/innovation exhibitions at the college level and report to the university.
  • The student members of the club can contribute to the process as alumni after they pass out of the college so that the respective club will gain from their experience in supporting innovation related activities.
  • Each club will host group meetings with nearby innovation clubs periodically to share their learnings.  They may invite nearby clubs to share their success, challenges so that faster support systems can be created.
  • Principal/Director of the college and the coordinator of the club can re nominate/change members if needed and take a look at the progress periodically to take suitable measures.
  • An annual report/analysis of innovation related activities and learning can be made and shared with every stakeholder of the college and also with the university.
  • The University will arrange capacity building workshops for the Innovation Club coordinators and principals periodically to share various strategies, process, efforts, policies and lateral learning frameworks so that continuous improvement can be done in the activities at the club  level.  Later on such efforts can be extended to the student coordinators too at the  zonal/local level coordinated by a group of clubs supported by the University. These will give opportunity to learn for the central policy makers too and blend the contextual innovation protocols for improving efficiency at University level.

 National Innovation Clubs 

During the current decade of innovation, Hon’ble President, Shri. Pranabh Mukherjee has exhorted the academia to set up National Innovation Clubs in every university and college.  These clubs will promote inclusive innovations by linking the creativity in formal and informal sector.  Primarily, the clubs will aim at four functions: [a] search, [b] spread, [c] sense and [d] celebrate.

Search: 

Unless young students go out into the field, villages, urban workshops, slums and other MSME clusters to find out innovations by common people as well as others, they would not know the creative potential that already exists in our country.  They can mobilise ideas from school children, college students, roadside mechanics, farmers, artisans, homemakers and others for solving various problems or improving the quality of life through incremental innovations.  Every time a hidden innovation is brought to surface, many more people feel encouraged and may start trying to solve problems through their own genius.  If every college and university starts mapping creativity in its hinterland, the whole society will bristle with positive energy and unleash tremendous dynamism in the economy.

The innovations in different fields such as technology, education, institutions, public services, private enterprises, cultural creativity, governance at different levels, etc., will be documented first in a synoptic way and then detailed documentation will be taken up of the more significant ideas.  In different courses, these ideas and their documentation can be incorporated as a part of curriculum.  The social, cultural, ecological, industrial and institutional connect are extremely important for overcoming possible alienation of people in certain areas.

Spread:  

Diffusion of existing innovations whether sourced from Honey Bee Network and National Innovation Foundation [NIF] or other depositories have to be shared with the local communities in a systematic manner through various creative pedagogies and performances.   In fact,  searching innovations without sharing may neither appear very credible nor even ethical.  In the process of sharing, the students and faculty will themselves become aware of how creative our country is and how limited is the support extended to these people/communities by the formal sector including academia.  Such a realization will do more to trigger introspection and generate empathetic culture for blending ideas from formal and informal sector.  The students can organize exhibitions, have street theatre performances or follow other means of creating awareness about innovations in the nearby villages, schools, communities, clusters of industry, government departments, etc.   

Sense:  

There are a lot of problems in our society which have remained unsolved for long.  Unless we benchmark the persistent problems and try to address them within the means available, we may develop an attitude of living with them indefinitely.  Such an attitude will never let our society progress in the long term.  Idea here is that students from different discipline should benchmark unsolved problems or challenges in different sectors, at various scales affecting numerous social groups.  In technology institutions, third year students can go to both MSME clusters and units and informal rural and urban sector and benchmark the problems to be addressed.  They can be given credit for identifying the problem and writing a synopsis on it.  In the final year, they can take up projects to address these problems in one or two terms.  Accordingly, they can get credit for that too.  Practical examples of such a process are given at www.techpedia.in.  The innovative solutions can be given prizes at university level and also at national level through competitions like Gandhian Young Technological Awards [techpedia.in/award].  In social sciences, one can identify gender and other cultural problems and address them likewise through action research approach.  Language related students can help improve the linguistic skills of school children and develop innovative pedagogies.  If every student develops one lesson for any one topic and for any class, a huge repository of open source local language lessons for school children can be developed to overcome the asymmetry in access to basic education.  Different challenges can be sensed and responded.

Celebrate:  

During the interactions with different social and institutional segments, a lot of outstanding achievers will be identified in the hinterland.  There may be an outstanding doctor who may have contributed in a big way for making the communities almost disease free or a teacher who has created a very rich learning environment in a school or an innovator who has solved a problem or a public or private functionary who has created public goods for larger social development.  There may also be outstanding artists, writers or other change agents who need to be invited in the universities to inspire students and create an insatiable desire to excel and serve society.

National Innovation Clubs can be coordinated by the students under the oversight of empathetic faculty members.  Students should have as much flexibility and freedom as possible.  They should organize interactions with the innovators in different fields and try to add value where possible, help in diffusion, create markets, provide linkages with other innovators and stakeholders and forge a knowledge network around innovations.  They should not remain restricted only with local innovations.  They should also mobilise ideas from outside for local development and vice versa.  If a few sessions can be organized in different courses to rigorously analyse the heuristics, triggers, motivations, outcomes and ecosystem characteristics, more and more students may feel encouraged to take risk and try new ideas.

NIF will support the value chain development in the case of innovations from informal sector and by school children.  The mandate of NIF is restricted to support ideas, innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge practices from the unorganized sector by individuals or communities who have not received any professional training or support.  The educational, cultural, institutional and other governance related innovations will be pooled by Society for Research and Initiatives for Technologies and Institutions [sristi.org] and linked to various other programmes.  In due course, support may be mobilised to give traction to these ideas.  At present, the major contribution will be to give voice and visibility to the innovative ideas in various sectors.

Volunteers from among faculty, staff and students will hopefully join hands with the innovators at different levels and in different sectors to ensure widest application for creative and compassionate ideas.  Collaborative culture is likely to emerge when learning across formal and informal boundaries gets reinforced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Efforts of Techpedia and GTU Innovation Council bagged ‘World Education Summit 2011″ award on innovation

Joint efforts of Techpedia and Gujarat Technological University has done path breaking work on creating  large scale distributed university based innovation ecosystem. Techpedia team lead by Hiranmay  and other numerous volunteers has shaped the framework and action agenda for creating GTU Innovation Council along with  team of GIC on ground level. This effort has shown new path and frugal ways to solve challenges and inculcate the spirit of innovation and student startups. Whether creating 25 Innovation sankuls and linking more than 5 dozen thousand students with challenges of MSMEs and informal sector across sectors. These efforts have got global and national traction from policy makers. This effort has bagged  'World Education Summit 2011" award on innovation.

Mr. Hiranmay mahanta , Md Techpedia, Hon'ble VC, GTU , Prof Akshai Aggarwal, I/C registrar of the university (GTU) and others received the award during an event at Delhi. Former Chairman of Selection committee of BCCI , Kris Srikkanth  gave away the award along with other policymakers across the world.

Prof Sanjay Sarma’s talk on MITx and edX , MOOC

 

Reference- http://creativityatgrassroots.wordpress.com

Prof Sanjay Sarma, Director of Digital Learning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), gave a talk on Massive Open Online Courses(MOOCs), at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) on July 4, 2013. The full profile of Prof Sarma can be found on the following MIT .

Prof Anil K Gupta introduced Prof Sarma and talked about his original contributions to the development of RFID technology. He has also led the Tata Innovation program for Indian students in frugal design. Prof Sarma has truly revolutionized  the democratization of knowledge through MITx program which has now tied up with Harvard to launch EdX program.

Beginning with the introduction of  MITx and edX, Sanjay  highlighted that  not much has changed in the pedagogy over the years. Though academia began in the east about 2000 yrs back, the formal western education started in Bologna, Italy 1088. In these thousand odd years, the pedagogy has largely remained unchanged. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has, nevertheless, completely transformed all other sectors.  ICT, simply, hasn’t been disruptive enough in the academia.

The new world has seen the following high technology based interventions:

Cloud  Mobile internet ,Digitized products ,Mass customization ,Delightful design ,B2C2B ,Democratization ,Unbundled services

Crowd sourcing ,Big Ideas

Sarma cited the example of Google and Wiki. If they thought smaller, they would have probably failed.

World of innovations and  Internet of things have changed the way we imagine life today. But in education, blackboards, printed text books, digital content etc., have been only few innovations.

How edX came into being?

Prof Sarma, mentioned  that in 2010/11, MIT was contemplating simulation a professor – a robot professor! They thought that the students have limited attention span.  They have to be engaged. In lectures they do not engaged enough. These robot professors would deliver the lectures at the student’s own time. The class however, would be used to do something experiential, something that greatly adds value onto a monologic lecture. He pointed out that there is enough evidence that videos work well in pedagogy. The ideal attention span of a student is 10-15 minutes. The challenge lies in how to compress the class to 15 mins- how to get the right screenplay for this long anthology!

An online class at Edx  involves

1.      Social Networks   

As a part of this initiative, forums were designed for the instructor to interact with students. However, students started answering each other’s questions. Some students gave the wrong answers but someone soon corrected them. The forum lay bare the progression of thought and hence, elucidated concepts more than an actual answer from a Professor would.

2. Automatic  Grading and 

3. Simulations

Accurate simulations and grading enable a large number of students’ queries  to be processed.

The Impact

What was initially done in the class was now a prerequisite in classroom education. Hence the discussion in the classroom was elevated a notch higher. And for the have-nots- for those couldn’t be in a classroom – the online material itself was of much greater quality than they could get elsewhere.

EdX has flipped the classrooms. Discussion that used to happen in the classroom, now came onto the blog and the discussion in the classrooms now was greatly enhanced as the professor now got a much greater bandwidth than a regular lecture could give him.

Some fascinating things emerged out of this approach. Prof Sarma gave an example of how graphic equalizers became a great way of teaching signal processing. He conceded that his initial suspicion was that the online method was a compromise. However, experience over many areas proved it to be a much better alternative.

GTU Nominates Grassroots Innovators as Visiting faculty members across its 500 plus affiliated colleges in Gujarat

University students will soon learn the basics of innovation from the innovators themselves.In a novel development,Gujarat Technological University has decided to provide a platform to grassroots innovators to pass on their skills to its students.This will help the students better understand the problems of the rural masses and use technology to better use in making products for them.

As per the plan,GTU will provide these innovators with a teachers certificate.The certificate will entitle them to pass on their knowledge to students.In this regard,GTU has organised a programme on March 25 in Gandhinagar,where around 15 grassroots innovators will be awarded teachers certificates.The certificates will enable them to impart lessons in innovations to GTU students,provided they have.

AfunctionwasorganisedbyLEEngineering College in Morbi on Wednesday where a grassroots innovator,Mansukh Prajapati,was invited as the chief guest.Mirror talked to Prajapati,he said,It is an unforgettable experience.Ihavejustclearedclass10,but highly-educated technocrats had something to learn from me.Grassroots innovators can better understand problems and complexities of rural masses. Avinash Tiwari,an electrical engineering student in semester 6 said,I am impressed by his (Prajapatis ) example.He has done so much for the masses.His life is an example for others to emulate.  

Grass roots innovators could be even invited by IIM,NID,etc to guide  theirstudents.GTUisfirsttechnological university to initiate this mission. There are also plans to invite them to engineering,MBA,MCA,Pharmacyinstitutes.Studentsandteacherslisten to them and learn from them.Besides they would be helped to scale up theirideas,sothattheirproductsgofar and wide.According to GTU VC Akshai Aggarwal,This provides a two-way advantage.They gain from our support and our students gain from their innovative spirit.We are preparing a list of grassroots innovators.They would be provided with certificates which would mention,We appreciate the innovative work done by (Name) and this innovation has been presentedtoGTUstudentsandthisinteraction with innovators has helped improve learning system at GTU. 

Aggarwal added,These innovatorswouldteachandeasetheteachers burden.They would be paid as per visiting faculty.However,their selection will be made on the merit of their innovation and teaching skills they possess.We are in the process of shortlisting 15 persons,which should be over in a couple of days. 

GTU will provide grassroots innovators a platform to pass on their skills to students;to award innovators with teachers certificates  

 

 

Re-rooting technology education

There is a huge scope of linking grassroots and other innovators from informal and formal sector with the NIT and IITs network besides other institutions . Another good example of how a student-led initiative can lead to lasting social change was brought out recently. After the first pan NIT student conclave was organised last year at NIT Nagpur by Priyank and his team, the student council at SVNIT, Surat, organised second conclave to explore the way education can be linked to socio-ecological, industrial, and rurban context of the young minds.   

Representatives of South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce were also present to discuss long-term strategy for nurturing economic and social innovation by young minds recorded and recognised by SRISTI through Techpedia.in. Representatives of many NITs made it eloquently clear that no major systematic effort had been made in this regard. Several initiatives were collectively resolved:  

It was decided to set up chapters of national innovation clubs which would search, spread, sense (the unmet social needs) and celebrate the innovations in various fields, as advised by the honourable President of India in the context of central universities. It may be worthwhile to recall that Karnataka government has already decided to set up such clubs in every college, arts or technical, degree or polytechnic. Given the lack of social connectivity, it has been proposed that a team of students visit slums as well as MSME cluster and nearby villages to do a systematic need gap analysis and identify and spread innovations. Open source standards of excellence must be created so that instead of just doing benchmarking, one should always try to create new standards of excellence and accountability in different domains. Special funds could be established to promote innovations. Four windows are available: a) Fund to fail and innovate, b) Fund to fuse formal and informal science, c) Fund for fabrication for social change and d) Fund for fashion social change.   

Dr PD Porey, director, NIT Surat, who has been patronizing a very large number of student-driven innovations, offered to recognise students who set up enterprises, solve industrial or other social problems in outstanding manner and help in achieving social goals at convocation function every year. This will imply that academic excellence is of course important but social and economic entrepreneurial excellence is no less important. I had also the opportunity to visit Drishti fabrication lab at SVNIT created on the top floor of the hostel of first-year students. It is managed by students and the place had all the chaos of creativity. Similar labs are set up in various hostels and surely results of such co-creation common labs will be visible in no time.   

Students also showed interest in pursuing industrial, rural and slum shodhyatras drawing upon Honey Bee Network experience so that social connectivity gets forged, problems of small and micro entrepreneurs get put on the agenda of technology students. The model that SRISTI and GTU have developed in this regard with excellence results achieved by GTU needs now to be replicated at all NITs and other state technical university. VTU, Karnataka has already launched Techpedia.in. I had the opportunity to meet vice-chancellors of majority of public and private universities, central university, colleagues from distance education department and several industrialists at a meeting chaired by the principal secretary, higher education, Ms Radha Raturi on the similar subject. They are very keen to forge similar connectivity in the state supported by Industries Association of Uttrakhand.   

Based on the experience of summer school by SRISTI to fabricate solutions to eliminate child labour, we realized that concentrated attention in a few weeks can achieve more concrete results than diffused attention over years or longer period of time. NITs could organise similar co-creation labs with focused social objectives involving students from nearby colleges and polytechnics. Dr Mashelkar has stressed that NITs should act as distributed centre of excellence. Instead of focusing on only national laboratories, he felt, why the entire nation could not act as a laboratory.   

There is a huge scope of linking grassroots innovators and other innovators from informal and formal sector (as was tried during Inventors of India workshops at IIMA during 1998-2008) with the NIT and IITs network besides other institutions. I hope this conclave will pave the path of a new model of inclusive innovations. Even if the so-called India Inclusive Innovation Fund excludes young start-ups, NITs and local chambers of commerce will hopefully prove National Innovation Council wrong by showing an alternative way of banking on the creative youth.  

Bringing in new pedagogy, technology and innovation as an intervention for eliminating child labour in India

8th October 2013 , New Delhi 

Sristi and ILO have taken series of joint initiatives to find alternative solutions for eliminating child labour. Bringing technology interventions for cracking this persistent challenge has been first of its kind by now. Techpedia.in teams and other stakeholders have arranged different methodologies including a summer school program involving technical students for designing innovative solutions for eliminating child labour or increasing the productivity of adult labour. While ILO has supported this initiative at every stage the young technology students have done phenomenal efforts. Right from the mapping of the issue on ground till developing multiple heuristics of particular innovation catering the needs, the young technology students have shown a new pedagogy to  every of us including ILO for developing alternative interventions for eliminating the challenge. Recently in a national forum the team from Techpedia and Sristi had presented this insight to national  policymakers, activists, bureaucrats which were well appreciated.  Mr. Hiranmay Mahanta , MD, Techpedia.in and Dr. Nirmal Sahay  , Chief Coordinator ,Sadbhav SRISTI Sanshodhan Laboratory shared the progress and insights from the efforts taken to the policy makers including Union Minister of State (Labour and Employment), Govt of India. Shri Kodikunnil Suresh, Minister of State (Labour and Employment)  and ILO officials appreciated this new approach and promised for taking it ahead in best possible ways after going through it in detail.