MIT-IIT Make in India boot camp for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, through MIT-India program, has joining hands with Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and TechTop Trust to conduct “MIT-IIT Make In India”, a 28-day boot camp on social innovation and entrepreneurship at IIT-D campus with 48 students from MIT, Asia School of Business, Malaysia, IITs and engineering colleges across India.

Out of the 48 students, 19 students are from MIT and Asia School of Business (ASB) Malaysia and the rest from IITs and several technical institutions from India. This year, besides MIT-India office, MIT System Design and Management program and Kerala Start-up Mission are also supporting the 2017 MIT-IIT Make in India program.

The camp is led by Mr. Rajesh M. Nair, a visiting scholar at MIT, and Senior Lecturer and Director of the Innovation Centre in Asia School of Business in Kuala Lumpur; Prof. P V Madhusudhan Rao of IDC Centre, IIT Delhi; Prof. Timothy Gonsalves, Director of IIT Mandi, renowned for his innovations and initiatives in the field of electronics and communication; and assisted by Ms. Mala Ghosh of MIT; Prof V K Damodaran, an acclaimed expert in energy, and social engineering.

Rajesh Nair when contacted on the novelty of this initiative stated that it will accelerate their desire to get involved in activities that would solve problems in our society. He also added that India is a sleeping giant with enormous amount of untapped cognitive resources.

“MIT-IIT Make in India boot camp, initiated by TechTop Charitable Trust, is a small but firm forward step to make us wake up and march to make youth of India create solutions through technology for the problems faced by the society,” says Mr Nair.

Prof PV M Rao agrees. “MIT-IIT Make in India Bootcamp is a good opportunity for students to engage in design and prototyping activities to address real world problems. Such events also help in preparing our new generation of students as a potential innovators and entrepreneurs.

Participants are exposed to India’s pressing rural and urban social issues in healthcare, agriculture, slums, traffic, inclusion, energy, education and communications and the teams will find technological solutions during the camp days. Among the final products, those products that are viable for production, deploying and commercialisation will be considered by IIT Delhi for further development. 10 days of the month long camp will be held at IIT Mandi.

The month long boot camp started at IIT Delhi for Indian students will offer opportunities for continuous interactions with the global student community till July 15 and is expected to come out at the end with several interesting prototypes and business pitches to demonstrate the capabilities of our young minds. MIT- IIT Make In India Boot camp is a part of a National Innovation Summit conducted by TechTop in partnership with IIT Delhi held on IIT campus. Summit also has a weeklong TechTop Innovation Workshop for Indian Students and a two day National Innovation Challenge.

Training Terrain

The boot camp, designed as a ‘live-in’ hands-on training program, will see the students going to different parts of Delhi and rural areas of Himachal Pradesh to understand pressing social problems of the communities in India and apply their technological skills and innovative minds to come up with viable solutions.

The training started with intense design and fabrication experience and the students learned Design Thinking method for identifying unmet human needs in communities. They will also learn to create solutions that meet filters such as affordability, social acceptance, and ease of implementation. Finally they will learn to start ventures to commercialize these solutions. In short, the camp will train students on innovation and entrepreneurship skills, provide an environment conducive for them work in teams to create solutions for real social problems and learn to make social impact, financial gains, and create jobs.

The first “MIT-Make in India” Bootcamp was hosted in 2015 by TechTop Trust in Chirayinkeezhu, a coastal village close to Trivandrum in Kerala. In the last bootcamp in Kerala students helped women in the village to create an organization that made organic soaps at home to be sold in resort hotels among other social projects.