By Bhaskar Chakrabarti, Professor - Public Policy & Management Group, IIM Calcutta
By Manivannan J.K, CEO-DESICREW
DesiCrew has been one among the pioneers to empower rural talent and to provide excellent learning opportunity to its employees through its Impact Sourcing business model. When it was visualised at the portals of IIT Madras, we were connecting the three dots – RURAL INDIA, TECHNOLOGY and JOBS.That has not changed much in the last ten years, but I would like to point out the demands it made on the organization from time to time. In the initial days, we were fighting the perception battle that the rural folks could not deliver world class performance. Hence we embarked on a mission to skill our teams from rural India ourselves. And thus DTOUCH was born.
DesiCrew’s learning initiative program aims to build sustainable employability skills in rural India in the IT/ITES sector and to develop a culture of continuous learning. DTOUCH 1.0 was an internal program launched in 2010 to train all the members of DesiCrew in the skills required for the BPO section. The entire management team was involved in curriculum design, content building and execution. It aimed to deliver computer skills, English and BPO processes to about 200 people and we achieved that.
But within the next two years we realised that there are better options from the market to scale the model and meet the customers’ growing demands. DTOUCH 2.0 was launched in 2012 with the aim of optimizing the training content, methodology and relied more on external expertise. We engaged skill building organization to visit our rural centres and conduct training sessions, certifications etc.We developed tools for online exams, etc.
Once again, the In the recent years, the outsourcing industry is in the process of undergoing a rapid transformation with increasing adoption of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Automation for business purposes. Therefore there is a business imperative to re-skill, upskill all employees to meet the market demands and to enable DesiCrew to become a full-fledged digital operations company.
Taking this step forward now, we have launched recently a learning initiative – “DTOUCH 3.0”
DTOUCH 3.0 Learning Philosophy
The key objective is to transform the entire DesiCrew Group into a learning organization, with sustainable learning as a competitive advantage including the leadership team to absorb emerging technologies with enhanced personality skills – 100% of employees to be touched and no exception. We have launched an online LMS portal to this effect and the goals are :
I am happy to share that we are on track for the first goal in the first three months and personally, it also gave me an opportunity to enroll for two courses in Coursera on Data science and digital marketing in addition to my Six Sigma Black Belt.
By Honey Bajaj
Before we start to talk about design thinking it’s important to understand what design is. Design is not just about aesthetics, form, typography, ergonomics etc it is about intention and realizing that intention. It’s about wanting to do something and then figuring out how to do it. It’s a huge word in itself.
Design thinking is a problem-solving mindset. It began with what Roger Martin called integrative thinking in his book, ‘The Opposable Mind’. Integrative thinking is the ability to exploit opposing ideas and opposing constraints to create new solutions. In the case of design that means balancing human desirability, technological feasibility and economic viability — a framework put together by Tim Brown in his book, ‘Change by Design’.
Design incorporates three main components – being user centric, collaborative and experimental. To achieve all the three one has to encourage maximum participation during ideation, eliminate fear of failure and think out of the box.
There are various methodologies that exist. I define them as the 3 I’s – Immerse, Invent and Implement.Immerse stands for indulging in the environment to capture information by doing a need assessment and mapping the information collected. Invent stands for defining the problem statement based on evidences observed, and generating potential solutions. Implement stands for building working solutions to get feedback to evaluate them before implementation. Now we ready for phase 2, which is Invent, and has two steps – Define and Ideate. In this phase we reframe the problem statement after understanding the ecosystem that influences the challenge and the user from the methods and inferences gathered in the Immerse phase.Post convergence of ideas leads to the next phase of Implement, which has two steps – Prototype and User Test. The word prototype is used for mock-ups, functional solutions, etc. but for me what prototype means is building or creating anything that you can receive feedback on.
After reaching a goal don’t forget to look back to determine how far you have travelled and judge the value of the journey. We can keep revisiting the Immerse, Invent and Implement phase, as this methodology does not necessarily follow the linear process.
It is a journey to train oneself from being a designer to a design thinker but this process does not confine itself only in the realm of design. Even an entrepreneur or an engineer can train himself with design thinking techniques
By Ritesh Kanu, Ceo- EDURADE
Aviation is what fascinated Ritesh & Biswajit right from their childhood days. Passion turned into an entrepreneurial idea when they met in Kolkata after completing their graduation. Ritesh hailing from management background brainstormed the possible ways to solve present day limitations in agriculture, industrial areas like mining, oil, gas pipeline including defense and Biswajit graduating from aeronautical background with experienced earned from Indian Army during his training period in Officers Training Academy, Chennai thought about how aerial automation or less ground human intervention can increase productivity in any sector. They pitched this idea in a national business competition organized by TATA First Dot and National Entrepreneurship Network. When the idea was selected as India’s Top 25 Innovative Ideas, it fueled them to execute the idea. Fast forward thirty six months since the competition, the team has grown and they have organizations as DRDO, Indian Army, Merlin Group, National Informatics Centre as some of their major clients.
Actually they are removing human labour in Defence, Agriculture and Industrial Sectors by introducing Unmanned Systems to increase efficiency and reducing operational cost thus ensuring maximum productivity.
EduRade through its research and development wing – is primarily engaged in manufacturing and supplying drones to farmers (with automated agriculture systems to monitor and develop their crops yields). They are also assisting in increase of quality crop production and thus generating greater revenue with lesser efforts in farming. Edurade is providing a platform for skill development of students and on-the-job training. They are addressing the problem faced in different sectors like agriculture, defense health and industrial applications with their automated drones. They are at present establishing India’s first Small drone R&D and manufacturing unit with DRDO and are working with INDIAN ARMY engineering units for development of combat and surveillance drones.
Fisheries and aquaculture play, either directly or indirectly, an essential role in the livelihoods of millions of people around the world. Being born in an urban environment, BRICKCELLS TECHNOLOGIES team had very remote idea of rural economy which is primarily based on the rural farmers in my district as well as the state as a whole.
Mr. Sunandan got an opportunity to visit several rural areas in several districts of West Bengal for attending EYE CHECK-UP CAMPS as an Optometrist.
He met several farmers; and had a look at their financial conditions especially when they used to come for eye check up. They, were mostly marginal farmers,at the bottom of the pyramid. They were eagerly seeking an alternative source of income ; they were endowed with very small piece of land and pond. The revenue earning out of the small land was not sufficient for their livelihood and the ponds were being used for house hold purpose;few of them casually growing fishes for their domestic needs.
In the year 2012, he visited the Largest Fish Seed Market of Asia,the Rajendrapur Seed Market at Naihati,North 24 Parganas which is very close to Kolkata(35 to 40 km). The market became operational at 2.00 a.m everyday. Several fish farmers are engaged to buy fish seed from various districts and various states. After that amazing experience ,he went to Central Inland Freshwater Aquaculture(CIFA), Kalyani center to gather some basic information on fresh water aquaculture. According to them , if a farmer follows the scientific method, he can earn better revenue as compared to the same area of agricultural land.
Thereafter he made a team of three people including him and started an experimental venture on fish farming in very small leased pond measuring 1 bigha. They faced several challenges during the gestation period of one year, like poor growth rate, disease affected fishes, continuous fish mortality,sudden mass mortality of fishes and ultimately all effort went in vein,they lost money but got the real experience of marginal fish farmer who have gone through the same kind of problems.
After the traumatic experience, they started to meet several marginal,small,medium and leading fish farmers to gather information from their experience and their point of view. The outcome of the survey was not very encouraging for them , because the same kind of challenges they are facing for last few decades ; especially the marginal and small fish farmers. Some of them wanted to quit from aquaculture.
It was a great challenge for them to find out a suitable and sustainable solution. They started to work on it. Ultimately got the solution in the the year 2016.They founded BRICKCELLS TECHNOLOGIES PRIVATE LIMITED, founder members are Mr. Tushar Kanti Basu, Mr. Sandipan Mukherjee and myself Sunandan Mukherjee. They named the product HUMIC FEED-O-FERT, the product can solve most of the problems faced by the fish farmers.
In the year 2017 we are being incubated by IIMCIP.
Currently they are working for scaling up the project to make this opportunity available for maximum number of rural fish farmers.
The problems they are solving
1. Pond pollution with dissolved harmful gases
2. Poor growth rate of growing fishes
3. Periodic fish mortality due to lower dissolved oxygen
4. Sudden mass mortality due to algal crash
5. Harmful algal bloom
6. Scarcity of live natural food base
7. Fish mortality due to diseas
8. Higher cost of production due to use of excessive supplementary costly feed.
The winners of the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2017-18 (TSEC), a joint initiative of the Tata group and Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC), were announced during the grand finale held on January 6, 2018, at the IIM Calcutta campus. The challenge endeavours to find India’s most promising early-stage social enterprises, and create an ecosystem for social entrepreneurship – encouraging sustainable, scalable and measurable social impact.
The Elbow Engineers from Chennai (Winner), Chakr Innovation from New Delhi (1st Runners-up) and JK Nanosolutions from Bangaluru (2nd Runners-up) emerged as the top three most promising social ventures, winning prize money of Rs. 2.5 lakhs, Rs. 2 lakhs and Rs. 1.50 lakhs, respectively.
• Mentorship: The top 20 teams were selected for semi-finals and provided mentorship support for two weeks
• Funding Opportunity: All teams shortlisted for the semi-finals and finals get an opportunity to pitch to India’s largest social VCs for seed funding.
• Incubation: The top 20 teams will get an opportunity to pitch for incubation at IIM Calcutta.
• Cash Award: Total prize money of ₹6 lakh for the top three teams. The semi-finalists received travel grants.
Apart from the top 3 winning ventures, the 7 ventures that have made it to the top 10 finalists are, Bombay Bijlee, Villamart, Cerelia Nutritech, Manuring It!, Nanobios lab, IIT Bombay, Resnova Technologies and Sonant Technologies. The ventures were judged on three parameters – Business Model, Social Impact and Sustainability
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Ashok Banerjee, Director, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park said, “Over the last six years, Tata Social Enterprise Challenge has encouraged many budding entrepreneurs to grow with a vision and create positive sustainable social impact. We are pleased with the quality of talent and the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs who have dreams to make a difference to the society to which they belong.”
Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Managing Director, Tata Metaliks, felicitated the winners and said, “Listening to and meeting the finalists of Tata Social Enterprise Challenge was an enriching and inspiring experience.”
The key speakers for the event were Dr. Urvashi Sahani (founder of Study Hall Educational Foundation and honoured with India Social Entrepreneur of the year 2017) and Neichute Doulo CEO, Entrepreneurs Associate honoured with ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2016′)
The Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2017-18 received over 500 proposals from across India, of which 205 met the eligibility criteria and qualified for the next round of the competition. These proposals covered several different areas such as agriculture; food and dairy; healthcare; water and sanitation; technology and development; education and skills development; housing; handicrafts; energy; and micro finance, among others.
MEDMOC, Government of Mizoram in association with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park launched Mizoram Kailawn – Business Plan Contest and E-Summit 2018.
To apply for the business plan contest and to know more about Mizoram Kailawn, visit: www.mizoramkailawn.org