Innovation - the first step in realising the dream of a digital India


This article is sponsored by Innovate for Digital India Challenge

A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation.
- Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel

Ayn Rand’s philosophy in her seminal classic Atlas Shrugged, in which she compares entrepreneurs to the Greek God Atlas, who supports the world on his shoulders, does ring true. Entrepreneurs function like cogs in the wheel of the economy, keeping it smoothly running. More than anything else though, an entrepreneur is a creator. Like an artist, who starts with a blank canvas and jars of paint, the entrepreneur senses an opportunity, brings together a team and creates his product or solution. Entrepreneurs are innovators, or rather have to be innovators, because constantly creating new ideas, new products, or new processes is an essential part of keeping a business on the upswing.

Innovation, or ‘the big idea’, sounds like the end result of a team sitting in a conference room and brainstorming for a while. But what many don’t realise is the amount of hard work that goes into innovation. For one idea that works, there are a hundred others that don’t. What sets apart the successful entrepreneur is her persona; she does not get bogged down by failures or naysayers. Her mind is always working, thinking of how something that is a problem can be corrected, and how something that is being done well can be done better.

Intel is a corporate giant that has held on to the ethos of its genesis by incorporating innovation into its work culture. It is a world leader in the microprocessor and semiconductor chip manufacturing industry, but the scope of its operations go much beyond that. Intel has always pushed the boundaries of smart technology to give better experiences to each and every person connected with the company. From developing low cost PCs, to encouraging diversity among their employees, and having employee groups based on religion and sexual orientation to lend a voice to minority groups, Intel has a highly liberal work environment. In January 2015, Intel announced the investment of $300 million, over a period of five years, to enhance gender and racial diversity, within Intel, as well as the technology industry as a whole.

Now Intel, in association with the Department of Science & Technology (DST), wants India to innovate more in order to make the dreams of a Digital India a reality through the Innovate for Digital India Challenge. The saying ‘little drops make an ocean’ applies here, as each and every person, startup, and company can come together to help bring about a national transformation.

The Digital India vision will endow the 1.2 billion citizens of India with the power of technology. Currently, less than 20% of the Indian population has access to any computing device. The Digital India campaign primarily aims to impact small towns and rural areas, where a big chunk of the population is totally untouched by digital technology and the internet. There is a need for an unprecedented level of innovation in order to deliver products and solutions to this set of new users. Any innovation has to be able to facilitate ease of use, and access to farmers in the hinterlands. Perhaps they will be able to speak to their device for the latest mandi pricing. Women’s self-help groups all over the country may be able to avail the benefits of the Jan Dhan Yojana on a handheld device. Simplification of technology at both the hardware and software level is going to be critical here.

The ‘Innovate for Digital India’ challenge is open to anybody who is above 18 years of age and applies within the week. Intel and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) are working with IIM Ahmedabad's Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) and MyGov in order to manage the challenge, be it in the process of application management, programme facilitation, and popularisation. The winners get grants which will be jointly worth Rs. 1.5 crores, and the top three winners will be getting access to a seed fund of Rs 20 lakhs each. Participants of the Intel and DST 'Innovate for Digital India Challenge' will be mentored by industry leaders and experts from Intel.

To participate, candidates must log on to and register their projects at the earliest. There is less than a week left as registration closes on June 22nd, 2015.

We invite you to send in entries for the ‘Innovate for Digital India' Challenge. Apply today!


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