(GIST OF YOJANA) Innovation in
Higher Educational Institutions
Innovation in Higher Educational
- The Innovation centres in institutions fosters team spirit and the
ability to work beyond classroom lectures. They prepare the students to take
collective ownership of outcomes and work on multigenerational products.
Centre for Innovation (CFI) is one such platform for students in Madras
which is encouraging them to generate ideas to innovate and invent.
- With a vision to produce leaders, such institutes are undergoing
paradigm shifts. In this article, an attempt is made to trace this
transformation at institutes like where transformative start-ups were
initiated from solutions developed through research and student projects.
Innovation as a Catalyst:
- These innovation centres also fosters team spirit and the ability to
work beyond classroom lectures. It prepares the students to take collective
ownership of outcomes and work on multi-generational products. While
individual merit brought them to these institutes, working on innovation and
bringing complete products to life prepares these students for the real
world. Innovation comes to life when their inventions are developed further
in the context of the societal needs and wants. Similarly, higher
educational institutes such as the IITs are also gradually transforming
themselves in to research and development powerhouses catering to the needs
of the country.
- The quantum of students pursuing post baccalaureate degrees are now more
than those entering at the undergraduate level. Further, many centres of
excellence in various domains of national importance have been set up at
- The National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD)
originally set up with interdisciplinary faculty to promote advanced
research in the domain of combustion has already started producing niche
startups in areas like micro-gas turbine, emission sensors, electric planes
- With over 24 centres of excellence in various domains serving as a
fertile ground for idea generations in IITM at alone various and similar
institutes such of grouping national importance across the country, these
higher education institutes are bursting at seams with solutions waiting
Where are the Problems?
The innovation ecosystem can be divided into four buckets:
- Incubate, and
Role of Pre-incubation:
- Set-up in the year 2015 to help student teams from CFI, Nirmaan now
works with students across the campus to help in their entrepreneurial
- The Nirmaan 4-stage process helps with problem identification,
validation through primary market research, development of minimum viable
product/solution and finally to launch the start-up. It is only at the last
stage that the students are encouraged to register their company and take
the plunge. Till that time, the pre-incubation facility serves as a sandbox
for the teams to try out various approaches to unearth suitable problems
that their solutions could solve. Teams are accepted in a cohort mode, which
enables peer learning and are further paired up with experienced mentors
from our distinguished alumni base.
- However, out of many potential ideas from the CFI and other research
labs, only a few are considered for the possibility of a start-up. This is
primarily due to the fear of the unknown and the uncertainty surrounding the
- It is heartening to see the rapid pace of the deep tech innovation
ecosystem in India. Institutes of higher education, such as the IITs, are
adapting to the evolving trend of rapid experimentation and development of
technology for the society where it is embedded in. For these institutions,
it is no longer sufficient to train and produce good employees.
- It will be the mandate of these institutions to produce good employers
in large numbers that will cater to the aspirations of the next generation
India. Our institutions will have to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurial
thinking, which includes rapid adaptation to the societal needs, developing
and scaling in resource constrained environments and serving as local points
or nodes of innovation and entrepreneurship, to reach our national goal of a
$5 trillion economy.