Nagrik Dialogue


FICCI in Association with Kio University, IIT Roorkee, IIT, Hyderabad and others Launch Social Innovation Online Hackathon 2020

16 June 2020 14:30 to 16:30 IST

The prevailing uncertainties and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted the normal functioning of the society, services and businesses have further been aggravated by occurrences of other natural and human-induced hazards across the globe.  Together, these multi-hazards risks have highlighted the existing systemic risks and the underlying vulnerabilities of society, systems and infrastructures. Like any other disaster, COVID-19 provides us with an opportunity to re-look and re-assess the highlighted gaps and collaborate to innovate for a safe, resilient and sustainable society. 

Guided by this opportunity, Arise India, FICCI and Keio University-Indo-Japan Laboratory (IJL), Japan and Resilience Innovation Knowledge Academy (RIKA), India in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) Nagpur and National Institute of Technology (NIT) Durgapur launched the Social Innovation Online Hackathon 2020 on 16 June 2020. The Hackathon was kick started with a virtual meeting of around 60 esteemed representatives of government, development agencies, industry and academia from India and Japan. 

The Social Innovation Hackathon 2020 aims to bring together innovators, mission-driven entrepreneurs, experts, and developers in finding unique solutions to social problems; thereby striving to alleviate the socio-economic root causes to future hazards including pandemics. The Hackathon will provide a platform to students of five identified universities to form a cross-universities team with multi-disciplinary members coming from the field of architecture, planning, disaster management, computer science and application, urban studies, policy studies etc. 

In his opening remark, Prof. Rajib Shaw, Director, Indo-Japan Laboratory (Keio University) emphasized the important role of science and innovation in solving community problems. He also stressed on the importance of this hackathon in strengthening the India-Japan relationship through academic partnerships. Professor Jun Murai from Keio University highlighted the important role of internet connectivity during the times of lockdown due to COVID-19 situation and how innovation through internet based connectivity and software solutions can be a key to solving socio-economic problems. Mr. Kishore Kamal, Member, National Disaster Management Authority (India) underscored that the developed product/ services must be scalable, appropriate and sustainable (SAS) in nature. Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative of JICA India Office encouraged the students to undertake social innovations and lauded the efforts of the universities in providing this platform. He offered JICA India’s support to this initiative. Mr. Raj Shrivastava, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan congratulated the team and called the online hackathon an important Social Innovation in its own respect that will strengthen the bilateral relations of India and Japan.

Dr. Ranit Chatterjee, Co-founder, RIKA India Pvt Ltd set the context of the meeting by discussing the various themes to be included in this hackathon.  The suggestive themes of the Hackathon include health & well-being, climate action, safe cities & communities, zero hunger, gender and clean water & sanitation. Mr. Takero Takeuchi from JICA-India office remarked on the demographic and industrial diversity of India-Japan partnership as an opportunity to come up with unique innovations.

Brig.(Dr) B.K. Khanna, CEO, ARISE INDIA, FICCI, briefed about ARISE INDIA, its vision, strategy and commitment to spread DRR in the private sector. He informed that ARISE INDIA was functioning under Mr Nirankar Saxena Deputy Secretary General, FICCI which has 78 divisions under Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General.  Brig Khanna in his talk motivated the students to take on the challenging issues and provide creative solutions to make the society resilient and sustainable, through this platform. He further said that the new ideas and innovations would be looked with interest by ARISE INDIA and if some are saleable, acceptable and sustainable, these will be made into business models. The innovators would be suitably rewarded. Brig. (Dr) B.K.Khanna is SDGAmbassador for a large social initiative SDGChoupal which is led by Nagrik Foundation under the ageis of Niti Aayog where ARISE INDIA (FICCI) is also partner . The Nagrik Foundation is a Social Partner and Dainik Bhaskar ,Nagrik Dialogue ,Naagrik News are media partners for the Initiative to support outreach .

The university professors from each of the five universities introduced their student team and the diverse academic pool to participate in this hackathon. 

Over a period of two-months, the teams will ideate, present their concepts, be guided by mentors from government, industry and academia for maturation of the concept, prototype development and marketing of the product/ service developed. The successful team will get a chance for winter/ summer internship with scholarship in Indo-Japan Laboratory, IIT Roorkee, IIT Hyderabad, VNIT Nagpur and NIT Durgapur.

The online hackathon meeting included discussion with students to solve their queries with respect to the participation process. After which, observations were provided by industry expert Yukio Takeyari who stressed on the importance of working with India as an opportunity to have innovative ideas which can also find a market in Japan. With closing remarks from Prof. Rajib Shaw, the launch meeting ended with new-found cheer and curiosity amongst the students to be part of the process and to brainstorm their ideas for implementable solutions. 

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Nagrik Dialogue is the face of Nagrik Foundation’s communication skills that comes in the form of a monthly magazine. It will work as a bridge for those working at the grass roots level and those who support them in any form and manner.