Nagrik Dialogue

Pitch Event: Social Innovation Online Hackathon 2020

Social Innovation Online Hackathon (SIOH) 2020 was launched on 16th June 2020 by Indo-Japan Laboratory, Keio University, Japan and Resilience Innovation Knowledge Academy (RIKA), India in collaboration with IIT-Roorkee, IIT-Hyderabad, VNIT Nagpur and NIT Durgapur. SIOH, in collaboration with ARISE INDIA and SDG CHOUPAL.. It  was envisaged to bring together student innovators, entrepreneurs, experts in finding unique solutions for tackling the issues of pandemic and complex future disasters by focusing on 6 Sustainable Development Goals. It provided a platform to 46 students belonging to 13 different disciplines from 5 universities from India and Japan to collaborate and ideate. 6 inter-university and inter-disciplinary groups were formed which worked on the themes of Health & Wellbeing, Climate Action, Gender, Clean Water & Sanitation, Safe Cities & Communities and Zero Hunger. 38 initial ideas were consolidated into 6 through over 52+ hours of mentorship sessions by academicians, practitioners and experts.  

The final pitch event was held on the 25th of August 2020 virtually. It was inaugurated by Dr. Rajib Shaw, Professor and Director, India Japan Lab, Keio University, Japan and Co-Founder, RIKA India. He welcomed a virtual gathering of around 90 participants and over 380 others who joined live over Facebook. The attendees included government officials, diplomats, private sector, academicians, field practitioners, experts, students from India and Japan. Prof. Shaw presented a short video on the journey of SIOH.

A congratulatory message from Dr. P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India highlighted the need for innovations beyond the technology domain into the realm of social & economic processes.

Prof. Jun Murai, Keio University, Japan encouraged the young innovators to make the most of the available technology during the pandemic time to come up with innovative ideas. H. E. Shri S. K. Verma, Ambassador of India to Japan, reiterated on the right mix of being ‘vocal for local’ and for ‘making for the world’ and called for increased bilateral collaboration for co-creating and co-producing. Commending the current initiative, H.E. Hiroshi Hirabayashi, Former Ambassador to India, and President, The Japan India Association acknowledged the solid relationship of India and Japan both in terms of government-to-government and business-to-business. Mr. Kamal Kishore, Member, National Disaster Management Authority, India focused on the need for innovation for disaster risk reduction and highlighted on ‘SAS’: Scalability, Affordability and Sustainability of the ideas. Mr. Tsuyoshi Nagano, Chairman, Tokio Marine Holdings and Co-chair, Committee of Start-up, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) called for promoting entrepreneurship in India and Japan and the role of youth in taking up social entrepreneurship. Mr. Nirankar Saxena, Deputy Secretary-General, FICCI emphasized on the challenges of creating from scratch (zero to 1) and urged the government, private sector, industries to handhold the young entrepreneurs.

Three successful groups pitched their ideas during the event. These included a queue management system for COVID-19 test centres, securing the livelihoods of street vendors through digital platform and effective plastic waste management at source. The other three ideas included enhancing digital connectivity for women, promoting urban farming and reducing social isolation in urban cities. Specialist comments were sought from experts after each presentation. Experts commenters included Dr Animesh Kumar, Dy Chief UNDRR Asia Pacific Regional Office, Brig (Dr) BK Khanna, CEO ARISE INDIA ,Rtn Sandeep Saxena Lead CSR ActionAid ,National Convenor SDGChoupal shared briefly about the SDGChoupal global initiative enabling localization of SDGs & ADPC among others.

They highlighted on the importance of low cost solutions to societal problems and called for strengthening collaborations with the community for effective implementation of SDGs. Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative of JICA India Office recommended effective use of marketing strategies for reaching out to local communities. The event ended by remarks of Mr. Raj Srivastava, Deputy Chief of Mission, Indian Embassy in Japan who congratulated the organizers and underscored the aspects 3S of Speed, Scale and Sensitivity considered in the journey of SIOH.

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