Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Food for thought

It's not the genius who is 100 years ahead of his time but average man who is 100 years behind it.

-Robert Musil, novelist (1880-1942)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sixth Pre Incubation Programme

The sixth pre-incubation programme for grassroots innovators will be conducted on Saturday 26th of July 2008 from 10am to 4pm at hall 1, IC&SR, IIT Madras. The purpose of this programme is to enable the innovators to innovate with market perspective and also to think through how they can address the existing problems in the society with their innovations. It also helps them to have better understanding of the challenging journey from idea to market. The programme will be led by a number of experts from various fields to conduct a series of skill and knowledge building sessions on creative thinking, the mistakes to be avoided by an innovator for making the innovation successful, intellectual properties and rights, licensing and technology transfer, investment for innovations etc. We believe that this programme will definitely help the potential innovators in bringing their innovations to life by making use of their capabilities effectively .

L-RAMP and Shaastra 2008 begin collaboration

Shaastra, an annual event celebrating the spirit of Engineering, will again be held at IIT-Madras from the 1st to the 5th of October, 2008. Coinciding with the Golden Jubilee celebrations for IIT-M, this year's event listing include the Shaastra Conclave, 5 Golden Design challenges (addressing key problems facing India) and Engenious, a design challenge event. Over 30,000 students from over 800 of India's best Engineering colleges are expected to attend.

L-RAMP is keen to support this initiative and, as a first step, has contributed 2 of the 4 challenges for the Engenious event. The challenges are:
  1. Find a way to make a non-kerosene based lighting system for Rs. 100/-
  2. Design a small-scale, cost-effective de-husking machine for minor millets (these include ragi, thinai, samai, kambu). The machine can be manually operated, or use a single-phase motor of no more than one HP. An innovation of this nature would help farmers add value to millets in their village, while at the same time enabling them to make nutritional, delicious snacks such as biscuits using these grains.
  3. Develop a soil nutrient analysis kit which can provide information regarding the availability of 12 nutrients vital to plant growth. The participants are required to design a prototype of the kit, keeping it simple, at a reasonable cost for its provision to farmers.
  4. Design a low-cost rainwater harvesting system including the water collection and storage components, suitable for a single family and costing less than Rs. 200.
Stay tuned for further announcements of collaboration between L-RAMP and Shaastra 2008.

Mark your calendars, get out your slide rulers and we hope to see you there, along with your ideas.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Press Release

As part of our services offered to innovators, L-RAMP is organizing a quarterly review meeting and a parallel session on capacity building for all the 18 incubatees on 15th July, 2008. The idea is to review the innovations, achievements, impact and plan of action in next quarter. As part of capacity building session, innovators will also get a chance to interact and share each other’s learning. L-RAMP will, too, share strategies on marketing, commercializing products and raising funds for business.

Our goal is to facilitate interaction between innovators and thus to help them take their innovations further, faster.

Fear of innovation or change

I received this word in my email inbox this morning as part of my 'Word of the Day' email from

I thought it was a useful word to know as we go about our work promoting innovations and building an innovation ecosystem.

Misoneism - A hatred, fear or intolerance of innovation or change

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New L-RAMP incubation!

A new innovation that really can have a great impact among backward communities of rural India is approved for incubation at L-RAMP in June 2008. This is a unique business model; a service innovation where one of the critical components is itself an innovative product! The major objective of this project is to increase the income of nomadic sheep rearing farmers through a well organised business model. It also plays a role in preservation of indigenous breeds of sheep. Let's hope this innovation may bring a ray of hope in this unorganized and neglected sector and set the pace for a paradigm change.

For further information please contact Ancy Thomas.

L-RAMP incubatee raises Angel Funding

DesiCrew, a rural BPO company and an L-RAMP incubatee since December 2007, has raised angel funding from a prominent private investor and leading player in the BPO sector, Mr. Rajiv Kucchal.

Rajiv has nearly 22 years of management experience with 16 years in Infosys Technologies, Ltd--a leading global company that provides consulting and IT services. Rajiv was one of the founding members of Infosys BPO (earlier Progeon) , the business process outsourcing (BPO) subsidiary of Infosys Technologies where he was the Head of Operations and subsequently the Head of Business Transformation. Rajiv is an alumni of IIT Delhi.

As an angel investor he shares a common vision with DesiCrew on the untapped potential of youth in rural areas and small towns of India. The investment will allow DesiCrew to pursue their aggressive growth strategy and leverage their innovative solution delivery model to continue to provide value to rural employees and urban clients.

For further information, please contact Arun Sharma.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Innovation in HIV testing

I came across an interesting report discussing a new HIV detection technology starting trials in India.

This technology supplants the previous test which requires a centrifuge for separation of serum from blood. By requiring only a simple finger-prick of blood for analysis, it enables easier testing of potentially HIV-positive patients and better case management through the joining of pre-test counselling, HIV testing, post-test counselling and medical treatment, all in one visit. It is hoped that this technology will enable the testing of the 70-75% of the 2.5 million Indian HIV-positive patients who are currently not aware of their status.

The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) is currently undertaking a testing methodology similar to that which L-RAMP follows for all new product introductions - lab trials have been expanded into large-scale field trials, after which data will be analyzed and good performance will result in the test being distributed nationally.

An interesting technology with enormous potential social benefit.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The power of ideas

The Ideas Festival - an interesting conference happening now in Aspen, Colorado. It seems a trend to bring together people from diverse disciplines (doctors, engineers, politicians, artists and others), have them exchange ideas and varied perspectives and the desired result being learning for all, often from perspectives rarely brought together. The TED conference is another excellent example as is the forthcoming PanIIT 2008 conference (December 19-21 2008 @ IIT Madras featuring RIN CEO Paul Basil as a speaker).

I like the central premise of these meetings and a quote from the BBC article nicely summarizes both the applicability to the US in a political year and also the work that we at L-RAMP are pursuing:
All of these people have come here with one central conviction. It is that ideas matter and especially so in a presidential election year. Men and women can change the world by thinking about problems and by approaching them in new ways.
Ideas matter and they can change the world. We at L-RAMP are pleased to be able to help some ideas see the light of day and, through this, bring about the change that our innovators want to see in the world.