News: Pragyan Youth Summit

The highly anticipated Pragyan Youth Summit 2017 took place at the Hilton, Chennai on the 28th of January. The event kicked off at half past nine, with some insights from Pragyan about India’s profile, as compared to other countries. This introduction was followed by the welcome address. An overview of the day’s proceedings was delivered next.

This was succeeded by the inaugural ceremony after which the morning’s keynote address was delivered by Padma Shri Dr Anil Kumar Gupta, professor at the Centre for Management in Agriculture, IIM Ahmedabad, and founder of Honey Bee Network. He deliberated on the need of innovation in the Indian society, as well as citing many anecdotes where he had witnessed the effect of innovation.

Following the first keynote address, there was a short tea break, where attendees could interact with the speakers.

The first panel discussion on ‘Marching towards the Innovation Economy’ took place after the break. The discussion was moderated by Dr Prashant Salwan, a permanent faculty at IIM Indore and alumnus of the London School of Economics as well as Harvard Business School. The other panelists included Cmde. R B Verma (Retd), a graduate from IIT Kharagpur and an Indian Navy Commodore (Retd), Dr Anil Wali, a highly experienced IIT Delhi doctorate with several patents to his credit, Dr Manish Gupta, Vice President at Xerox Corporation and Director of Xerox Research Centre in India, Dr Sumanth C Raman, a medical professional who has been active in the field of Healthcare IT for over twenty years, and Mr Chandhan Potukuchi, an expert in building enterprise cloud products and services. The discussion covered various topics, ranging from India’s capacity and potential to innovate, to the reasons why India’s global ranking in innovation is sub par. The panelists also spoke about the importance of innovation in healthcare and related areas, as well as how the government can help bring about better innovation. Once the panel reached on a conclusion, the floor was opened for questions. Members of the audience quizzed the panelists on certain concerns, one of which was whether innovation in public services would improve if their business models imitated private ones.

After the panel discussion, a short presentation on Entrepreneur Banking was delivered by Mr Chandramouli, a Deputy General Manager at SIDBI. Next on the agenda was a networking luncheon, a Pragyan initiative to create an interactive environment among the attendees and the speakers.

Following the luncheon, the second keynote address was delivered by Dr Aloknath De, Corporate Vice President of Samsung Electronics, South Korea and Chief Technology Officer of Samsung R and D Institute in India. His talk was on the topic of ‘Grassroots Innovation’, where he expounded the importance of lateral thinking in improving innovation. He also spoke on smart engineering and gave examples of new innovations in Samsung products.

The second panel discussion, spanning on the topic: ‘Inclusive Innovation’, following the address, was moderated by Mr Dhimant Parekh, founder of thebetterindia.com, a network that uses the power of media to drive large-scale impacts. Panelists involved in the discussion were Mr Kartik Desai, an executive director at Asha Impact, Ms Ajaita Shah, CEO of Frontier Markets and President of Frontier Innovations Foundation, Dr Priyanka Sarkar, a doctorate in the Biological Sciences and Vice President of Programs and Policy Affairs at ICFA, and Arun Venkatesan, Chief Technology Officer at Villgro with over 15 years of experience in research and development. The discussion was quite interactive, with the panelists engaging in active conversations with the audience. They discussed the various areas that need innovation, with a primary focus on agriculture. Another feature of the panel discussion involved the audience members broaching on their ideas and thoughts with the speakers on stage. For example, one member described his idea about building an accessible wheelchair which he had executed the previous year. The interactive discussion ended with a question-answer session.

The final event planned for the day , ‘Breaking Barriers’ came after the second panel discussion. The speakers for this event were Mr Zubin Sharma, founder and CEO of Project Potential and graduate of political economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and Mr Amol Arora, Vice Chairman of SHEMROCK Preschools and Managing Director of SHEMFORD Futuristic Schools. The talk covered many aspects of innovative entrepreneurs and included advice on how to proceed and develop your business models.

The Pragyan Youth Summit reached a conclusion with the delivery of the Media and Marketing Report, followed by a Vote of Thanks.

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