Incubator of Innovations - The New Indian Express

Incubator of Innovations

Published: 16th February 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 14th February 2014 05:04 PM

At the root of all innovation is curiosity, a tinkering spirit and an ‘urge to fix something’. There are too many hackathons focusing on contests, hiring events or start-ups but none on hacking because its ‘fun’,” says Venky Goteti (40), co-founder, Devthon. “At the heart of all innovation is the culture of hacking and exploration. We want to encourage this culture,” he explains.

Founded in 2013 by three Hyderabadis—Prashant Venkatasubban, Harish Krishnan and Venky Goteti—Devthon aims to promote hacker culture and the spirit of innovation. It aims to connect people of all ages and from all walks of life across the world at a moment’s notice to spur communication on any subject.

“Participants may bring in their expertise to the table and work with idea owners or propose an idea and work on it with collaborators. At the end of each edition, the objective is to have sparked an idea into action,” says founder Prashant (25).

Entrepreneurs propose their ideas at Devthon, get feedback and take the idea to the stage of implementation. It is meant as a space that helps people get started as innovators sans inhibitions.

“We realised that millions of dollars and incubation spaces alone cannot guarantee innovation. Successful billion-dollar enterprises like Hewlett Packard and Facebook were founded in garages and dorm rooms. We discussed that entrepreneurship is key to build an innovation economy,” says Prashant.

“We asked ourselves how we could intervene and address this issue. We needed a stepping stone for individuals to take the first step. This was our cue to start Pisutra, the company that initiated Devthon—to catalyse a systemic change and create interventions at all levels. On campuses, corporations, among the youth. Devthon’s ethos lies in these thoughts,” Prashant adds.

Origins

An electrical engineer, Prashant started his career like many young graduates in an IT start-up building speech recognition products for Indic languages. Soon enough, the desire to set a start-up inspired him to connect with other entrepreneurs.

In his quest to find a start-point, he met Harish, who was in the midst of building a couple of start-ups (amgonna.com, Hubvents.com and Hands Media Productions, a video production firm) and Venky, an educational technologist and co-founder of an open source technology company, Azri Solutions.

 Different Worlds Meet

How can technology help solve social and environmental issues? Harish (34) says, “Devthon is an initiative where culture of innovation and excellence is focused upon and we welcome simple to complex ideas.”

Devthon has enabled many individuals to leverage technology to tackle social challenges as well. The first successful spark was with GetRTI, an open source repository to help anyone file and get access to RTI (Right to Information) requests. The idea which has now become a project sees technological and design challenges addressed by the community through collaboration and contribution,” explains Harish.

Free Space

Now, giving a free space for exploring ideas is a great, but in a tech-ridden city like Hyderabad, how does Devthon stand out from other start-ups? Venky says, “In meet ups conducted by others, usually they last for two to four hours and participants plan other things after the meet up. While each Devthon edition lasts for 36 hours, people can choose to rest at the venue where it is conducted or go back to their places and come back. The point is to work on the idea for an extended period of time.”

Devthon, which is actually short for Developers and Marathon, organises monthly seminars in Bengaluru and Hyderabad at present. The organisers charge `500 as participation fee which is used towards refreshments and logistics for the seminar.

The founders hope to soon make Devthon a pan-India initiative.

If you have a burning idea but don’t have the required skills or manpower to execute it, maybe Devthon can help you. You can find out more at www.devthon.org.

CURRENT PROJECTS

■ Applying design methodologies

and using 3D printing to create better bus number boards

■ Creating home automation apps with Google Glass

■ Tinkering with leap motion devices to capture hand gestures

■ Applying natural language processing to understand books and movies and leveraging technology to address the challenges in urban transportation



for two to four hours and participants plan other things after the meet up. While each Devthon edition lasts for 36 hours, people can choose to rest at the venue where it is conducted or go back to their places and come back. The point is to work on the idea for an extended period of time.”

Devthon, which is actually short for Developers and Marathon, organises monthly seminars in Bengaluru and Hyderabad at present. The organisers charge Rs 500 as participation fee which is used towards refreshments and logistics for the seminar.

The founders hope to soon make Devthon a pan-India initiative.

If you have a burning idea but don’t have the required skills or manpower to execute it, maybe Devthon can help you. You can find out more at www.devthon.org.

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