BANGALORE:“The greatest asset in India is the sense of hope that prevails despite all the problems, and this hope has to be exported in the next 5-10 years,” opined Indian American entrepreneur and chairman of Sycamore Networks Gururaj Deshpande on Saturday during the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Alumni Club meet in the city.
Delivering a talk on ‘Can Social Innovation and Technological Innovation Leverage off One Another?’, Deshpande, who is fondly called Desh, said,“India certainly has problems, but there is a coexistence of these problems with innovations. Hence, there is a sense of hope. Many here believe ‘I can do it’.
However, these people believe that their children have greater potential,” said Deshpande. Stressing on the importance of social entrepreneurship, Deshpande called upon students to get out of university or campus boundaries for better understanding. “Innovations cannot happen in laboratories or classrooms inside university walls. Students have to go out to get a real feel of what works and what does not,” he said.
He also referred to the work of his Deshpande Foundation’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship where students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) visit Hubli to work with local students in solving relevant problems.
Commenting on government policies on innovations, Deshpande said, “Government policies are applicable for most of the people and not everyone.
If you go out there and ask an innovator what you should do, he would ask you to repeat what he did as it worked for him.
Similarly, with government policies, you have to try to optimise for the ‘most’ and not everyone.” Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT - Madras, was optimistic that innovations in technology could address social issues.
“There can be affordable solutions if one tries to address issues through technology. There is great potential for this approach in education and healthcare,” he said. He added that the Akash tablet was a good thought, but lacked direction. “Innovations in these sectors need in-depth thought for productivity,” he added