A day before MozillaCamp Delhi was to happen, I got a call from Economic Times inviting me to a panel discussion as a part of their Power of Ideas initiative. (Yes folks, this is why I had to miss the exciting bit at MozCampDel.) Their official blog is here, Flickr group here, and Twitter account here. Initially I wasn’t that enthusiastic about it because I didn’t want to miss MozillaCamp Delhi, but when I got to know who all will be coming I jumped onboard. Their panel discussion series ended recently, so I thought now would be a good time to talk about it.
After lunch at MozillaCamp Delhi when Arun and Seth started giving their presentation, I left for Times of India’s office at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. I’d gone there quite a while back (faintly recollected where it was) so on the way I asked an autowallah what the proper route should be. That proved to be my undoing because of the “Seedha jaake left” mentality that Delhi people have when asked for the directions to any place. The route he told turned out to be long detour which threw me off course by many kilometres. Anyway, I finally did reach the venue kinda almost around start time.
In essence, this is what the Power of Ideas initiative is about:
This ET initiative seeks to provide a platform to anyone with an idea, encouraging him to realize his entrepreneurial dream. Ideas will be nurtured with personalized guidance from mentors, before being submitted to investors for funding.
The panel discussion was a closed room talk with the theme “Ecosystem for innovativeness in India. Is Jugaad a disruptive technology?” between the speakers who were invited and the Economic Times folk. On panel were Jagdish Khattar (former MD, Maruti), Shivinder Mohan Singh (Director, Ranbaxy), Raman Roy (CMD, Quatrro BPO), and Saurabh Srivastava (co-founder, Indian Angel Network – nothing to do with Fairy Godmothers, but something close to that for entreprenuers). This was a meeting where the Economic Times guys were asking for suggestions on what could be done as a part of the initiative. I’d have written a lot here about what was discussed bu the nice folks at Economic Times have already done that. This is a highly recommended read. You can also read my updates on Twitter which I was live-tweeting from the discussion.
I enjoyed every bit of the panel discussion because there was a lot of stuff worth listening to from people who matter. My point that funding of entrepreneurs in universities needed a lot more work in India was something people agreed with. Soon, it was time to wrap up – and time for me to take autographs and pictures. Of all the people on the panel Raman Roy was most definitely the most interesting person. (The photos of me, BTW, were taken from Abhijeet’s phone. He was also invited as a blogger to be a part of the discussion. Phone’s new – and HTC – and he hadn’t yet read the manual. :P ) Economic Times’ Power of Ideas initiative is a bold step into an field which hasn’t been ventured into before. Hopefully, this would set in motion a chain of events which eventually gives a fillip to entrepreneurship in India. As Raman Roy said, “Innovation will go mainstream the day matrimonial ads for entrepreneurs are considered ‘hot’!”