Education Department Government of Gujarat has taken series of initiatives to design and develop innovation processes and ecosystem across its affiliated colleges and universities. At state level, SSIP is pioneering series of interventions and Gujarat Hackathon is an annual flagship program where young students can leverage their technical skills to solve real life challenges posed by various stakeholders. Last year, during “Smart Gujarat for New India”, 17 departments of Govt. of Gujarat like Agriculture, Home, Urban Development, Port and Transport, Energy and Petrochemicals and others shared 213 challenges to all students across universities for solving them and creating innovative solutions. Students from across disciplines like BCA, Engineering, MCA, MSc IT, Pharmacy and allied branches had participated in this one of its kind program at state level. The grand finale of Hackathon program,” Smart Gujarat for New India” 2018 was hosted at PDPU. Short listed 150 teams comprising 917 students from 11 universities across 15 districts of Gujarat participated in grand finale on 24th-25th March in a nonstop 36 hour efforts.
While taking the legacy further, Higher & Technical Education Department, Government of Gujarat is organizing industrial hackathon 2018-19 in line with last year efforts. Through these programs, students will be working on real life challenges of SMEs, Industries and large corporations. Through this, SSIP wish to make serious efforts to create a strong open innovation program involving industry, academia keeping students, innovators & start-ups at the center. Under this program, education ministry will try to involve all universities and the students will participate at different levels. Potential digital and other challenges from various ministries/departments will be sourced, codified and made available in a digital platform so that young students can participate in it.
SSIP at state level will do a systematic outreach program across the state so that wider and inclusive participation takes place in this program. Mentors will be assigned by different industries and academia for technical guidance related to particular sector& industry. Technical committee will review all the student applications based on their synopsis as proposed during their applications in through an online platform. Each potential team with their local mentor will devise their strategy to solve a particular challenge shared by particular industry, clusters or similar organization. The reviewed and filtered ideas/synopsis by expert and review committee will be nominated for further rounds. The first stage of the Hackathon will be hosted in simultaneously in five cities of Gujarat. Each host can focus on certain domain so that similar innovations can be brought together for further support. During this program, respective industry who has provided challenges will nominate their mentors and reviewers who can interact with their teams, guide and bench mark them while giving inputs on how to improve them further.
For Semi Digital &hardware innovations, the format for the program would be slightly changed to tune them as per the need. During these 36 hour programs, teams will also present their POC/Prototypes to jury for evaluation. Best teams from this will be taken forward for grand finale and final exhibition of prototypes. Tentatively the regional rounds will be held in January 2019 and final round would be hosted in 1st/2nd week of February 2019. MHRD hackathon will be hosted in 3rd week of February so some of our best teams can participate at national level to showcase their innovation.
Though primarily last year efforts under “ Smart Gujarat for New India Hackathon” program were designed and executed for finding digital solutions for various governance related challenges, this time attempts will be made to develop the mechanism and process to innovate hardware solutions and innovation pertaining to different challenges of MSMEs and industries too. The overall objective of this program is to channelize huge amount of youth energy which is currently being underutilized and instead engaging them with more constructive agendas and imbibe new skill and attitude to make them problem solver and progressive contributor in civil society at large.
Special focus to solve challenges of MSME sectors During this year’s hackathon, we are making special efforts to see that our students try to solve challenges of MSMEs in Gujarat in general. Small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) have emerged as an engine of growth in several developed and developing economies of the world and in India they play critical role in job creation and economic impact. The major advantage of the MSME sector lies in its significant employment potential at low capital cost and the labor intensity in the MSME sector is estimated to be considerable higher than the large enterprises. However, there are weak linkages between the technology providers (Universities and R & D laboratories) and the MSME’s as technology users. Hardly, few of them can afford high quality talent to set up their own R&D or innovation facility. In other side, we have over half a million professional students graduating every year from the state who could be connected to these MSME units.
By involving the students with real challenges of MSMEs, we wish to leverage skills of youth while the industrial units can get access to talents in their vicinity who could work on their issues. This will create win-win situation. This could turn out to be a very frugal innovation process where State can facilitate such programs and a culture can be developed. Rather in long run, it will change the mindset of academia so that more and more of them guide their students to take up such real world challenges as their project/research work. This will cement the linkages among industry, academia and society in long run. In the beginning of this year’s hackathon process, students, faculty guides and nearby MSMEs can also sit together to define granular challenges apart from pooling challenges from industries by themselves. This will bring better ownership for the problem giver and academia. In application phase, multiple teams can apply to work on shared challenges. Sometimes, group mentoring to teams working on similar challenges can be facilitated. As Gujarat is having a wide range of MSMEs, students from different discipline can get an opportunity to work on their issues and opportunities
Who will share challenges