Problem-solving is at the heart of innovation and entrepreneurship activities. Young students across universities & innovators are the new source of creative pursuit in any innovation ecosystem. Quite often, the vast pool of energy of young students does not get optimally used due to a lack of structured process and orientation. Often, the innovation process does not provide suitable exposure to the students and other similar support in a systematic manner so that they can work on real-life challenges. Many open innovation processes have been tried globally to involve potential innovators in problem-solving and opportunity creation. Structured innovation processes and institutional mechanism in a time-bound manner is generally practised across academia and industry for the same purpose.
Sometimes, time-bound problem-solving attempts with the right kind of mentorship and guidance also prove to be very effective. One of such interventions is the widely practised Hackathon model. Though primarily, it is intended to engage creative minds to solve and create a proof of concept in a time-bound nonstop process, it can also be tweaked to a blended mode of execution. In such a process like Hackathon, digital solutions for specific challenges are generally asked to be developed. However, it can also be designed for developing hardware solutions by redesigning the process with suitable infrastructure, time frame and allied resources. In academia and industry, such Hackathons have been one of the key processes to trigger new thoughts and attempt to solve given challenges in constraints of time and team efforts. In academic practise, such pedagogy is also quite prominent for imbibing problem-solving ability amongst young students.
Young students actively participated and demonstrated their innovative skills in such programs. Such programs need to be attempted in different contexts from time to time so that it becomes an effective process of innovation itself to harness creative minds. Such attempts also bring in academia, industry and governance together, which creates an opportunity for co-creation in a structured and institutionalised manner.
The Education Department Government of Gujarat has taken a series of initiatives to design and develop innovative processes and ecosystems across its colleges, schools and universities. To structure and institutionalise various initiatives and support systems towards it, Student Start-up and Innovation Policy (SSIP 2.0) is designed and is being implemented.
Under its mandate, various innovative interventions have been suggested to all universities. New efforts at various levels like institutional, pedagogical, process and community levels have been suggested to engage and leverage students across the innovation value chain. As mentioned above, one of the key recommendations to all universities and academia led innovation systems is to organise efforts like a Hackathon and similar time-bound problem solving and innovation activities.
While taking the legacy further, the Education Department is planning to organize “A State-level Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav Hackathon 2022” in line with last year’s efforts. Though primarily the program will be designed and executed for finding solutions for various challenges of the State government departments, further attempts will be made to develop the mechanism and process to innovate hardware solutions and innovation pertaining to different challenges. The overall objective of this program is to channel a huge among of youth energy which is currently being underutilized, towards engaging them with more constructive agendas and imbibe new skills and attitudes to make them problem solvers and progressive contributors in civil society at large.