Abhilash has over 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience in India and is the Founder and innovator of several pathbreaking transformational ventures such as E-Toilet, Shetaxi, inE Safecity, Bloombloom, B-HUB and many more. His ventures have bagged more than 100+ national and international awards including Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation Award, CNBC Young Turk Award, NASSCOM Award, MIT, TiE US and Sankalp Award.
There is a requirement now more than ever for entrepreneurs and innovators who think differently, or better say, the world needs more “cuckoo heads”. As we evolve and categorize generations, it is to note that there is a concise but greater advancement in the knowledge economy. As much as this is the era of the Industry 4.0, this is also the age of innovation, one where repetitive jobs can easily be replaced by the many components of automation. Each and every corner of the current world has boiling pots of ideas that soon turn into establishments. Unfortunately, this self-driven, experimental model that is creating waves across the economy, is turned a blind eye by the mainstream curriculum that is followed by the educational institutions of the country. It is time that we critically analyse and provide practical solutions to the situation. For instance, we can clearly recall from our school days, the innumerable moral science or value-ed classes- perhaps a few many motivational and discipline oriented lectures as well. Let’s take a count. How many business people or entrepreneurs have passed our school gates to engage with us? Or say, how many of our peers’ parents were invited to talk about their occupations? Where was the collaborative, entrepreneurial niche situated in our schools?
Entrepreneurship and innovation is a culture, a culture combining enterprising mindsets, a culture of repeated failures and successes, a culture of queries, that of curiosity and inquisitiveness, empathetic and ethical leadership, challenge-taking and problem-solving, and to top it all, imagination. A few days back, one of our co-workers recalled how a teacher of hers completely negated the idea of an automobile exhibition as art. That’s exactly where the problem lies. Innovation is art, and that is imagination. The world that we are creating this very second is innovation driven. Aspects such as learning, sharing and collaboration are the essences of that revolutionary concept. We are all aware that schools of yesterday and today are alcoves that embrace standardized and uniform outcomes. However, this understanding is not to be projected as blame-games, instead, it showcases how most of us are unaware of the significant role that entrepreneurship and innovation plays in this century. So, the idea is to break open the protocols to support collaboration, and shatter the figures of authority to modify classrooms to learning spaces. Institutions should transform into avenues like the Stanford model which built enterprising skills through collaborations which generated employable assets who satiated their risk appetite by transforming into entrepreneurs we see ruling the Silicon Valley today.
In order to cultivate such a culture, it is necessary that we enable working in an environment that unites aspiring entrepreneurs and successful business leaders who appreciate micro failures that may become the most impactful discoveries in the pursuit towards success. In addition to that, our curriculum should bind activities that evoke ownership and self-direction upon real-life challenges instead of concentrating solely on the theoretical aspects underlying a topic. Most of the time, students are troubled with the question and purpose of why they are being educated on something. Challenging pupils with real-world problems neutralizes this query, and builds in them a need to find alternatives and solutions, which is the basis of entrepreneurial thinking. Furthermore, the NEP’s decision to include internships in the mainstream curriculum is in a way, a groundbreaking move, but one that should be implemented responsibly and properly.
Most importantly, the understanding of the school system as pockets of innovative ideas, and the womb of future entrepreneurs, should enable educators and fellow peers to accept nouveau concepts rather than negating it for its impossibility or idealistic nature. It should drive itself to cultivate a biome for constructive criticism by providing the students with necessary resources, tools and skill sets that would empower the propagator to understand the faults in his/her/zie system.