October 2017 Social Innovation Week

Second Innovation Week for the current Academic Year was scheduled for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students of IILM Institute for Higher Education from 9th October through 13th October 2017 at Lodhi Road Campus. The focus of the Innovation Week was on Innovation, Creativity, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Project Management, Impact and Future Focus.



Day One – On the first day, Prof. (Entrepreneurship) Lagan Kochhar, introduced the objective of Innovation Week to the students, which was to expand their knowledge on the subjects of Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, followed by group work on a plan which students would want to propose to create a sustainable social impact. Prof. Kochhar launched the dialogue with the students by discussing how Social Entrepreneurship can change the world while implementing real business models. The session concluded with the audience broadly noting that Social Entrepreneurship is motivated by social gains as against financial gains. There is a high level of focus on innovation, creativity, and risk-taking. In this regards, Social Innovation aims at creating business models and innovations for the betterment of the society and Social Entrepreneurship aims at rewarding ordinary people for making an extraordinary impact on peoples’ lives.

The second session was led by social entrepreneur Mr. Gauarv Mehta, Founder, and CEO of Dharma Life. Dharma Life, a Forbes Featured social enterprise is dedicated to poverty alleviation through rural entrepreneurship. Mr. Mehta mentioned that the vision of his organization is to create “An India, rising from within” and to achieve this objective, their team follows an innovative approach of value creation that combines rural entrepreneur development and multi-product distribution.

Mr. Mehta started the session by sharing with students his journey into Social Entrepreneurship. He recalled the catalyst experience when he was 12-13 years of age and was moved by a poor child who had asked him to give him some money so that he could use it to earn a livelihood. That was the trigger point in his life which mentally empowered him to work for transforming the lives of people.

Mr. Mehta shared that since 2009, Dharma Life has created a network of more than 11000 rural entrepreneurs who have positively impacted more than 2.5 million consumers in more than 35000 villages across 12 states in India. The areas of focus of Dharma Life are livelihood, education and digital literacy, health, hygiene and sanitation, indoor air pollution, access to clean energy and nutrition.

Explaining the work dynamics of Dharma Life, Mr. Mehta mentioned that Dharma Life develops business capability and provides livelihood opportunities to the people in villages. It facilitates delivery of products and services for social impact and also creates access to finance for the poor people. It focuses on behavior change strategy and community-driven programs with entrepreneurs as catalysts and also markets insight services using technology and innovation to enhance impact.

The final leg of Day One’s session was focused on making the students understand the expectations of the Live Project. The students were given the choice to select their area of work from various categories ranging from livelihood, education, digital literacy to health, hygiene and sanitation to access to clean energy, food, and nutrition. The Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) Team at IILM then explained to them how to form groups, conduct background research, prepare project plan and then deliver it to show the visible social impact on the targeted group. Focus on learning outcomes and the most profound life-changing experience was the key to run the project.

Day Two –  of Social Innovation week saw the students closely working on one the themes opted by them along with the mentors of EDC Team to create social awareness and impact. The students brainstormed and put their ideas on paper and decided their way ahead.

Day Three  – of the Social Innovation Week viewed the students discussing their project with their respective mentors and discussing previous day’s field visit outcomes on creating social awareness and impact. They also decided the strategy for the day and geared up for the next field visit.

Day Four –  of the Social Innovation Week noticed the students bringing together their findings, giving structure to their work, drawing conclusions, making presentations and practicing delivery of their work to be presented on Day Five.

Day Five –  was an exciting day. Nine groups composed of a total of sixty students presented to the audience how they worked during the last three days to create social awareness and impact. It was interesting to see how young minds came together to create and implement ideas to cause impact in various areas ranging from hygiene, sanitation, and cleanliness to poverty alleviation and education to producing light through clean energy.  The groups were assessed on four criterion – namely creativity, project plan, impact, and learning.

The Winning Team presented their thoughts on the use of Clean Energy. They developed a model of producing light at home by use of LED bulbs and water bottle. They demonstrated the procedure to people in slum areas and made them learn how in low cost they could produce light for themselves, thereby reducing their expenditure on electricity and also teach others how to make the model. Their work was commended by not only the reviewing committee composed of Mr. Gaurav Mehta, Dr. Daisy Mathur Jain (Dean, Undergraduate Business School, and Prof. Lagan Kochhar, but was also applauded by the entire audience comprising of other participating groups, students, and faculty members. Mr. Gaurav Mehta, and Dr. Shuchi Aggarwal, Director Undergraduate Business School awarded the winners. The winners also received the reference letter from Dharma Life for twenty hours of community service. The Winning Team was constituted by Manjot Nagi, Riya Kakkar and Surabhi Khullar from Lodhi Road Campus and Adarsh Lairenjam, Aditya Mittal and M.P. Poovanna from Gurgaon Campus.