Time to showcase India’s innovation ecosystem in US
Just how significant India has become in the US is best evidenced in the growing popularity of the Annual Massachusets Institute of Technology (MIT) India Conference, which begins on February 16.
This conference, which will hold its ninth edition this year, is one of the biggest India-focused conferences in the US and will be held at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusets.
Traditionally, it is organised by students from across various schools at MIT.
This conference has established itself as an important forum for leaders in the industry, academia and policy to discuss current issues and future innovations in the context of India, South Asia and the world.
Given the importance of innovation, particularly its emphasis on startups,
Kritarth Yudhish the significance of such a conference can scarcely be underrated.
The theme for the 2019 conference is suitably titled ‘India’s Competitive Edge’. This year, the conference will focus on celebrating individuals and organisations who have provided the cutting edge in their respective areas of excellence.
While India has been able to establish itself as the world’s fastest growing economy in the past couple of years, it will need to continue making progress with the help of business, technology and social leaders, to maintain this edge.
The conference is aimed at promoting MIT and broader communities’ engagement and interactions with India’s leaders from various disciplines. These include science, technology, sports, entrepreneurship, economics, social justice, politics and even spirituality.
More importantly, it leads to fruitful collaboration between leaders and the MIT to address real problems in India.
Sometimes, platforms such as these, for a variety of reasons, end up promoting agendas that showcase the country in a negative light, whose outcomes do not lead to positive engagements at a later date.
Hence, the goal this year is to leverage the platform to highlight numerous positives that India has to offer, through its leaders across various disciplines, and through high-impact Mitbased initiatives.
Looking to go beyond merely policy and technology, the conference would host speakers who have managed to make a difference. Scrapping of a colonial law, Section 377, was one such moment for the country which needs to be highlighted. For instance, Arundhati Katju, the lawyer who stood for LGBTQ rights and led the fight for scrapping Article 377, will be putting forth her views at the conference.
Additionally, there will be media perspectives that include accountability vs freedom and the press as a medium between the masses and the newsmakers.
It is very important for the conference to include such voices, highlighting the progress that we have been making as a society, beyond technology and businesses.
Like every previous edition, this year too we are hoping that this networking and interaction will lead to engagements between various organisations and the MIT.
The lineup of those who will speak are varied and eclectic. From the world of politics to business, sports persons, representatives from finance, movie personalities and astronomy, all would be participating.
Firebrand politician Subramanian Swamy and cricket legend Sourav Ganguly will attend. As will representatives of global pharmaceutical firm Dr. Reddy’s. Giving them company will be delegates of India’s corporate creme da la creme: Unilever, Reliance Jio, Kirloskar Systems, Microsoft research and a representative of Yale Astronomy.
The famous Jaipur Foot will be represented along with IIM(A) and a clutch of noted NGOS. Any discussion on India will be incomplete without Bollywood, which will be amply represented in well known film personalities like Anupam Kher and Farhan Akhtar.
In what is expected to be a wonderfully interactive session, the conference will showcase technology leaders from MIT, highlighting the impact that they have made through their collaboration with India.
Next year, the MIT India Conference aspires to go one step further and spotlight the thriving startup ecosystem that has come up significantly in the past five years. We hope that the leadership team for the next year’s conference would offer budding entrepreneurs in India a platform to showcase their undeniable talents, leading to further collaboration with MIT and investors.