After a successful run in London, Rio and Tel Aviv, the first Google Launchpad event in India is being hosted between Feb 2nd and 6th at the Idiom office/DREAM Center, Bangalore.
What is Google Launchpad?
Google Launchpad is a five-day mentorship program for early stage startups and will be focused on mentorship areas that include Product strategy, UX/UI, Technology, Go-to-Market/Marketing and more.
Each day in Google Launchpad is dedicated to a specific subject and includes presentations, one-on-one mentorship, and a lot of focused work. The idea is to achieve rapid progress in a very short time using a lot of resources and mentors experience.
The first edition of Launchpad was originally launched in Israel, and it was so successful that Google has had about 14 of these events there since then, with each batch having 15-20 startups.
For the Bangalore event, there are about 20 mentors, half who are Googlers from California and Israel, including Amir Shevat, Google’s startup outreach program manager.
Around 20 startups are a part of the mentorship program. Some of the startups are:
· CoSight – Helps make sales executives more efficient
· Findulum/Smart Pocket – Manages all your loyalty cards on the phone
· AdWyze – Provides interactive direct response solutions
· Wazzat Labs – Delivers efficient image processing, computer vision and graphics solutions on mobile platforms
· BabyChakra – Helps parents discover and decide on local services for their children
· BlueHat (Englishdost) – BlueHat are a mobile education company targeting the B2C English learning market
· Frilp – Helps find shops and services used and recommended by your friends, colleagues and other like-minded people
· CashKumar – Allows you to get the best rate on foreign exchange
· RightDoctor – Helps find the right doctor for your ailment
· Expin.me – A story builder application
Idiom is the venue partner for this exciting event. The Google Launchpad event is taking place at the Dream Center, which is an encouraging space at Idiom, often used to think and work with entrepreneurs; exchange learnings, create big game changing ideas and take them from mind to market, with skill, speed and imagination.
The Dream Center has been designed to capture a spirit of organized chaos. Started years ago, there was a realization that folks, especially business folks, enjoyed chaos. Some of the most breakthrough ideas were created around a long table with basic sandwiches, loads of nimbu paani and coffee, open doors with people rushing about…a feeling that can be best compared to ideating at a traffic junction.
The Dream Center is a space that allows you to ask ‘what if’ or ‘why not’ questions…under a rain tree. A colorful, joyous space that morphs from a space and screen to gain inspiration from, in HD quality, to a space where the ideas flow free and fast. A space to learn, to co-create, to compete – to think, feel and most importantly, do!
Educators, parents and school students are used to a roster of analytical tests such as Olympiads and talent search exams dotting the academic year. On the other end of the spectrum, there are painting and creative contests which provoke the interest of “left-brained” creative children. When a “whole-brained” challenge was announced that encouraged talented children with both, “right-brained” analytical and problem-solving skills and creative skills to participate, it drew the attention of parents, students and schools alike.
Creya Learning’s second edition of the Creya Ignited Minds Challenge (CIMC) was held this year in Bangalore. Teams from 20 different schools across Bangalore city came into the DREAM:IN Center for Day 1 of CIMC 2013. It was “Boot Camp” day, where these teams of six students got trained on design thinking for problem solving and the use of various engineering and digital media tools to build working solutions to the challenge on day 2.
Sonia Manchanda, Co-founder of DREAM:IN and Nidhi Isaac, Designer, Idiom conducted a Design Thinking session called ‘Design Up’. The idea was to introduce the concept of Design Thinking to the students and to get them to use Design Thinking in a challenge. After a short introduction to Design Thinking, an example of how Richard Turere, a young Kenyan boy, used design thinking to create a device that uses light to scare of lions and other predators, was shown to inspire the young minds. The teams were then asked to design a flying object, keeping in mind that this object would solve some challenge. Once they had finished designing their flying objects, all teams were given kits that had some yarn, paper, balloons, candles, sticks, tape, scissors and some stationery. The teams were then briefed on the challenge – to make a working prototype of the flying object that they had designed. The next hour was filled with excitement as the kids worked together to create an assortment of flying objects. Everything from hot air balloons to gliders were designed. The final part of the challenge was testing out the flying objects. Every team had 2 minutes to explain and demonstrate their creations. Many of the prototypes worked, while some failed, but the key learning here for the children was that failure is the first step towards success. The session ended with a sky lantern being lit and sent up in to the air. At the start of the next day 5 prizes were given to the 5 best performing teams during the challenge.
On Day 2, “The Challenge Day”, the participants were shown a video and given their problem statement which was about natural disasters such as the Uttarkhand floods and the Phailin cyclone and asking the student teams to present a “whole brain” solution to mitigate the severity of the impact of the disasters and rescue people caught in them. A tough real-world nut to crack indeed for budding thinkers of 7th and 8th grades! But the young students were not fazed at all, and got to work, applying the principles of the problem solving and design thinking approach that they had learnt over the first day.
The air was crackling with competitive energy as students wandered around the vast venue drawing inspiration from what their competitors were creating; conferred amongst themselves about their approach and performed research online to understand the different facets of natural disasters. “It was very satisfying to see the positive energy and competitive spirit among the students”, remarked Ms. Rajitha, a Creya Coach. “They took time to understand the problem well and came out with ingenious solutions to the problem statement.”
Judges from Creya and eminent personalities from the city including Mr. Bala Warrior, CEO of Manipal Foundation and Mr. Rishi Vasudev, COO of Arvind Brands walked around, asking questions, guiding students along their Design Thinking journey and gauging the output as well as the approach by students to solve the problem.
By evening, it was time for student presentations – each team presented their engineering and creative solutions to the issue. The winners of the Creative Thinking Champions trophy were Sri Kumaran’s School, with their short movie that not just touted the features of their engineering creation, but also spread awareness on what societies can do to lessen the impact of disasters.
The Analytical Thinking Champions trophy was shared between two equally competent and worthy teams – Gopalan National School and Vidya Sanskar International School. The Whole Mind Championship went to Sri Vani School whose solution was technically flawless in all aspects – a device that could fly or travel on the ground and drill the ground to rescue people buried under debris.
The Chief Guest, Mr. Bhat, General Manager of Canara Bank graciously gave the prizes away to the jubiliant winners. He also spoke about the need for developing both analytical skills and artistic skills for facing situations in life and workplace. And so the curtains came down on another edition of the nation’s only “whole brain” championship.
“We look at CIMC as a vehicle to spread awareness of the importance of applying the conceptual knowledge to solving real world problems” said Mr. Venkatesh Datla, Co-Founder and Director of Creya Learning. “Most contests and tests that children participate in only examine a single facet of their abilities, often ignoring the others. But real world problems demand integrated approaches that have both creative and logical facets. The Challenge required students to use their analytical thinking, problem-solving, creative design thinking and innovation skills. The jury thoroughly evaluated the solutions on a wide range of parameters, including ideation, design, construction efficiency, originality, team work and the output to decide the winner.”
Creya Learning is an innovative education company that focuses on readying children for the real world by training them in design thinking philosophy and equipping them with tools such as 21st Century Skills. Creya’s approach to learning integrates aspects of experiential learning and STEM education.
We, at DREAM:IN look forward to working with Creya on a number of projects in the near future. Stay tuned for updates and news on what will be happening.
The IDEX Accelerator is a career launch-pad for aspiring social enterprise practitioners. IDEX’s 6 month program offers intense field experience and leadership training curriculum that equips fellows with the equivalent of 2 years marketable work experience that’s relevant to social enterprise employers.
The IDEX fellows have now been associated with DREAM:IN for nearly 2 years. In 2012, a number of IDEX fellows became DreamCatchers and captured entrepreneurial Dreams for DREAM:IN Next Gen. This year, Daniel Oxenhandler (one of last year’s fellows) took over from his predecessor as the IDEX programme coordinator. He is currently co-coordinating the program with Joe Kent (another former IDEX fellow) and is looking after the group based in Bangalore. Daniel and Joe were very eager to work with DREAM:IN right from the start of their fellowship. They had approached DREAM:IN and asked us to do a design thinking workshop for them. Instead of doing another workshop, we offered to help them develop their ideas* and reframed the initial plan, designing a process and a camp (based on DREAM:IN and Idiom’s earlier experience). Sonia Manchanda and Raji Math took over to create and conceptualise the Idex Design Thinking Camp.
*The fellows were split in to 5 teams and were asked to create social venture ideas/plans of their own, and over the 6 month fellowship, through different programs, they were going to try and create sustainable businesses out of the ideas that they had come up with.
Prior to the IDEX Design Camp, the fellows had a day long workshop at Jaaga where they came up with 5 different ideas (Given below). Meanwhile, Daniel and Joe had met with the DREAM:IN Team to plan a workshop to help the fellows flesh out their ideas and help take them to the next level. Given DREAM:IN’s expertise in events like this, a two day workshop was planned that was to bring design thinking to stage zero of the value creation process by questioning plans and notions and opening up possibilities, combining the facets of big Dreams, visions and scenarios, supporting them with hard facts, plans and prototypes. The goal would be to create a compelling venture argument that blends critical and creative thinking, to help take original ideas to market as projects or ventures. The Camp was planned over the 5th and the 6th of October, 2013. The focus would be on practical work – to bring the idea alive, to make it as believable as possible
PRE CAMP: DREAMCATCHING
Prior to the IDEX Design Camp, Dreams of the fellows were captured. This included some serious questioning about the plan that will help the Dreamers prepare for the camp and make their plans even more actionable. These Dreams were uploaded on to www.dreamin.in for everyone to view and post their feedback on.
CAMP DAY 1
5 OCTOBER 2013
The Day started with an introduction to DREAM:IN followed by a showcase of the Dreams of the fellows that were captured prior to the workshop. Teams were created and each team had the involvement of an external mentor who were invited to guide the fellows and help them shape their ideas as well as designers from Idiom who also contributed to the development of the ideas.
The Mentors that attended were –
Mr. Vijay Ladha, entrepreneur and Director, Make a Wish Foundation, Bangalore
Raahul Khadaliya, Creative Director, Studio ABCD
Ashwini Sashidhar, Designer, Machani Group
Jadeja Dushyant, Innovation expert and tech expert at Intel
Kavita Arora, Design enthusiast and part of the team behind Design Day
Amit Singh, Entrepreneur and part of the team behind Design Day
We also had mentors walk in and help out the fellows during the two days. Sonia Manchanda began with an introduction to the Design Camp and explained the process of Insight/Knowledge mining by using our very own ‘Create Preserve Destroy’ tools and methodology. From a knowledge sharing perspective, the perspectives presented in Bruce Nussbaum’s book Creative Intelligence on Business Design, Roger Martin and some successful entrepreneurial models developed by Idiom were touched upon.
During this session Francois Xavier, entrepreneur and DREAM:IN Mentor, Michael Hartman, serial entrepreneur, Kush Medhora, Co-founder and CEO, DREAM:IN and Girish Raj, Co-founder, Idiom Design and consulting spent time with each team, gave them feedback and helped them structure their ideas and plans.
We interviewed Michael and Francois separately and asked them what they thought about the Design Camp. Both of them were really impressed with the Camp, the participants and the processes. They were also really happy that design thinking was an integral part of the camp and that all the ventures/ideas being shaped were using design thinking in various aspects of the shaping process.
Post lunch, we then began with the DreamScaping* session that was introduced by Mo Polamar.
*A DreamScape is a creative scenario building tool and methodology that helps sketch out Dreams or ideas in vivid detail.
In this open innovation session, the purpose of the DreamScapes were to map and generate blueprints to co-create new value via sustainable initiatives or business plans for products, services, systems and applications, that could be potentially sustainable enterprises of the future, created by multidisciplinary professionals with different skills, experience and expertise. All the teams worked for over 2 hours on their DreamScapes and were able to put down a clearer map of their ideas.
Soon after this, we had a series of presentations by entrepreneurs that were working in sustainability. Raahul Khadaliya went first. He spoke about the role of design in sustainibility6 and the kind of work he has been doing with Studio ABCD.
One of very own Next Gen entrepreneurs, Ifthikar Javed was next. He spoke about his start up My Eco Day, an online solar product retailer, and about the solar industry in India today. The audience asked him questions like is Solar power practical? What is it is raining, will solar power work then? How can you compete with the government?
Our final speaker for the day was Kamal Raj, another Next Gen Entrepreneur who spoke about his company, Reap Benefit, and organisation that is offering wiser waste management solutions to various stakeholders. Kamal was asked about how waste segregation can be integrated in to daily life? Does he have a program or a plan to engage with individuals and not only institutions? All the speakers answered all these questions
CAMP DAY 2
6 OCTOBER 2013
Day 2 of the IDEX Design Camp began with each team presenting the work that they had done over the previous day in front of a panel consisting of Mr. Bala Warrier, CEO, Manipal Foundation, Francois Xavier, Girish Raj, Sonia Manchanda and Mo Polamar. Every team had been given 10 minutes to present their Dreams and 5 minutes for questions and feedback. The videos of the presentation and the feedback that was given will be posted on the DREAM:IN Portal shortly.
The first team to present was Thirsties (later re-branded as team Ekho) Mr. Warrier asked them why they were planning to use water bottles as there is already so much plastic waste everywhere, the team replied by saying that they were planning to use bio-degradable water bottles for this very reason. Mr. Warrier also explained that there were already several organisations in India that were in to the distribution of clean drinking water and he would be glad to connect the team to them. Francois advised the team to not forget about the Indian side of this engagement. He said that two plans needed to be made, one for the American side of it and the other for India. Girish and Mo mentioned that the working (logistics, operations etc.) of this venture would need to be looked at and planned a little more carefully
The second team to present their work was team Prana. After their presentation, Girish explained to them that they might need to look at a village production center, do a little more research and also work out costs. Sonia and Mo mentioned that there were already existing business that follow similar models like Fab India and Mother Earth and it would good to study them while Francois gave them advice on how they could structure/frame the Prana story
The third team to go up was Kamal Kisan. The founder of Kamal Kisan, Devi Murthy was also present. Francois asked them why they had selected one particular process as an investor might ask them the logic behind that. Devi answered that she had selected rice planting as they were aiming at finding a heavily labour dependant farm process since availability of labour is a concern, therefore, this gap would give her venture an edge.
The next team to go up was ‘Dream Revolution’. Soon after their presentation, Girish asked them to explain their process a little more in detail. He also explained to them that in theory their idea might work, but when it comes to practically implementing it, they might re look at various aspects of the idea. He told them that there is a technology aspect as well as an on ground aspect that they will need to look at. Francois told the team that following the ‘pen-pal’ system might not be a good idea as the old pen pal system is gone, people are taking to online social networking instead, so why not create a ‘pad-pal’ using tablets and phones.
The final team to present was team ‘Learn by doing’. Nitin from the team answered questions after the presentation that were put forth by the Mentors. They really liked his idea and Francois advised him to carefully look through and identify the kind of schools, students and other stakeholders that they plan to engage with.
Essentially, there were a few gaps in all the various ideas that were addressed. Some of them included, creating a solid revenue model, streamlining the business process, identifying the right kind of partners etc.
Mr. Warrier even extended his support to the team behind Thirsties and Prana and said that he would be glad to connect them to local partners/enablers to help them implement their ideas.
Over the weekend, Jordan Kapowitz, a friend and supporter of DREAM:IN visited us in Bangalore and worked on a film for the DREAM:IN Portal. This film was screened at the session and everyone really appreciated it. It will be live on www.dreamin.in very soon.
We had a surprise planned for our very own Mallikarjuna Swamy, an integral part of Idiom and DREAM:IN and the head of the DREAM:IN Tumkur project. It was his birthday a couple of days earlier and the DREAM:IN Team had him cut a birthday cake along with fellow October birthday babies (Mr. Warrier and Hansa).
Over the past month a group of young design students from Srishti school of Art, Design and had been undertaking a course in branding at Idiom. As a part of this course, they were given the IDEX projects to brand and design collaterals for. Most of these students had never presented before such a big audience ever before, they were a little shy initially, but after warm encouragement from the audience, they really got in to the act. Each team presented 3 or more variations for the brands that they had designed and the feedback from the audience was unanimous. Everyone loved the work, some options were favoured over others, but all the designers were very well appreciated. Interesting feedback was also given, one instance in particular, one of the options that the designers had come up with for the project Kamal Kisan, was a logo that had hands reaching upwards. Mr Ladha, one of the mentors, explained that designers need to be careful when creating brands because in this case, symbols of two major rival political parties were incorporated (not on purpose) in to the brand. Also the name might face registration issues as another major Indian brand shares a similar name.
Soon after lunch, every team was given a camera and a brief to create a pitch film (or at least a draft) with the help of editors at DREAM:IN so that they could incorporate their learnings over the past two days in to this. The session ended with each team presented their pitch videos and over the next few days will have some time to refine their work before publishing it on the DREAM:IN Portal and using it at their final showcase. One pitch video in particular (the Dream Revolution team) was very well received and the team even received a standing ovation from the crowd.
The workshop ended on a promising note with positive feedback from the participants
The tremendous effort which was evidenced in the quality, organization, and thoroughness of the workshop was also appreciated by all present. The fellows we were told, gained a lot from working with their mentors and teams and were all excited to see what shape their ventures would take in the final showcase in November. Some of these ideas could turn in to real ventures (in fact 2 of them – Kamal Kisan and Learn by doing already are!) which will all be showcased in November. Stay tuned for updates.
Given below is a summary of the first session that took place on Saturday, the 21st of April in the DREAM:IN Center
Special Interest Group – Founded by Hemu
New Age Retail – comprises of
- Data Analysis – Analaysis + Data mining + CRM
- Online + Offline businesses in Retail
- Ecommerce + Mobile
- Technology as a tool for focus to promote entrepreneurship in retail
Key Note Address : Dr. Gibson, CEO of Retail Asso. Of India
He spoke about the evolution of retail from the barter systems to trading on ports under colonization to development of organised logistics in India and back under unorganised logistics and retail in today’s India.
He says that through the times the buying behaviour of Indians and family roles that determine collective buying patterns have changed. So it’s impact on buyer/User roles in modern India have be modified, keeping retailers and business men on their toes all the time.
He insists that the success and focus of Indian retail and therefore all trading and logistics should be profitability and viable business models.
Mr. Mehdi had the perspective that for the prosperity of Indian Retail the following aspects must be addressed
- Potential of online retail
- Identifying new niches of consumers
- Following the line of though- discomfort for retail reduced
- Greater options and addressing greater entry barriers for new retail businesses
- Recognising increased removal of pain points continually
- Recognising and removals of myths on cash on delivery models
- Security of online payment gateway
- Addressing solvable issues on logistics in the long term
- Its easier to solve trading and logistics issues in the long term than change consumer mindset
Ms. Arti Ganesh addressed consumer insecurity of online transactions and how tie ups with nationalised banks has helped restore faith in online buying
She says that opportunities as a consumer and an investor lay in creating disruptive retail models on account of Indian retail reaching an ‘investor inflection point’. The opportunities for consumers, however, were as follows
- Standard issue merchandise, online buying
- Online identity creation
- Services, online
- Feeder and support services, online
- India specific online business models – modified to ally to Indian consumer mindset
- Increased reach to be greatest focus of Indian Retail, online as well as offline
- Solving challenges in execution – ERetail Consulting
The Challenges in Indian Retail as agreed by the panel, to be confronted in the next 5 years are
- Western hemisphere models cannot be copied and applied in India – This Mentality needs to change
- Many retail models are incomplete business plans.
- Retail in India is still capital intensive. This should not only change as a mindset, but also that business men should apply commercial intellect to resolve this problem by business partnership and sourcing.
- Retail still suffers from long term lack of profitability as most companies struggle to break even.
- Many Business models are scalable but are not well founded and therefore make chronic losses
- Value creation is severely underestimated.
- Completion and big players scare away or defeat entry levels
- The mentality of spoiling consumers must change.
value proposition Vs. freebies/discounts
- The belief that in India, businesses need scale for profitability
- Most retailers and logistics partners ignore the convenience of consumers which will turn the retail industry in India into a conducive environment to businesses. They tend to work on supplying technology than convenience to consumers.
- Dependency on erratic Consumer behaviour is high. Consumer dependency Vs. awareness of retailers in the minds of users/consumers.
Opportunities in retail without online transactions:
Panel: Kabir Lumba, Lifestyle Retail
Kiran Natkarni, Investor, Kaati Zone
Nuwan Tsering from Mcleod Gunj works at a shop that makes Tibetan traditional dresses in Dharamsala. He lost his parents when he was just a child and because of this, his dream is to provide a helping hand to children who have lost their parents.
Shishir Mangala from Bhatinda always dreamed of becoming a doctor but after the business he is in, he would now like to live a life of devotion. He believes there should be righteousness in society. If he had the chance he would bridge the gap between the rich & the poor.
World In Your Pocket
Shaqlaib Khan is from Bulandsehar. He loves to dance but doesn’t know how. He says most people are liars but he would help the people who are honest. He believes that if you have money, the world is in your pocket!