Invention is the conceptualization and demonstration of a novel solution to a problem. Innovation, on the other hand, does not stop with conceptualization and demonstration. It takes the solution all the way to successful implementation as a product or service. Thus, innovation is the mechanism by which human creativity is unleashed to deliver change. Innovation is also an urgent necessity.
Throughout history, there have been examples of young people finding ways to keep society moving forward. Consider Thomas Edison, Guglielmo Marconi, and the Wright Brothers — they were all brilliant at spotting the potential that could be harnessed from the knowledge and technology that existed in their time. It, however, doesn’t always have to be a radical innovation. Even an incremental idea or a seemingly innocent direction of thought, if implemented well, can have an impact. Examples include the seat belt, the Global Positioning System, and probiotics.
Also, innovation requires enthusiasm, a certain fearlessness that comes with not being set in your ways, and most importantly, a drive to make the world a better place. That is why there is a need to encourage young people to innovate. It is, after all, no coincidence that Google came out of university research.
A good college can and should provide an environment for innovation. Student entrepreneurship clubs are a great way for college-goers to learn outside the classroom. They provide a platform by which students can share ideas, network with mentors and entrepreneurs, and get exposed to a new way of looking at things. Providing incubation support such as mentoring and networking opportunities to students could encourage more students to take their ideas forward.
Recognizing the potential for young innovators, India has several schemes to promote innovation among college students. These include the NIDHI EIR Fellowships by the Department of Science and Technology and the BIRACSRISTI Awards for Young Innovators. The Smart India Hackathon is a also great opportunity for students to come forward with solutions to over 500+ social problems identified by ministries and other government departments. Closer home, Venture Center, a technology business incubator in Pune, offers a range of fellowships.
So, with these entrepreneurship schemes and support systems in place, one can only imagine how much innovation potential lies in India’s 600 million strong youth population who are under 25.
Reference: The Economic Times