All the while that we’ve been busy planning the Design Public Conclave, other interesting conclaves on innovation are also in the making, in particular the Mahindra ‘Spark the Rise’ finale that will take place on the very same day as Design Public. At this invitation-only event in Mumbai, the 18 finalists of the year-old Spark the Rise Campaign will meet with a small group of key influencers for a discussion on how grassroots movements can fuel change in India. This will be followed by a ceremony in which four of the finalists will be awarded further grants towards their projects, based on public voting as well as an expert jury.
‘Spark the Rise’ was launched in August 2011 to provide a platform for innovators and entrepreneurs working for positive social change to share their ideas, showcase their work and connect with other like-minded people to create a community. Over the past few months, this community has grown to over 250,000 people, with over 6000 projects submitted from all across India. The campaign is a powerful example of how social media and the web 2.0 can be used to garner massive participation and through this, fuel social change. Anyone can submit their project to the platform, and then promote their idea using in-built tools. Apart from submitting a project, one can also donate resources, expertise, equipment or their own time, and vote to support one of the projects already submitted.
The 18 final projects are quite varied in their scope, spanning from innovations in agriculture, efforts to reduce the use of plastic bags, setting up e-commerce centers in rural India, environmental cleanup and providing greater opportunities within rural employment with e-technologies and more. It will be interesting to follow the results of the Spark the Rise competition as well as to track the future of some of these ventures. Moreover, we hope to be in touch with the team at Mahindra to discuss ways in which we can collaborate and align our two platforms to provide complementary conversations, share knowledge and create the necessary networks to better envision and facilitate the future of innovation in India.