The second joint event under the collaboration between Bangalore International Centre and the IIT Alumni Club (which is an Institutional Member of BIC) was held on Sunday, the 29th January, 2012 at the BIC Auditorium. The keynote speaker on the topic, “Can Social Innovations and Technology Innovations leverage off one another?”, was Dr. Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, the well-known Indo-American entrepreneur. The other speaker was Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthy, Director of IIT, Madras.
Striking an optimistic note, Desh emphasized that behind every challenge, whether technological or social, there is opportunity and scope for innovation. In this framework, it is necessary to keep hope firing in all cylinders and not to succumb to complacency or desperation. He urged for out-of-the-box thinking in dealing with challenges and gave examples of how his own foundation- Deshpande Foundation- has encouraged innovative thought processes in areas like Education and Health Care. He gave examples of how technology has been leveraged to serve a social need through the huge community kitchen under the Akshaya Patra Scheme in Hubli.
Striking the same note, Prof. Ramamurthy elaborated as to how mobile phoned have completely given a new impetus to the economic activities of several marginalized socio-economic groups. Both Desh and Ramamurthy agreed that technology is a tool which needs to be harnessed with the right social objectives and that it would be incorrect to blame technology if it is misused by people without scruples.
The lively interactive session was adroitly moderated by Mr. Ashok Kamath.