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Cutting edge practices at BIMTECH – Prof Sunil Sangra 

BIMTECH has recently been implementing some cutting edge practices in its curriculum and pedagogy.

One such practice is of “Design Thinking” for Human Centered Innovation, which has been offered by Prof. Sunil Sangra for the last 2 years in the course titled ‘Business Innovation and Growth Strategy’ that he teaches. Vishal Sikka the new CEO of Infosys has recently gone on record to say that Design Thinking is going to be adopted by Infosys in a massive way and thousands of its employees will be trained in it. At BIMTECH, two student teams, which used some elements of Design Thinking in their projects in the Innovation course went on to win laurels for the Institute and themselves. One team won the MTS iNNOVATSii all India competition along with 4 other teams from across India (2 of the 5 winning teams were from the National Institute of Design).

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The winning teams are going for an all expenses paid trip to Moscow and Skolkovo – an Innovation center near Moscow. Another student team came 2nd in a closely contested competition around smart cities at IIM-Bangalore.In short, Design Thinking works.One of the most avid user and proponent of Design Thinking is Dave Kelly, the founder of IDEO and the main inspiration behind the d.school at Stanford University. IDEO is perhaps the world’s foremost Design, Innovation and Product Development consulting firms. Design Thinking is used extensively by some of the most innovative companies in the world such as Google, Procter and Gamble, SAP, Apple and others. Design Thinking was at the heart of A.G. Lafley’s renewal of P&G in the late 1990’s leading to a tripling of its innovation success rate. Recently, four young students at Stanford’s d.school have successfully developed and launched a low cost infant baby warmer as a result of a Design Thinking project in India. This low cost warmer – Embrace, is expected to significantly reduce child mortality rates due to premature birth in the developing and emerging world’s underdeveloped rural areas which have problems of poor health infrastructure and extreme affordability.

JThe second practice that Sunil has initiated at BIMTECH is the use of theLEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method to conduct student workshops. The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method was developed by Bart Victor and Johan Roos, Professors at IMD Lausanne along with LEGO’s founding family member and CEO Kjeld Kirk Kristiansenand his team.Kjeld Kristiansen was dissatisfied with the results of the company’s strategy-building sessions.While his business was about imagination, the results from these sessions were decidedlyunimaginative. At the same time, Johan Roos and Bart Victor, were also concerned about the poor results from traditionalstrategy-development techniques. All of them shared the beliefs that organizations are about people and that strategy is something you live and not something that is stored away in a document. The development of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method began in 1996 and has evolved on an ongoing basis since then. LEGO is now the leading toy company in the world. The method is used largely in the Western World for enhancing business performance aroundissues such as Strategy, Innovation, Systems Thinking, Creativity and so on. The 1st workshop at BIMTECH was conducted by Sunil in the 3rd week of October and was attended by 8 students. The participating students unanimously agreed that more workshops should be conducted and some of their observations in an anonymous feedback were:

    • “Helped me to understand and express myself better”
    •  “Thought provoking”
    •  “Should be incorporated in the pedagogy”
    •  “Really did wonders”
    •  “Provided great insight into ourselves”

Apart from extensive reading on these cutting edge practices, Sunil’s passion for Innovation has also led to extensive trainingin the last 4 months at:

    • The HassoPlattnerInstitut, Potsdam, Germany (a sister institute of the d.school at Stanford University);
    • The LUMA Institute’s workshop in San Francisco, USA, and a forthcoming advanced workshop at Pittsburgh, USA in the 1st week of November; and
    • Trivium(a Danish company) for LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitator training in Milan, Italy – Sunil is one of the handful of certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method facilitators in India.

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