Monday, June 15, 2009

Fifth India Innovation Summit '09- Day 1- Banquet Session

The Banquet Session for the Day- 1 was themed around 'Beyond Business : Innovations in Art & Culture'. The intent was to explore the various influencing factors, be it education, culture, political influences, theatre, art, fashion that give India its distinct flavour.
Harish Bijoor, the Brand-specialist and CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults moderated the session. He quotes a 6 year old survey and what influence innovation and people said – “Culture, environment, politics, people and religion. He impressed upon the value of INSIGHT to any innovation.
The panelist were:
  • Surupa Sen, Creative Director, Nrityagram
  • Sharukh Mistry, Director, Mistry Architects
  • Krishna Byre Gowda, President, Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress
  • Prasad Bidappa, Image & Fashion Consultant

Surupa provided an overview on the Innovative Gurukul system for all dances in NrityaGram. It has one of the best dance ensembles in the world. In her view, the innovation needed is to preserve the arts. The younger generation is not so much in the mode for ”Eat, drink, sleep, dream, breathe” a dance form. Also need corporate blessing for the arts. Need alternate methods to focus on excellence and preserving the arts.

A survivor of Asian Tsunami, Sharukh's call in life came when he was approached to resettle the villages devastated by the episode. The approach was to go without any plans, listen to the needs of the clients, and build sustainable alternatives involving the locals. His insight has been:

  • Use local material
  • Start a participatory process
  • Think about innovative materials and processes in a ”cradle to cradle” method. We must worry and understand about how it is born and where it goes and how it finally dies. Else its not innovation.

Krishna Byre Gowda discussed about the problems of Indian Youth Congress and how they turned around the processes internally and that helped them in a big way in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Pondicherry and affected the current UPA results. The innovation was that a already prevalent idea was simply unlocked and implemented efficiently. The problem being IYC was stagnating. The election processes within for leaders at all levels was opaque. It was not dynamic and full of favoritism. Centrally decided by high command and hence lot of grassroots level disconnects.
The change was to make the election process more democratic. Challenges in breaking down current resistance. Focus now on broadbasing this to all states and making it an ongoing sustainable process.

Prasad opined that India has a lot of designer talent – but there is no single brand that’s famous world wide from India. Italy has many – Gucci, Armani etc. None from India. We were very happy being the ‘tailors of the world’ – but now that place is quickly being taken over by Bangladesh, and other Asian countries. So cost effective outsourcing is not there for India. We need to move to design and create our own brands. Fashion industry is badly in need of this innovation. India needs to go global!

It followed an interactive session with the audience culminating into networking and the corporate dinner.


Anonymous said...

well, so much for nrityagram's innovative gurukul system "for all dances". it would do you good to go visit and see for yourself. they're touring most of the year and cannot pay much attention to their teaching duties, which is why they hardly have students for odissi, let alone other dance forms. they've been making tall claims about a gurukul for all dances for more than a decade now.

Hema S said...

I think the point made above by "anonymous" is valid.

Nrityagram has always had challenges with execution and institutionalizing a system.

I have seen Nrityagram from the 1990s onwards - when it was truly away from the city and at least 5 of the classical dances were actively taught and learnt there.

They have always had issues with budgets, teachers, their residential programs and so on.

Personally, I think the place lost its moorings when Protima passed on ahead of her time. It was still a dream that needed a lot of nurturing.

Like Harsha Bijoor said to Surupa at the event, the Gurukul concept was also challenged when the city caught up with Nrityagram.

But all in all, the Nrityagram gurukul system is a great innovation. The free spirit of the concept was perhaps too much for the 'formal arts establishment' of India .... apart from execution challenges!