Tag Archives: ideacamp

Find collaborators at IdeaCamp Pune 2: 17 Jan

Are you passionate about some idea, but don’t know enough like-minded people to partner with to give life to the idea? Are you an enthusiast of one domain looking for an someone with skills in another domain to implement a pet project? Do you want smart, energetic people to brainstorm with about how best to achieve something that you’ve long dreamt of?

Would you like to help Arun Bhatia (ex Municipal Commissioner of Pune) figure out how to increase voter-turnout and citizen participation in governance? Would you like to figure out ways in which the internet can save lives? Would you like to help develop a campaigning tool?

Would you like to discuss different ways in which we can survive this recession? Does local Pune search interest you? How about a session on user-driven innovation from someone who’s been doing this for over 10 years?

Would you like to join me in creating a blog aggregator for all Pune blogs?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, you should attend “IdeaCamp Pune 2” this Saturday, from 9:30am to 6pm at SICSR Pune. If you have no idea what SICSR is, then you really need to start reading PuneTech more often.

Still not convinced?

Check out my report of the first IdeaCamp Pune that happened last year. Or, see the IdeaCamp blog for various other reports of the last IdeaCamp (scroll down a couple of posts).

If you want to attend, register at the IdeaCamp page. You need to click on the Edit button at the top of the page. This will ask you to create an account; go ahead and follow instructions like a good soldier. Then you’ll get an activation link in the mail. Activate your account. Now you can go back to that page and click Edit, and this time it will allow you to edit the page. Scroll down to the list of participants and add your details to that table. You might have to right-click and use the “Row > Add Row After” menu to create a new row.

It is free, but you must register, because last time, due to space constraints, the number of participants were limited to 80, and many people who were interested were not allowed to attend. In other words, as we like to say here at PuneTech, Hurry! Offer valid until stocks last!!

And don’t forget to check the PuneTech calendar for all the other interesting events on offer for you.

And you are not subscribed to PuneTech, please do so – you can get updates (free) by email or via RSS. And tell your friends too.

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IdeaCampPune – a Report

These are the quick-n-dirty notes that I took during IdeaCampPune. (Actually, they are my live-tweets of the event.) I’ve tried to include relevant links where I could find them.

Generally, I think it went rather well. The organizers had stopped registration after 80 entries (there were a bunch of other people who wanted to get in, but couldn’t) – so I guess about 80 people attended. All the sessions were attended by a roomful of people and many sessions had lots of discussion and audience participation.

If you find any one of these initiatives interesting, and need help with getting in touch with the relevant person, let me know and I can try to put you in touch.


  • First hour spent in “corridor discussions”. About a dozen ideas listed on the board so far.
  • Kaushik R (http://lin.cr/ru) et al trying to create a platform for structured participation of Industry in (Pune) colleges
  • IIT-B Alumni association inviting nominations for Innovations-2009 (http://innovations-pune.com/). I’ve heard good things about the Innovations program from a number of people. (Beware, it is not all IT/Tech, some of the innovations might be in a different field. But still interesting.)
  • Srikanth Sunderarajan (COO, Persistent) pushing people to be serious about their ideas – to think everything through.
  • Anupam Saraph, CIO of Pune, talking about “Design for Pune” (http://lin.cr/rv) – competition/game to design Pune of the future. Competition will have participants using SimCity (http://lin.cr/rw). Possible first prize – spend a day with Will Wright (top game designer). See my recent article about some of the initiatives that Anupam is currently spending his time on. 
  • Abhay Shete (http://lin.cr/s1) talking about the Semantic Web (http://lin.cr/ry); faceted browsing (http://lin.cr/rz
  • A couple of students from COEP talking about Swarm Intelligence (http://lin.cr/s2). Complex behavior from simple pieces.
  • Anurag Agarwal is creating the “Mentor India Program”. Pick promising students from colleges and mentor them for a few years.
  • Shashikant Kore (http://lin.cr/s3) talking about SMS based micropayments. I wonder if his new company (still in stealth) is about this
  • The Design for Pune (http://lin.cr/rv) presentation repeated by popular demand (for those who missed it)
  • Aparna talking about “India, I Care” http://lin.cr/s5 – Lots of audience participation
  • Entrepreneurship cell IIT-B; promoting entrepreneurship amongst youth. http://genportal.org/ – funding, incubation, showcase, etc.
  • Freeman, talking about the use of mp3 players in (rural?) education (the “one mp3 player per child” project). http://clrindia.net/ is using radio to run an english teaching program. Digital Hall provides videos that teachers can use to run lessons. Teacher only has to answer questions/doubts. OLPC classroom near Karjat is also rather cool. Also see http://curriki.org/ a wikipedia for curricula. All of these have some problems. That’s where mp3pc comes in. The web has a large amount of audio web content that is freely downloadable. Usable for education. use cheap chinese mp3 players for education! Easy to use, cheap, sturdy, easy to carry around. Many hours of education. Can use even while the child is doing something else (e.g. walking 5km to school). Freeman is hoping to do a pilot program with the 15 mp3 players he bought. Looking for a good institute where to run it. 
  • Aditi talking about “Generating Rural Income”. Can we tap traditional abilities of villagers/tribals to generate income? A number of interesting NGOs were mentioned during this talk, but I was unable to capture their names. Hopefully someone will blog about this in more detail.
  • Shyamal leads a discussion on various ways of saving power (mainly about our use of computers)
  • My own discussion on what we can do to improve participation in tech community events in Pune. Some interesting ideas that I hope to try out in the near future
  • Guna talking about “Lean Thinking”. The Toyota way. How to incorporate lean thinking in your own startup. Identify waste, measure it, and eliminate it.
  • One presentation on a single website where you can go to see all your e-mail. Everybody jumped on the poor guy. Surprisingly, in a day full of unconferenced talks, this was the only presentation that did not have interesting content.
  • bosky101 conducting a session on brainstorming. Creating random patterns of different ideas. Everybody having fun coming up with unrelated terms/areas/activities. 
  • Since a lot of the ideas presented today have been about social responsibility, Anurag felt that the audience would be interested in the other activity that he has been a part of for the last year.  http://aksharbharati.org – the program he started for creating libraries for disadvantaged kids. They have created 50 libraries so far (using, 40 to 50 people across 5 chapters). He hopes to double the numbers this year.
  • There was a wrap up session in the end where people talked about which ideas they liked the best. Design for Pune was the clearly one the ideas that people were most excited about. Other honourable mentions: SMS micropayments, Mentor India, 1MP3PC.

A Vision for e-Governance in Pune

In an earlier article, I wrote about how Pune now has a CIO, who is pushing various initiatives to make Pune the city with the best use of technology for governance.

At my request, Dr. Anupam Saraph, the CIO of Pune, has written two articles about this aspect of his work. The first one is a vision piece painting a picture of Pune in 2015. An excerpt:

The pain of providing the same information over and over at different counters is history. The first time I registered myself to ilife, through my computer at home, I was asked to provide information to identify myself. I was requested to visit any one of the 14 ward offices to provide a photograph and my thumbprint to receive my Pune-card, my username and a password to access ilife. That was it.

My Pune-card provides me with cashless bus-travel, parking and entry into all electronic access public locations as well as electronic entry enabled private locations. It works as a cash-card and also replaces time-consuming procedures with countless forms to make applications. It simplifies and secures transactions as I can simply allow the service providers to swipe my card and take my thumbprint to access information. Only information that I have marked as allow through Pune-card will be accessed at points-of-transaction. The transaction is updated in my account on ilife.

If you read the whole article, you’ll notice that none of the ideas contained there are futuristic, or taken from sci-fi. They are all things that can be implemented relatively easily using today’s technology. All that is needed is execution and political will. And there are indications that the political will is there.

While a vision statement might be good as an inspiration, it is worthless without concrete short-term goals and projects. Dr. Saraph has written another article that lists some of the specific projects that are already underway. There is already industry interest for some of these projects, for example, Unwire Pune, and Pune Cards. Others, like Design for Pune and MyWard, will depend more upon community participation.

This is where you come in. All of these projects can do with help. From web-design and usability, to server and database tuning. Or, if you are a non-technology person, you can help with spreading the word, or simply by participating. I am planning to start a discussion on these topics at IdeaCampPune tomorrow (Saturday). Dr. Saraph will also try and attend those discussions. (Registration for that event is now closed, so you will not be able to attend unless you’ve already registered. However, if there is a good discussion, and any concrete actions result from it, I’ll write an article on that in the next week. Stay tuned. If you’ve already registered, please note that the venue has shifted to Persistent’s Aryabhatta facility near Nal Stop.)

SEAP is already behind these initiatives (in fact, the appointment of Anupam Saraph is a joint partnership between PMC, SEAP, Dr. Saraph.) Civic commissioner Praveensinh Pardeshi is very supportive of the project. Companies like Persistent, Eclipsys, nVidia have already pitched in by providing free manpower or resources.

But given the scope of the project, more volunteers are welcome. I have already committed to spending some time every week on projects that can use my expertise, like Design for Pune and MyWard.

It is very easy to get cynical about any projects undertaken by the government. Especially PMC. And that was my first reaction too. However, I have now come to believe that a few people can make a difference. Participate. Enthusiastically. Passionately. Try to convince your friends. One out of 50 will join you. That might be enough. Isn’t it worth trying?

Related articles:

IdeaCampPune – 17 May

When – 17th May 2008 (Updated!)

Where – “Aryabhatta”, Persistent, Nal Stop (Up-Updated)

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees. As per the BarCamp rule, there are no spectators, only participants. We only need 3 things – a place to hang out, wi-fi connection, ideas and food.

If you have no idea what a barcamp is, check out the wikipedia page on barcamp


Often our ideas remain ideas and we are not sure whom to discuss them with. You may have a great idea, but the real challenge lays in finding its appropriate application. Cohesive and divergent thinking is what is required to build ideas from scratch to working prototypes. In the process we need to discuss with people from different walks of life to identify how our ideas can make a difference in their lives. Can our ideas make money for anyone?

About IdeaCampPune

This is a self-organized gathering to share ideas and see them shape by applying divergent thinking. The objective of the camp is to get people from different roles like designers, entrepreneurs, financers, creative minds, technology evangelists, product managers and marketers together to bandy ideas from everyone’s viewpoint. Ideally by end of the gathering we should have ‘proof of potential’ for our ideas.

Potential Ideas

There is no restriction to what ideas you come up with except that it should make business sense and is useful to at least a group of people. You can share with the community how your idea solves an identified problem or serve any observed need.

You can queue the ideas continually on this page and in case we get more ideas flooding, then the participants will decide which ones to discuss.

Topics I would like to hear about

Head over to IdeaCampPune’s Page and look at what people have listed so far. Click on the edit link at the top of the page and add your own topics. (You’ll be taken to a register/login page. There, on the left-hand-side, fill “c4mp” as the wiki password/invite key, and fill in some username and e-mail address to register.)


9:00-9:30 am Event kick-off
9:30-10:30 am Brief introductions
10:30 – 1:00 pm Ideate, collaborate and build
1:00 – 2:00 pm Lunch
2:00 – 5:00 pm Ideate, collaborate and build
5:00 – 6:00 pm Summarize – present what you have built and discuss what do we want to do next with the developed ideas
6:00 – 7:00 pm Happy hour – Evening snacks, socialize


If you have money please sponsor this event. We need more such events in Pune.


1 Harshada Deshpande harshada11@gmail.com, http://designecology.blogspot.com/
2 Vishal Sethi vishal.imt@gmail.com
3 Hrridaysh Deshpande hrridaysh.deshpande@gmail.com


Head over to the IdeaCampPune Page and yourself as a volunteer to get involved.