Our Education System is 70 years old and its high time that we make efforts to change it. More than 60 percent of graduates are unemployed as per reports.
Meet 21 year old Harshil Vora ( Founder – Proinnovate ) who strives to change the way we learn things. Harshil is redesigning the education system to centre around skill development and project-based learning.
How exactly he does that?
What is Proinnovate?
All your questions will be answered , Team TEN got in touch with Mr. Harshil for an interview. So lets dig deep into this young Indian entrepreneur’s life!
Machines have always fascinated me, simply because they are created to do far more than those who created them. I developed my interest in technology ever since my dad bought our first computer at the beginning of this millennium. He stumbled across TRIZ (TIPS), the powerful innovation methodology which is now Proinnovate’s foundation, a little after a life altering accident that burnt down his switch manufacturing factory. My insatiable curiosity led me to learn it from him, bit by bit, at a young age. He started practising Innovation Consultancy independently.
Simultaneously, I keenly worked in the leadership space by taking up all possible leadership roles and initiatives during and after my school life. I initiated regular leadership training for my juniors by designing interactive sessions during high school. Right after my 12th, I interned at an educational consultancy firm called Adhyayan Asia for a year where I worked more in the Leadership space among several other things.
Academically, I pursued Engineering, going through all the rigor everyone else did. However, my interest in Computer Engineering was biased towards working in mobile app development, mainly because it has the potential of being a brilliant source of passive income, which would allow me to fund my ventures. Oblivious of my misplaced faith in the Mumbai University course, it was not until my 2nd year began that I realized I won’t be learning anything related to App Development throughout the 4 years. I considered the lack of quality education in college and immense free time as an opportunity to commit to my passion.
I began my entrepreneurial journey around the time my 2nd semester of Computer Engineering ended, by researching and developing my own interactive and project-based Student Leadership Training Programme called Leaders of Tomorrow.
Halfway through my 3rd semester, Abstract Thinking led me to the idea that my passion can be realized a lot better by refocusing on life skills development and not just Leadership skills. However, I was unwilling to compromise on my passion towards the Technology, Environment and Socio-Cultural fields. So I simply combined everything I was passionate about, with Innovation at the foundation, and that’s how Proinnovate was born in May 2016! Proinnovate offers Innovation Consultancy Services, Interactive Life Skill Development Programmes, Innovative Technologies as well as Community Projects with Global goals. My father, Pankaj Vora, and I are equal partners at Proinnovate.
Existing ideas are no longer good enough to solve new problems and generating solutions by trial-and-error is a luxury the world can no longer afford.
Creativity is a natural skill we are all born with but grow out of, thanks to the current Education System that is not designed to nurture and develop it. TIPS stands for “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving“. It is the English Acronym for a Russian Innovation Methodology primarily known as TRIZ. The aim of the TIPS programme is to provide quality training and practise for participants to develop a systematic thinking approach to Innovation, Creativity and Complex Problem Solving – as a powerful life skill – leaving them empowered to innovate in every aspect of their life.
I believe that determining the degree of Innovation in India requires research and analysis so complex that such a statement can only be the result of utilizing parameters that measure what’s easy and not what’s important. Instead, let me highlight the ubiquitous nature of constraints in the lives of most Indian people. Constraints are proven to drive Innovation and Creativity.
Successful innovation is all about doing more with less, something that is nurtured by the presence of constraints.
Refining of established and proven technologies is what we refer to as Linear Innovation, which is important to be good at. However, unprecedented growth can only be achieved by making fundamental changes, what we call as Exponential Innovation. I believe we are good at both, just like the rest of the world. What matters however is what we must do to get better at the latter.
Participants get trained in developing a proven structured approach towards solving problems. The process begins with introducing the core concept of the TIPS Methodology, which involves un-learning existing ways of thinking.
We focus on developing Divergent Thinking and the ability to switch between Convergent and Divergent Thinking dynamically. We then introduce participants to TIPS Tools that help them eliminate contradictions and generate creative new solutions, allowing them to exercise their creativity.
We involve a lot of practise for the development of these skills through activities designed with their current life scenario, learning preferences and goals in mind, keeping things fun and interesting.
I am committed to inspire and bring to reality ideas I believe are revolutionary. This requires me to constantly innovate and create!
My primary goal is to transform what and how the world learns about anything and everything!
I believe that education should be mainly about learning for life. The most fundamental part of my education must be something that is useful to me in each and every part of my life, not just for an exam or a short period. That involves all the social, cultural, emotional, academic, career-related and more such aspects of my life!
I plan to realize this idea by redesigning the education system to centre around skill development and project-based learning.
One of the key areas our education sector lacks in producing innovators is that it’s design does not enable or foster creativity, but in fact suppresses it. The fact that everyone is expected to learn the same way is a classic example of functional fixedness, a significant obstacle to nurturing innovation and creativity.
This one and several other factors are proof that the system itself is not innovating, rendering it fundamentally incapable of inculcating the culture of Innovation in those that enter the system.
An achievement I am most proud of is my first Environmental Innovation project called Kabaad Ka Jugaad that I started in August 2016. It is Proinnovate’s 1st project. I’m proud of it because I did what everyone deemed would be impossible considering the limits of my skills and experience. I had never organised events, done any form of marketing or designing, led a large team, organised a large-scale competition and nor made high stake commitments to several organisations, companies and people.
I started off with simply an idea to introduce Upcycling to the masses. It was then planned as a project consisting of an Innovation Competition followed by a first of its kind 3-Day Upcycling Festival The Kabaad Mela.
Within just 2 months of having the idea, I eventually created and led a team of 130 people of all ages, organised a competition where over 120 teams participated from 50 schools and colleges, interacted and educated over 20,000 people about Upcycling, got companies to sponsor the money, venue and materials to organise a 3-Day Upcycling Festival that integrated Upcycling with Fashion, Art, Architecture, Engineering, Games, Music, Drama and Debate through collaborations and finally created a brand that touched, moved and inspired thousands to Upcycle!
The first thing I would like to change in the Indian Education System is to redesign the curriculum for all ages such that it focuses on Skill Development and Project-based learning at its core, instead of theoretical learning of subjects by providing information through different sources.
This will ensure that students make a gradual and sustainable transition into the real world as they complete formal education, unlike the current scenario which involves. Leadership, Management, Creativity, Communication, Design and many such other skills are now required everywhere in real life.
You can connect with Harshil via :
Interview by : Kairav Shah