Avenues 2010 (23rd and 24th October) revolved around the theme “Change, Evolve, Sustain". This theme stemmed out of the fact that change is Constant and the day an organization or an individual chooses to resist change, the process of its ‘extinction’ is triggered. The evolution of an organization or individual facing the challenges bravely is of utmost importance in the fast-paced modern world.
Again, neither change nor emergence is complete without being sustainable. Sustainability is not merely confined to the strategic functions of a business enterprise, but it is a paradigm shift in our view of running corporations, in that they also belong to Earth Inc., which has its assets and depreciations. The time has come to develop technologies, business models and financial instruments for environmental reasons, above all, if not for economic reasons.
Avenues 2010 saw stalwarts such as Mr. Adi Godrej, Mr. S. Gurumurthy, Mr. Satish Jha, Mr. Subroto roy Sahara, Mr. Kamal Hassan share their insights with the students of SJMSOM, IIT Bombay.
Avenues 2010 was inaugurated by Mr. Adi Godrej, Chairman- Godrej group, Mr. S. Gurumurthy, Dr. Devang Kakkar, Director- IIT Bombay and Dr. Karuna Jain, HOD – SJMSOM.
Mr. Adi Godrej captivated the audience with his mind-blowing speech covering diversified topics ranging from equity, sustainability, inclusive growth, role of science and technology and entrepreneurship. He stated that India in the current state is in the throes of transformation in integrating itself with the world. Mr. Godrej felt that, India in trying to develop itself post independence neglected equity and sustainability, the two major areas of concern today. Mr. Godrej provided deep insights to the audience on how India is a land of contradictions in terms of its past and present performance. Further, Mr. Godrej spoke about the risk-averse attitude of the Indians where established rules and regulations are preferred over experimentation. He encouraged the younger generation to take up entrepreneurship as a career option and asserted that the future of India would depend on the quality of new businesses cropping up.
Mr. Gurumurthy enthralled the young audience with his lively speech embellished with anecdotes and examples from his vast expertise. He spoke about the contribution of India to the world, India as an empire striking back and the importance of studying the history of a nation to understand the direction of change and sustainability. He mentioned that we should neither try to become the world, nor copy it, but deal with it. Here, he asserted that it is of utmost importance to study the history of a nation to understand the dynamics and economics. Mr. Gurumurthy drew out several differences between Indian economic performance in the beginning of the millennium and its current state. He compared and contrasted the reasons for the rise of the West and the downfall of the Asian countries. Mr. Gurumurthy urged the young Indian youth to empty their thoughts and begin thinking afresh in order to bring about change, evolution and sustainability.
Sri Subroto Roy told that many people in life are looking for a feeling of security in terms of good life, material, health and respect and that all life decisions conclusions desires and planning are always oriented towards fulfilling these needs. He explained that perpetual dissatisfaction and craving for more is a trait of human beings. He further added that doing things for blood relations does not amount to sacrifice and that the ulterior motive behind this is personal and emotional satisfaction. He firmly believes that each person is the master of his own destiny and can imbibe these principles. The basic principles for achieving this is hardwork, honesty and discipline, followed by building knowledge of life, subject, workplace and behavior; and honesty. He added that a true leader never imposes his authority on his sub-ordinates. Sri Sahara also raised issues about the way the corporate houses are working in India and how they are more profit oriented rather than people oriented .He urged them to have more inclusive growth plans in their companies.
Mr. Jha enlightened the audience about the shortcomings of the existing education system and policies in India. He insisted that a transformation in education sector is imminent in order to surpass the educational standards of the West. Mr. Jha narrated the one of the most important lessons he had ever learnt in life was to grab a technology to be put to use, irrespective of the country in which the technology was incubated. He told that mobile phones have had the greatest impact on mankind past two decades. In addition, he told that there is a wide variation between learning and education and that learning includes absorbing things to reach a certain goal. He added that technology makes learning fun for children and overcomes infrastructure challenges. Mr. Jha advised that our view of life should not be a rear-view driving instead it should be that of assessing the opportunities for tomorrow without looking back at the past.
Mr. Kamal Hassan shared with students his experiences in crossing the hurdles he faced to reach the zenith of success he is at today. He stated that movies should not be made only with the purpose of making it a commercial success but should have soul in it. He believes that cinema has a great impact on the society and is a great medium to put messages across. While discussing the theme of Avenues he said that there is nothing as permanent as change but one should never ask for change one should try to become the change one wants, evolve into it and then only one would be able to sustain it.
Avenues also included many events with innovative concepts including Nirvikriti- an event to develop a marketing plan for sustainable tourism in Maharashtra. With MTDC taking a hand in the event- from active involvement in design as well as judging, this event was a large scale, real-life marketing exercise for all participants.
Another popular event was Navonmesh, a business plan competition for real, up-and-coming innovations provided by the Technopreneur Promotion Programme (TePP). The B-plan presentations were on diverse innovations and were followed by analysis of these plans from a venture capitalists point of view. The competition concluded with a negotiation round, wherein the teams presenting B-plans attempted to gain funding from the Venture Capitalist teams. The judging panel, which included Mr. Kumar- VP, SIDBI, was very appreciative of the event.
Pragyaan, the business quiz, was also a huge success, drawing a large crowd from corporate houses as well as from B-Schools- with over 250 team registrations from companies such as TCS, IBM etc, and institutes such as IIMs, SP Jain etc. The event opened to a packed auditorium, which greeted the arrival of the teams and the quiz-master enthusiastically and entered whole-heartedly into the spirit of the event, with tremendous participation.
This year, another crowd puller was Ashwamedh, the championship event which opens only to a few top colleges. It concentrated on Private Equity firms- which have always been viewed by the public as mysterious. The event gave participants a chance to understand how these organizations work, and where crucial problems and opportunities for innovation exist, by inviting the participants to act as PE investors to create strategies and make decisions in a changing economic environment.
A huge dose of entertainment at this event was provided by Mr. Kapil Sharma, a stand-up co-median and winner of ―The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. The auditorium was over-flowing, and the audience enjoyed every moment of the routine.
Some lighter moments during Avenues 2010.