TePP innovators Kranti Vistakula, Prajwal Kumar, Arvind Narayanan, Ashish Bhat, Shashikant Suryanarayanan are among the MIT TR 35 awardees and Kranti is the Innovator of the Year. I would like to reflect on the TePP process :
Innovator Kranti (a student) contacted me ( from Hyderabad) on email with his idea of an apparel which can be cooled based on Peltier Effect. TePP had earlier rejected few proposals aimed at demonstrating Peltier Effect as the product targeted was not clear or innovator was not percieved as capable of working on his idea. I referred his proposal (again on e mail) to Dr Ramamurthy, Retired Director of ERDA living in Hyderabad. He discussed with Kranti and gave his recommendation saying that Peltier Effect was known but the innovator had something new to offer to dissipate heat and it was worth trying. The evaluated proposal was taken to the committee chaired by Prof Amarnath of IITB. Though the committee was named Screening Committee , we deliberately avoided screening with checklist and discussion always focussed on desirability and feasibility of the idea. Two committee members Dr Anil Wali of FITT and Mahesh Krovidi of NID offered to incubate his idea. The innovator took technical assistance from IITD and incubation support at NID. He also got NID designer Parsenjit as partner.
Best Practices of TePP
1. Provide innovators an opportunity to refine the proposal before taking it to committee.
2. Respect Expert and value his views. We invented the word `Technology Angel' for our experts.
3. Avoid checklists and focus on implementation in committee meetings.
4.Respect all stakeholders as partners.