Prime Minister Modi kicks off 5-year plan with a brainstorming session
Poll Everywhere powered a massive brainstorming session between 200 Indian CEOs, entrepreneurs, and government officials
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Champions of Change funneled ideas from top CEOs into “targeted action points to bring about change.”
It is notoriously difficult for governments to innovate at the same pace as private industry. So what is a government who espouses innovation as the highest priority to do?
Instead of trying to replicate the innovation of India’s private sector, the Indian government went straight to the source. The “Champions of Change” event was a massive, multi-day initiative designed to usher in “A New India by 2022.”
And it all started with a remarkably successful brainstorming session powered by Poll Everywhere.
How does a national government innovate like a startup?
Hosted by NITI Aayog, the National Institution for Transforming India, Champions of Change brought together more than 200 of India’s most innovative CEOs and entrepreneurs, along with representatives of the Indian government — including Prime Minister Narendra Modi — to create a dialogue between India’s private and public sectors.
Each of the participants were divided into six groups, based on the themes that had been pre-selected for the event:
- Cities of Tomorrow
- Doubling Farmers' Incomes
- World Class Infrastructure
- Make in India
- Fixing Finance: Reforming the Financial sector
The groups were tasked with brainstorming ideas powerful enough to usher in a new era of Indian innovation in each of these six areas. Later, the groups would synthesize these ideas and present to Prime Minister Modi.
In this way, the Prime Minister hoped to leverage the collected wisdom and knowledge of 200 entrepreneurs and several dozen government representatives, funneling that knowledge into actionable ideas… all in just a few days.
Conversation between hundreds of people — especially when those people are all leaders themselves, who are used to doing most of the talking — can be trying. Constructive debate, even more so.
So NITI Aayog and the Indian government used Poll Everywhere to mediate the brainstorming session.
Host a brainstorming session with the brightest minds in business.
The entire first day of this multi-day event was dedicated to open dialogue and constructive debate. In other words, a massive brainstorming session.
This was a first time ever initiative where 200+ entrepreneurs interacted freely with a panel of secretaries to the government of india and select cabinet ministers.
During the brainstorming session, representatives of the government, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, fielded questions that would become the subject of the open debates. The Finance Minister and other officials did so using Poll Everywhere to encourage and support the dialogue.
With day one's brainstorming in the books, each group was now armed with a horde of actionable ideas. The following day, groups broke into their respective teams to dive deeper into the challenges at hand. Soon, a single representative would be chosen from each group to present each team's ideas to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A model for change
According to the official account of the event, what began as excited emails and Whatsapp messages had culminated in "constructive group meetings focused on the theme at hand: groups with domain knowledge collaborated and provided inputs with targeted action points to bring about change."
After the event, participants were visibly animated and excited to move forward on the ideas that had emerged. Dev Khare, managing Director at Lightspeed India Partners Advisors, noted that many groups had discussed the need to update the country's tourism infrastructure, which experts suggested could create up to 40 million new jobs in India.
Mjunction CEO Vinaya Varma, a member of the group tasked with doubling farmers' incomes, was encouraged by his own team's ideas. "We suggested giving farmers the freedom to sell their produce over multiple channels and not through mandis where middlemen are involved."
It had been precisely the sort of innovative ideas the government had been hoping for. Some of the ideas presented to the Prime Minister were slated to be "incorporated into NITI Aayog's 15-year vision text."
And there was yet more good news. As Abhishek Sinha, CEO of Eko India Financial Services, said, “The PM indicated that he may institutionalise this sort of a dialogue with entrepreneurs and have it every six months or once a year. That could be a great thing.”
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Create a Q&A activity to brainstorm with the audience. Instruct the audience to respond with topics or ideas they’d like to see discussed.
Instruct the audience to vote on their favorite responses. Those that float to the top can then be addressed as a group.