Announcing the 2012 Innovation for India Award Winners!

The 2012 Innovation for India Awards Ceremony


After months of outreach, gleaning through 432 applications and an inspiring Awards Ceremony, we are happy to announce the 2012 Innovation for India Award Winners! On Friday March 30th, India’s Innovation Community came together to honor India’s top innovations – 8 organizations were chosen based on their uniqueness, sustainability and impact.



Dr Mashelkar kicked off the evening with his perspective on Indian Innovation and the road ahead. He stressed on the importance of cultivating innovation and building a supportive ecosystem for innovation to flourish. Our chief guest, business guru Dr. Ram Charan inspired us with his speech and shared his insights on innovation

“Innovation must have a systematic, social process” – Dr Ram Charan

The Business, Social and Public sector winners were announced by Knowledge Partner Bain and Company. Below is a brief look at 2012’s biggest Indian Innovations:

Business Innovations:

redBus – The first centralized platform in India for bus ticketing, allows users to book tickets via the web, phone, home delivery, physical outlets and SMS. The organization developed a bus ERP system called BOSS that caters to over 700 bus operators. redBus is also the on the FastCompany 50 most innovative organizations in the world list, recognized along with big names like Apple, Google and more!

UFO Moviez – UFO is the first and only digital movie transmission platform in India, they transmit content via satellite and have a presence in over 2700 theaters in India. The technology innovation is only a part of their success; the distribution and business model innovation are just as note worthy. Satellite transmission reduces costs significantly and allows even the remotest screens to have easy access to the latest movies.

IndiGo – IndiGo airlines is currently the only profit making airline in India – their disruptive business model boasts a fleet of 100 aircrafts, a big sign of scale and impact, especially for a start-up airline. IndiGo has incorporated multiple small innovations in every aspect from product development to execution, which is evident from their success in a struggling industry.

Social Innovations:

Akshaya Patra – Akshaya Patra runs the world’s largest school meal program – they serve 1.3 million children 6 days a week! They have 19 locations across 8 states and have pioneered the art of large scale, mechanized, assembly line cooking. Akshaya Patra has specially designed kitchens that are built for producing large amounts of food simultaneously, and the entire process right from production to distribution is mechanized and efficiently implemented. Akshaya Patra is also facilitating a better education environment for underserved school children. Access to a warm nutritious meal is just one more reason to stay in school; enrollment has increased by 15% and attendance by 15-30%!

Fractal Foundation – The Fractal Foundation are responsible for a micro-spinning technology innovation that reduces the scale of cotton spinning mills – positively impacting farmers, artisans, and the cotton industry as a whole. What is interesting about this innovation is that the technology drastically reduces the scale of spinning operations to increase impact, by integrating and involving farmers and artisans and removing the dependency on large-scale cotton mills. Farmers are incentivized to grow organic cotton and can now be integral market participants as opposed to the mere subsidiaries they were earlier. The Fractal Foundation has pilot units in 10 locations across 5 states and is growing.

St. Jude – St Jude is the first center that provides free holistic care to cancer stricken children. What is innovative about St Jude is that they recognize that beating cancer is not just about getting treatment but the additional services and needs like accommodation, proper diet, transport and counseling are just as important. St Jude’s provides these amenities and services to patients for free and in a child-friendly environment.

Teach For India – Teach for India is the Indian version of the Teach for America program – recent college graduates are placed in municipal schools and low-income private schools to teach for 2 years. The Teach for India program currently impacts over 125 schools, 12,000 students and has over 400 fellows till date. They have plans to expand to 2 new cities (Hyderabad and Chennai) in 2012-2013. The program helps fill the glaring gaps in the Indian education system while also creating leaders by employing the large number of college graduates that pass out each year.

Public Sector Innovation:

EMRI – The GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute wins the Public Sector Innovation Award for its excellent coordinated emergency response system, process and trained personnel. EMRI is the largest emergency response service in the country, executing 10,200 trips each day. They have a fleet of 2600 ambulances and their responses time is under 15 minutes in urban areas! EMRI has also managed to keep costs low, each trip costs 600 INR, a huge difference from the average 600$ in the US. The EMRI model is funded 95% by the government and started in Andhra Pradesh.

The Global Game changer award was accepted by Mr Nandan Nilekani for pioneering the implementation of UIDAI. In his acceptance speech Mr. Nilekani provided a view into how the system can benefit our country and the scope of impact that a biometric database can provide. Lack of a unique identity keeps millions of people in our country excluded from access to public services and the mainstream economy. He focused on the 5 elements of the project that he believes are the corner stones of success: Speed, Scale, Cost, Quality and building an innovation platform. With 200 million people already enrolled for a unique ID, the team at UIDAI will reach a million enrollments a day soon.

“The problem statement was simple. 1.2 billion people need a unique ID”, Mr. Nandan Nilekani

So there you have it, the 8 winners and one Global Game changer! For an idea of how the Ceremony went, Live Tweets from the ceremony are available here. We will be uploading video clips of each winner and putting up photos. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter handle for more!

The Winners of the 2012 Innovation for India Awards

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