Monday, October 13, 2014

Pak NED Alumni Convention in Silicon Valley Focuses on Innovation

Hundreds of my fellow alumni of Pakistan's NED University of Engineering and Technology (NEDUET) gathered in Silicon Valley for tenth annual North America convention for three days starting Friday, October 10 through Sunday, October 12, 2014. They traveled from dozens of US states and Canada. Many, including NED University's vice chancellor Dr. Afzal Haq, came from as far as Pakistan.



The Silicon Valley convention featured keynote speeches by IBA director Dr. Ishrat Husain and Silicon Valley entrepreneur and NED University alumnus Dr. Naveed Sherwani.  In addition, there was an interesting monologue by NED alum Aftab Rizvi which offered a fictionalized account of an NEDian rise from a Karachi slum to a lucrative career. In this post, I will focus on the innovation panel which I found particularly interesting.



Innovation Panel:

The topic for this panel was "How to promote innovation in Pakistan".  Distinguished panelists included Dr. Afzal Haque, Vice Chancellor of NED University, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Dean of Karachi's Institute of Business Administration,  Dr. Khursheed Qureshi, Chairman of DICE  Initiative to promote innovation, Dr. Abdul Ghafoor, Chairman of Manufacturing Engineering Department at National University of Science and Technology (NUST),  Dr. Mumtaz Hussain, first Vice Chancellor of King Edwards Medical University, Tanveer Malick, NED Endowment - ALEF and  Professor Ali Minai, Panel Moderator.



After listening to the panelists for almost an hour, it became very obvious to me that the panelists were talking about imitation rather than innovation in areas such as automotive engineering and personal computing. Dr. Khurshid Qureshi and Dr. Ghafoor talked about designing and building an automobile engine entirely in Pakistan by assigning major parts of the project to various engineering departments at universities working with the local auto industry.  Then Dr. Khurshid Qureshi brought up working with some Silicon Valley alums to design and build a laptop in its entirety in Pakistan.

It was a relief to finally hear Dr. Ishrat Husain clearly articulate the fact that the panelists were essentially talking about doing what others did decades ago. He said it's not really a bad thing to begin with and cited the example of the imitation and absorption of Green Revolution technologies in Pakistan.

He went on to explain that imitation, absorption and diffusion of existing technologies can greatly benefit Pakistan and set the stage for real innovation in the long term.  Post WW II success stories of the Japanese and the South Koreans and other Asian Tigers have shown how this process has helped them develop and prosper by industrializing rapidly.  Beyond imitation,  real innovation requires a culture that promotes questioning of widely accepted conventional wisdom. Discouraging questions from children kills their natural curiosity and hurts innovation.

Moderator Ali Minai illustrated this important point with the following poetic lines:

yaqeeN kee baat mayN kuchh bhee naheeN thaa/ naye pehloo huay paidaa gumaaN say ( by late Saleem Ahmad)

(Absolute faith offered little/ doubts have helped open up new possibilities)

vo harf sach tha ke ahl-e yaqeeN naheeN samjhay/ dimaagh-e kufr se kyaa kyaa haqeeqatayN nikleeN  (by late Aziz Hamid Madni)

(People of faith did not comprehend the truth/ Agnostics' mind revealed many truths)

Dr. Mumtaz Husain of King Edwards Medical University added that there is nothing in Islam that discourages questions and critical thinking. In fact, the Quran repeatedly exhorts people to think, to ponder, and to go as far as necessary to seek knowledge. He particularly cited repeated Quranic exhortations like "Afala ta'qilun" (Why don't you reason?), "afala tatafakkarun" (Why don't you think?), "afala tubsirun" (Why don't you see?), "afala tadabbarun" (Why don't you find solutions?).

Here's a video clip of Dr. Ishrat Husain's presentation on innovation at the NED Alumni Convention 2014 in Silicon Valley:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x27up3a_innovation-panel-at-ned-alumni-convention-2014-in-silicon-valley-ca_news


Innovation Panel at NED Alumni Convention 2014... by riaz-haq


http://youtu.be/-NTy66ey6vc?list=UUkrIDyFbC9N9evXYb9cA_gQ





Promoting Innovation:

Dr. Ishrat Husain succinctly stated some of the key points which I had brought out in a blog post titled "Promoting Innovation Culture in Pakistan".  It's reprduced below for those who didn't get a chance to read it:

Efforts to promote innovation in Pakistan are being spearheaded by several different groups including DICE Foundation and Pakistan Innovation Foundation.  Both DICE and PIF focus almost entirely on higher education institutions.

Before assessing the situation and making recommendations on promoting innovation in Pakistan, it's important to understand the history of innovation by studying the examples of major innovations since the industrial revolution.

James Watt:

James Watt (1736-1819) is credited with the innovation of the steam engine which is believed to have enabled the Industrial Revolution in Scotland. Watt only had high school education. He never studied at a college or a university. His invention enabled a wide range of manufacturing machinery to be powered.  His steam engines could be sited anywhere that water and coal or wood fuel could be obtained and provided up to 10,000 horsepower to run large factories. It could also be applied to vehicles such as traction engines and the railway locomotives. The stationary steam engine was a key component of the Industrial Revolution, allowing factories to locate where water power was unavailable.

Thomas Edison:

Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), the man who invented the light bulb, was probably the most prolific inventor since the Industrial Revolution. He had no formal education. He was a tinkerer who worked with his hands to come up with many devices and was awarded over 1000 patents by the U.S. Patent Office. His innovations were transformational in their impact: electric light and power utilities, sound recording, and motion pictures, all established major new industries world-wide. Edison's inventions contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures.

Steve Jobs:

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) invented Apple personal computer. Jobs revolutionized several industries from computing and personal electronics to publishing and entertainment. Jobs, a highly prolific innovator, attended college briefly but did not complete college education. Jobs, too, was a tinkerer who worked with his hands to create things.

These examples clearly establish that some of the most prolific innovators have been people who had little or no college education. It is therefore not wise to limit promotion of innovation to just the college level.

In fact, it is much more important to start promoting innovation during early years in primary and secondary schools. It can be done through inquiry-based learning and provision of tools and training at the K-12 school level. Some examples are as follows:

Inquiry-based Learning:

Inquiry-based learning is a method developed during the discovery learning movement of the 1960s. It came in response to a perceived failure of more traditional rote learning. Inquiry-based learning is a form of active learning, where progress is assessed by how well students develop experimental, analytical and critical thinking skills rather than how many facts they have memorized.  Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) and The Citizens Foundation (TCF) are beginning to promote inquiry-based methods to encourage more active learning and critical thinking at an early age in Pakistan. These skills are essential to prepare Pakistani youngsters to be capable of facing the challenges of living in a highly competitive world in which the wealth of nations is defined in terms of human capital and innovation.

Maker Movement:

The Maker Movement is a technological and creative learning revolution underway around the globe. It has exciting and vast implications for the world of education. New tools and technology, such as 3D printing, robotics, microprocessors, wearable computing, e-textiles, “smart” materials, and programming languages are being invented at an unprecedented pace. The Maker Movement creates affordable or even free versions of these inventions, while sharing tools and ideas online to create a vibrant, collaborative community of global problem-solvers.

Maker movement is helping spawn facilities in many different cities around the world. These places have a wide range of both hardware and software tools and classes available to help people to create and "make" things with their own hands.

The only possible example of "makerspace" that comes close in Pakistan is Robotics Lab that was launched in 2011 in Karachi. It was founded by two friends Afaque Ahmed and Yasin Altaf who had previously worked in Silicon Valley. They bought a 3D printer for the lab as a tool to help children learn science. The founding duo is now looking for ways to expand its audience.“Our goal is to push this science lab to TCF schools, a nationwide school network covering about 150,000 underprivileged students,” says Ahmed. The project, however, is currently pending because of funding constraints. “We have asked them to find some big donor for this purpose. Currently, we train these children only through field trips to our labs.”

Out-of-the-Box Thinking:

The key to innovation is not necessarily advanced education and training in a certain field. It is out-of-the-box thinking. Major innovations have often come from people working in unrelated fields. Recent examples of such innovations from people of South Asian origin include Zia Chisti's Invisalign and Salman Khan's Khan Academy. Both Zia and Salman came from investment banking background before they revolutionized the fields of orthodontics and education.

Summary: 

Encouragement of the culture of innovation should begin during children's formative years in primary and secondary schools. Innovation requires free out-of-the-box thinking. History tells us that some of the biggest innovators were tinkerers with little or no formal education in the fields of their biggest and most transformative innovations. Groups and foundations promoting innovation in Pakistan need to increase their outreach to the school kids. As a start, they can expand inquiry-based learning and build more makerspaces like Karachi's Robotics Lab in partnership with private industries and foundations in major cities.

Here's a video of my friend Ali H. Cemendtaur's visit to Karachi Robotics Lab:

http://vimeo.com/58856985


Visiting Robotics Labs, Private Limited in Karachi, Pakistan from Ali Cemendtaur on Vimeo.


PS: Since I first published this blog, Dr. Khurshid Qureshi, Chairman of DICE, has communicated the following to me:

While I was reading the article, I wondered that may be I failed to fully explain what DICE is all about. My apologies.

I would like to mention few point to clarify our mission.
1. As I mentioned earlier we have been arranging mega events for last 7 years  and that is to bring all innovative ideas from all domains disciplines to one platform in an effort to bring Innovaiton culture in Pakistan. We have seen innovations from increasing iron content of Basmati rice 10 times, fertilizer which works on saline land, design of low cost sugarcane planter to pain measurement device (if we are succesfful in creating such a device - that one innovation can have a potential to take Pakistan out of misery. At DICE we have been bringing 100 humdreds of such innovations on surface for the last several years.
2. When we talked about automotive and laptop, idea was not to say that we should not work on item 1 above, it is just that there are certain strategic areas where we have to fix the baseline first (we are far behind), before we can reasonably come up with some thing really innovative. And from my perspective even Pakistan having its own low cost car (indigenous design) with our own engine is highly innovative.

3. I always cite example of Shan Masala (one of the greatest innovations), and also ultimately having a Innovation market place such as Jumma Bazar of Innovations where people can market their innovative ideas and projects (does have to come from colleges / Univ).
So as I mentioned earlier, I am fully aligned with what you are saying that Innovation can come from anywhere - doesn't require degrees.
I thought I should try to clarify our position at DICE - we are not there just to imitate (which btw is also an innovation), we are truly after changing the culture of our nation.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistanis in Silicon Valley

NEDians in America

Promoting Culture of Innovation in Pakistan 

Asian Tiger Dictators Brought Prosperity; Democracy Followed

Industrial Revolution Power Shift

Steve Jobs' Syrian Father

Inquiry-Based Learning in Pakistan

3D Printing in Pakistan

Zia Chishti's Innovation in Orthodontics

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

Khan Academy Draws Pakistani Visitors


24 comments:

Ali C. said...

Excellent report, Riaz Haq Sb.

PS. Listen to yourself in the Friday night talent show, here:
Tenth Annual NED Alumni Convention Friday Night Talent Show : NED SV : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

Ali M. said...

Dear Riaz Sahib

Salam. It was a pleasure to meet you at the NED Convention, and thank you very much for kindly sharing your description of the enent - the panel in particular. I agree with what you say, and also found Dr. Ishrat Hussain's comments very useful.

A couple of minor corrections to the two verses I used in the panel. The first should be:

yaqeeN kee baat mayN kuchh bhee naheeN thaa
naye pehloo huay paidaa gumaaN say

and this is by the late Saleem Ahmad

The second was:

vo harf sach tha ke ahl-e yaqeeN naheeN samjhay
dimaagh-e kufr se kyaa kyaa haqeeqatayN nikleeN

and this is by the late Aziz Hamid Madni

If at all possible, could you please correct these in your write-up, and especially give the names of the poets. I don't want anyone to think that I claim these to be mine. I did mention both poets when I used the lines. Thank you very much. I look forward to continue reading your blog and to future discussion, on and off twitter :-).

Riaz Haq said...

Ali M: "If at all possible, could you please correct these in your write-up"
Ali

Thanks for the corrections which I have made in my post.

I enjoyed meeting you as well.

Keep in touch.

Syed said...


I had attended what was discussed in this panel. The ideas are great. But, soon as an idea is ready to take off some 'Waders, Mian, Malik' would like to steal it or ask for 10% from the innovator, or kick them out. There have a lot of change to take place, before such ideas can take off.

Riaz Haq said...


Syed: "But, soon as an idea is ready to take off some 'Waders, Mian, Malik' would like to steal it or ask for 10% from the innovator, or kick them out. There have a lot of change to take place, before such ideas can take off."

There are some things that each of us can do to promote the culture of innovation regardless of the government or the politicians. For a start, we as adults, parents and teachers, can stop discouraging questions from our children.

A. Ghafoor said...

Thanks a lot Riaz Sahib for sharing the videos and your thoughts.

K. Qureshi said...

Dear Riaz Bhai AOA:

First of all I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to you for your hospitalisty. The food at chinese restaurant was wonderful. I also very much appreciate the article you wrote on Innovation Panel. Thank you so much!

While I was reading the article, I wondered that may be I failed to fully explain what DICE is all about. My apologize.
I would like to mention few point to clarify our mission.

1. As I mentioned earlier we have been arranging mega events for last 7 years and that is to bring all innovative ideas from all domains disciplines to one platform in an effort to bring Innovaiton culture in Pakistan. We have seen innovations from increasing iron content of Basmati rice 10 times, fertilizer which works on saline land, design of low cost sugarcane planter to pain measurement device (if we are succesfful in creating such a device - that one innovation can have a potential to take Pakistan out of misery. At DICE we have been bringing 100 humdreds of such innovations on surface for the last several years.

2. When we talked about automotive and laptop, idea was not to say that we should not work on item 1 above, it is just that there are certain strategic areas where we have to fix the baseline first (we are far behind), before we can reasonablly come up with some thing really innovative. And from my perspective even Pakistan having its own low cost car (indegenous design) with our own engine is highly innovative.
3. I always cite example of Shan Masala (one of the greatest innovations), and also ultimately having a Innovation market place such as Jumma Bazar of Innovations where people can market their innovative ideas and projects (does have to come from colleges / Univ).

So as I mentioend earleir, I am fully aligned with what you are saying that Innovation can come from anywhere - doesn't require degrees.

I thought I should try to clarify our position at DICE - we are not there just to immitate (which btw is also an innovation), we are truly after changing the culture of our nation.

Riaz Haq said...

K. Qureshi: "While I was reading the article, I wondered that may be I failed to fully explain what DICE is all about.."

I really enjoyed meeting and talking with you and I applaud your sincere efforts to promote innovation in Pakistan through your work with DICE.

Thank you for your clarification. It helps me understand better what you are doing.

My post is not at all meant as a slight to you or DICE.

In fact, as I said in my post, imitation in science and tech is not a bad idea at all for Pakistan at this stage.

Imitation, absorption and diffusion of existing technologies can greatly benefit Pakistan and set the stage for real innovation in the long term. Post WW II success stories of the Japanese and the South Koreans and other Asian Tigers have shown how this process has helped them develop and prosper by industrializing rapidly.

Majumdar said...

Prof Riazul Haq sb,

Have you read the Global Hunger Index 2014. Looks like Pakistan has slipped below India for the first time. While Pakistan reduced GHI from 21.0 in 2005 to 19.0 in 2013, India reduced it from 24.2 to 17.8 in the same period. India at 55 now outstrips Pak and BD (joint 57). Last time Pakistan was ranked almost 10 notches higher.

Time the Pak Fauj stepped in?

Regards

Riaz Haq said...

Majumdar: "Looks like Pakistan has slipped below India for the first time"

Congratulations.

I still think being #55 among 76 nations is nothing to be proud of for a superpower wannabe like India.

Farid D. said...

It was not very encouraging to read your blog on innovation panel discussion during NED Alumni convention 2014. I was especially dismayed to hear that panelists selected confused imitation with innovation. I have to share my thoughts and request future organizers to be diligent in selecting panels the way they are selected in professional societies and not just invite the ones who are available. I used to be an invited panelist in Society of Information Display Conferences when I was active in display technologies and have seen firsthand the caliber of volunteers who select panelists, caliber of panelists and caliber of attendees in these discussions. Something to aim for in future planning.

So for the audience few definitions are in order.
Innovate - make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products or introduce new concepts/ideas to perform a task
Improve - To make beneficial additions or changes
Imitate - To copy and reproduce.
Improvement can sometime be confused with innovation but that is fine as long the nature of improvement justifies it. A few examples – Walkman to I-Pod; Blackberry to I Phone. A true innovation on the other hand brings something very new on the horizon. I.e. transistor;
Let us make one thing clear first – Innovation does not need to be “high tech”. Innovation can be in any field; scientific, fine arts, philosophy etc. Some of us think that what makes us an innovator is to start a company or business or sell it or take it to IPO. – Not true, the only time it is true is when you satisfy your effort by the definition given above. I have experienced firsthand innovators who were never interested in starting business, there motivation and focus was to both improve and innovate where existing methods proved deficient. One example of this innovation was to apply a 2 micron wide, I micron high rectangular patters of UV curable adhesive on an 8 inch wafer die outlines before glass was laminated. Depending on the size of die it took hours to use a pen plotter type device to accomplish the task. A straight forward innovation of the process completed the task in less than a minute. Very similar in performance to cotton gin mentioned below and very simple.
I will try to give a couple of innovation examples from history to put the topic in perspective. The first one is a true innovation form early Islamic history; the second one is a better way of doing things from American history.
Solving Polynomials when no means of doing it existed – a true innovation in mathematics.
Al-Khwarizmi’s solution of polynomial, (from an 1831 translation). The technique is still taught in high schools throughout the world. A true innovation.
"You divide ten into two parts: multiply the one by itself; it will be equal to the other taken eighty-one times." Computation: You say, ten less thing, multiplied by itself, is a hundred plus a square less twenty things, and this is equal to eighty-one things. Separate the twenty things from a hundred and a square, and add them to eighty-one. It will then be a hundred plus a square, which is equal to a hundred and one roots. Halve the roots; the moiety is fifty and a half. Multiply this by itself, it is two thousand five hundred and fifty and a quarter. Subtract from this one hundred; the remainder is two thousand four hundred and fifty and a quarter. Extract the root from this; it is forty-nine and a half. Subtract this from the moiety of the roots, which is fifty and a half. There remains one, and this is one of the two parts.”
Another one of my favorite innovation is from early American history and is truly a simple device that created a paradigm shift for cotton industry in South.

Athar O. said...

Hehehe, Ishrat Husain speaking on Innovation. Well done for finding the most innovative person to speak on innovation!

Riaz Haq said...

Athar: "Hehehe, Ishrat Husain speaking on Innovation. Well done for finding the most innovative person to speak on innovation!"

Of all the panelists, Ishrat Husain made the most sense. Get over your prejudices and read and listen to what he said. First thing innovation requires is to have an open mind.

Ahmed A. said...

As someone with core humanities\social sciences training, I can only despair at the lack of representation of these disciplines at panels like these, apart from Dr. Ishrat, who is an applied economist. He makes some good points, but some fundamental questions about innovation are completely left unasked. We can talk about creating automobile engines locally, but I believe the real question should be: do we need more cars on the road? Will it be sustainable to have more cheap cars available when the average driver does not follow traffic law? When there is a fuel crisis in the country? When cars develop cities in undesirable directions and befoul the environment? What ways do we want society and human behavior to develop through introducing specific technologies? These are all questions that the social sciences and humanities are trained to ask. Innovation is not simply blindly making things just because we can, but asking which directions we want to take society and culture in in the long term.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmed: As someone with core humanities\social sciences training, I can only despair at the lack of representation of these disciplines at panels like these, apart from Dr. Ishrat, who is an applied economist. He makes some good points, but some fundamental questions about innovation are completely left unasked. We can talk about creating automobile engines locally, but I believe the real question should be: do we need more cars on the road?"

This was not a public policy discussion. Rather, it was focused on building basic engineering and technology capacity which could be used in multiple different ways to solve problems including those related to public transportation. I suggest that you read and listen to it again to get a better sense of it

I have seen a lot of innovation in Silicon Valley for three decades that I have been here. Have invented a thing or two myself. Have yet to see psychologists, philosophers and social scientists involved in it upfront. They usually come at the tail-end or even later. In fact, innovation most frequently comes from individuals and very small groups.

Large corporations do not innovate; their founders did their real innovation years before the corporations became large. They live off of that innovation by adding incremental stuff.

Riaz Haq said...

The term social enterprise may be relatively new in Pakistan but it is gaining popularity in its areas of development.

While it may be an unfamiliar concept for many engaged in local grassroots businesses they can nevertheless see the potential of engaging in ventures which have a social impact.

According to the Opportunity Pakistan Report – produced by i-genius, an initiative supporting social entrepreneurs worldwide – despite the country’s social and political unrest, it offers opportunities for investment and innovation.

“Countries experiencing transition are fertile places for new ideas to thrive”, said Shivang Patel, commission coordinator of i-genius. “Despite media attention in the west on all things bad in the region we found a country progressing through slow but significant positive reforms. There is considerable untapped potential for social businesses”.

A new wave of creative and confident young entrepreneurs has emerged developing innovative start ups in areas such as environment, health and skills. Scores of young women and men from remote areas of Pakistan are becoming social entrepreneurs.

A longstanding lack of investment in Pakistan’s public sector has prompted local business leaders to invest in ideas which tackle issues such as water and sanitation problems as well as those which can address its energy and environmental concerns.

One such example is Pharmagen Water. Established in 2007,it aims to provide poor communities in Pakistan’s second largest city, Lahore, with affordable clean and purified drinking water. It is supported by the Acumen, which invests in entrepreneurs and creates venture capital which can provide solutions to causes of poverty.

Another business offering a solution to parts of Pakistan’s energy strapped areas is SRE Solutions. Established just last year with Acumen’s support it offers to harness solar energy for off-grid customers in districts of Punjab and Khayber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

Similarly a low-cost engineering and construction enterprise, Ghonsla, was set up in the aftermath of Pakistan’s devastating earthquake in 2005. With 73,000 people killed and large parts of its cities and villages destroyed in the north by the disaster, the plight of 2.5 million people left homeless hung in the balance

The initial funding for Ghonsla’s pilot project came from Seed, Social Entrepreneurship and Equity Development, a venture which supports startups and grassroots innovations.

Its incubation centres in Pakistan provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs in their early years of startup.

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/oct/10/social-enterprise-is-an-emerging-force-in-pakistan

http://www.i-genius.org/

Riaz Haq said...

Opportunity Pakistan Report by i-genius commission on social entrepreneurship:

In September 2013, fifteen people (Commissioners) from Australia, Italy, Pakistan and the United Kingdom, embarked on a journey to a country which for many was an entirely new experience. The aim was to discover the true story of a country which much has been written about but few, outsiders at least, have understood. The prism of this journey was social entrepreneurship – a form of business whereby the initiators explicitly seek to develop businesses to achieve a social or environmental benefit.

This Report seeks to articulate what the Commission discovered. Yes, it illustrates the many problems facing Pakistan but as any entrepreneur - social or otherwise - knows, such problems represent opportunities.
Pakistan’s problems present Pakistan with opportunities. Pakistan is a highly complex country. No body of people, however well intentioned, can hope to capture the magnitude of this complexity in a short visit of several days. But this, we trust, is an
authentic and considered portrayal of what we found.
All members of the Commission were agreed, Pakistan is a land of opportunity
---------

The Commission, convened by i-genius, comprising 15 members from UK, Italy, Australia and Pakistan,
visited Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Punjab to ascertain the opportunities and challenges facing the
development of social entrepreneurship and innovation. In understanding its work, the Commission was
mindful of the positive changes taking place such as the historic transfer of power from one
democratically elected government to another, the talent residing amongst young people, the growing
empowerment of women and the long tradition of social giving.
The Commission was impressed by the optimism and resilience of all those it encountered in both urban
and rural communities, but it does not underestimate the enormous hurdles Pakistan faces in
overcoming corruption and division within its society, which are the primary barriers to fulfilling its
potential.
Social entrepreneurs are people who create businesses to promote social or environmental
improvement. The agenda for social innovation and entrepreneurship in Pakistan and beyond is to build
sustainable businesses and institutions for all the people of Pakistan.
The guide for all stakeholders who desire a prosperous and inclusive economy should be to make easier
the journey of those who desire to improve their country. The commission believes Pakistan has
considerable untapped potential amongst all sections of society which needs to be recognised and
supported.
A full report will be published in the coming weeks which will include recommendations for political
leaders, corporations, NGOs, finance and by specific sections of society including the wealthy elite. The
Commission encourages relevant government ministries to integrate social entrepreneurship and
innovation into government policy. It is willing to contribute to this process by sharing better practice
from other parts of the world.


http://www.i-genius.org/images/Opportunity-Pakistan-Final-Report.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

NED Petroleum Students Win Second Prize in International Oil and Gas Competition in Budapest

Out of 972 international teams 10 teams participated at the live finals between 9th and 11th of December in Budapest, Hungary. Polish students from AGH University of Science and Technology are ranked as the top team of the E&P competition. TeamMechanical from NED University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan secured second position while third place goes to OIL UP team from University of Miskolc, Hungary.


http://www.pakalumni.com/forum/topics/ned-petroleum-students-win-second-prize-in-international-oil-and-

Riaz Haq said...

The butterfly effect: Helping Pakistan’s children emerge from their cocoon

The human brain is one of nature’s most fascinating and mysterious creations, with its full potential still unknown. And Prof Tony Buzan is on a quest to understand how it works.

Buzan and his team have picked Pakistan as the starting point for their Butterfly Universe Initiative, a global movement for mental literacy that focuses upon ‘learning how to learn’. The project aims to unleash the potential of five million children in the country by 2020 through mind mapping.

“Our goal is to have a mentally literate world, and for that, everyone must think,” explains Buzan, the inventor of the mind mapping method and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee in 2014. History, according to him, has witnessed every developed country being led by critical thinking — and the creativity and energy he sees in Pakistan’s people makes him think it is the perfect place to begin his mission.

“In this digital age, there are manuals for everything but our brains,” says Buzan. “Our vision is simple: learn how to understand your brain.”

There are three things he looks for in the teachers selected for his project: the ability to imagine, the vision to daydream and the passion to educate. “We as a team gave a formula to our master trainers to train teachers, who will further teach students to broaden their mental horizons and see the flip side of the picture.”

Over the course of the project, the teachers will be shown how to open up their minds, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. “The beautiful, vibrant butterfly we see was not always that way — it was a caterpillar that went through the stages of transformation,” Tariq Qureishy, the CEO of Vantage Holding and founder of 100% MAD (Make A Difference), draws a butterfly on a piece of paper to illustrate his point. “Unfortunately, our system never lets our teachers and students evolve beyond the cocoon.”

He hastens to add that the children are not at fault — it is the system and the teachers that share equal responsibility. “Our project is unique because we try to make learning for fun for children and teaching interesting for teachers.”

One thousand trained teachers from four different schooling systems, including The Citizens Foundation and The City School, have already started promoting mind mapping within their schools. “We are targeting 100 schools for a year, where teachers get two hours of training every evening and the students learn through a full-day training programme on Saturdays,” Qureishy shares the plan for the project’s initial phase.

“It is believed that if a butterfly flaps its wings in one place, it can cause a hurricane weeks later in a distant location,” says Qureishy. “The 1,000 butterflies that we have trained have started flapping their wings. It is only a matter of time before the rest of the world joins in.”

http://tribune.com.pk/story/858975/the-butterfly-effect-helping-pakistans-children-emerge-from-their-cocoon/

Riaz Haq said...

Platform for learning: #3D printers lab inaugurated in #NED University in #Karachi #Pakistan

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1022539/platform-for-learning-3d-printers-lab-inaugurated-in-ned-university/ …


A 3D printer lab called ‘MakerStudio’ has been inaugurated at NED University of Engineering and Technology.

At the inauguration event organsied by Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation (ORIC), NED vice-chancellor Dr Muhammad Afzal Haque said this was the first ever 3D lab that was established in the university. Addressing the audience at the ceremony, Haque stated further that this lab is not only for university students, but outsiders are welcomed here too.

3D printed model of heart helps doctors in Britain save two-year old’s life

ORIC commercialisation associate Arsalan Waheed said that it was about a year ago when they decided to establish a 3D lab in the varsity. While giving a presentation on how the MakerStudio will work, Waheed said that every student and staff member will have access to it and the lab will become the platform for informal, project-driven and self-directed learning.

Waheed further said that such labs are needed by the institute where over 10,000 students are enrolled. “Bringing creative professionals under the same roof allows members to learn from each other,” he added.

While giving a demonstration on how the 3D printers work, Xplorer 3D CEO Tayyab Alam said that the printers can very easily be used by a layman.

French boy gets ‘superhero’ 3-D-printed prosthetic hand

He added that these printers are assembled in Pakistan and their organisation also invited NED university students to experience the procedure of how the assembling is done. These printers are not just for the engineering students but are also for visual studies students, Alam added.

“It will be an amazing experience for all the students as it will introduce us to new technologies and will train us,” said Murtaza, a NED student, while talking to The Express Tribune.

Riaz Haq said...

Dawn Op Ed: Can Pakistan be the next Silicon Valley?

Technology is the core growth driver in the 21st century; policymakers can’t ignore its interplay with entrepreneurship and focus solely on ‘bricks and mortar’.
This is the century of the ‘tech entrepreneurs’. Embracing this notion intelligently — by studying others’ successes and mistakes — will speed up Pakistan’s evolution.
Pakistan can channel local entrepreneurs into industries it fully or partially controls, for example defence and healthcare.
To retain the smartest Pakistanis, a richly-funded, high paying and elite training program can be instituted that polishes them into innovation leaders.
Pakistan’s Research & Development expenditure vis-a-vis its gross domestic product (GDP) was $2 per person. In comparison, India spent $9 per person.
With 100 million Pakistanis joining the labour force in the coming decades, Pakistan cannot afford to wait.


India's decade of innovation
When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took the podium to speak about a new national innovation policy on a sunny morning in January 2013, there had hitherto been no comprehensive government-led focus on innovation in India. Policies of yore never tied knowledge production to commercialisation, leading to innovators unable to make money. So innovation never boomed.

The policy Singh unveiled in 2013 finally took a much-needed holistic approach. The decade leading to 2020 was labeled the ‘Decade of Innovation’, with a central theme of supporting for innovative entrepreneurship. Fragments of the Indian innovation ecosystem were all streamlined for the first time.

There existed within Singh’s policy echoes of the Chinese model. In China, the central government plays a homogenising role to curtail knowledge gaps caused by too much provincial devolution. The thinking is that for the machine to work, every cog must be made to do its part. And while the jury is out on India’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) 2013 policy, the success of its Chinese counterpart is readily visible.

Pakistan may be a large country, but in this respect, it must act like a small one, with the central government formulating a holistic and nation-wide innovation policy. Everyone must get on the same page, or else Pakistan will remain stuck as the world pulls away ever faster.

although Pakistan isn’t slick enough to tempt foreign immigrants from developed economies, it can at least try to get its own immigrants back. About 13,000 Pakistanis working in Silicon Valley are obvious candidates — their engineering skills as good as any.

Luring back expats is an integral part of the equation but it doesn’t complete the equation. The other part is producing greater numbers of smart people in the first place; exploiting that massive population base.

At all levels, the education system instituted by the Pakistani government relies heavily on rote-learning. That’s got to go. Moreover, the secondary and higher school certificates curriculum promotes convention and obedience at the expense of experimentation or creativity. Guess which of these traits produce innovation?

http://www.dawn.com/news/1266069/can-pakistan-be-the-next-silicon-valley#comments

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's Federal Government grants #Karachi's #NED Engineering University Rs 900 over 3 years for big projects https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/138117-NED-to-get-Rs900mn-from-Centre-in-three-years …

Ahsan Iqbal inaugurates Advanced Material Testing Laboratory at NED’s Department of Earthquake Engineering

Karachi

The federal government will provide Rs900 million in the next three years to the NED University for completing new mega projects being initiated at the university, said Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday while inaugurating the Advanced Material Testing Laboratory at the Department of Earthquake Engineering, NED University of Engineering and Technology.

He said the federal government had adopted an important policy to upgrade all engineering universities of the country and different projects had been initiated at these universities across the country.

According to him, the government has allocated Rs1500 billion to achieve the target while the federal government has also doubled the funding to improve higher education in Pakistan. “From the year 2010 to 2013, Rs100 billion were granted for the higher education. But when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz came in the power, the grant was increased to Rs2015 billion from the year 2013 to 2016.”

Quoting the figures of increase in grant, he said the increment showed that the party was working in the right direction and following the indicators set for its vision 2025, through which it wanted to establish “knowledge economy”.

“The majority of the country’s population comprises of youngsters and that is why we want to provide them the best education and access to technology to produce high quality human resources in the country.”

Ahsan Iqbal expressed that he was impressed with the standard of education being provided at the NED University and believed that its students could participate anywhere around the world.

He congratulated the faculty and staff for preparing students to face challenges in their lives.

The PML-N leader also assured the government’s support to universities which would play any role in national development.

The federal minister claimed that all efforts would be carried out to eradicate terrorism from the country.

Riaz Haq said...

Mir Bayyaan Baloch, first child in #Pakistan to receive a 3D printed hand from #NEDUET MakerStudio http://bit.ly/2a7wcyt via @techjuicepk

Bioniks, a prosthetics provider, in collaboration with Xplorer 3D (a 3D printer manufacturer) and Viscous.co (3D printer retailer) to provide a child with a 3D printed hand. Mir Bayyaan Baloch, a five-year-old boy, is the first Pakistani child to receive such a treatment. Mir was born without a right hand, but the companies involved along with the cooperation of Mir’s father, Mir Umer Baloch, have given him an artificial hand that allows him to do everything other children can do.

Stephen Davies and Drew Murray’s Team UnLimbited were one of the first resources that Mir Umer found when he was looking for a prosthetic hand for his son on the Internet. Stephen and Drew had designed the UnLimbited Arm, a prosthetic for individuals that have no hand but a functional elbow, which was used for Bayyan’s right hand. Once Mir Umer had found the perfect prosthetic for his child, he reached out to Bioniks for the case.

With the help of a Xplorer 3D printer stationed at the NED University of Engineering and Technology, Bioniks printed the UnLimbited Arm. They then adjusted the device to fit the boy’s arms. The work on the 3D printed arm was carried out at NED’s MakerStudio (a 3D Printing Facility) that is running under Viscous.co. The printers available at MakerStudio have been donated by NEDEA Chicago, NED ALEF, and Indus Pencil Industries (Pvt.) Ltd.

The 3D printed prosthetic arm was then fitted into Bayyaan’s arm to give him a completely function right hand that he felt comfortable with. Previously, Bayyaan was not able to shake hands, give high fives, and even hold objects with his right hand.

Mir Bayyaan Baloch may not realize that he is the first-ever child in Pakistan to receive such a treatment but he is very excited about finally being able to live his life as any other child would. This is an incredible feat achieved through the dedication and passion of companies such as Bioniks and Xplorer 3D, and individuals such as Mir Umer, Stephen, and Drew.

Riaz Haq said...

The Grid: #Pakistan’s first Virtual Reality Lab at #NED University Petroleum Dept in #Karachi http://bit.ly/29QtDx4 via @techjuicepk

The Grid is a first of its kind Virtual Reality Lab cum Media Center at a university’s level in the country. This facility recently launched its operations for students, faculty, and industry personnel for collaborative learning pertaining to Virtual Reality and using it to educate engineers. The lab provides support to students and faculty in their work on simulations via Unity 3D, a popular software for various field work around the globe. The 360 Panoramic shots, shared by the Petroleum Engineering Department’s alumni working in oil fields, are helping students to get a first-hand experience of field work as if they are actually there.

The facility currently consists of four VR stations equipped with high-tech state of the art equipment including VR headsets along with remote controllers, a tablet-based media hub. The big screen allows one to share the data from the tablet with everyone using a chromecast interface. The media hub consists of visual data and simulations from alumni which can be shared with users anytime. Mohsin Yousufi told that the media lab is not restricted to the students of Petroleum Engineering and is open to everyone who want to create their simulations and test their projects.

Organizing field trips are difficult due to isolated locations of work fields, here this lab is bridging the gap by enabling students to have an experience whilst being on campus. The lab has already connected the alumni to academics and alumni are now sending in 360 Panoramic shots to help students gain an insight into the field work. Mohsin Yousufi believes that the lab will help faculty in imparting practical knowledge to students and giving training to engineers by adopting VR as an enabler tool. With an ambition to expand the lab and make it a play-area for engineers, Mohsin is striving hard to make this space a game-changer for the academia as well as the industry.

The Grid is a Petroleum Engineering Department Alumni Project and is being funded by the alumni of NED University.