On the 14th of August 2019, Wednesday, King’s College joined Demola Alliance in an exclusive partnership and launched the Demola-Global Innovation Challenge in Nepal. The Launch event took place in the exquisite halls of Kathmandu Marriott Hotel which was attended by some of the most renowned faces of corporate and academic worlds.
Demola is an international innovation platform where educational institutions and leading companies work together in an 8-weeks program. Driven by the framework of open innovation and co-creation, University students from multidisciplinary fields and experts from companies collaborate to solve diverse sets of problems or challenges with innovative ideas. By engaging and empowering the company’s staff and students, Demola pushes its stakeholders to think about the future and new ideas. The program was developed in Finland and it currently runs in 17 countries, including Nepal. The program has reached out to over 50 universities and 750,000 students.
According to Mr. Jeere Wessman, the creative director of Demola, Demola and its Project Partner Companies seek to bridge the gap between student’s need for quality education and company’s need to create new service concepts- A sandbox, where team of employees and students come together to create future ideas and solve complex problems following standardized processes. The five pioneering Nepali companies to sign Project-Partner Agreement with Demola were: Annapurna Media Network, Next Venture Corp., Young Innovation, City Planning Commission of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, and Katha Nepal.
In the later part of the event, a Panel Discussion was held on the Need and Potential for collaboration between educational institutions and industries. The panelists included Industrialist Mr. Saurabh Jyoti Of Jyoti Group, CEO of M&S Mr. Sambhav Sirohiya, and Dr. Ganga Gautam, Director of Open and Distance Education Center, Tribhuvan University. The panelists came up with some interesting viewpoints and conclusions like how universities need to break the cycle of rigidity and offer more flexible short- term courses, and how with crowd-sourcing of ideas there was a better chance of collaboration between industries and students.
Moreover, the audience had some mixed opinions, while some hailed that Demola in Nepal will create a Paradigm shift in Nepal, others were skeptical about the socio-economic inclusiveness of the project and alignment between Demola’s model and problems that companies face. Guess only time will time how successful will Demola be in the Nepali context.
Nonetheless, Demola brings fresh excitement of innovation and complex problem solving, synergy, collaboration, and productivity in the industry as well as academic curriculum and diminishes the chasm between the increasing demands of the market and stagnant academic curriculum that fails to keep up.
Article by Shambhavi Singh.