India has a repository of highly qualified and experienced individuals who are experts in their respective fields. These individuals occupy global positions of influence in various sections of society. Such leaders can contribute to the betterment of societies by sharing their domain knowledge, experiences and expertise.
Unfortunately, the society at large is unable to harness the strengths of such leaders who can guide and mentor young individuals in their careers and lives.
In the current environment where rapid technological change takes place, novel practices of value creation quickly lose significance and societal pressures on the individual, rapidly increase. In such a scenario, it is the responsibility of those with experience to shape the society in a manner to carve out a better future for the next generation.
At Valluri Change Foundation, we have developed a unique mentoring model using web-based technologies to connect world-class mentors to groups of individuals (mentees). After intensive research, we have identified specific areas where mentoring can make a positive difference in building our nation. These, in our opinion, are the most relevant areas in the present context. They can help the youth assess the opportunities and the failures that lie ahead and at the same time, prepare themselves for challenges that can help them stay relevant in a fast-changing environment.
The six areas of mentoring which we have identified are:
Leadership mentoring will involve guidance on how to lead in a very volatile, uncertain, complex and an ambiguous world. Mentors who have driven organisations in very choppy markets or leaders who have taken unchartered approaches, would provide valuable guidance to the youth. The volatility associated with shifting goals will spur the need for a reassessment of priorities, both for an individual and for organisations. These mentors will guide the teams on the processes and the approach methods they need to adopt. We need to redefine the concepts of team work, risk-taking abilities, managing conflicts and skill management with an innovative approach. This is precisely what our mentoring team intends to provide.
Building a new technology is only a part of the solution, but adopting it for scale is a completely different challenge. Can one technology solve societal problems or do we need to converge multiple technologies? If so, how do we define convergence? How do we identify problems before the society has recognized it, whether it be in Health, Engineering or Environment? What have these world-class leaders done to stay ahead in the game? How did they approach it and what advice do they have for the next generation? As the world embarks in the areas of IOT, Machine Intelligence, Robotics, the new generation must get mentored on developing the necessary skills to assist in these areas. How can they contribute to society by building technologies that improve living standards? The current set of mentors will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in multiple technology domains.
Education and Career:
The foundations of a nation are built on the kind of education it imparts to its citizens. A number of initiatives have been launched in redefining the Education agenda which would hopefully bring about positive changes in the years to come. However, the link between the real-world experience and the choice of careers based on education received, is still amiss. The mentors will guide the youth on how to approach their career choices based on aptitude, strengths and the future of emerging fields. These could be in areas such as Medicine, Engineering, Liberal Arts, IT, Finance, Design, Management and Research.
Healthcare and precautionary interventions are crucial, more so with the emergence of new debilitating lifestyle-related diseases. The awareness of these interventions are inconsistent and lack a structured process approach. Mentoring in healthcare by well-known doctors and specialists will enable the mentees to understand the causes of diseases and their preventive methods. Emerging technologies used in this sector such as Stem Cell Research, Digital Diagnostics, Robotics in medical procedures, 3D printing etc., are revolutionising healthcare. Practising experts with deep domain knowledge and experience will be able to provide mentorship to interested groups of individuals.
Environmental degradation has caused the large-scale damage to human society in the recent past and will continue to do so, going forward. There is an urgent need to mentor the youth on corrective actions in order to prevent further damage. Environmental experts will mentor and highlight different aspects of the impacts associated with environmental damage such as:
- Use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on the food chain
- Greenhouse emissions
- Waste Management
It will be vital to understand the effects of anthropogenic influence on the environment and the potential for reversing any impermanent damages.
Start-ups and Innovation:
Innovation must be relevant to the society from which it originates. Though we have adopted the ideas and innovations of the western world for long, many of them have not been effective. A robust market can only be sustained with the use of indigenous innovations to suit local conditions. The mentors can provide invaluable service to existing and potential start-ups by helping them ideate through the following:
- Brainstorming sessions
- Defining the process of goal setting
- Methods of raising financial support
- Crafting the “Go to Market” strategies
VCF believes that mentoring groups of individuals in organisations and institutes of higher learning will help drive positive transformations in societies. The experienced leaders and domain experts have a lot to share and we must bring their learnings on a common platform for the next generation.
“Vidyadaan” is the most powerful charity. Let us prepare our nation for a better future!