India’s brightest minds charting the nation’s renewable energy roadmap

Yes Bank Transformation Series aims to establish a nationwide innovation lab that would create a culture of crowdsourcing, entrepreneurship


Yes Bank managing director and chief executive officer Rana Kapoor.
Yes Bank managing director and chief executive officer Rana Kapoor.

Globally, there is a wave of innovation and disruption in the existing energy generation system. Multiple initiatives are in the pipeline—the government of India has revised the target of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, solar parks are being set up and there is extensive support for solar mini-grids, innovative solutions to generate and store solar power.

Amid this, Yes Bank Transformation Series—India’s largest case study challenge for B-schools set a new challenge for the finalists of the 2016 edition chosen from more than 25,000 students around the country. In its fifth edition the Yes Bank Transformation Series partnered with the ministry of new and renewable energy, government of India. The ministry shared a challenge focusing on popularizing solar energy in India, with the 15 finalist teams of the 5th edition of the Transformation Series.

Looking back

Launched in 2010, the Yes Bank Transformation Series is a platform which invites students from the world’s top B-schools to step into the shoes of business leaders and lead the innovation journey. The initiative was launched to champion the spirit of disruptive innovation and encourage bright young minds from the world’s finest universities to think beyond boundaries. It is not just a platform to encourage innovation but also to help in its actualization.

In the preliminary phase of the fifth edition of Transformation Series, Yes Bank acknowledged the changing landscape of the payments sector through case studies focused on addressing four key issues in the financial technology space. Each case study required students to analyse the dynamic environment of the financial services industry and chart out a strategic road map for innovation in digital payments, mPOS, start-ups and prepaid solutions.

The top 15 teams were shortlisted through an exhaustive process of preliminary round and campus rounds where more than 25,000 students representing top B-schools like Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA); IIM Calcutta; IIM Lucknow; IIM Indore; Indian School of Business, Hyderabad; Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT); National Institute of Industrial Engineering; IIM Kozhikode; and IIM Shillong among others participated.

In this edition, the competition engaged with more than 300,000 students from across the world making it one of India’s largest case study challenge for B-school students.

Rana Kapoor, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO), Yes Bank, said: “The Indian economy is witnessing a phase characterized by design-, innovation- and creativity-led entrepreneurship, against the backdrop of supportive government policies and favourable demographics. At Yes Bank, it is our constant endeavour to interact with the youth and channelize their entrepreneurial spirit in to the right direction with an emphasis on design thinking and innovation. The Yes Bank Transformation Series presents a unique opportunity for students to provide innovative solutions to real life challenges facing India Inc. today by allowing them to take up the role of business leaders and test their mettle against the world, thereby showcasing their innovative thinking. As we enter the fifth edition of this case study challenge, I am confident that we will once again discover India’s next big innovators.”

Transformation series edition V finale: ideas for India’s Solar Energy Roadmap

With more than 25,000 bright young minds participating in the Yes Bank Transformation Series, and with the ministry of new and renewable energy as the strategic case study partner, this was an ideal platform to crowdsource ideas focusing on disruptive innovations which could drive the usage of solar energy in the country.

It provided a gruelling test to India’s future business leaders to think beyond the usual. After proving their worth in real life business cases in the fintech space, the finale took them to uncharted territories as they racked their brains on this challenge of national importance.

Innovation unplugged: pre-cursor to the finale

In line with its ethos of entrepreneurship and innovation, Yes Bank conducted a curtain raiser session called Innovation Unplugged on 16 November with the finalists of the series.

True to the spirit of entrepreneurship, Awfis Space Solutions Pvt. Ltd, India’s fastest growing and largest co-working space, was selected as the venue for Innovation Unplugged. Entrepreneurs addressed the students during the informal networking session. A video highlighting the journey of Transformation Series and testimonials of previous editions winners and participants set the right tone for the finale. There were bytes of their experiences during the challenge and finale round as well as their experience while working with the organization, thus, setting the expectations for the finalists of this edition.

Innovation unplugged

The CEO of DigitSecure, Jay Krishna delivered an address on how his organization has redefined the digital aspects of Last mile delivery—offering a payment platform which uses biometric authentication while Avinash Godkhindi, CEO, Zaggle, shared his inspirational story of his start-up journey with the students. Godkhindi spoke of the need for students to constantly interact with various industry stakeholders to widen their perspective.

Besides, there was a conversation between Sameer Grover, founder and CEO of Crownit, and Vivek Lohcheb, co-founder of Trupay, discussing the future of payments in India. The session featured discussions on fintech and its role in redefining the future of the financial services industry. This interactive session also featured active inputs from the other fintech leaders in the audience including Ritesh Pai, senior president and country head, digital banking, Yes Bank.

Amit Ramani, founder and CEO of Awfis, then narrated the journey of his company to students, in the process also highlighting, the role played by co-working spaces in the development of start-ups. The note was indeed a relevant one as the audience was keen to understand the different propositions provided by Awfis, a co-working space provider for start-ups. Lastly, Pai summarized the day’s proceedings, opening the floor for further questions as the students geared up to get tips from the erudite crowd for their challenge the next day.

The grand finale

After a gruelling round of presentations and Q&A, the spotlight was now firmly on the jury. Picking the best idea from 15 disruptive ones is always a challenge and it proved to be so. After 30 minutes of deliberation, the jury advised the Yes Bank team of the top 3 teams.

The stage was set for the awards ceremony. Setting things into motion, Ashok Chawla, chairman, The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) and a veteran in the financial services sector highlighted the importance of the platform for the participants as it gave them a chance to fine tune their ideas through interactions with industry and policy makers—a truly rare collaboration achieved at Yes Bank Transformation Series.

Jun Zhang, India country head, International Finance Corp.—one of the world’s foremost speakers on clean energy—appreciated the ideas shared by the students and urged them to continue to push the envelope. Zhang also lauded Yes Bank for providing a platform to students for ideas to be actualized.

The room was abuzz with anticipation and finally four months of hard work paid off as team North East Royals from IIM Shillong beat Team Plutus from ISB Hyderabad and IIFT Kolkata amid stiff competition, to emerge as India’s innovation champions.

Prizes

1st prize: 3 lakh + PPI (pre-placement interview )

2nd prize: 2 lakh + PPI

3rd prize: 1 lakh + PPI

Innovation to impact ideas

Innovation in financing and technology are improving access to capital and lowering barriers to widespread uptake of clean energy. The brightest minds in the country were given the problem statement to drive the solar energy consumption and devise an innovative financial instrument to attack the existing pain-points in the system, hence unlocking the solar potential of India. Right from strategizing for the creation of an online market place for business-to-customer sales, the students worked on a detailed plan for marketing the platform and products as well.

INNOVATION LAB: WAY FORWARD

The world is changing everyday around us, right from the way we make money to the way we spend it. The massive ride of digitization and disruption has deeply influenced the dynamics of the every business strategy. Financial services industry in particular has been the focal point of this paradigm shift. Developments like P2P lending, payment banks, wallets, financial marketplace, robo-advisory, blockchain technology, AI cyber security, etc. have redefined the way banks work.

Yes Bank is not far behind in this band-wagon, being the only greenfield bank in India, Yes Bank Transformation Series is an attempt towards nurturing and promoting the talent inherent in brightest young minds of the country, while also infusing the spirit of DICE —design, innovation and creativity-led entrepreneurship—in them. The central idea is establishing a nationwide “Innovation Lab” that would create a sustained culture of idea exchange—crowdsourcing, entrepreneurship and innovation in India. Transformation Series is the first step where Yes Bank and the advisory council not only mentors the students, but prepares them for the innovation journey ahead.

Meet the teams

TEAM NORTH EAST ROYALS,
IIM SHILLONG

Winners of Yes Bank Transformation Series

From accelerated depreciation of solar investments to deduction in the taxable income of renewable energy investments, North East Royals shared the best of all practices globally. They had a firm point of view and a relevant motto to take their ideas forward—“Do it yourself/Do it for me”. They proposed an entire ecosystem of village entrepreneurs, listing down the role of “Solar Sahayaks” and a payment model adopting a “pay-as-you-go” model.

IIM Shillong took the lead in suggesting the all-round online marketplace model, addressing the key customer considerations and listing a structured set of offerings.

TEAM PLUTUS, ISB HYDERABAD
First runner-up

ISB Hyderabad was the champion in the previous edition and that did raise expectations of their winning again. While the team from ISB did come up with pragmatic solutions, it missed the winning slot by just a few points. They laid down the roadmap for increasing the solar energy consumption primary through the online marketplace—suDhan portal which aims to integrate the products of existing solar companies with “pay-as-you-go” distribution model for recharge having offline as well offline options. A loyalty programme can provide suDhan credits to the customers and promote re-purchase options.

TEAM HEISENBERG, IIFT KOLKATA
Second runner-up

Divya Garg, Satinath Ghosh and Rahul Painuly suggested Smart Co-operative Societies backed by Solar Credit Trust which scored them the second runner-up position. They identified the Trust as a registered firm for selling/exchanging solar renewable energy certificates (RECs). Initial funding for setting up the Trust can be obtained from government fund, clean development mechanism, banks, fintech, firms or individual investors who will lead this initiative of “Surya-manthan”.

Apart from the regular marketing ideas, Team Heisenberg suggested “Migration Buddy”, which is a portable solar panel for people migration to urban areas from rural areas.

TEAM ALPHAWOLVES, IIM KOZHIKODE

The team compared the existing models of financing a solar project in Arizona and China, listing out the benefits and attractiveness of debt and equity funding for projects with less than or more than 1MW. The uniqueness was the interactive portal which can be an aggregator in the Solar Energy space, with a detailed roadmap and time frame to implement the marketplace. Crowdsourcing is an idea suggested by the team to promote the popularity and generate funds along the way.

TEAM OHYESABHI!, JAMNALAL BAJAJ INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES

“Sun Brigade” and “SUNgam Financing—two very interesting ideas from the very excited OhYesAbhi! team caught the attention of the audience. They reassured on the decreasing cost of the solar energy installations benchmarking against Canadian solar and suggested strong integration of the solar projects with the smart city mission to create a smart/hybrid energy opportunity.

TEAM LIGHTSABER, IIMA

Comparing the existing options of solar photovoltaic (PV) financing, i.e. capex model, debt financing, power purchase agreements and net/gross metering, Team Lightsaber innovated on ideas for on-grid and off-grid PVs, providing an environment cost of Rs4.32 for every unit power generated from coal. Their online marketplace suggested separate strategy for each of the following four segments: consumer, investor, company and installer.

TEAM WINTERISHERE, IIM CALCUTTA

The team listed down the entire path for a consumer to choose a financial instrument according to his requirements with options like PPA, operating lease, capital lease, PACE loans, etc. Highlighting the barriers in solar power adoption, the team suggested creation of solar impact bonds which mitigate the risk involved in the high cost of the capital. Team members Rashmi, Rohit and Ramgopal also highlighted as phase-wise strategy roadmap to promote solar as a good investment, increasing the consumer awareness and consumer and corporate direct engagement.

TEAM SPARROW, S. P. JAIN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT AND RESEARCH

Ayush Singh, Akash Jha and Tania Dey were all set to have a LIGHT day and shared their ideas for a greenmarket.in to power the green businesses in India. The presentation promoted the knowledge sharing and consulting platform which would track an individual’s social credit score and provide social ratings on the different activations by an individual.

The Yes Bank Transformation Series is an attempt towards nurturing and promoting the talent inherent in brightest young minds of the country, while also infusing the spirit of DICE—design-, innovation- and creativity-led entrepreneurship—in them. The central idea is establishing a nationwide “Innovation Lab” that would create a sustained culture of crowdsourcing, entrepreneurship and innovation in India.

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