Hello, I am Raj!

About me

Over thirty years of my career, I have been through multiple roles such as engineer, designer, entrepreneur, and educator. I was very fortunate to have gone through such broad experiences in technology, business, and education. My current mission is to use this experience to nurture future innovators and entrepreneurs from the youth in remote and underserved communities by transforming them and, in turn, their communities.

Currently, I am a Professor of Practice in Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Asia School of Business, started by MIT-Sloan and the central bank of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. I was one of the founding faculty of ASB. I also served at MIT as a Visiting Scholar. Over the past eight years, my research has been in understanding how entrepreneurship skill-set and mindset can be developed in youth. This has helped me create programs to nurture future innovators and entrepreneurs in communities from the ground up and conduct over seventy workshops worldwide.

I started companies in varied fields such as Thermal engineering of electronic products, Datacenter energy optimization, sensing airflow for environmental management & instruments, Consumer products, and Training in creativity and problem-solving.

I received Master's degrees in Engineering & Management (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Manufacturing Engineering (UMass, Amherst), and Electronic Product Design (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore). I hold Bachelor's degrees in Electronics & Communications Engineering (IISc) and Physics (Kerala).

My current mission is to reach a million youth and nurture 100,000 entrepreneurs through building nurturing local ecosystems in underserved communities.

Recent activites

2020:
Nov, 21: Conducted the 6-day course ‘Zero2Maker: Developing Entrepreneurial Attitudes and Aptitudes’ for ASB MBA students.
Oct, 30: Conducted 4-day workshop ‘Future Thinking, Design Thinking, & Entrepreneurship’ for MBA students from XIME, Cochin, India.
Oct, 10: Spoke at VAIBHAV Innovation Summit by the Government of India on “Job Creation in the Post-Covid World”.
Sep, 8: Conducted TechTop Innovation Workshop, a 5-day online bootcamp on Design Thinking for university students from India.
May, 16: Spoke at the I-Hub Gujarat webinar on building entrepreneurship ecosystems in universities.Link
Feb 24: Zero2Maker Final presentation by ten schools in Kedah, Malaysia.
Jan 20: Zero2Maker Final presentations by seven schools in Mysore, India.
2019:
Nov 18: Innovation Intervention, 3-day bootcamp for employees of AirAsia.
Sep 23: Leading Innovation, 4-day bootcamp for central bankers from 13 countries held at MAS, Singapore (SEACEN)
Sep 7: Zero2Maker- Workshop on Creativity, Design, & Fabrication for MBA students at ASB
Aug 5: Innovation Intervention, 3-day bootcamp for employees of AirAsia

Pre-Entrepreneurship Development Framework

My experience with teaching creativity and technology to students from schools and universities from different parts of the world has convinced me that intelligence is uniformly distributed everywhere. That means that we are not developing the available human potential in most parts of the world, especially where it is badly needed. What if we could create problem-solvers and entrepreneurs in such places? How can we transform individuals and communities by creating entrepreneurs? That was the drive behind my work for the past eight years.

This framework and training process to build the mindset and skill-set for entrepreneurship was developed through my research experiments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Asia School of Business. The experiments have shown that Pre-entrepreneurs, who are ready to take on their next steps in solution creation and venture building, can be nurtured. The process has been used in more than fifty workshops in seven countries, reaching more than two thousand participants.


Patents and Publications




Talks

UN General Assembly: Youth and Technology (Sept 2018)

MIT- SDM: Conference on Systems Thinking for Contemporary Challenges

TEDx UTP, Malaysia 2017: Creating Pre-Entrepreneurs

TEDx Beacon Street 2014: Starting up entrepreneurs

Workshops

Innovation Intervention (AirAsia)

We ran seven workshops for AirAsia to introduce more than 200 of their AllStars to creativity, design thinking, and problem-solving in an initiative to build an internal ecosystem of disruptive thinkers. Staff from office to flight crew from all country offices in Asia participated in these workshops.

Zero2Entrepreneur MIT-Make In India Workshop. 2015

This 4-weeklong residential boot camp was conducted in India for students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and several Indian universities. Participants went through several cycles of design, making, problem identification, solution development, and entrepreneurship basics.

Zero2Maker Ecosystem Development, Mysuru, India 2019

This 6-month experiment consisted of training 13 and 14-year-old students from rural government schools near Mysuru, setting up a maker lab in their school, and mentoring them. The number of students exposed to tech and making skills reached 2,500 in a short time. Many of these students from farming communities have shown significant progress in their confidence and self-learning abilities.




Organization Founded

DegreeC is a company founded in 1997 in New Hampshire USA that focused on the thermal management of high-density and mission-critical electronic equipment in markets, such as, telecom, medical, military, and bio-sciences.



Cambridge AccuSense, founded in Shirley, Massachusetts USA in 1995, specialized in research and development of sensors and lab instruments for airflow measurement for varied applications, such as ICT, bio-sciences, and automotive. AccuSense was acquired by DegreeC in 2003.

TechTop is a charitable trust based in India that was founded in 2006 on the vision that offering the youth training in innovation and entrepreneurship would build the next generation of problem solvers in the nation. TechTop conducted innovation challenges and workshops for 13 years. Now it focuses on innovation programs for school students.

EnCube Labs was founded on the on the research done at MIT that showed that innovators and entrepreneurs can be created from the ground up to make a social impact. After starting in the US in 2014, EnCube India was launched in 2017 and later in Malaysia.