As the Chief Innovator and co-founder of PRASU, with 26 years of experience and more than 20 national & international patents in various stages, Dr. Koushik advises major companies such as Bosch, Continental, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, Volvo etc. on Innovation strategy, developing Innovation culture and scaling business relevant Innovation for business growth. He also works with Start-ups, Incubation centres and accelerators and connects Industries and Start-ups. Koushik also links academia and Industry through workshops and technical talks on Innovation. He has also developed a syllabus for academia in Innovation & Intrapreneurship. He is an international speaker, visiting faculty and a leadership coach, helping technical people transition from task-focused roles to task plus people-oriented roles. He conducts various workshops to inspire people to achieve more, better and help contribute to the society very productively.
Dr Koushik is a TEDx speaker and has spoken in multiple international forums and universities. He has been recognised with many awards and has also written for many leading magazines and newspapers. He is also cartoonist and a TV/Movie actor.
My IEEE Experience
My stint with IEEE started while I was working at Philips Global Development Center, Singapore. Since the work was on Consumer Electronics, a group of people at Philips and local university invited me to start a Consumer Electronics Chapter in Singapore. I was unsure what it meant to be involved but was sure that IEEE was a great platform to learn. So we had many activities under CE society in Singapore. It was not all work and no fun, as we celebrated some of our milestones with get-togethers, dinners, etc.
When I moved to Philips Eindhoven, there was a gap in my engagement with IEEE. After many years when I returned to Bangalore, India, funnily, again a group of people invited me to start a Consumer Electronics chapter in Bangalore. Strangely, in Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India, there was no such chapter.
As a founding member of the CE chapter, we conducted various activities and they were well received and valued by our members. This really inspired me to contribute more. I served in many roles in CE society chapter, initially as founding member, later as Secretary and Chair of CE Society Bangalore. I also attended the CE chapter chairs meeting in Singapore where I met people from across the globe and learnt how networking can be done in IEEE meetings.
Meanwhile, I was introduced to Bangalore Section by the chair at the time, Mr. Hitesh Mehta and I took an active role in the Section activities as well. Once I started participating in the Bangalore Section, a whole new world of volunteering opportunities opened up. I was then absorbed into the Execom as Professional Activities Chair. I then took up many roles in Bangalore Section such as Chair of Student Activities, Joint Treasurer, Vice-Chair Bangalore Section, the Co-Chair of R10 Student Congress and the 50 Years Celebrations. I also served as Industrial Activities Chair of IEEE India council and Co-Chair of R10 adhoc committee on Innovation under which I organised an Innovation training for a week in Bangladesh. I was also a lead organizer and initiator for the IEI-IEEE award for Engineering excellence, a IEEE JANS level award. I then became the Chair of Bangalore section.
Having only one-year term as chair, it is difficult to be ambitious, but with my team, we could do wonderful things which fetched the MGA Large Section award for Bangalore Section. The Section had stagnated for many years even with around 7000 members and we needed a breakthrough, which we achieved by increasing membership by about 10%. I initiated many activities to engage members and industry effectively. Some of the key initiatives were introducing a Medal of Honour, a recognition for past chairs and contributors who helped the Section in the early years, incentives for Branch Counselors, awards for industry leaders – women and men, young technologists and start-ups as well as several schemes for students like travel grants. I was conferred with MGA Leadership Award for my contributions and leadership. I also had the opportunity to meet several IEEE presidents. I had the opportunity to take IEEE president Mr. Jose Maura and Steve Welby around Bangalore in my car. l also happened to restart TEMS chapter and took over as the chair once I completed my term as Bangalore section chair.
I was nominated as a Member, Board of Governors of TEMS and then given additional roles of TEMS India chair and editor in chief of ‘LEADER’, a TEMS magazine. We set a strategic vision to grow TEMS in India and we are well on course in achieving that and TEMS Bangalore chapter of which I was chair, won the Bangalore Section small chapter award. My contributions in TEMS were recognised by the TEMS board and I was asked to contest for the Vice-President of Conferences role, which I did and was successfully elected. In this role, I am responsible for global conferences. I was also featured in the IEEE magazine, ‘The Institute’ as a cartoonist and my book on Innovation was reviewed in IEEE Explore by CE Society President Stefan Mozar. During my journey in IEEE, I have had many roles at Society chapter level, Section level, India level, R10 level and at global society level, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to contributing more to IEEE.
My main learning’s being a part of IEEE are:
- You will meet a lot of accomplished people from across the world, from whom you can learn, as equals,
- You will develop leadership & people skills as you manage events and initiatives,
- Managing teams in IEEE is different than in companies. IEEE is volunteer-based where more than obligation & control, motivation and relationships works,
- When contribution and true collaboration takes focus, difficulty disappears,
- Volunteering is not a favour, but a karma or in other words a duty, to give back to the community.