Welcome to our blog series for the 2012 World Innovation Summit for Education publication, which focuses on radical innovation at the education/work interface. As we travel the world checking out the most innovative examples of projects, programmes and people in this area we're blogging about our experiences.
I can’t say I was looking forward to the 4 hour cab ride from Bangalore to Infosys’ Mysore campus after a long flight from the UK. In fact, it was the most amazing introduction to India – an explosion of colour, noise, street food, shiny new buildings and rubbish heaps. As we weaved in and out of traffic, undertaking scooters laden with families of four or five, honking at packed buses and being overtaken by posh Tata cars, I got a mesmerizing first glimpse of many Indias, living side by side. On the outskirts of Bangalore, imposing new buildings are emerging, alongside small, crumbling dwellings. The impression (and probably the reality) is of a building site – half under construction, half undergoing demolition. Women in brightly coloured saris stroll through the streets with female friends dressed in jeans and t-shirts. ‘Tender coconut’ stands with huge piles of discarded husks sit in front of mobile phone shops.
Driving into the Infosys Global Education Campus, the multiple Indias stop. The contrast with the outside world is extreme. Half-finished roads give way to flawless streets where drivers stick to the left, and pedestrians walk safely on pavements. The landscape is uniformly beautiful, with manicured gardens and not a hint of litter. The buildings are grand, clean, and well kept whilst security is rigorous and ever-present. Unsurprisingly, young engineering graduates from all across India are clamouring to be part of this parallel universe. Of those who make the grades, one in three will get the chance to be part of an annual intake of 20,000. But it is not primarily the impressive campus that has got them excited. Infosys is a household name for other reasons. It is renowned for unusual and unimpeachable integrity in its business dealings, and for taking great care of its employees’ learning and growth. It is the ultimate ambition of middle class parents for their children to work for Infosys. Most of the ‘Infocians’ I met wouldn’t dream of working for another company. Why? Read the Infosys case study for the 2012 WISE book to find out.
If you want to learn more about the Infosys case study and the exciting projects and programmes that are doing radical innovations at the work/learning interface, look out for the launch of our book in November 2012.