ADITI JAIN: Founder and Chief Executive Officer at EEDO
The #SheInnovates stories team sat down with Aditi Jain to discuss the role of women in innovation. Get involved at She Innovates Global.
#SheInnovates Stories: Innovation is solving the world's problems. What problem are you solving?
Aditi Jain: Innovation is the key to a new world and a much needed value as of late. My app, EEDO, solves the problem of improper disposal of electronic waste. In this digital world, we all are associated with electronics in one way or another. But what happens when they are not in working condition anymore? They become e-waste (electronic waste). It is the world’s most toxic waste stream. It is generally disposed of as regular trash, which causes all types of environmental pollutions and great health hazards. E-waste is a serious environmental problem; from toxic chemicals and heavy metals leaching into soils in landfills, to the pollution of air and water supplies, caused through improper recycling techniques in developing countries. It’s a fact that if a single CFL breaks on the ground, then no tree can ever grow on it.
#SheInnovates: When did you realize your innovation was a breakthrough?
AJ: I think [the breakthrough came] when my innovation was presented on the global platform of Technovation, in San Francisco, U.S.A, and then became the “Global Winner” out of 20,000 girls in this Global Entrepreneurship Program, was a breakthrough for this. I had trust in my innovation from the beginning, but after this accomplishment I consider EEDO to be one of my best innovations so far.
#SheInnovates: What were some unexpected obstacles you overcame in the innovation process?
AJ: No journey is completed without overcoming the obstacles. I faced many hurdles. My days were fully packed with schools, tuitions and what not. I had to stay awake all night to complete my app, and then go to school the next day. That was really tiring. I wanted to complete all of my deliverables with perfection this time, which required me to go through a whole lot of tutorials. It was really tough managing my studies and this golden side balance. If this work affected my marks then I would be forbidden to use the laptop. The journey had great obstacles, but I enjoyed the whole journey anyway.
#SheInnovates: What inspires you to love your work?
AJ: I think I am kind of a workaholic. I can’t live in peace without working; even at times of my examinations, when I am not supposed to do anything except my studies. At the end of the day I feel like I have missed some task, and I feel really incomplete. Then, I pray for exams to be over as soon as possible so that I can feel complete again. Studying or doing any other activity for many hours makes me feel like I have done so much work. But when I do my tech work, I feel light and fresh. I am, to date, not able to understand the phenomenon behind it. I think that is the beauty of human nature; when you love some kind of work, you do it as a relaxation activity more than as work. Sitting on my bed surfing various websites, brainstorming for various ideas and implementing them perfectly, makes me feel as if I am in another world, enjoying its culture and diversities. I cannot express in words how much I love it, other than to say that a day when I don’t work feels like I haven’t fully utilized my day.
#SheInnovates: What do you hope that young women coming behind you take from your work?
AJ: Many young women are now taking an interest in the field of information and technology. I think motivation is the key factor that is required for a person to get inspired to accomplish something. Everyone has a motivation when they work hard— like being on the top of the world. My motivation was winning Technovation. This made me work day and night, and come up with an app which could be declared “Global Winner.” So, I want young girls to extract their motivation from my work. Then, even they won’t be able to stop themselves from accomplishing what they want. Good luck ladies!
#SheInnovates: Why are women in innovation important?
AJ: I think we innovate to create a difference in our society. We innovate to make our communities’ lives easier. Innovation is using a new and exciting way to solve the issues of our neighborhoods. But community issues mean the problems of all sections of society; men as well as women. So, if only men innovate, then the issues of the whole community won’t be solved. Women’s interests and opinions should also be expressed equally, in order to to solve the issues of the whole society. We're independent and not-for-profit. Our purpose is to make work, and working lives, better. And at a time of unprecedented change, we have the vision, the agility and the strength to make a real difference in the community, in business, and in the economy.
I am capable of saying all of this because of Technovation. As I always say, Technovation has given me the wings to fly in a world of endless opportunities. Now, I want to help girls across the world get their wings.
Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity and length.