Kritika Sharma: Student & Innovator
The #SheInnovates stories team sat down with Kritika Sharma 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?
Kritika Sharma: Myself and all five other students from Team Cantavits have independently developed a mobile application, EEDO. This effectively and efficiently manages the collection and disposal of e-waste, and provides a user-friendly interface to connect consumers with e-waste recycling units.
Our mobile application is a green initiative to manage the huge e-waste menace; recycle some precious metals; reduce carbon footprints (for corporations and nations alike); and reward e-waste credits/certificates—thus helping to curb global pollution.
#SheInnovates: When did you realize your innovation was a breakthrough?
KS: We knew that our application would have global reach as the issue itself that this application was handling [of e-waste] is of that magnitude. We got a terrific response back home from our school, peers, family, friends, mass public, and—finally—the government of India.
Our selection for the Technovation world championship, and winning this tough competition, was a testimony to the fact that this application is a breakthrough. The application promotes two very important, core initiatives of India’s government:
A) Our PM Mr. Narendra Modi's Swatch Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India drive).
B) Beti bachao, beti padao abhiyaan (Educate and save the girl child).
#SheInnovates: What were some unexpected obstacles you overcame in the innovation process?
KS: It took a lot of hard work and collective effort for our team to brainstorm and decide on the development of this application. The work at time management to develop this application included (but was not limited to), staying back post-school or working late nights at home—alongside our studies.
A couple of us, including myself, are into the final year of our schooling. We face a test of our academic foundation and have to be working hard on various competitions and qualifications, with respect to the academic and professional streams that we intend to choose.
We also had to sacrifice our leisure time, and focus on application development. Initially, we were quite apprehensive about the funding of further development of the application; but we later came upon a couple of viable options, including the prize money that we won from the championship.
#SheInnovates: What inspires you to love your work?
KS: I, like most of us, have always been fascinated by innovation, technology and gadgets. It's actually a dream come true for me to be instrumental in developing an application which confronts and challenges a huge global issue. It's been my passion to become a tech entrepreneur one day, and our application is a stepping stone toward my career and personal aspirations. Innovation and technology have no boundaries. A mere innovative idea can translate into a huge initiative which touches the lives of billions of people. This in itself is so motivating and rewarding—to be able to make this a more sustainable world.
#SheInnovates: What do you hope that young women coming behind you take from your work?
KS: Our success thus far has been truly inspirational to a lot of my classmates, my friends, and my peers—especially my girl colleagues. There has been a huge transformation in the way that they, their parents, and society at large now value the encouragement and uplift of the girl child. They are now starting to accept the concept of equality and inclusion of the girl child, and realize that innovation knows no boundaries.
#SheInnovates: Why are women in innovation important?
KS: Historically, our society has been such that, for years, men have been the front runners in various streams and professional careers. We hardly saw any significant contributions from—or recognition of—women. It's unbelievable and virtually impossible that women, who have always been part of the evolution of mankind, have practically no visible recognition to this evolution.
This, however, is set to change. The world is arising now to the idea of equality, cultural diversity, inclusion, and collaboration. We all now know that providing opportunities, embracing, and engaging women in the evolution of mankind would be the key to a sustainable world, and is essential for the sake of mankind. Women bring with them values of compassion, life, and wisdom which once channeled and garnered, can make a huge difference in making life-enhancing, innovative solutions.
Follow Kritika Sharma on Instagram.
Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity and length.