05/28/2013

Innovations with Real-World Impact: How Desh Deshpande Helps Researchers Become Change-Makers

05/28/2013
Desh-Deshpande_198x135.jpg In business, venture capitalist and entrepreneur Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande focuses on innovations that create real impact, and he's brought that mindset to his philanthropy. Creating impact is the mission of the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, one of Deshpande's many philanthropic achievements.

"Problems need new approaches, and...so you need innovators; and innovators, for them to think about new things you have to create a nurturing environment," he says. "You have to have a place where people can congregate and discuss and come up with new ideas." The MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation gives MIT researchers a haven in which to develop innovative technologies in areas such as tissue engineering, semi-conductors, wireless, and so on.
  Deshpande says that the center avoids the all-too-common practice of having insulated researchers create innovations that have little relevance for the problems of the real world. How? By having a structure that connects the "thinkers to [the] doers." Deshpande says that when a member of the faculty comes up with an idea, he or she can apply to the center to help that idea get a "bridge" to the world outside of academia. Catalysts, which are young venture capitalists and entrepreneurs with domain expertise, and teams of expert volunteers help to make this bridge happen. Deshpande says the resulting breakthrough products and new companies help solve large-scale problems in health, information technology, energy, and other fields.

To see a complete archive of Desh Deshpande's videos, see here.

"In the last 10 years, we have funded about 90 projects, we have given out about $10 million dollars, and 26 of these have become companies and have collectively raised about $400 million," says Deshpande. "It's a process that works." It's also a process that Deshpande is working to foster in governments and institutions around the world. Number of projects and other measures of impact are from the time of the interview; see Deshpande Center site for most recent.
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available in our Terms and Conditions.

Related Blog Posts

Transformative Scale 

Jeff Bradach 07/21/2016 | 3 min

Transformative Scale 

Jeff Bradach 08/31/2017 | 3 min

Knowledge Hopper 

Jeff Edmondson, Michael McAfee, Anne Williams-Isom 06/26/2017 | 4.5 min

Transformative Scale 

Nidhi Sahni, Elena Matsui, Lauren Hult 05/26/2017 | 7 mins
We work to build a better world by strengthening the ability of mission-driven organizations and philanthropists to achieve breakthrough results in addressing society’s most important challenges and opportunities.

Bridgespan® and Leading for Impact® are registered trademarks of The Bridgespan Group
The Bridgespan Group is a 501(c)(3) organization.