The clock was ticking—I had an hour to go before the big moment. Nervousness and excitement were beginning to creep in. I went through the final round of iterations with my team and rehearsed every word of my speech in a small, less-buzzing corner of the arena.
Innovating for good
Somewhere at the back of my mind, I couldn’t help thinking about the fantastic few weeks gone by where all the deliberations, late nights and countless cups of coffee inched me closer to my dream of changing millions of lives.
Accenture’s Global Technology Innovation Contest (GTIC) 2018 sought to inspire the best innovators from our Advanced Technology Centers across the globe to create new approaches to reinvent businesses and drive social change.
There I was, ready to take the center stage in front of hundreds of colleagues and jury members to present my solution. Selected as one of the top 12 ideas from more than 50,000 submitted in this year’s glittering grand finale, our solution, Sanketik, could be a sign of victory for me and the 460 million hearing-impaired people in the world.
Bridging a gap for the hearing-impaired
In today’s digital age, we turn to different websites or apps to learn something new. When we did a reality check, my team and I were taken aback by the limitations faced by the hearing-impaired, who don’t have a way to access readily available visual content on the internet.
Take YouTube as an example. Billions of videos are uploaded to YouTube every day, and almost all of them miss effectively addressing the hearing-impaired population. The existing solutions, such as audio captions or text-to-sign apps, fail to recognize one fact: Sign language is its own language, with a unique structure and grammar.
As a technologist, I get ample opportunities to create disruptive business solutions for our clients. However, this time, I wanted to use my technical prowess to serve society, and my team and I engaged with one of our local nonprofit partners in Bengaluru.
After multiple discussions with the nonprofit, we explored the most pressing challenges faced by today’s youth and decided to make a positive impact on the hearing-impaired.
We developed Sanketik, which produces sign language in its native form for any video content. By using open source and cloud technology, the dynamic tool adds a sign-language video right next to the original, so that hearing-impaired people can understand any video they choose.
Sanketik was awarded the winner in the Tech for Good category. The crowd cheered and applauded as I took a bow and thanked my brilliant team—Swati Ghiya, Azarudeen Anifa, Poonam Mishra, Sachin Khandelwal and our mentor Mathangi Sandilya—for their impeccable support.
I gripped the trophy tightly, but I knew I would only be a real winner when Sanketik is widely accessible to the hearing-impaired. I’m confident that this day is not too far away—I’m currently working with the nonprofit to use the solution in field trials before it’s finally launched.
Embracing a strong innovation culture
The effort I exert to address client and societal issues is largely due to the fact that I am part of an organization with a strong innovation culture. With programs and contests such as GTIC and our Greater Than Awards, Accenture provides amazing platforms that boost our out-of-the-box thinking and creativity.
Even during the GTIC, many leaders, clients and jury members spent weeks to shortlist the top ideas. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a company that invests so much money and seriousness in instilling an innovative mindset in its people.
These types of events also keep people like me highly engaged and motivated. I can only give 100 percent when I enjoy what I do. After developing Sanketik, I feel so much more responsible to my work and to society. There’s no stopping me now!
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