"Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not a threat"

-Steve Jobs

The culture of innovation, a main pillar of the Indus legacy, has been growing from strength to strength over the last five years. The philosophy of education is to prepare students to succeed in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world and thus the need to focus on the development of life/leadership competencies. COVID-19 has made us build on this further and we now aim to make students future (start-up) ready regardless of their preferred career and where setting up a business is one of the many options for them to consider when they graduate from Indus.

The concept of the Start-up School is designed as an experiment in order to successfully innovate. Experimentation has now been woven into our curriculum delivery which along with design thinking will be at the core of the innovation curriculum. Experimentation involves creating a culture where curiosity is nurtured in both students and teachers, where data trumps opinion and tasks are carried out in an ethical manner. A pre-requisite to succeed in an uncertain environment is to have a growth mindset and view challenges as opportunities for learning. Experimentation will help in promoting this where the mantra is to “think big, act small, fail fast and learn rapidly.”

The Start-up School experiment is a futuristic concept and that will help transform school education. It is based on the following key assumptions or hypothesis, that will be tested, challenged and validated along the journey,

1. It is an exponential organisation which aims at improving the quality of education ten times better, with minimum but affordable expenses on faculty and resources. This is achieved by having onboard staff-on-demand and close partnership between school, parents and industry.

2. The philosophy as mentioned earlier is to make students future (start-up) ready.

3. Artificial Intelligence will take over routine and repetitive tasks of a teacher. Teachers will no longer be content teachers: their primary role will be to teach the child through mentoring.

4. Along with the support of Artificial Intelligence, students take ownership for their learning.

5. To drive and sustain the innovation culture, teachers are encouraged to be intrapreneurs.

6. 80 % learning will be online with minimalistic physical spaces.

7. The curriculum will be based on the 40 (experiential and collaborative) -20 (coaching, mentoring and 360 feedback) – 40 (self-directed) learning model.

8. Given that we will be operating in times of great uncertainty, mentors (teachers) are given a mission, and they mentor and steward their student teams with minimum control and boundaries from school hierarchies.

It would be absolutely pertinent to re-examine these assumptions on a periodic basis. Being in its first year and also the first of its kind in K-12 education, the Start-up School will need to rely heavily on multiple data points through 360-degree (live streaming) feedback that is analysed and which will help make immediate adjustments to its operational strategy.