Happy 6th Birthday, Makers Lab | Tech Mahindra

Happy 6th Birthday, Makers Lab

Happy 6th Birthday, Makers Lab

Six years back, on this day, Tech Mahindra witnessed something truly distinctive – the birth of our innovation lab. It was August 2014 and a young man who had come back from the US to Delhi was dealing with the joys and perils of being a first time father. We invite him to Pune with the promise of fathering another baby – the TechM innovation lab.

"It was new for all of us, especially for me as I was imagining and hoping that the lab would be one of the swankiest in the country, with the latest and the greatest tech,” says the young man, Nikhil Malhotra recalling his anticipation and excitement as he approached TechM Pune. He was taken to the corner of the campus, to an unused large kitchen floor with steel pipes on the walls and softly told, “This is going to be your lab"

I believe it was the innovator in Nikhil who saw beyond the tech devoid empty walls, and sensed the possibilities of a blank canvas as he gave an instantaneous and instinctive response, "When do we start, Sir?"

When the innovation project Makers Lab (the name it was given) began in 2014, the idea was to explore the potential of research and harness innovation from a wider community of not just associates but also academia and businesses. Collaboration was the central piece of innovation within this R&D hub. We were also clear that hi tech was good. But adoption of that high tech within our own ecosystem was equally, if not more important. Innovation had to be proliferated and become a way of life within TechM.

Their first experiment was a bike that could stand on its own. The idea was to start from a kid’s bicycle, unscramble it, retrofit it with sensors and then control the centre of gravity with it.

The experiment was tried for three months, when came the news that Boston Dynamics in the US had made self-balancing robots. They dropped their cycle experiment but not the idea and passion. If you visit the Makers lab in TechM Pune, you will see the bike hanging - as a constant reminder of their ‘first successful failure’. They also took away an important learning - objectification of technology is essential for the future.


Over the years, the team continued their experimentations. When they look at technology, they basically look at a combination of design and disruptive technology within the organization and try and innovate by design in this disruptive world. One of their first experiments was to look at the chatbots and research the frameworks around the world.

While a lot of the frameworks have their own individual strengths, they found the element of ‘design’ was missing in most and which led them to making Entellio, their first IP. In five years, it has grown and won numerous accolades, but the process of growth has not stopped.

The Lab has come a long way since 2014. It is now present in 10 locations across the world, with a vibrant ecosystem of businesses, academia and researchers connected to it. It has also played a significant role in the fight against Covid-19, with its solutions and research on molecular docking proteins and is on its way now researching on quantum computing, genomics and space tech, all areas which beckon the rise of Tech Mahindra in the new age and paradigm.

The world’s best art, music and inventions have started and happened in backyards, bylanes and garages. I am proud of this team who created magic out of the large, unused kitchen floor with steel pipes on the walls.

Congrats on your 6th anniversary!


CP | Connect with me on Twitter.

About the Author
CP Gurnani
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra