On Tuesday 28th of April 2020 — my friend Omer Jawed Ghani, a dynamic Investment Banker calls me for a meeting at Ministry of Science and Technology — telling me that some help is required regarding at a National Event — whereas I was interested in exhibiting our new project LyfeCare only.
Lo & behold —I land in a meeting chaired by Capt (R) Nasim Nawaz, Federal Secretary for Ministry of Science and Technology, with Brig Tariq Javed, SI(M), Sitara-e-Eisar, Innovation Advisor at Pakistan Engineering Council and Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary Director General of COMSTECH. Brig Tariq Javed, former Commandant EME College NUST, who was leading the COVID Innovations Expo initiative & was known to me professionally, said to me —Imran you are going to Organize this National Expo — in 48 hours from now. I said YES — because I like challenges and love to have a go at “the impossible”. Quick meeting was over and we headed to venue COMSTECH building on Constitution Avenue, Islamabad. It was an empty hall, where 48 hours from now — Primeminister of Pakistan will be the Chief Guest.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes — then learn how to do it later!”
― Richard Branson
As I left the COMSTECH building, I had no idea— how to manage this event in 48 hours, whereas Islamabad is under a Lockdown. Although we had managed Hult Prize Pakistan events in the past, but on 28th April, Islamabad was practically under a lockdown. The first number I dialed was of my chief-partner-in-crime Mustafa Minhas and the nuclear fission reaction starts — and the whole universe conspires to make event managers, printers & transport available for National COVID Innovations Expo.
“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.”
Maj Gen Obaid Bin Zakria HI(M), Vice-Chancellor, Lahore Garrison University — My teacher, mentor, guru & Boss at Lahore Garrison University taught me “It’s Better to be Good & First, rather than Best & Last”. Done is better than perfect.
16 hours from our first meeting, on the morning of 29th April, the empty hall of COMSTECH building was installed with exhibition stalls overnight. Brig Tariq Javed hugged me (despite COVID social distancing scenario) and said “well-done Imran”. Dr. Ahsan Feroze, Director International Linkages, Pakistan Science Foundation was an instrumental supporter & guide throughout 48 hours we spent on Constitution Avenue.
On 30th April, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the National COVID Innovations Expo. PM said in his speech that Pakistan has a ‘dependency syndrome’ — why can’t a nuclear country produce ventilators. PM praised the innovative medical developments soon after the detection of the first COVID19 case on 26th Feb 2020. I want to praise Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, who led from the front and transformed a calamity into an opportunity. Within 2 months Pakistan is on the path to becoming self-sufficient in the production of ventilators & other medical equipment and is considering the export of PPEs to the World.
Engr Jawed Salim Qureshi, Chairman Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) got the lead role of pursuing innovative scientific and engineering solutions. PEC Committee for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been pursuing this effort all over Pakistan as volunteers and all Electromedical devices are being tested/trialed by PEC teams in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.
PEC Innovation Lab has organized an interface between Defence Organizations, Private sector Organizations, Govt Ministries, and Educational Institutions which has resulted in this outcome in one month’s time — which is unprecedented in our history. PEC Innovation Lab team is pursuing the R&D Centre for the promotion of engineering and technology-based products/solutions.
We exhibited LyfeCare project at this expo. LyfeCare is World’s First Cognitive Diabetics & Heartcare Platform. Pakistan is ranked 4th globally with 19.3M adult population having Diabetes. Diabetes & heart disease are causing 46 deaths every hour in Pakistan. LyfeCare is a healthcare platform to save high-COVID-risk Diabetics & Heart patients.
LyfeCare is a joint project by Center for Global Innovators (CGI), Lahore Garrison University (Lahore), Isra University (Islamabad, Hyderabad, Karachi), and Air University (Islamabad).
LyfeCare was among the project presented to honorable PM Imran Khan and Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain at National COVID Innovations Expo by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan. Center for Global Innovators — CGI was included in private sector organizations mentioned by Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain in his Presentation to PM Imran Khan.
Lahore Garrison University located in the Punjab metropolis city of Lahore, is playing a Leading Role in Technical and Socio-Economic Development of Pakistan through Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. My role as Director Innovation & Entrepreneurship is to transform the learning ecosystem at LGU into an innovation engine within the innovation economy.
A number of entrepreneurial initiatives are in the pipeline to implement the vision of Maj Gen Obaid Bin Zakria, HI(M), Vice-Chancellor, Lahore Garrison University to build a vibrant Innovation Ecosystem in Pakistan. Stay tuned for details.
About the Author: Imran Jattala is Director Innovation, Lahore Garrison University — a leading entrepreneurial university in Pakistan. He is also Co-Founder of Center for Global Innovators (CGI) — Innovation Consulting — Design of IDEO, Innovation of Strategyzer & Strategy of McKinsey. With a mission to build Knowledge Economy & to make Pakistan Top-50 Innovative Nation. He tweets at: @ImJattala