Technology is developing faster than ever in today’s time and amidst the busy world where everything is being automated, kids are starting to lose touch with their creative side. On the other hand, as AI and automation increasingly penetrate our day-to-day lives, creativity is increasingly becoming the #1 skill needed to future-proof oneself. In order to nurture creativity and make the world realize that creativity is associated with more than just drawing, painting, and dancing, founder Nisha Mutneja has come up with her own venture.
Ms. Nisha Mutneja is the founder of talentedHippo. She was born and brought up in a small town called Gharsana, Rajasthan, and completed her B.Tech and M.Tech in nanotechnology starting from Amity to IIT Bombay. She believed that she would change the world by utilizing the knowledge she acquired while researching the applications of nanomaterials in cancer, fuel cells & nanocoatings. After entering IIT Bombay, she experienced SINE which is the entrepreneurship incubator at the university and she also became friends with a lot of startup founders. That’s when she felt that this is a world that she would be willing to be a part of! After working with startups and venturing on her own, Nisha has now come up with her own startup, talentedHippo.
Here’s what the Founder, Nisha Mutneja shared with team Sociobits about her idea and how they are moving forward:
Team Sociobits: Could you tell us a little about Talented Hippo?
Founder: Simply put, talentedHippo is an educational metaverse for kids. We create and sell creative curriculums. We teach creative thinking to kids. Ours is a B2C platform, so anyone can directly come to our website and enroll for the courses. We offer monthly cohort-based modules in dedicated batches of 15 guided by our experts.
Ours is a B2C platform, so anyone can directly come to our website and enroll for the courses. We offer monthly cohort-based modules in dedicated batches of 15 guided by our experts.
Team Sociobits: When you say that you teach kids to think creatively, what does it exactly mean?
Founder: Generally, if you think about creativity, the first few words that would pop up in your mind are drawing and painting. Looking at paintings and drawings, we suddenly think ‘oh my god! That’s so creative’. But if someone is a scientist or a coding wizard, we tend to think of words such as smart or intelligent to be associated with them. In reality, creativity is not domain specific, it’s domain agnostic. In reality, creativity is an umbrella term and creative thinking, problem-solving, divergent thinking, etc are all parts of it.
If you ask me ‘what do I teach?’ then I would say that we don’t teach. We consider creativity as a superpower of humans because 98% of humans are born with it and the idea is to simply nurture it. No other living organism on this planet has such a large propensity for creativity. Our systems are such that only 14% of kids remain creative by the age of 12 and this number narrows down to 2% by the age of 30.
We consider creativity as a superpower of humans because 98% of humans are born with it and the idea is to simply nurture it.
So, there is a very steep decline of something that we are gifted with primarily because of the way in which our modern world is set up. We are compelled to think that there is only one right answer and we have to think only in one direction but in reality, that’s not how it works. When you face a problem or a challenge in life, especially at the crossroads of reality, there’s no textbook or manual that you get to navigate through it. We have to figure out the best way forward and find a solution that’s best suited for us and for the situation at hand. That’s where our creativity comes in handy.
People might consider coding or software development as a highly technical task but on the one hand, you will find lakhs of coders graduating with a package of 3 LPA or less, and on the other, you will find there are others who make crores. So, what’s the difference? One developer can use creative thinking to solve the same problem in two lines of code while another might be using brute force to come up with a much longer answer. This is why we want to nurture creativity at the right age because right now, we are in a creative economy and every task that can be automated is being automated. Be it creating images or writing blogs, AI has been overpowering everything and this will continue to happen. The way in which humans use AI is something that still remains in our hands. So, after getting access to the most technologically advanced tools, creativity will lie in how we utilize them. Now is the time to create more “creators” and hence, we thought of talentedHippo. Nurturing creativity makes far more sense in the metaverse because it’s more immersive, and fun and that’s how kids like it.
The way in which humans use AI is something that still remains in our hands. So, after getting access to the most technologically advanced tools, creativity will lie in how we utilize them.
Team Sociobits: What can a kid enrolling at talented Hippo expect?
Founder: We run monthly courses in a cohort i.e. there are 15 kids in one cohort and we take sessions twice a week. You can enroll for either a weekend batch or a weekday batch and you can learn creativity in the domain that you enjoy. If you enjoy engineering, math, art, etc. you can choose what you want to learn and sign up for a monthly course. There are two parts here; one is the building block where we provide basic knowledge about the domain that you choose.
For example, you choose digital art. So, the first principle that we teach is anything and everything that you see around in a room is made up of basic geometrical shapes, lines, and edges. This allows you to break down any complex thing into very basic shapes and then draw it. You don’t get overwhelmed by it.
Team Sociobits: Could you point out some challenges that you faced from the point of view of a business?
Founder: The metaverse is a very new technology. Though you can say that it’s actually old because virtual reality has been around for some time now but its use in education is fairly new. There aren’t a lot of people building on this technology so finding people who know about it is tough. Every time you are stuck with a challenge, we have to spend almost 2-3 weeks figuring it out and this is a major hurdle that we are facing.
Apart from this, people are not very aware of creative thinking. They have the attitude that if people are born with it, then what is the need to teach it? But research suggests that if we don’t nurture it, it is bound to decline.
Team Sociobits: Do you have any competitors?
Founder: I wouldn’t say that we are the first ones who are nurturing creativity. People have done it in their own ways. When we were kids, we were taught drawing, painting, or dancing but that was only an attempt to teach us creativity. Sadly enough, we could only learn the hard skill of drawing or painting and we were not given the freedom to think in multiple directions. Like, if we colored flowers green or black, the teacher would point out how they are not supposed to be that color. Actually, black flowers do exist. :)
So, we were taught creativity but we were not given the freedom to think differently or explore our imagination.
Team Sociobits: What are the future plans of talented Hippo?
Founder: The metaverse will definitely be big. It is the way of the future. When the internet became famous for the first time, few companies worked out and few others didn’t but I think that’s a part of the process. Initially, we are planning to keep our vision intact which is to nurture creativity. Then, we want to use the metaverse to its best capabilities. There are so many people who have created a metaverse where you can just roam around but there’s hardly anything to do in it. You will get bored after a point. So, it is important to utilize the interactiveness and immersiveness that comes with it so kids can enjoy it.
When the internet became famous for the first time, few companies worked out and few others didn’t but I think that’s a part of the process. Initially, we are planning to keep our vision intact which is to nurture creativity.
talentedHippo is striving to nurture creativity in young kids and actually turn the creative decline that research shows upside down. This way kids can not only learn but witness the metaverse revolution that is on the horizon.