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Ganesh Kumar Subramanian

A self-taught programmer switches lane to find smart waste solutions

Ganesh is a Mechatronics Engineer who loves to code. Not entirely satisfied with his job at one of India’s largest IT firms, he started seeking ways to create a larger societal impact. At this point, he met Siddharth Hande of Kabadiwalla Connect, a start-up that offered decentralised waste management solutions and technology for cities in the developing world — powered by the informal sector. Ganesh joined him as a developer but soon found himself organically involved in operations too. He did not have to let go of his tech skills in this journey, he just got to use them differently.

For instance, he worked on Internet-of-Things enabled smart bins, Urbins, that sought to provide waste pickers safer access to segregated waste at source. Ganesh was elated when he was told by one of the waste pickers who benefited from their project that he no longer had to pick up waste from street bins and dumps. It was exactly the sort of small yet meaningful impact that he always wanted to create. Today, he continues to look for more ways to engage in social entrepreneurship, operations management, product management, supply-chain management, technology and product development, informality and the circular economy.