Facilitating The Creative Genius

Centre for Innovation (CFI) is a ‘Student Lab’ at IIT Madras. Set up with funds donated by the batch of 1981, it is set in the building that houses the Central Workshop, right in the middle of the academic zone in the beautiful IIT Madras Campus.

CFI was started in 2008 with an objective to be a forum for creative output of the budding engineers of IIT Madras. It provides students the necessary platform for realizing their ideas. A great workspace, a comprehensive inventory, ample guidance from faculty & senior-students and the zeal and passion of the CFI team make CFI a gifted asset for IIT Madras students. And over time, CFI has successfully evolved into a hub which encourages thinking and provokes students to generate novel ideas making it truly the “centre” for innovation.



“To promote informal learning and foster innovation and invention in technology, with a focus on technologies aimed at contributing positively to the environment and to the society”

The CFI vision is being achieved by espousing three major concepts.

Walk in with an idea, walk out with a product

Among the general demographic, students are more likely to come up with new, creative and outrageous ideas. Add to this the fact that students at IIT Madras are competent in engineering studies, we get a potent mix of creative and skilled set of people who are ready to innovate. To realize these strengths of the student community, the CFI will provide the right environment and resources. CFI will try to be a place where a student can ‘walk in with an idea and walk out with a product’. The innovation itself is sometimes only a small part of the story as it encourages students to think freely. Free thinking leaders are an asset to and future leaders of any society.

Support large student team projects

CFI will support large student projects. These projects maybe for international contests such as Robocon (Robotics), Formula-SAE, International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC) or Federation of International Robotics Association (FIRA). They may also be for showcasing Shaastra series of Spirit of Engineering (SoE) projects. Such projects encourage teamwork and build character and confidence in the students and serve as inspiration to other students.

India is increasingly aware that for uniform progress, we have to look for solutions to problems in the villages and other sub-urban societies. These solutions are unlikely to come from outside India as the problems themselves are very India specific. CFI intends to encourage students to look at socially relevant projects. Additionally, the CFI will also encourage projects that look at environment friendly solutions.

A futuristic lab environment

The interiors of CFI are being developed in collaboration with a celebrated green architect. The interiors are being designed to stimulate creative thinking, to be non-linear and adaptive, to be informal and ice-cream shop relaxing. The most important part of the innovation process is free thinking and the interiors of CFI aims at giving that freedom to its users. CFI will have large empty spaces. Large empty spaces serve as areas which clear up mental clutter, especially when users are in a creative block. They also serve as space for future expansion. CFI will also have a gallery that will showcase successful projects.