This post profiles YES Institute, one of the IIC's key inaugural partners in 2014 and a supporter of the IIC-DMICDC project.

In India, a rapidly developing nation with one of the world’s biggest growing economies, governments, corporations, and non-profits alike see a wide range of opportunities to promote sustainable development opening up in the coming years. YES BANK, one of the IIC’s inaugural sponsors, aims to be a leader in discovering emerging development opportunities for India and for the Bank with its new public policy think tank, YES Institute.

Since its founding in 2004, YES BANK has invested in research and knowledge-building as a key strategy to identify emerging sectors and strengthen its risk management processes. These practices of ‘knowledge banking’ have enabled the bank to stay ahead of the curve and get a first mover advantage in many industry sectors. Moreover, the research and reports produced by YES BANK have also provided policy-makers with valuable insights into how a private sector bank analyzes and manages risks. These insights can be crucial to mapping policies for economic growth that leverage banks as catalysts and enablers.

YES BANK is taking ‘knowledge banking’ one step further with YES Institute, the brainchild of Mr. Rana Kapoor, the bank’s MD and CEO. The Institute aims to enter ‘mindshare’ with the government, policy-makers, industry, civil society, and global and Indian think-thanks, bringing these actors together to exchange ideas and explore new prospects for India’s future. Mr. Kapoor is the Chief Mentor to the Institute, helping to direct the Institute’s focus towards certain priority sectors.


YES Institute’s cornerstone goal is to accelerate smart urban transformation in India. “Urban areas are dotted with slums and unauthorized colonies with yawning infrastructure gaps. Dead rivers, pollution and dirty cities, increasing disparities between the rich and poor, and lack of urban services are just some of the issues plaguing our cities,” says Ms. Preeti Sinha, the Senior President & Global Convenor at YES Institute. “At the same time, with over 60% of GDP being contributed by urban centers, we feel the future of India lies in its cities.”

To this end, the Institute has partnered with the International Innovation Corps (IIC) in sponsoring the 2014-2015 IIC team working with the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC). According to Ms. Sinha, “Development of smart cities will have impressive economic spin-offs, making it imperative to plan holistically. Our approach on taking the YES Institute philosophy forward is to foster multi-stakeholder engagement, and encourage innovation and skills development. We see synergy with the IIC project on DMIC in providing the right policy impetus for the development of smart cities.”

In May, YES Institute launched its Smart Urbanization Series, a platform for convening interdisciplinary experts to bring smart cities ideas to life. Within the realm of smart cities, YES Institute is particularly interested in exploring the concepts of creative economies, innovation districts, and land monetization models, to foster entrepreneurship and redevelopment. In addition to hosting “glocal” convenings like the Smart Urbanization Series, the Institute generates discussion and action in its areas of interest by producing thought pieces and articles, supporting scalable pilot initiatives, promoting growth development financing structures, and more.


YES Institute also aims to bring India’s rich cultural history to bear on its other core topics, such as smart urban design, through its YES CULTURE initiative. The Institute sees an inherent quality of innovation and creativity in India’s cultural tradition that could be a valuable resource for the challenges of the present day. YES CULTURE envisions creating a sustainable support ecosystem for cultural institutions and the people of India to promote cultural development and the preservation of cultural heritage.

Most recently, YES Culture launch a series of convenings to bring together top leaders in the area of cultural preservation. According to Mr. Kapoor, “The aim of the YES CULTURE Idea of India Series is to bring together distinguished individuals who have been working tirelessly towards building India. We want to talk about significant Indian projects that require the attention of the world, and truly complement the Idea of India.”

Through its multifaceted and forward-looking strategy, YES Institute aims to build synergies between the private sector actors and the governmental agenda to achieve sustainable development goals for Indian society in the coming years.