Volunteer Hero: Nikhil Kumar

iSPIRT volunteers are strivers. We seek the good for our nation and our ecosystem. We brainstorm, ideate, experiment, build, and evangelize to fulfill our mission of making India a Product Nation. Every volunteer draws us into an ever-enlarging realm of intellectual possibilities and purposeful engagements.

Take Nikhil Kumar for instance. He stepped up almost two years ago to evangelize UPI and handhold its early adopters. He set out to create winning implementations that would put traditional payment systems to shame. Needless to say, this wasn’t an easy thing to do. There was no template to follow. And, most didn’t believe in the potential of this new breakthrough payment system. But this didn’t faze Nikhil. He had chosen his adventure inside iSPIRT and nothing could hold him back.

Today, UPI is a success story. However, that’s not the full story.

Nikhil showed us how to stay cool under fire, to foster affinity, and skillfully navigate diverse opinions amongst many stakeholders. His all-hands-on-deck work ethic came with an ability to take decisive action when the situation demanded it. He showed that a young volunteer can be a visionary with big plans and the capacity to bring them to life. He has set an example for all of us on how to pay-forward and serve a cause bigger than all of us. All this makes him an iSPIRT Volunteer Hero.

iSPIRT Volunteer Heroes – Vivek Raghavan, Rohith Veerjappa, Nikhil Kumar

From tomorrow, Nikhil is shifting gears. He is stepping away from being a volunteer-in-residence. He is taking a few months break. After that, he plans to create a startup. This is great news for iSPIRT. While our India Stack and other technology public platforms create possibilities, it is the products and services that create value. We need all elements of a healthy society – sarkar, samaj, bazaar – to come together to solve population scale problems sustainably. So, we wish him all the very best in this new pursuit of excellence.

All shifts require an adjustment. While Nikhil will remain a part-time iSPIRT volunteer working on WANI, he will no longer be the iSPIRT voice on payments for media, policymakers, startups and financial institutions.

Nikhil’s lasting legacy is that he opened up iSPIRT volunteering for talented youngsters under-30s. Today we have more than a dozen young power volunteers. He has helped all of us see the particular gifts that these young volunteers bring to the cause. His spirit will live on!

By Sharad Sharma, Pramod Varma and Sanjay Khan Nagra for Volunteer Fellow Council