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On March 14th, the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation hosted over 30 Norwegian executives at the Haas School of Business, led by Peder Inge Forseth, Professor of Innovation at the Norwegian School. Norwegian executives attended UC Berkeley for an opportunity to innovate and expand their markets outside of their country –– Smart Cities and Smart Villages provide such opportunities for expansion. They were interested in Open Innovation and Smart Cities, and participated in a one-day prototyping workshop on “Developing a Business Model for Smart Villages in India”. The session and lectures were led by Professor Solomon Darwin and the Smart Village Development Team: Terry Beaubois (Architecture Professor at Stanford University) and David Maracine (Entrepreneur).

The executives were inspired to be a part of the problem solving process for the majority of people on the planet. In India, 70% of people live in villages, which constitutes for 650,000 villages total.  A nation like China has over 1 million people living in villages, yet these two countries only make up a small percentage of the world’s population. The opportunity for innovation is endless. “You must come up with a great business model for a Smart Village and provide help in order for it to sustain itself” said Professor Darwin. The workshop was exciting, engaging, and the executives were eager to continue the rich dialog as they saw the relevance and value.

“Technology is useless, unless it has a Business Model” – Professor Darwin


There is much interest in the significant work being done at the Garwood Center that is making a difference in people’s lives. This is what drew the team from Norway to attend Berkeley Haas. They left with takeaways on how they can be a solution to this problem, and how they can take advantage of the opportunity to innovate for Indian markets. The Norwegian executives were enthusiastic about their prototype ideas, and decided to get involved in developing a business model for Smart Villages in India. They will present their final project to Professor Peder Forseth in May, at which time their final projects will be discussed and assessed for further iteration.

“Here at Berkeley, we don’t talk about innovation, we Do Innovation!” – Professor Darwin