“A Smart Village is a community empowered by Digital Technologies &

Open Innovation Platforms to access Global Markets” – Professor Solomon Darwin


Empower the Rural Population in India:

To develop the next generation of disruptive digital technologies and business models through open innovation. Identify and solve major rural problems by bringing together a diverse group of developers, data scientists, makers, business analysts, university students, and visionaries.

How Can Start-Ups Participate?

Empower Sart-ups to Flourish in a Scalable Market.

Provide Growing Start-ups with:

1. Access to 466 villages to test products for scalability
2. Network opportunity with Silicon Valley firms and Global Brands
3. International Visibility
4. Business Model Consulting with Berkeley & Stanford Faculty
5. Infrastructure to pivot and fine-tune offerings to 466 villages
6. Exposure to vast untapped and scalable markets
7. Education about new government programs to enable growth
8. Collaborations with an ecosystem of universities, government entities and enterprises.

How Can Universities participate?

Empower Universities to Inspire the next generation of students to build better business models.

How can corporates participate?

Empower Global Brands to adapt their digital technologies to Rural Markets

The Process for Pivoting

The process will be administered by Berkeley trained fellows  who will perform three pivots on your offering. Your product or service will be introduced through a face-to-face interaction to rural population in 466 villages to test for traction through this state supported program. An optimal structure has been created for feedback and response mechanism for corporates to adapt your offering through three separate reiterations over the course of six months (September 2017 – March 2018).  The three pivots will be performed by our Berkeley trained fellows to develop optimal business models that will serve the people, your firm, the government and the planet.  Business model consulting will provided by Berkeley faculty at no cost during the pivoting period.

The Way Forward post event:

Successfully demonstrated offerings can then be adopted for scaling to rest of the 36,000 villages in Andhra.


How can the government participate?

Empower Government Entities to engage with Universities and Technology Firms to further economic development.

Last year UC Berkeley and AP State signed an MoU on developing Smart Villages in Andhra. We did one prototype – see clip below – the Chief Minister visited the village and requested Berkeley to do 466 more villages to develop scalable business models that will benefit the rural populations as well as the multinational firms to business in the State. Last year over 22 Silicon Valley firms participated in Phase 1.

UC Berkeley, Smart Village, Phase II Corporate Partners

Open Innovation Challenges

We have identified eight distinct challenge areas where we are looking for solutions. Problem Framing and Scenarios for each challenge area are currently being developed by UC Berkeley faculty and students and will be posted by July 27th under each item below:

Challenge #1: Health Care
Challenge #2: Energy
Challenge #3: Communication/Connectivity
Challenge #4: Transportation
Challenge #5: Agriculture
Challenge #6: Entrepreneurship
Challenge #7: Education/Skill Development
Challenge #8: Safety & Security

Each of the eight challenges above will be assigned to a specific university within the State that will secure talent from the global pool of applicants. Berkeley faculty will assist in the selection process to finalize the teams.

For additional resources on Open Innovation see video here:

What to look forward to after the event

If you are among the winning team, here is what you can expect:

  1. Recognition award from the Chief Minister for each of the challenges.
  2. Opportunity to test market your product and/or solution in 466 villages for further scaling.
  3. Continued learning and feedback during pivoting period from September 2017 – March 2018 by smart village team, universities, global brands, and faculty from UC Berkeley and Stanford.

Day #1: Aug 29

  • 9am- 12pm: Seminars and Discussion Sessions by Berkeley and Stanford Faculty
  • 1pm – 5pm: Mentoring by eminent international and local faculty and international corporates

Day #2: Aug 30

  • 9am – 5pm: All day hackathon
  • 5pm- 6pm: Judging of submissions by international panels of judges.

Day #3: Aug 31

  • 9am5pm: India Open Innovation Forum – agenda attached
  • 5pm 6pm: Awards declared and presented by the Chief Minister
Awards & Recognitions

Eight awards (one for each challenge) that demonstrate the best models and solutions will be issued by the Chief Minister for further scaling.

What will be provided for the selected teams during the event days?

1. Workspace/Environment
2. Food and drinks (as much as we can)
3. Development platforms to support creation of an end-to-end solution
4. Expert business and financial planning assistance
5. Creation of a business model for your customer segment
6. Technology experts onsite to facilitate development
7. Evaluation of the solutions by industry experts
8. Awards granted by the Chief Minister to winning solution(s)

Judging Criteria
1. Addressing a specific rural Pain Point 20%
2. Number of Open Innovation approaches employed 20%
3. Scalable/Effective Business Model 20%
4. Teamwork – 20%
5. Usability/UX – 10%
6. Quality of the Demo – 10%

1. Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok, Consul General of India – San Francisco, Silicon Valley
2. Antoni Vives Tomas, Chief Architect of Barcelona Smart City Project and Former Deputy Mayor.
3. Dr. Koneru Satyanarayana, President of KL University
4. Dr. Greg Schmidt, Director of NASA Space Sciences
5. Dr. Nagub Attia, Global Director of University Programs, Worldwide, IBM Corporation
6. Prof. Valli Kumari, CEO of Innovation Society, AP government
7. Prof. Solomon Darwin, Executive Director, Berkeley-Haas School of Business

Who is eligible to register for the event?

Interested Students willing work with participating universities to develop new technologies.

Growing start-up looking for growth markets for further scaling

Global Brands who are interested in signing up for the Smart Village Initiative through:

  • Testing their offerings within 466 government-sponsored villages for further scaling.
  • Offering tools and platforms on with university students can build upon.

Important Dates

Registration Required by July 15:

You must register by July 15th to be selected for a virtual pitch. You will have plenty of opportunity to refine your idea and/or join a team.

How Teams will be Formed (July 25)

We would like to implement an “Open Innovation Process” to tap into the global brain of Ideas. Each challenge will be assigned to a specific university within the state is interested in participation. However, most of the talent should be recruited by the host university should come from outside its ecosystem to capture the global talent from the registered applicants. A host professor will be assigned at each university to facilitate the process. The host university cannot send more than two recruits from their own program to ensure open innovation. The teams must be self-formed and self-selected and ensure a good balance of talent and skill-set to address the challenge. The role of the host Professor is to represent his university at the Hackathon and work with UC Berkeley faculty and staff at the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation in implementing the challenge.

Contact us for Collaborations or Inquiries:

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