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The COVID-19 crisis is a game-changer that will eventually benefit rural economies around the world. Around 3.4 billion people are living in rural areas lacking access to resources, tools, knowledge, and markets to find their way to prosperity. The exodus of millions of migrant workers from cities and back to their villages in India demonstrated that digital infrastructure that connects rural populations to the rest of the world is critical. Governments are missing resources to singlehandedly provide all the needed solutions for given challenges.
How to Create Smart Villages shows how large corporations and startups can take upon the responsibility in solving villagers’ needs while tapping into exciting growth markets. To get valuable results from innovation, businesses, governments, academics, and civil society must be reconciled while opening up their relevant resources, knowledge, and expertise.
Solomon Darwin, Professor and Executive Director at the Haas School of Business, also known as the father of the Smart Village Movement, inspired the start of the Smart Villages Movement at UC Berkeley in 2016. This movement created a platform for innovators from private and public sectors to empower the underserved communities in rural India and beyond. Alongside Henry Chesbrough, Adjunct Professor and Faculty Director at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, and father of the Open Innovation paradigm, both define Smart Villages as “a community empowered by digital tools and Open Innovation platforms to access global markets”. To the present, the Smart Village idea is being executed in three Indian states in close collaboration with the Indian government alongside companies such as Google, Ericsson, Intel, TATA group, TechMahindra, Dell, VMWare, Nvidia, Reliance, IBM, Airtel, Wipro, AWS, Intel, Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft, ThyssenKrupp, Siemens, Enel Energy, SAP, Xerox, Oracle, and Salesforce.
Solomon Darwin and Werner Fischer, an expert in sustainable development and a more recent scholar of Open Innovation at UC Berkeley, bring to this book their on-ground research and use cases from Indian villages. Alongside Henry Chesbrough, author of several management books and recognized as one of the top 50 business and technology leaders by Scientific American, they offer a thought-provoking process to unlock innovation in rural emerging markets. This book provides rare, unique insights from business-driven innovation in a demanding territory like rural India through powerful Open Innovation ecosystems to accelerate economic and social impact. It captures all the successes, learnings, and failures since 2016 to be finally shared with the world for contributing towards more effective sustainable development. Village communities are the source of food production and hence the source of life for human lives around the world. Join the Smart Village Movement to light up the dark world when providing a new, exciting way towards villagers’ prosperity.