Workshops and sessions this July

Spot challenges and probe solutions that will impact billions of lives.  Engage with India's brightest, guided by MIT scientists and corporate partners in our innovation sandbox by contributing problem statements, mentoring innovators, and interacting with leading entrepreneurs and government officials.


Hyderabad - LVPEI MITRA from July 3 to 10 in Hyderabad, India at the LVPrasad Eye Institute  
 - Learn more HERE

Mumbai - Brainstorming Session at the We School, July 11 and 12
- Learn more HERE

Nashik - Brainstorming and visit DISQ Innovators at Digital Impact Square, July 13 to 16
- Learn more HERE

THEMES and Challenges

Soon we will have health solutions without hospitals. We will learn without schools. We will grow food without depending on farms. And we’ll transact in a non currency. The digital opportunities for physical systems are huge with the next 5 billion newly digital citizens. We will take field trips to understand how we can leapfrog existing technology and user adoption models. Together, we can truly co-innovate in a wide variety of areas.

The themes have been defined based on extensive research. Challenges have been crafted based on the Voice of Citizens and inputs from various stakeholders, including the administration and local government. Each challenge has been prioritized based how many lives may be impacted.

The following is a summary of themes and challenges that were crafted through conversations with citizens and administrators. Innovators can work on existing challenges in themes of their choice, or discover others during field trips.

  • Health and Hygiene
  • Citizen Empowerment and Transparency
  • Housing and Transportation
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Financial and Personal Security
  • Energy, Water and Environment
  • Education and Skills

>> For more details on Existing Challenges, click HERE (open with Adobe Acrobat)


Frame a challenge as a 'What if' or 'How to' problem statement -- something that can be solved using digital technology and techniques such as machine learning, social media, Internet of Things, Big Data, human-centric design, and mobile devices. 

What is important to you? To your business? To your community?

>> Submit Challenges HERE (Please review Existing Challenges above)


The Emerging Worlds Special Interest Group (SIG) is an MIT Media Lab initiative. It is a unique, bottom-up innovation platform focused on mega-opportunities and designed for addressing pressing challenges worldwide. Emerging worlds – cities, states, or regions – present great opportunities to test and deploy ideas. People with diverse interests, skills and backgrounds – young engineers, business people and designers – get together to collaborate openly with government officials, business leaders and academics, as well as with MIT Media Lab researchers. Together, we look for creative solutions to pressing local challenges that can be solved with new technology, including machine learning, Internet of Things, Big Data and mobile devices.

Engage with collaborators, corporate partners, and MIT Media Lab faculty as we discuss the immediate future for Emerging Worlds – deployment on a large scale. Over the course of your visit, you will have the chance to explore how you and your organization can meet and work with bright and energetic innovators, influence the next big innovation, expand your global network, and help build a new innovation ecosystem... where it matters.


Impact Innovation Center

Get ready for a first-of-its-kind impact innovation hub at Nashik, in cooperation with top corporate partners and US universities, and with support from the Nashik administration. This is a unique Open Innovation platform aimed at creating a culture of innovation by incubating ideas and providing the tools to build scalable digital solutions that address issues defined and curated locally. It will provide an opportunity for emerging entrepreneurs from across India to solve pressing challenges. 

Through a series of sustained innovation cycles, it will give young innovators a great platform to accelerate their ideas into entrepreneurial instincts and build disruptive solutions that will enhance the lives of billions.

Selected participants from this 7-day workshop, will be provided an opportunity to join us at the Impact Innovation Center as interns. During this time they will spend a period of six months to an year to further refine the innovations and make them market ready.


The participants will build solutions for the world, using real-life scenarios in the city of Nashik. Selected participants will also be provided an opportunity to further refine the solutions beyond the seven day workshop, as interns at a dedicated Innovation Center in Nashik.


Over the 7 days, the participants will be divided into theme-specific teams to explore, ideate, validate, iterate, and present each challenge, as well as the relevant solution. Activities during the 7 days will include:

Day 1: Introduction, Motivation and Context

Introduction to impact innovation model, themes and challenges. Learn to apply human centric design approach, meet the coaches and mentors. Key note speaker presentations and break-out sessions by theme.

Day 2: Motivation, Explore Challenges

Apply human-centric design techniques to refine challenges and prepare for field trips. Engage with and learn from stakeholders and refine challenges. Innovators prioritize top 3 challenges that interest them and share how they would solve them.

Day 3: Explore New Challenges and Refine Existing Challenges

Field trips and stakeholder engagement. Teams break into groups by challenge/theme and refine challenge statements. Each innovator bids for his/her top 3 choices.

Day 4: Announce Challenges, Present Initial Solution and Iterate

Challenge statement announced. Teams formed. Present initial solutions to panels. Day is OPEN to identify radical solutions.

Day 5: Stakeholder Input, Build Initial Prototypes, Peer Review and Ideate

Validate refined challenge and proposed solution with stakeholders. BUILD initial prototype. Team peer review. Improve solution.

Day 6: Present: Final Day of Teamwork, Present to Panel

Day is OPEN for free activities to progress solutions. Social gathering.

Day 7: Final Presentations and Closing Remarks

Innovators present to panels, including stakeholders. Plans announced for innovators to work in Nashik Innovation Center. Morning: Open to public. Afternoon: Logistics and details.


We will take field trips to understand how we can leapfrog existing technology and user adoption models. Together, we can truly innovate for billions.

Local experts will lead field trips to places such as a hospital, a farm, a village school, a low income residential area (slum), and a transport control office. With prior permission, trips will include visits to government-run facilities. These present opportunities to embrace the context of the challenges that we are addressing. By immersing ourselves in real-life situations and settings, we can better absorb what is needed and explore what is possible.

Learn More

Emerging Worlds:

Ramesh Raskar's keynote at UIST 2015 about "INNOVATING FOR BILLIONS" HERE

Emerging Worlds videos on YouTube: videos

Kumbhathon and additional press:

The Wall Street Journal: India’s Kumbh Mela Is Used as an Incubator for Smart City Startup Ideas

The Guardian: From Waze for crowds to Uber for street food – MIT innovations at Kumbh Mela

Associated Press: Techies aim to solve ancient Indian festival’s safety woes

Additional Press:

Policewomen in Nashik.jpg

Prior Emerging Worlds workshops

See prior Emerging Worlds workshops held at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


If you have any questions, such as regarding a visa letter or recommended hotels, please contact: Maggie Church, Emerging Worlds Coordinator