Grand Challenges.  This July (2016) we will focus our efforts to brainstorm pressing challenges for the emerging worlds.

What is a grand challenge?

A grand challenge is a specific critical barrier that, if removed, would help solve an important problem, with a high likelihood of broad impact through widespread implementation. We are all encouraged to think as big as possible to have the greatest impact.


What is not a grand challenge?

Ideas that impact only a few people or that don’t impact people in a meaningful way are not grand challenges. Technology, methodology and solutions are not grand challenges.


What are examples of Grand Challenges?

How can we prevent blindness?

How can we use wearables for good?

How can every household be assigned a unique address?


What other organizations are doing work on Grand Challenges?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation



I want to learn more about Grand Challenges.  What should I read?


(1) Extreme Computational Imaging (DARPA "Wait, What?"), Ramesh Raskar, MIT Media Lab

(2) CPEU3 - Big Data, Sandy Pentland, MIT Media Lab

(3) #HBRLive: The Internet of Things, Privacy, and The New Deal on Data, Sandy Pentland, MIT Media Lab

(4) Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city, Kent Larson, MIT Media Lab

(5) Eric Ries: "The Lean Startup" | Talks at Google

(6) Lean Canvas Course, Ash Maurya

(7) Innovating for a Sustainable World, Jason Jay, MIT Sloan 2015

(8) Using Improvisation to Develop Leadership, Daena Giardella, MIT Sloan

(9) Upside: Anything is Possible, with Pashon Murray, MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow

(10) ghdLAB (Global Health Delivery Lab): In the world, for the world, Anjali Sastry, MIT Sloan

(11) Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer? Bill Aulet, MIT Sloan

Event Logistics

What is the focus of the India events?
We have built a platform that brings together technical experts, innovators, academic institutions, implementation collaborators and progressive corporate collaborators that will allow us to solve the most pressing challenges within India, and other developing countries. The focus is on finding solutions that help serve the "The Next 5 Billion" citizens by:

  • Identifying community specific challenges that may have solutions that could also be applied to multiple locations.
  • Providing mentorship, training and technical support from corporate collaborators, the MIT Media Lab, and other leading institutions to assist innovators creating novel technical solutions for rapidly emerging and pop-up cities.
  • Pairing innovators with implementation collaborators on the ground to ensure that each solution responds to real needs and enters the market with speed and scale. 


Smart Citizens before Smart Cities. What does that mean?

In developing countries, citizens are becoming digital well before cities are becoming smart. Thus our emphasis is on Smart Citizens, because these Smart Citizens will play a key role in defining Smart Cities. In the emerging world, learning takes place without schools, transactions proceed without a formal currency, companies build transportation solutions that don’t own the fleet, food is grown away from traditional farms and digital information democratizes participation in civic matters. The innovation sandbox focused on identifying, nurturing and launching key ideas with social impact. This will lead to corporate ventures, startup ventures or new research and insights.


How often does the team travel to India?

We travel biannually for workshops and at other times as well to give keynotes, meet with partners, and learn from innovators in the ecosystem.


How can I collaborate with your team? 

As our collaborator you will gain access to new markets and innovators, participate in the innovation process, be on the ground floor with new innovations, help commercialize and scale innovations, expand your global network, and perhaps even hire young innovators who can help transform your business.

Email to express your interest.


Where are you accepting applications?

Apply HERE to innovate at DISQ in Nashik 

Apply HERE to innovate eye health solutions in Hyderabad 

Apply HERE to innovate health tech in Mumbai 


How can I get involved?

Join our effort and help forge the future for the next 5 billion citizens.  We are seeking inspired Corporate Members, Mentors and Advisors, Innovators, Students and Volunteers!

Email for more information.