Moving India Forward – My Engagement with Prime Minister Modi on Oct 2nd

Prof. Solomon-Darwin

Prof. Solomon Darwin, serves as the Executive Director: Center for Corporate Innovation, Executive Director: Center for Growth Markets at Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. He is known as the father of the Smart Village Movement and is the author of four books: Amazon Author’s Page “How to think like The CEO of the planet”, “The Untouchables, Three Generations of Triumph over Torment” and “Smart Villages of Tomorrow” and “How to Create Smart Villages” 

Dear Hon. Prime Minister,

It is truly an honor to be here today and share with you, how the University of California Berkeley can partner with your administration to move our country forward. I am also honored to be in the presence of such a distinguished group of people representing fine institutions around the world – I am desirous to engage with them offline to find ways of collaboration to take our country forward.

I represent a great university with many prominent Indian faculty, scientists, and experts across all disciplines. Many of us are passionate about making India prosperous. Being seated, in Silicon Valley, Berkeley is known for technological innovations and development of Scalable and Sustainable Business Models that promote growth. This want we like to bring that to the table.

A few weeks ago, UC Berkeley, brought together 38 CEOs representing many global brands for the single purpose of taking India forward through collaboration across industries. The meetings were held over 3 consecutive days, chaired by Mr. Amitabh Kant representing the government, and Mr. Sunil Munjal representing the Industry.

The meeting was attended by key CEOs from India and the US. There was much energy in the room to create a win-win for all stakeholders. Since then, we compiled all the value propositions and completed our white paper to get started on road mapping.

Your administration has in place many great initiatives to create value for our people. Berkeley would like to lend our innovation engine and knowledge base to further optimize the enormous work that you had already done.

We like to partner to resolve any issues or gaps that may exist in the system to accelerate our nation’s economic growth. As an agnostic non-commercial organization, we focus on research and can help study data-rich reports, already prepared, on similar subjects to provide a comparative analysis with sharp recommendations.

My institution excels in new knowledge creation, evidenced-based research to solve humanity’s problems. Our recent survey has identified 3 Initiatives to promote growth in India – work is already underway.

Initiative #1: Establish India as the Major Manufacturing Hub for Diversified Global Supply Chains

–        Expand hub-diversification strategies – through collaboration across industries – roadmap work started

–        Develop efficient supply chains for consumables – through ecosystem formation – roadmap work started

Initiative #2: Develop Digital Infrastructure for Early Education and Skill Development for Job Creation

–        Leverage digital platforms to deliver holistic early education to build a talent pipeline – work started

–        Accelerate digitally-enabled certified corporate training for job creation among aspirational youth -started

Initiative #3: Build Ecosystems in Key Sectors to Mitigate Pandemic Risk

–        Create digital healthcare solutions for efficient last-mile access –started engaging with ecosystem players

–        Create transparent agriculture platforms for frictionless farm-to-plate channels – started engaging

–        Deepen financial inclusion and risk management in underserved sectors and regions – most challenging

The Relevance of Smart Cities Vs Smart Villages:

I taught the first Smart Cities course at Berkeley. In 2015, my students were invited by your administration to work on frameworks for three Smart Cities in India – Ajmer, Allahabad, and Visakhapatnam – under the US-India 3-agreement pack under President Obama. We even visited the GIFT City in Gujarat under making. We learned many lessons, here.

Our studies have shown that Smart Cities cannot be sustained without rural villages. For this reason, in 2016, Berkeley started the Smart Village Movement. To make villages smart, very little investment in digital infrastructure is required. This empowers the majority of our people to create value for themselves.

Work is underway in Andhra, Arunachal, and Meghalaya. We are working with over 40 global brands and start-ups to create scalable and sustainable villages to be a source of life for smart cities.

2.     What Can UC Berkeley Network Bring to the Table to Move India Forward?

a.    Strong Globally Connected Academic and Industry Base to Accelerate Solutions to India:

Berkeley is a unique university. A knowledge hub that collaborates with researchers across all prominent institutions around the world. We are a corporate innovation hub collaborating with all global firms across industries. We are a Network of Networks.

b.    Strong Industry Council with Prominent Leaders in SV to support your initiatives:

To create the actionable roadmap for India, we bring to the table a) Architecture Design, b) Ideation Process, c) Implementation Process, d) Innovation Pipeline tracking, e) Scaling strategies, f) Optimal utilization of Data for AI automation, Digital transformation insights, Comparative Analysis of Use cases and Progress reports through the real-time dashboard to change course as needed.

Concluding Remarks:

Hon. Prime Minister, in my humble opinion, what is needed to promote growth in our diverse country are two things:

1.    As no one company can deliver the value at affordable prices working in silos, a welcoming environment for ecosystem formation by firms both domestic and international is needed.

2.    Smart Digital infrastructure to empower our rural people is needed. This will build strong social capital and give voice to our rural people. It also provides essentially at no-cost access to resources, tools, information, and access to global markets – eliminating middlemen and all barriers. This will create a self-driven economy and a happier subcontinent.

UC Berkeley’s Center for Growth Markets, which I direct, is committed to shepherding the process in full collaboration with your administration. To take India forward, we equal participation from the government, industry, and universities. Universities are knowledge creators for economic development. Silicon Valley is an excellent example – it is powered by Stanford and Berkeley.

Our Center of Growth Markets at the Haas School of Business looks forward to working together with your administration.

Thank you, Hon. Prime Minister and it is an honor to be with you this evening.  My new book  How to Create Smart Villages is all about that.