Innovators got to work on day 2 at the Kumbhathon5

We all awoke to see three stories in the local media, with photographs of the team with local officials. It is great to see the level of interest and eagerness to collaborate!

Several members of the leadership team from MIT and some mentors visited the ancient and beautifully carved Pandavleni Caves in the hills of Nashik, dating back to 2 AD. Then they climbed the mountain behind the caves. What a great way to learn about some of the history of the area and to see the city from above! Then the group visited Dada Sahib Falke Sammarak, a Buddhist stupa with incredible acoustics and a large golden Buddha statue inside.

It was a beautiful morning. With a new appreciation of the area, the group was energized for a new day of innovation in Nashik.

For most of the day, innovators worked together with their teams, answering the key questions that Ramesh had posed:

 What is the summary of your project?

 What is the status of your project?

 What are your greatest challenges?

After preparing answers to these questions, each team spent about 10 minutes with an expert panel of mentors – to share what they’re working on, uncover risks and to discuss ways to either pivot or go broader or deeper.

We were honored with visits by three delegates from Tata Consulting Services (TCS), as well as two experienced businessmen who are alumni of MIT, and Ulrike Reinhard, an experienced entrepreneur from Germany, living in India. They engaged with some of the teams, and provided helpful feedback and encouragement.

The teams also started working on the worksheets that Beth Zonis provided – to articulate the components of their value propositions. This exercise requires the teams to think carefully about each of the target audiences, since each audience requires a unique message. The goal is to be able to approach each audience with a simple message that will get the person’s attention and get them to want to know more and to engage.

After lunch there were several activities. Some teams continued working on their projects, while others attended a session on Android programming. Many of the teams are working on apps for IOS and Android, so this was well received.

Another group, led by Ramesh Raskar, went to Purshottam School to share his story and work around innovation. The group was given a warm and moving welcome as the students performed local dances and sang on stage. Ramesh Raskar gave a talk about innovation asking the students to help make their city digital and inspiring them to have the next great idea. Ramesh asked each person for “one day for Nashik,” an opportunity for them to give back to their communities, participate in Kumbha activities and innovate the next solutions for the city. The children were very inspired by the talk and followed up with many questions for the professor. Finally students were asked to participate in the “All Shops Online” project. Students, led by teachers and mentors, walked from school to local shops where they collected information on each shop including hours of operation, materials sold, and amenities. Each shopkeeper posted a sticker in their window to show their collaboration. The end result will be an online database for users to search shops, pharmacies and restaurants in the area.

The day ended with two important meetings. First the Kumbhathon leaders went to the home of to further discuss collaborations with Anand Motors. Many company staff were present to meet with the Kumbh team and talk about opportunities for this platform of innovation. The leaders expressed interest in mentoring, helping with ideas and structure, and offering funds. The Maharashtra Deputy Commissioner, Sarita Narke, was also present to discuss pop-up housing opportunities during the festival. She spoke with Kumbha collaborator Scott Knox, Boston Architect, to further collaboration.

The team departed for one final meeting with the Commissioner of Nashik, Pravin Gedam. Dr. Pratik Shah discussed his plans for the Technology Pavilion at he Kumbha Mela and asked for the commissioner’s support. Sandip Shide asked for collaboration during the smart cities initiative stating the Kumbhathon teams motto of SC2 , Smart Cities- Smart Citizens. Commissioner Gedam was very supportive and encouraging of the teams efforts and they plan to work together to solve many problems in the future. The team hopes that the collaboration will continue beyond the Kumbha Mela to continue to help the people of Nashik. The team left energized for the coming days for K5 with more partnership and support.

Kumbhathon5 innovators kickoff Kumbhathon5 with much enthusiasm

June 28, 2015 – The morning began with 100+ innovators enthusiastically chanting the Kumbhathon mantra: “We are on, Kumbhathon; Kumbhathon, we are on!”

Sandip Shinde MC’d a rousing opening assembly, with presentations by John Werner, Head of Innovation, Dr. Ramesh Raskar, the leader of the Kumbhathon, and Pratik Shah, Research Scientist in charge of the Health Pavilion at the Kumbh Mela. Plus, all of the leaders from both Nashik and Cambridge were called on stage.

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