Announcing the Adianta Global Summer School for July 2014!

I’m very pleased to announce the Adianta Global Summer School on Innovation for Emerging Economies, which will be held at our campus in New Delhi in July 2014. The program will last for 9 days, encompassing 3 days of workshopping and training, a 3 day visit to the Bihar Innovation Lab, and a 3 day hackathon or joint problem solving challenge.

We’ll call on some leading entrepreneurs and major new Indian tech companies based in Gurgaon and Noida, perhaps visit the Planning Commission and the National Innovation Council headed by Sam Pitroda, talk to business journalists and other folks who can help explain India’s innovation path to our global students.

We’ll share further details of the program as they take shape, but we seem to have some very powerful potential partners from different regions of the world for this breakthrough opportunity. Over the past couple of months I’ve had some incredible brainstorms with these potential partners. A number of different answers have emerged, but at this time I think we can air some of the key themes that will organize this summer school:  

. Budding entrepreneurs need to understand emerging economies

Riku Makela, of the Finnish Science and Technology agency Tekes, explained to me some of the biggest obstacles to innovation coming out of his country: our people have technical and startup competencies but no understanding of what to expect in a country like India. What is going to be hard? What is going to be easy? What kinds of talent is available locally and for what things will they have to bring in a Finn? How will they deal with the local regulatory environment? Is there a local network of VCs in the country now?

One of the goals of our program, therefore will be to explicate the needs, the opportunities and the dynamics of entrepreneurship in emerging economies like India.

. Development agencies need to understand entrepreneurship

I spoke with several development experts out of New York and DC on my recent trip, and heard that there was a great need to enable employees of social development organizations as well as social enterprises in Africa and South East Asia to think in a more entrepreneurial way, to take initiative, to drive innovation. Putting these kinds of mid-career professionals in the same room as entrepreneurs from Finland and India would seems like a great way to spark change and trigger deep personal change.

. Africa is trying to understand the India story

I heard from several people who were working in Africa that there was now an interest in learning from the India model, and figuring out which parts of the story can be replicated in different regions of the continent. I’ve had conversations with folks from Rockefeller in Nairobi and Stanford SEED in Accra, and both groups would seem to be doing promising and interesting things that parallel our efforts. Working with these partners or other similar groups I think we can raise a really powerful group of future innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders from Africa to join us in New Delhi.

. Europeans, Africans, Chinese and Indians need a place to talk and learn

I’ve had several occasions to be really impressed with Ada Wong of the MAD School in Hong Kong. I’ve met her, of course, through the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) group, which hosts events in different parts of the world. Ada and I have talked about putting together a group from southern China, including Hong Kong as well as the Mainland. If we’re successful in doing this, we’ll have a truly international community of social entrepreneurs and innovators who can really learn from each other and build cross-regional networks of a kind that are really in short supply.

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