All good things must come to an end. The travel aspect of the UGBA193i travel study course officially wrapped up on January 07, 2015, and the Haas students were able to finally sit back, relax, and reflect on their leanings over the past 2 weeks in India. What stood out the most to the Haas group was the quality of operations that the firms based in India have developed when talking about the smart city initiative leveraging open innovation. Majority of the students’ takeaway involved their amazement of the effectiveness of Open Innovation, building smarter cities, and cost efficient business models.

Personally for me, I came to India for the purpose of learning about smart cities and fulfilling the objectives of the UGBA 193i class. Although as each day passed, I gained knowledge and insight into India’s rich and vibrant culture. Learning from the experts in academia and business has really helped me tackle India’s infrastructure problems from the ground up. By receiving such vast, diverse information and resources, I am confident that all of the groups can find inspiration from at least one of the lectures or presentations, and add copious amount of value to their respective Bay Area cities. I have also come to a realization that it is in the Indian culture to have coffee, tea (with milk), and various biscuit snacks during meetings.

On our last day in the morning, we had the opportunity to listen to industry and government leaders at the AIMA’s MSME Convention a the India International Center. Please visit https://www.aima.in/media-centre/events/aima_5th_msme_convention.html for more information about the convention. In the late afternoon we concluded our program with an inaugural sessions with key firms and research institutions associated with building of smart cities: IBM, Cisco, IIT-Delhi, Deloitte Consulting and Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).

After traveling to different company headquarters for the past week 2 weeks, students recognized a recurring theme practiced in IBM, CISCO, Airtel, Tyco, and many premier IT academic institutions: Open Innovation.  All had incorporated Open Innovation, but all in varying ways. The recap concluded with a brainstorming session about the semester challenge that the students will confront and collaborate on upon our return to California, as well as highlight of the program and share their feedback for future trips.

Everyone agreed that being able to see, taste, hear, smell, and feel India was an invaluable experience and contributed a great deal to their understanding of their respective challenges. This has been an unforgettable trip. To everyone that made it possible, Professor Solomon Darwin, Executive Director at Garwood Center of Corporate Innovation, Haas School of Business, AIMA, TiE of Ahmedabad,  our financial sponsors Tyco, etc, we  from the bottom of our heart thank you for a once in a life time opportunity! I could not have asked for better lectures, better presentations, better sponsors, or better lodging on our travel study in India. It has also been an absolute blessing to work with such an extremely vibrant and intelligent group of students, many who I didn’t know prior to the trip. While the students are sad that the travel portion of the course has drawn to a close, they undoubtedly agree that the trip has resulted in many wonderful memories and was an experience of a lifetime. Having seen and been to India first hand, students are confident and excited to put their lessons learned into action when they consult for the city of Oakland, San Mateo, San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles this upcoming semester.


By Isabelle Lee


More photos available here