Shikara boat in Dal lake , Kashmir India

With a population poised to increase by 400 million by 2050, India is facing a huge challenge to meet the expected growth of its cities and urban infrastructure. 

An important element in India’s growth outlook is its current urban transformation. India is yet to unlock the full growth potential of its urbanisation process and the existing urban infrastructure is not equipped to accommodate the coming dramatic growth of its cities. Addressing these issues is high on Government of India’s agenda.

To address this critical situation the Government of India has launched a Smart Cities Mission Initiative, a bold, new initiative. The programme aims to establish frameworks that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart Cities Mission alliance, catalysing the creation of similar smart cities in various regions and parts of the country. The Indian Central Government has committed INR 480 billion (equivalent to €6 Billion) in order to finance the mission, a figure that is conditional to equal funding from the state governments.

In order to provide concrete solutions to this problem, Climate KIC, Quercus Group and the Royal Danish Embassy are tasked by Nordic Innovation to identify innovative solutions though Open Innovation Day (OID) to help improve urban resilient water solutions in cities in India, as well improve life quality for the citizens and adopt systemic thinking about circular water systems, with the aim of generating advantages for the local, urban environment in the cities of Bhubaneswar, Panaji and Shimla. At later stages in the programme the cities of Ghaziabad, Mumbai and New Delhi will also be joining the program.

Purpose of the Innovation competition

With the planets second largest population at 1.3 billion, and expectant growth to 1.7 billion by 2050, India finds itself unable to serve the vast majority of that populace with safe, clean water.

The motivation behind OID India is to utilize the concept of Open Innovation in five Indian cities for the purpose of tackling the water challenges of urban sustainability. By doing so, Indian cities will become recipients of innovative water solutions, tailor-made for each city from around the world. Open Innovation Day plans to target the following cities: Bhubaneswar, Panaji and Shimla. Mumbai and New Delhi will be joining at a later stage (mid-feb 2019).

Each of the cities selected, offer specific and unique qualities as an innovation ecosystem. And in the same time each city faces significant environmental challenges – often associated with a metropolis –which again despite having a common theme, vary significantly between settlements. Given the scope of this project and scale of environmental challenges within each city – not just in terms of magnitude of the problem but also number of people affected – we consider that the challenges require world-class solutions which OID has the potential to deliver through support from the Climate KIC global presence and networks.

The goal for this Open Innovation call is to engage innovators, companies and other relevant stakeholders who work with concrete solutions which can addressed the water related challenges defined in each of the selected cities.

We will invite selected solution owners to India in order to participate in a workshop tour to each of the selected and meet senior city officials and private developers based in the selected cities. We anticipate that through an inclusive and collaborative approach we will be able to co-create relevant and innovative solutions for, and in collaboration with, the selected cities. Ideally, these solutions and approaches can be replicated in other cities in India and in the region. With the participation of both city officials and innovative companies, this project will identified solutions to improve urban water management systems in cities in India, as well to improve life quality for the citizens and to adopt systemic thinking about circular water system with the aim of generating advantages for the local, urban environment

OID India is designed to also engage and connect a variety of local and relevant stakeholders, encourage growth in the local “green economy”, open a new channel for dialogue with the citizens of the city on green issues and help guide the green agenda to the heart of the concerned city’s administration.

OID India represents a chance for Indian cities to break new grounds using the concept of open innovation, especially relating to the urban water management and circular economy.

OID India invites representatives from the “quadruple helix” – that is, involvement from each city’s administration body, research centres and knowledge institutions. Alongside the helix, conversation and match-making is encouraged among representatives from relevant businesses, investors and citizen organisations as well.

Read more about the 100 Smart Cities Mission in the report “Smart Liveable Cities in India”.

Challenge Areas Defined by Partner Cities

India city traffic

#1 City of Bhubaneswar – Urban Flooding Management 


#2 City of Panaji – Urban Water Body Management 


#3 City of Shimla – Waste Water Management


#4 City of Mumbai – Rejuvenation and Beautification of the River 


#5 City of New Delhi – Solid Waste Management 


Open Innovation Calls Join us as we seek to identify of urban resilient water solutions in India

OID Workshop Format

The OID workshop will be of a ‘pre-market’ and ‘market’ nature. The delegation going to one or more of the selected cities will consist of both businesses as well as city experts and city officials from India, the Nordic countries and international. Workshops on the ground will cater to both these groups, as there will be some knowledge sharing workshops in the cities, where the selected cities will be explaining and talking about their specific challenges, and will get ideas and inputs from the pre-selected solutions providers and city officials as well as businesses. After this there will be a visit to specific sites where the solutions will be employed so that the businesses can get a feel for the reality on the ground. The next day, there will be a pitch competition, where all the businesses who will come with us will have the opportunity to pitch their solutions and approaches to the city as well as the many private developers based in the specific city context, based on both the pitch they brought with them from home, as well as their on-the-ground experiences in the specific Indian city.  The best pitches are expected to be offered the opportunity to collaborate with the specific city and its partners with the aim of integrating their solutions and approaches in the urban renewal process.

Submit your solution for a chance to present and demonstrate before decision makers at the Grand Finale in India in May 2019. Proposals are accepted until 22 April 2019.

"An important element in India’s growth outlook is its current urban transformation. India is yet to unlock the full growth potential of its urbanisation process".

How the competition works

All solutions must be presented via this submission form. Submissions that are not sent via this route will not be considered.

The purpose of the submissions form is to understand the nature product and or service you wish to bring to one or more of the selected cities, as well as its relevance and impacts to “urban water management” processes. We anticipate that submission process shouldn’t take more than two – three hours.

We highly recommend that you read the competition manual carefully before submitting a solution. The competition manual contains further information about:

  • Competition objectives
  • Specifications and criteria
  • Important dates
  • IPR and legal details
  • The structure of the process and how it will be managed
  • The competition partners and prizes



Solution owners selected to participate in the workshop will receive a flat sum of €500 cover wages, flights and accommodation themselves. The latter will be available at discounted rates. Local transportation costs will be reimbursed.

The selection of finalists will take place by the end of April 2019 and finalists will be asked to an online pitch boot camp one week later in April/May to prepare for a final “market” workshop and solution demonstration at the Grand Finale in India between the 8-18 May 2019.



Launch of the Challenges 31 Jan 2019
Presentation of the Open Innovation Competitions 11 Feb 2019
Deadline of submission 22 April 2019
Pre-selection process End of April
Announcement of five innovators for stage two 29 April 2019
Virtual boot camp contestants 30 April – 3 May  2019
City visits, final pitch and announcement of winner 8 – 18 May 2019

Questions and Contacts

For further information and questions concerning the competition please get in touch with Peter Vangsbo, Nordic Business Developer, EIT Climate-KIC, E:

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