Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Indian Mobile Initiative (IMI)

People's Choice, IDEAS, and Global Challenge

Indian Mobile Initiative (IMI)

Competition Year: 2011

Power On! With an innovative approach to technical education and a twist to entrepreneurship, IMI promotes social fervor in college students.

Education and Training Finance and Entrepreneurship Mobile Devices and Communications Other

  • Team Members
  • A. Shroff
  • K. Fisher
  • T. A


Quick Links

Our Pitch

We were inspired to create IMI after studying two very distinct problems India faces. One, the country produces half a million engineers annually and yet 64% of the employers are, as surveyed by the World Bank, “somewhat” or “not at all” satisfied with their work. This gap between being “educated” and “employable” can be attributed to an overly theoretical curriculum in colleges with little application. And two, Mobile technology is scaling in terms of its social potential in communities. A cell phone is most often the only computing and communication device Indian’s have. However, the use of mobile technology as a tool to mitigate social challenges is limited, partly because engineers equipped with relevant expertise are not well versed with the problems and engineers (Indian students) who are aware of the problems lack skills to apply their knowledge.

IMI solves these two challenges. We have partnered with Indian universities to conduct several workshops this summer. A team of student instructors from MIT will interact with college students to direct their technical skills towards applications in mobile technology. The students will address challenges in their societies and provide solutions that use mobile phones as a medium. This approach will instill social entrepreneurship in the students, a quality much required in a country like India. Moreover, viable solutions will be awarded seed money by Google and other investors


Empower our students to feel competent at applying technical knowledge and providing innovative solutions, confident while approaching industry leaders and experts, and inspired to make a difference!


Educating India’s Farmers Around New Farming Practices


2011 MIT School of Engineering “Global Villages” Challenge

Who We Are

  1. Aakriti Shroff I am a sophomore double majoring in Computer Science (6-3) as well as Management Science (15). My take on IMI and the degree of its impact is derived from this very equation. IMI will introduce a new form of instructor-student interaction with a heavy emphasis on a hands-on approach to learning. From my encounter with the Indian educational system, I feel that this fills a void in the otherwise theory-based curriculum. Moreover, the Indian Mobile Initiative is relevant to its times. India has not only joined the mobile technology era but is on its way to becoming a pioneer in the field. Introducing mobile application development to collegiate level students is thus another important step towards augmenting India’s developments. The amalgamation of innovation and relevance will gear IMI towards having an impact – an impact on the students we interact with and an impact on the societies the students will create technologies for. It is the creation of this trickledown effect that fuels my passion and inspiration for the project. As for my role on the team, I am confident that I bring organizationand leadership to the team. Also, being the only team member to have spent a significant amount of time in India, I have taken up most of the responsibility of coordinating the program with universities in India. During the course of the summer, I will be the entrepreneurial lead for the program while also assisting Kyle and Thiago with the technical component of IMI. As a founding member of the Indian Mobile Initiative, I will also share the responsibility of increasing the presence of the program both at MIT and in India. This being our launching year, all the members have to make an earnest effort to build a sustainable framework for the project to facilitate easy implementation in the coming years and I am not hesitant to partake in this. I have confidence in the IMI team and am passionate about my role in the project.

  2. Kyle Fisher I am a sophomore double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (6-2) as well as Management Science (15), with a planned minor in Economics (14). The classes I have taken thus far complement my ability to teach both programming and entrepreneurship over this summer. Specifically, the most helpful classes I feel are a few of what I am taking this semester: Algorithms, Software Design and Construction, Founder’s Journey, and Marketing Management. Algorithms and Software Design and Construction will primarily build upon my previous exposure to programming and will help ensure a fresh and well-versed knowledge in software engineering; all of this will be very useful when assisting the students in building application prototypes. Founder’s Journey and Marketing Management will be useful when I am teaching specific segments of entrepreneurship with Aakriti. In India, I will be the technical lead of the project. My primary responsibility is to assist the students in creating prototype applications over the 5 weeks. At the very least, Thiago and I will: teach an intensive one-week introduction to Android programming, ensure all students’ computers are prepared to program and test the applications they will build, and conduct labs so students can work with assistance on their applications. I will also be coordinating closely with Aakriti on the entrepreneurship part of the program during idea generation and product launching course segments.

  3. Thiago Vieira I am a sophomore double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (6-2) and Physics (8), and hopefully a minor in Economics (14). I bring a good quantitative skill set with my background in Physics as well as taking extra math classes here at MIT. In the more applicable side of programming for IMI, I have taken Algorithms last semester and am currently taking Software Design this semester along with other Computer Science class requirements. While I have previous experience coding Java applications from high school, these classes will help me formalize more advanced concepts in assisting students. Overall, my specialty with the team will be to help solve more algorithm and control flow problems in the programming part.
    In India, I will mostly be helping with teaching the technical aspects of Android with Kyle. We will start with an intensive one week course in the basic of Android programming, which we plan to have students’ complete pre-designed labs to test and apply their programming language knowledge. During the five week program, I will also be around to help students design their applications, write them, and debug the entire thing. For the business aspect I will also be helping teach some basic business fundamentals and accounting, where my experience as treasurer for my fraternity and working in high school will be very helpful.

  4. Pranav Ramkrishnan- Pranav is also a sophomore majoring in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at MIT. Pranav's brings to the team his experience in entrepreneurship and will serve as a mentor for our students this summer.

Our Community Partner

Partner Name





Google, India and the Android Developer's Advocacy were the first to believe in IMI's goals and helped us with the funding. More importantly, they are assisting us with the curriculum and mentoring our student teams through their journey.


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Comments and Support

  • We as in business school really being impressed with the concepts and ideas that you have thought over........ nice wishes

    Posted by Europe Asia Business School on Wed, Aug 1st 2012, 06:52 Report Abuse

  • it is so nice

    Posted by mallik on Sat, Nov 19th 2011, 03:16 Report Abuse

  • The android makes every student proud and makes it available for students of middle class. Has this android has facility to connect to internet at some extra expenditure. Sivaram

    Posted by K.SIVARAM on Sat, Oct 8th 2011, 10:31 Report Abuse

  • This initiative would be an eye opener for many institutes in India too. it ll surely help the students and provide them a with a great exposure. keep up the good work team. @admin how to contact you so that you visit our college too ??

    Posted by Kushagra on Mon, Aug 1st 2011, 07:05 Report Abuse

  • Great job. Keep it up and continue to do India proud in all your future initiatives.Best of luck.

    Posted by manoj agarwal on Sun, May 29th 2011, 03:14 Report Abuse

  • Whoa, Aakriti, Just came across this ! :D Good stuff, girl :-) I'd love to see how this takes off!

    Posted by Prukalpa on Wed, May 25th 2011, 14:35 Report Abuse

  • Congrats on winning, but this really wasn't your idea was it? Aren't there similar programs at MIT for other countries?

    Posted by Tracy on Wed, May 4th 2011, 22:48 Report Abuse

  • i will be extremely grateful to this team if they could help to change education system or implement at least few of the changes ..because here whole system is crashed system is job oriented ..and has absolutely nothing to do with word ingenuity from which engineer is derived...

    Posted by Ghazi on Wed, May 4th 2011, 15:02 Report Abuse

  • You all have made it

    Posted by R. Shrofff on Mon, May 2nd 2011, 22:43 Report Abuse

  • In my comments (below) it is healthy criticism instead of competition

    Posted by b. kuntia on Mon, Apr 25th 2011, 22:39 Report Abuse

  • Brillianttt idea! One of the best ways to bridge the gap between the educated and the employed- especially in a country like India, where the educated unemployed is increasing exponentially.

    Posted by s. das on Mon, Apr 25th 2011, 13:26 Report Abuse

  • To K. S and the others who don't like the project. Thanks for your feedback. In reply, I like to think of a "prototype" as the work a team does before executing the project. In our case, establishing the universities we're traveling to and ensuring that we have a large amount of presence in India is our prototype. We're encouraging social entrepreneurship in those who know their community best -- this is the most sustainable form of inclusive development. As for our presence, I feel our voters can speak for us :) If there are any other questions or feedback you'd like to give us, please let us know. Our email:

    Posted by Kyle Fisher on Mon, Apr 25th 2011, 10:08 Report Abuse

  • WOW............... what an idea sirjee...... i am at MIT Manipal and I am enrolling myself for the camp. Best of luck..... Don't get pulled down with fools who are jealous of your project.... Cheeers!!!!

    Posted by s. j on Mon, Apr 25th 2011, 03:08 Report Abuse

  • way to go guys!!! you already set the path rolling.... I CAN ALREADY SEE IMI'S IMPACT ON THE MIT GLOBAL CHALLENGE

    Posted by l. mani on Mon, Apr 25th 2011, 03:03 Report Abuse

  • Munnabhai MBBS MIT se...........

    Posted by b. bittusharman34 on Sun, Apr 24th 2011, 16:13 Report Abuse

  • keep it up !!!!

    Posted by s. john on Sun, Apr 24th 2011, 15:37 Report Abuse

  • 1700!! wooooooooooottt!!

    Posted by B. Bronwyn.brown on Sun, Apr 24th 2011, 02:48 Report Abuse

  • You are surely going to win this one! 1500+ votes and still counting!!! way to go team!

    Posted by F. Finn285 on Sat, Apr 23rd 2011, 14:36 Report Abuse

  • An outdated idea. These things are coming up independently. Nothing new. In fact, many have caught up much earlier on this.

    Posted by D. Varapula on Fri, Apr 22nd 2011, 17:32 Report Abuse

  • Go go IMI! This is a great idea.We had you in Kenya for this Aakriti and you did great! @Aakriti,we had Anshul Bhagi in Kenya (very good instructor for android).Hope you have met,I know you are winning and he will come in handy in this!Cheers! By Diana

    Posted by D. K on Tue, Apr 19th 2011, 03:44 Report Abuse

  • Congratulations on hitting 1000 votes!

    Posted by L. Hasselblad Torres on Sat, Apr 16th 2011, 10:10 Report Abuse

  • Congratulations on the voting so far. I'm so pleased that people are recognizing what a great idea this is. Keep up the good work! Eileen McDonough-Marano

    Posted by E. McDonough-Marano on Mon, Apr 11th 2011, 09:18 Report Abuse

  • It's a fantastic Idea to carry forward. As an engineering student in India I also faced same situations many times. In India many institutions and universities with other world majors can build a technological model with mobile computing, that can increase the learning and understanding prospectives in an exponential manner. It will increase the penetration and use of technology and also provide the latest information in engineering from around the globe, which in turn provide more productive and technologically oriented people for the Industry and Humanity.

    Posted by Pragyesh Kumar on Sun, Apr 10th 2011, 14:00 Report Abuse

  • An incredibly innovative idea, in the right place, at the right time. Keep it up!

    Posted by R. Fisher on Sat, Apr 9th 2011, 00:18 Report Abuse

  • This is a great idea and I hope learning a lot from you . Your idea an inspiration to me as a rwandan IT academic staff . Already voted for this project and wish you all the best !

    Posted by G. Munyemana on Thu, Apr 7th 2011, 11:23 Report Abuse

  • This is a great idea and I hope learning a lot from you . Your idea an inspiration to me as a rwandan IT academic staff . Arleady voted for this project and wish you all the best !

    Posted by G. Munyemana on Thu, Apr 7th 2011, 11:23 Report Abuse

  • Good luck!

    Posted by A. Verma on Wed, Apr 6th 2011, 23:35 Report Abuse

  • Hi Aditi! Thanks a lot for your interest in our project. Mobile Technology in India has the a lot potential to drive social change. Just to provide a few existing examples, (1) Fish farmers in Kerala were incurring several losses because of the lack of information about market prices. A local engineer built an SMS based application where fish farmers could obtain market orices of the fish in neighboring markets instantly. This increased their net profits by 9% and the price of fish reduced by 4% in the market. Source: World Bank Report "Unleashing India's Innovation" (2) An example that is pertinent to urban areas could be a mobile application that enables car pooling. Users could register themselves on the application. Using location based techniques, the application could obtain the coordinates for the user when he is driving to some place. Registered users in need for a ride could see information about the approaching user willing to offer a ride and hope on. Essentially, what is important is defining Social Entrepreneurship. Professor Gregory Dees from the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University says, “In addition to innovative not-for-profit ventures, social entrepreneurship can include social purpose business ventures, such as for-profit community development banks, and hybrid organizations mixing not-for-profit and for-profit elements." This in our opinion, a succinct and well rounded definition of social entrepreneurship - one that emphasizes on the impact of an innovation in the community and its potential for value creation, not the category it belongs to or what its profits are.

    Posted by A. Shroff on Mon, Apr 4th 2011, 04:23 Report Abuse

  • Congratulations to the team for a great idea and a wonderful application of their obviously superior talents. Best of Luck. E. Marano

    Posted by E. McDonough-Marano on Fri, Apr 1st 2011, 10:21 Report Abuse

  • Hey! Great idea with respect to instilling entrepreneurship among college students.. Could you elaborate a bit as to how mobile applications can assist in mitigating social challenges, maybe with an example?

    Posted by Aditi Gupta on Mon, Mar 28th 2011, 07:49 Report Abuse

  • great idea indian's have knowledge but they are not provided resources . This initiative is great in filling the gap

    Posted by dharma teja on Fri, Mar 25th 2011, 04:22 Report Abuse

  • Great idea...

    Posted by P. Tibrewal on Tue, Mar 22nd 2011, 01:20 Report Abuse

  • What a great idea to bring information and ideas to students from another part of the world. One world learning and growing together. Go for it and make an impact!

    Posted by G. Fabiiyan on Sun, Feb 27th 2011, 09:38 Report Abuse

  • Should be an excellent competition - I expect some real success in expanding the skillsets of numerous students out of your Indian Mobile Initiative. Mobile apps are at the core of modern technological advancement; I'm convinced that spreading awareness and empowering Indian students with knowledge will directly benefit the community for years to come.

    Posted by E. Fisher on Mon, Feb 14th 2011, 06:19 Report Abuse

  • What an inspiring way to get people to work together!

    Posted by E. Fisher on Thu, Feb 10th 2011, 09:49 Report Abuse

  • Go team go!

    Posted by A. Nguyen on Wed, Feb 9th 2011, 22:39 Report Abuse

  • interesting use of technology to empower people

    Posted by J. Varley on Wed, Feb 9th 2011, 19:50 Report Abuse

  • I pity the fool who dont like this

    Posted by Mr. T on Wed, Feb 9th 2011, 19:04 Report Abuse

  • This is a great idea! I hope this project succeeds, and that Indian youth will be both more knowledgeable about programming mobile applications and will enjoy better social conditions.

    Posted by A. R on Wed, Feb 9th 2011, 17:26 Report Abuse

  • This initiative sounds really cool, who knows if the next big mobile app can come from this.

    Posted by T. A on Wed, Feb 9th 2011, 17:23 Report Abuse

  • Great team you have - I look forward to learning more about your curriculum and the kinds of apps you're going to get Indian youths developing. IDEAS and the Global Challenge benefit from a terrific network of enthusiasts should you need help. Have you talked to Anshul Bhagi yet? Get your team profile complete; it'll be a powerful calling card.

    Posted by Lars Hasselblad Torres on Tue, Feb 1st 2011, 09:16 Report Abuse

  • Hi IMI -- welcome to the IDEAS Competition and MIT Global Challenge! Let me know if you have any questions -- happy to help. Cheers!

    Posted by K. Mytty on Mon, Jan 31st 2011, 14:21 Report Abuse

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