Transforming Urban Ecosystem in the Country through Open Innovation

Why Indian Cities need to leverage Open Innovation to accelerate Urban Development

Photo by Alok Sharma on Unsplash

The need for technology & innovation

To address unprecedented challenges, it’s obvious that we require innovative & technologically advanced solutions. This signals city administrators & officials to work with Startups, since innovations & advanced technologies often come from Startups, rather than large companies.

Challenges with the existing system

City Administrators are constantly looking for innovations to address their city’s challenges, but often doesn’t succeed. The reason is that they are trying to find innovations through the “Procurement Goggles.” Procurement is the process through which government buys products or services. This process involves specifying all the details of the product or service that the city intends to buy.

The “Validation Gap”

There are about 12,500 technology Startups and about 2100 deep-tech Startups in the country as of 2020. But due to the challenges discussed above, we don’t see a meaningful number of innovations & technologies from these startups getting adopted into the urban ecosystem.

City Innovation eXchange (CiX)

The City Innovation eXchange (CiX, pronounced as “six”) is an initiative by the Smart Cities Mission, strategised and built by Forge, that aims to remove the bottlenecks in bringing innovations & technologies to address urban challenges. Built on the principles of Open Innovation, CiX brings together city administrators from 4000+ cities and thousands of startups across the country to identify, collaborate, co-create, and validate innovative & technologically advanced solutions to address the pressing urban challenges.

4Ps in action:

  • People include the various stakeholders necessary for bringing innovative solutions to cities—city administrators; startups & other innovators; incubators, industries & academia; and citizens.
CiX People, Image by Forge
  • Process operationalises the policy by helping cities to identify, curate & host challenges; source innovations from startups; co-create potential innovations; implement pilots to validate innovations; and finally procure those validated solutions for large scale implementation in cities.
CiX Process, Image by Forge
CiX Digital Platform, Image by Forge

Strengthening the Startup Ecosystem in the Country

Earlier this year, Startup India, Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Government of India, unveiled “Startup India: The Way Ahead,” an agenda for action to further fuel the startup movement in India. The document talks in details about the various actionable strategies to strengthen the startup ecosystem in the country, through various aspects like ease of setting up a Startup, establishing new incubators & accelerators, deeper engagement between the Government & startups, etc.


To sum up, CiX Accelerates Lab to Procurement of innovative & technologically advanced solutions to strengthen the Indian Urban Ecosystem—bringing economic development and positively impacting the quality of life of citizens in 4000+ cities across the country. Also, being a role model for other Ministries & Departments to assimilate innovation on a large scale in the country.

I write about Self-Development, Skills, Learning, and Innovation.

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