Mahindra Partners Wins Global Award of Recognition in US $300 House Open Design Challenge

By Mahindra Mahindra Limited, PRNE
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

MUMBAI, India, June 23, 2011 -


A blog post on the Harvard Business Review website recently
challenged readers across the world to design a house that could be
constructed for less than US $300. Initially a conceptual argument
by bloggers Vijay Govindarajan and Christian Sarkar, the
hypothetical idea of a house constructed for under US$300 received
an overwhelming response and they began to bring together a
collective of thinkers, designers and investors from around the
world. Eventually, with partners Jovoto, a crowd-sourcing forum for
sponsored design competitions, and US$25,000 prize money
underwritten by international industrial firm Ingersoll Rand, the
blog post resulted in a challenge to bring affordable housing to
the world’s poor.

The US $300 House Open Design Challenge was born.

Enthused on hearing about this competition, a team from the
Mahindra Partners Division submitted an entry. They received the
global award of recognition for corporate participation and will be
proceeding to the US for a prototyping workshop. The design
incorporates material which is abundantly available in local
markets and utilises low-technology materials and simple design
that can be built easily at low-cost, globally. “The Mahindra
Partners team exemplifies Mahindra’s brand promise of Rise - to use
alternative thinking and accept no limits - as we seek to drive
positive change in the lives of our stakeholders. .Competitions
such as the US $ 300 House Open Design Challenge help foster
creative thought and collaboration towards finding a viable
solution for the housing crisis. The entry submitted by the team is
a great example of reverse innovation and is a positive step
towards creating low-cost, affordable housing for the world’s
poor,” said Mr. Zhooben Bhiwandiwala, Executive Vice
President and Managing Partner,
Mahindra Partners.

“As a group of professionals interested in finding a solution to
the housing crisis, especially in developing countries, we were
intrigued with the ‘$300 house challenge’ and thought it was a
great opportunity for us to leverage our individual expertise. The
brief was to design a dwelling which would be sustainable, secure,
durable, replicable and dignified, within a cost of US $300. In our
entry, we have not only attempted to address all these factors but
have also made a case for its commercial viability,” said Mr.
Mohan Raghavan,
Team Mentor, Mahindra

What started out as an after-hours discussion amongst a diverse
group ranging from structural experts, cleantech professionals and
technologists, culminated into involved brain-storming sessions and
personal time and effort put in beyond the team’s professional
commitments, towards designing a low-skill and low-cost

The design incorporates material which is abundantly available
in local markets and utilises low-technology inputs and simple
design that can be built easily at low-cost, globally. In addition
to creating a design, the team went a step further and
conceptualised a Development and Identity Scheme (DiD) scheme
similar to schemes such as the UID (Unique Identification Number)
scheme, where people enrolled in a government database would be
eligible for rural financing and support to build their own homes.
This would enable adoption in an organised manner at a mass


Vijay Govindarajan (VG) is the Earl C. Daum
1924 Professor of International Business and the Founding Director
of Tuck’s Center for Global Leadership. VG is an expert on strategy
and innovation. He was the first Professor in Residence and Chief
Innovation Consultant at General Electric. He has been cited by
nessWeek, The Economist, Forbes and The
London Times as the top thought leader in

Christian Sarkar is an independent Internet
strategy consultant and a leading expert in mapping online social
and business networks and ecosystems for competitive intelligence
and market research in public and private sectors. He is the CEO at
Ecosystem Intelligence and the CEO and Founder at double

Loop Marketing LLC.

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About The Mahindra Group

The Mahindra Group focuses on enabling people to rise. Mahindra
operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying
a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, information
technology and vacation ownership. Mahindra has a presence in the
automotive industry, agribusiness, aerospace, components,
consulting services, defence, energy, financial services,
industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, retail, steel and two

A US $12.5 billion multinational group based in Mumbai, India,
Mahindra employs more than 119,900 people in over 100

In 2011, Mahindra featured on the Forbes Global 2000 list, a
listing of the biggest and most powerful listed companies in the
world. Dun & Bradstreet also ranked Mahindra at No. 1 in the
automobile sector in its list of India’s Top 500 Companies. In
2010, Mahindra featured in the Credit Suisse Great Brands of

Its flagship company Mahindra & Mahindra Limited is the only
Indian automobile manufacturer to feature in the top 10 list of the
Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index in India - 2010, created by the
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

In 2011, Mahindra acquired a majority stake in Korea’s SsangYong
Motor Company.

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Ms. Roma Balwani
Senior Vice President & Group Head, Corporate
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd
Phone: (+91-22)-2490-1441
Fax: (+91-22)-2490-0830
Email: href="">


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