Mahindra Partners wins US$ 300 House Challenge
A team from the Mahindra Partners Division has won US $300 House Open Design Challenge. The team, which received the global award of recognition for corporate participation and will be proceeding to the US for a prototyping workshop.
“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 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 Mohan Raghavan, Team Mentor, Mahindra Partners.
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 solution.
The Design: 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 level.
The Background: 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.