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Solomon Darwin - Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, CA, US

Solomon Darwin Solomon Darwin

Director, Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation | Executive Director, Center for Growth Markets | Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley


Hailed as the “Father of the Smart Village Movement”


Areas of Expertise (7)

Open Innovation

Smart Villages / Smart Cities

Business Models Innovation

Strategies for Emerging Economies

Business Ecosystems

Sustainability of the Planet

Forensic Accounting


Solomon Darwin has broad leadership experience in corporate management and academia. He is an international speaker recognized by peers, executives, and students with numerous awards for his innovative leadership and passion for teaching. He inspires students from both business and engineering disciplines in his courses for open innovation, business models, smart cities, scalable smart villages, IBM Watson, and business models for emerging economies. He is also known as the father of the Smart Village Movement.

As an expert in “open innovation” and “open business models,” he is an adviser to senior executives of multinationals and government leaders in the emerging world. The list includes Google, Genentech, HP, Health Net, J&J, Toyota, NHS of UK, UCSF, Royal Caribbean, Autodesk, Nestle and government entities in Mexico, China, Russia, India, Colombia and Europe. He directs and moderates international innovation conferences and forums, and chairs quarterly Chief Innovation Officer round tables in Silicon Valley.

Prior to joining Berkeley Haas in 2005, he was an Associate Professor for nine years at the University of Southern California. His progressive corporate leadership experience covers a span of 14 years as a Senior Executive Officer at Bank of America, First Interstate Bank, and Glendale Federal Bank and Motorola.

During summers, Darwin regularly teaches in executive programs at prominent international universities and institutions. He has conducted workshops and programs in over 18 countries. He also serves as an honorary professor at several universities in Europe, China, and India. His current project, “Building Scalable Smart Villages,” was commissioned by the government of India.



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Education (5)

Golden Gate University: Doctoral Studies (Doctor of Business Administration)

Harvard University, Graduate School of Business: MCCP

Golden Gate University: MBA

San Francisco State University: BA

Skyline College: AA

Honors & Awards (8)

PhD (Honorary)

Shanghai Jiao-Tong University, Overseas College 2011

PhD (Honorary)

CapStone University, Pasadena, CA 2005

Leadership Award for Exemplary Service

Haas School of Business 2009

Golden Apple Teaching Awards

Marshall Business School, USC 1999, 2000, 2003

Most Innovative Teacher Award

Marshall Faculty Award, USC 2005

Motor Board Outstanding Professor Award


Professor of the Year Award

National Greek Society – Gamma Sigma Alpha 2003

National Teaching Award "Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers"

2002, 2004, 2005

Selected External Service & Affiliations (25)

  • 2014 – present, Directs and Organizes The World Open Innovation Forum (annual)
  • 2009 – present, Directs and Organizes The Berkeley Innovation Semiannual Forums
  • 2009 – present, Chair, Chief Innovation Officer Round tables (quarterly meetings)
  • 2015 – present, Directs Garwood Innovation Fellows Program (Executive-in-residence program)
  • 2012 – present, Conducts Leadership Seminars for Indian & Chinese C-suite Executives
  • 2011 – present, Keynote Speaker: Corporate Start-up Summit, Zurich (2018); Indian Institute of Plantation Management, India (2019); Inno-Frugal Conference, Finland (2018); TEDx Mumbai (2018); World Cities Congress, Istanbul (2017); International Triple Helix Conference, UK (2013); Big Innovation Center, London (2013/2012); International Open Innovations Conference, Moscow, (2012); Columbia Department of Commerce, Colombia (2016); Innovation Conference, Germany (2011); World Trade Center, Mexico City (2011/2010); The Atlantic’s “American Competitiveness,” San Francisco (2006)
  • 2010 – 2018, Custom Courses Taught for Senior Executives at Google, HP, Genentech, Health Net, Conceptus, UCSF Medical Center, CIO Institute, American Association of Corporate Counsel
  • 2005 – 2018, New Courses Development: Business Models & Open Innovation for Emerging Economies; Building Smart Cities; Creating Smart Villages; IBM Watson & Business Models; Forensic Accounting and International Accounting and Custom Executive Accounting Programs
  • 2007 – 2010, New Degree Development: Developed a New Master’s Degree in Accounting for UC system wide adoptions: Spearheaded from inception to approval
  • 2017, Developed a Framework for the first smart village in the world – the “Mori Village” in India”
  • 2017, Conducting the First Inaugural Open Innovation Forum in India
  • 2018, Continued Smart Village research in 466 villages that was funded by the government of India
  • 2006 – 2009, Chaired, Chief Financial Officer Round tables (quarterly meetings)
  • 2010, Chief Content Officer and Moderator: CFO Summit for Global 1000 companies, San Francisco
  • 2005 – 2009, Directed and moderated annual Financial Reporting Conferences
  • 1999 and 2003, Founded and spearheaded an International School and Charity Hospital in India
  • 2005 – Present, President of Hope For People International, Los Angeles
  • 1986 – Present, Chairman, Project India
  • 1998 – 2000, Board of Directors, Genius Labs, Pasadena
  • 1998 – 2004, Board of Directors, Mustard Seed International, Pasadena
  • 1980 – 1990, Board of Directors, Mission Compassion Inc., a relief organization, San Francisco
  • 1998 – 2000, Consulting for several companies started by former students
  • 1992 –1993, Chief Financial Officer, Mustard Seed Inc., Pasadena
  • Chaired CFRM Executive Board and Advisory Boards for Financial Reporting Conferences
  • Faculty Advisor to several student organizations student case competitions

Positions Held (3)

At Haas since 2005

2009 – Present, Executive Director, Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation 2008 – 2009, Executive Director, Center for Innovative Financial Technology 2005 – 2008, Executive Director, Center for Financial Reporting & Management 1996 – 2005, Associate Professor, University of Southern California 1984 – 1995, Senior Corporate Officer: Bank of America, 1st Interstate Bank 1980 – 1983, Senior Financial Analyst, Motorola

Adjunct Professorships

2015 – Present, Adjunct Professor on Faculty, Lancaster (U.K.) University, School of Management 2011 – Present, Adjunct Professor on Faculty, Shanghai Jiao-Tong University

Visiting Positions Since 1996

Cambridge University Norwegian Business School University of Turku, Finland Oxford University University of Toronto Kings University, Bangkok Aachen University, Germany WHU, Germany Maastricht University, Netherlands Lancaster University, UK Stockholm School of Economies University of Zurich University of Science & Technology, China World Trade Center, Mexico Jiao Tong University, China Korean University Qingdao University, China Moscow State University, Russia International University of Business & Economics, Beijing, China China Normal University Fraunhofer Institute, Germany Wuhan University, China Euro-med School of Management, France EM Lyon School of Management, France Peter Drucker School of Management, Claremont, CA Stanford University, Graduate School of Management

Media Appearances (18)

‘Innovation is critical to accelerating solutions … we need to tap into the global brain for latent ideas’

The Times of India  


Solomon Darwin, executive director, Garwood Center Corporate Innovation at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, is an adviser to Niti Aayog on the post-Covid recovery road map. He spoke to Amrita Didyala about the plan and on the need for global collaboration to encourage innovation.

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Covid-19 Crisis: The Hunt for Solutions

Indica News  


At a time of crisis, innovation is critical to accelerating solutions but we need to tap into the global brain for latent ideas and IP that are already available to the world.

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The Next Global Crisis: Preparedness through Lessons Learned from the Past and Present



We live in an age of uncertainty where it is difficult to navigate our corporate missions. Our theme for our forum is called “Moving Forward Together in Uncertain Times”. My opening remarks represent my personal views about what it takes to emerge from this current crisis we are all facing.

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Why India is migrating back to its villages?

Yahoo! Finance  online


Villages offer value propositions that cities can't, such as community, ecosystem, natural resources, and brand value, writes Solomon Darwin, executive director of the Garwood Center Corporate Innovation. With the "smart village" system, "uneducated weavers and artisans can access global markets by uploading their products to online platforms and selling their products and having their bank accounts credited instantly. This eliminates middlemen and costs and redundancies that save time and offers speed to market."

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‘Smart village’ concept not to stop urbanization: Meghalaya CM

Northeast Now  online


Solomon Darwin, executive director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, gave a talk in Meghalaya, India, on the concept of the "smart village," which empowers people with digital technologies so that they can access global markets.

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UC Berkeley Conference: India’s Local Leadership and Private Sector Must Harness Artificial Intelligence

India West  online


Darwin, himself from a small rural village in India — Mori, in Andhra Pradesh — has used a combination of digital technology and open innovation to access the global market, thereby allowing villagers to sell their goods throughout the world. Smart Villages “increase the overall standard of living and quality of life, simultaneously creating economic, social, and environmental value,” said Sangma.

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World Economic Summit: Every region has its own economy & challenges, says Meghalaya CM

Northeast Now (India)  online


Recently, the CM was in the University of Berkeley in California, where an MoU between Meghalaya and the University was signed for partnership for five years. Professor Darwin and the smart village team were committed to make selected villages in Meghalaya smarter.

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Solomon Darwin takes corporate innovation to rural villages in India

Oakland Magazine  online


Solomon Darwin, Executive Director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, has become an increasingly influential promoter of U.S.-India ties. He's also the leader of a Smart Village Movement that aims to bring technological and economic development to India’s rural villages.

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Solomon Darwin’s new books explore the Smart Village movement

Berkeley Haas News  


Solomon Darwin, the executive director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, has just published two new books, The Road to Mori: Smart Villages of Tomorrow and The Untouchables: Three Generations of Triumph Over Torment.

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Arunachal Pradesh Inks Deal To Facilitate Development Of Villages



The Arunchal Pradesh government has inked an agreement with Andhra Pradesh-based Smart Village Movement (SVM) to facilitate technology innovations, research and development in selected villages of the north-eastern state, an official release said.

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Smart village initiative for Arunachal Pradesh

Business Standard  


The Arunchal Pradesh government has inked an agreement with Andhra Pradesh-based Smart Village Movement (SVM) to facilitate technology innovations, research and development in selected villages of the north-eastern state, an official release said.

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Consul General visits IBM, talks of technology for greater good

India Post  online


Solomon Darwin, executive director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, will serve as an advisor to a new Smart Village project facilitating technology innovation, research, and development in selected villages of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

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What the FDA Can Teach Us About Regulatory Excellence

The Regulatory Review  online


Regulators must often make difficult decisions based on uncertain or limited information. When it comes to issues of public health or safety, these decisions can become even more difficult due to media scrutiny and public criticism.

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Opinion: Internet inclusion is meaningless without digital literacy



Solomon Darwin, executive director at the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, part of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, spoke at the Internet Inclusion: Advancing Solutions event in Washington, D.C., organized by the IEEE Internet Initiative: “In every village in India, residents can get Nike shoes delivered by Amazon or find a shop in the most Godforsaken places selling a cold can of Coca-Cola ... but the lady who is making the beautiful sari in an Indian village can’t put it on the Internet to sell to people in other countries.”

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Ericsson demonstrates 'Water Grid Management' IoT solutions in AP

Deccan Chronicle  online


"This project has been conceptualized in order to develop a smart village by leveraging digital technology and open innovation. Ericsson's 'Connected Aquaponics' and 'Smart Water Grid' solutions integrate sustainable agriculture and aquaculture which help optimize water distribution and reduce adverse effects on ground water," said Executive Director of Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation at UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business, Professor Solomon Darwin.

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Growth Opportunities for Large Multinationals in Emerging Economies

LinkedIn Pulse  


Solomon Darwin: Dear Honorable Chief Minister, you have been a proponent of the creation for smart villages, and I am very much with you in this movement from the Open Innovation point of view. Unlike many prevailing definitions of a smart village, UC Berkeley’s Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation has established a unique proprietary definition of smart village, which is clearly stated in my executive summary provided to you. I teach Open Innovation in developing scalable and sustainable business models at UC Berkeley.

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Small is smart for this A.P. village

The Hindu  


Mori, a small cashew-exporting village in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district is to turn ‘smart’ in December, using digital tools, real time information and uninterrupted internet connectivity. The prototype of a net-connected rural habitation will be launched here, under a partnership between the Andhra Pradesh government, the University of California at Berkeley, and several leading technology organisations.

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Plan to set up premier digital, innovation centres in State

The Hindu  online


Terming the setting up of the COI by Prof. Solomon Darwin of Garwood as a great beginning, Mr. Chowdary said people-to-people, intellectual connections were important for success.

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Selected Papers & Publications (13)

How to Think like the CEO of the Planet: Restoring the Declining Balance Sheet of the Earth

Peaceful Evolution Publishing

Solomon Darwin


"A must-read wake-up call." - Ed Catmull, former President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios "One of the oldest and most trusted tools for managing an enterprise - the balance sheet - is finally applied to one of the biggest and most daunting challenges we face - creating a more sustainable planet. It's a simple concept, with world-changing potential." - Conrad Hewitt, former Chief Accountant of the United States, SEC

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How to Create Smart Villages: Open Innovation Solutions for Emerging Markets

Peaceful Evolution Publishing

Solomon Darwin


The COVID-19 crisis is a game-changer that will eventually benefit rural economies around the world. Around 3.4 billion people are living in rural areas lacking access to resources, tools, knowledge, and markets to find their way to prosperity. The exodus of millions of migrant workers from cities and back to their villages in India demonstrated that digital infrastructure that connects rural populations to the rest of the world is critical. Governments are missing resources to singlehandedly provide all the needed solutions for given challenges. How to Create Smart Villages shows how large corporations and startups can take upon the responsibility in solving villagers’ needs while tapping into exciting growth markets. To get valuable results from innovation, businesses, governments, academics, and civil society must be reconciled while opening up their relevant resources, knowledge, and expertise.

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Enhancing Your Brand with Open Innovation

White Paper: Takeaway from Berkeley Innovation Forum 2019 Challenges

Solomon Darwin, Henry Chesbrough, Sea Matilda Bez, Chiara Eleonora De Marco

Spring 2019 To request access, email sdarwin@berkeley.edu.

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Digital Transformation - Academic (WOIC 2018)

White Paper: What We Learned From the Academic Sessions at WOIC 2018

Solomon Darwin, Henry Chesbrough, Sea Matilda Bez, Chiara E. De Marco

December 2018

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Digital Transformation - Practitioner (WOIC 2018)

White Paper: Digital Transformation for Sustainability—Takeaways from WOIC 2018 practitioner sessions

Solomon Darwin, Henry Chesbrough, Sea Matilda Bez, Chiara E. De Marco

December 2018

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Creating Business Value from Open Innovation

White Paper: Connecting the Front-end of Innovation with the Back-end

Solomon Darwin, Henry Chesbrough, Werner Fischer, Sea Matilda Bez

Fall 2018 To request access, email sdarwin@berkeley.edu.

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Solving Digital Business Challenges

White Paper: Takeaways from WOIC 2017

Solomon Darwin, Henry Chesbrough, Sea Matilda Bez

December 2017

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Smart Farming in Andhra Pradesh, India: An Open Innovation Approach

White Paper prepared for Bill Gates and Hon. Chief Minister Naidu of Andhra Pradesh

Solomon Darwin and Henry Chesbrough

November 2017

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Prototyping a Scalable Smart Village (B)

Harvard Business Review

Solomon Darwin and Henry Chesbrough

October 2018

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Strategizing open innovation: How middle managers work with performance indicators

Scandinavian Journal of Management

Jan A. Pfister, Sarah L. Jack, Solomon N. Darwin

September 2017

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Prototyping a Scalable Smart Village to Simultaneously Create Sustainable Development and Enterprise Growth Opportunities

Harvard Business Review

Solomon Darwin and Henry Chesbrough

January 2017

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HCL's Digital Open Innovation: Enhancing Business Model Effectiveness through Talent and Customer Acquisition, Development, and Retention

Harvard Business Review

Solomon Darwin

July 2015

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Community Outreach Clinics: Sustainability, Schooling Dental Students and Overcoming Oral Health Inequalities.

Journal of Dental Research

Anirudha Agnihotry, Michele G Daly, Solomon Darwin, Chris S Ivanoff


March 2015

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Teaching (10)

Creating Smart Villages


Building Smart Cities Leveraging Open Innovation

UGBA 193i

Open Innovation & Business Models


AI and Business Models Leveraging Open Innovation

UGBA 198

Topics in Open Innovation

MBA 290T.2/ENG 298A.2

Open Innovation and Business Models


Business Innovation in Emerging Economies


Financial Reporting

EMBA 202

Managerial Accounting

MBA 224

International Accounting / Forensic Accounting

UGBA 127