Digital Impact Square

A TCS Foundation Initiative

An open social innovation center – in the city of Nashik, Maharashtra. DISQ encourages innovation using digital technologies to address social challenges prevalent in Health and Hygiene, Housing and Transportation, Food and Agriculture, Energy, Water and Environment, Financial and Personal Security, Citizen Empowerment and Transparency, Education and Skills development across India. These challenges are drawn from the voice of citizens, domain experts, local administration and government.

This unique model for collaboration is in part inspired by the MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture research group’s previous work in India to encourage innovators, conducted in collaboration with TCS, the local government and citizen representatives in Nashik. The Kumbhathon was set by eminent citizens with support from industry partners along with critical expertise and inputs from the MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture group and TCS. This helped the local administration create a better visitor experience at the Kumbh Mela through innovative, technology driven solutions that resulted in this large event being run successfully without any loss of human life.

Kumbh Story

The mass pilgrimage of faith takes place every three years on a rotational basis in four alternating cities, Ujjain, Nashik and Haridwar. and returns to Nashik district of Maharashtra, India after a gap of 12 years. Simhastha Kumbha Mela is a Hindu religious festival held every 12 years in the Nashik. Simhastha Kumbha Mela is celebrated over 45+ days, it is so colourful, eventful and pure. It is one of the largest humans gathering on the planet. For the spiritual, the event is a catharsis, where one can purge oneself of sin by taking a dip in the holy water of the sacred rivers. But for technologists, social innovators and urban planners, the staggering increase in human density is a golden opportunity to identify, analyse and study pop-up city problems at scale.

Traditionally government of India, state government, local district administration and various organization (not for profit, industries), local communities start preparing for Kumbha Mela 3-4 years before the actual event. You can imagine, Nashik with 2 million population by August 2015 hosted more than 30 million religious’ devotees, ascetics and tourists. Kumbha Mela becomes the purpose for entire city, all stakeholder to work together for creating better experience for devotees, ascetics and tourists etc. “The Kumbhathon platform was conceived as a sandbox by likeminded tech enthusiastic, researchers from MIT Media Labs (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Nashik to create an ecosystem which focuses on solving large scale problem through technology with the broader vision of game-changing bottom-up innovation at its core.”

The Team

Anil Sharma


Sandip Shinde

Impact Innovation Coach

Bhanu Prasad

Impact Innovation Coach

Sameer Rawal

Impact Innovation Coach

Robin Tommy

Impact Innovation Coach

Nikhil Deore

Impact Innovation Coach

Sanjay Tripathi

Design Coach

Mrunmayee Kenge

Design Coach

Akanksha Sharma

Branding and Communication

Prachi Salani

Branding and Communication

Swati Dhahad

Branding and Communication

Vanita Talreja

Talent Management

Lavisha Hemnani

Talent Management

Yatindra Swami


Hrushikesh Phatak


DISQ Process

Digital Impact Square (DISQ) is an open social innovation platform for Enhancing the Lives of citizens. The platform encourages innovation using digital technologies to address the needs of citizens through their voice and that of the local administration, government, and industry. In the process, the platform fosters a culture of innovation through a series of sustained innovation cycles, provides an opportunity to bring research and technology from academia to influence every-day life, and accelerates the journey of many from being ideators to entrepreneurs.


The platform will provide an opportunity for talent from across the country to solve pressing challenges in the following seven areas: Health & Hygiene, Education & Skills, Financial & Personal Security, Energy, Water & Environment, Food & Agriculture, Housing & Transportation and Citizen Empowerment & Transparency.


We are looking for:

  • Team of young innovators with an entrepreneurial bent of mind, who want to turn an idea or a concept into a successful startup, and are willing to commit next 12 months to further their cause, or,
  • Technologically-skilled final year students, who can spend their final semester with us to apply their skills as an intern for our incubatee teams.


  • Do you have a brilliant solution that addresses challenges listed under one or more themes?
  • Do you have the passion and commitment to grow and scale it into a tangible solution?
  • Are you currently a team with an MVP and looking for mentorship and network access from some of the best organizations working in the domain?

And are currently either a

  • Student – Students pursuing a Bachelor or Master degree in one of the following disciplines: Engineering, Management, Mathematics, Statistics, Liberal Arts, Commerce, Medicine, Design, Architecture, or
  • Start-up – An early-stage startup, which is keen on growing and scaling their innovation or a
  • Budding Entrepreneur or an Innovator

…then Digital Impact Square is just the place for you!

Digital Impact Square process has 4 phases – Spot, Probe, Grow, Scale – each phase having well-defined time lines and expectations of outcomes.

During this phase, selected ideas / teams to get mentored and coached by DISQ. To qualify, you need to:

  • Apply to one of the key challenge areas listed on our Challenges Page.
  • Provide all details requested in the Application Form.

Remember: The more refined and detailed your submission is, the better are your chances for getting shortlisted.

  • Your submissions will be evaluated by a judging panel and shortlisted.
  • If you get shortlisted, you will participate in the selection and interview process.
  • The final shortlisted teams will be promoted to the PROBE Phase.

The PROBE Phase is divided into two sub-phases:

Sub-Phase 1 – Bootcamp – Problem Fit

This is a 10-week intense boot camp program that will allow each team to:

  • Use Design Thinking Principles to build a deeper understanding of the problem that they are trying to solve
  • Be mentored by some of the most experienced mentors in the domain space
  • Participate in Master Classes conducted by the best in the industry in areas such as Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation, Cutting Edge Technology and Human-Centric Design
  • Get a one on one coaching by DISQ Innovation and Design Coaches to significantly enhance their MVP
  • Access technical experts from TCS to assess and identify the best technology that can make their MVP scalable
  • Engage with DISQ Alumni who have created successful social startups to understand their journey and understand best practices
  • Prepare for their Incubation Pitch

This phase will end with each team pitching their enhanced MVP to a panel of domain experts and DISQ for selection into the DISQ Incubation Program.


Sub-Phase 2 – Incubation Phase – Solution Fit

Selected teams will formally be onboarded into the DISQ Incubation Program. This phase will allow the selected teams to

  • Build their MVP into scalable products
  • Validate their MVP on the field with real users
  • Work with DISQ Coaches and mentors in building their business model
  • Get access to communities and ecosystems to build relevant partnerships

This phase will end with a PITCH Session for evaluation and promotion of teams to the next phase where they will get additional funding and build a sustainable social enterprise.

Based on feedback from various stakeholders and the evaluation of the ‘live’ demonstration by a jury, all high performing teams will move to the Grow phase.

In the Grow phase, you will work with great agility, to productize your solution.

In this phase, the solution will be evolved and tested for production readiness and evaluated for high impact and business potential.

You will get an opportunity to scale your startup and impact through strategic partnerships and investments facilitated through DISQ’s extensive partner ecosystem.

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