Google and INK have been working together on various initiatives over the last 4 years. Google has been known to be visionary and disruptive in its initiatives. The INK Conference is known to bring stories, ideas and perspectives from around the world onto a common platform. And there is a constant quest to see what is that big idea that can be brought to reality, what is that big initiative that can be disruptive.
Nearly a billion people in India lack access to the Internet or do not understand the benefits of going online. Thus, this was one initiative that needed immediate action. The synergies between Google and INK fused together under the program to get the‘Next Billion Online’.
The objective is to try different experiments in limited areas- in a city, town and village and gain insights into factors that drive behaviours and how that can be moulded to lead people online.
The final outcome is to create a blueprint that will be taken to progressive governments of the country and other partners to help scale and sustain this project.
Over the last decade a number of attempts have been made to induce more users of the Internet, with attempts ranging from failures to quasi-successes to pioneering ideas that were too early for the market or existing technology; with projects ranging from Government funded to Government-Corporate partnerships. However, it is still to be ascertained if a plan of this magnitude can be achieved without the active participation and motivation of the targeted public user-community themselves, first.
The approach that the team is taking follows the framework of- Empathize, Define, Ideate, Test, Prototype.
The Next Billion Online team began by conducting lots of experiments to get feedback from users on understanding the nuances and factors that will get the next billion online in India. Our own experiments with those we have engaged with show that connecting individuals and communities to the Internet enables access to information, can increase household income and provide greater social freedom.
Next Billion Online are directing those we engage with to make use of the Internet as a tool to make their own lives and the lives of their communities productive and prosperous.
We aim to form a blueprint to create an online, self-sustaining, content-generating ecosystem that leverages the power of the Internet & related tools.