“This is a hectic and probably confusing time for participants in the Acara Challenge. Classes are starting, teams are forming, mentors are getting contacted, everyone is trying to sort things out. That’s normal, it’s always a bit confusing during this team formation stage of any endeavor, and with a lot of people involved, doing something new, this is expected. So don’t worry about it. It’s a natural part of team formation. It will all work out in the end.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It’s been good meeting the students here in India as they are a very enthusiastic bunch so far. The most common question I get from students both here in India and in the US, is “so what do we do with our team mates in (India) (USA)?”  It’s a fair question and probably few of the students have been involved in a team project before that has team members outside their class, let alone in another country. So the natural inclination is to just forge ahead, without worrying much about the other team members in the partner university. But as I have been telling students I meet, the business plan is ultimately a team effort, and there is only one plan per team. That means you have to work with your partner team on the whole process. Yes, that will slow you down. But ultimately you will end up with a better outcome. A major point of the Acara Challenge is this collaboration. It’s necessary to get these diverse points of view and talent together to solve the kinds of problems we are tackling.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My major caution here is to emphasize this point. The biggest challenge you face may be forming your team, agreeing on a topic of interest, agreeing on a final approach. Spend time getting to know your team mates. It’s time well spent. Don’t move too far on deciding what to do, before you are connected with your partner team. There may be a completely different idea of what to do. We’ve tried to match up interests in water and energy but that may not always be possible either and their may be a few mismatches. Keep an open mind and see what the community research tells you.”  –  Fred Rose, Co-founder and CEO, Acara Institute