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Design!publiC - II

by Prasad Krishna last modified Oct 13, 2011 07:00 AM
The Centre for Internet and Society in partnership with the Center for Knowledge Societies, Venkataramanan Associates, Center for Law and Policy Research, Headstart Foundation, Chaia Innovation Accelerator, MXV Consulting, Mint Newspaper and Confederation of Indian Industry is organising the second edition of Design Public on October 14, 2011 at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Bangalore. There will be a series of pre-conference research outings on October 13, for which participants may register in advance.

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Oct 14, 2011
from 04:30 AM to 12:00 PM


National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore

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Innovation and the Public Interest

Design Public is a series of conversations about whether and how Innovation can serve the Public Interest. 

At our inaugural event, in New Delhi on March 18th earlier this year, we focused on the question of whether innovation in governance is needed and how it can be achieved. An excellent overview of the event can be found in a Mint Newspaper article by Aparna Piramal Raje. While we discovered wide agreement in principle as to the need for innovation in India, there was much uncertainty about how government systems relate to innovation, and some doubt as to whether governments are in fact capable of innovation. At our upcoming event, we aim to widen the ambit of the discussion, to ask how innovation serves the public interest, thereby opening up the question of innovation to the social sector, to corporations, to venture capitalists, designers, students, academics and more.

Following Schumpeter, we understand innovation to be a fundamental part of modern economic and social life -- in fact the very source of the momentum that drives us forward into the future. However, we have also found that innovation need not be limited to entrepreneurs in the private sector, but can also be accomplished, in various ways, in government, in the public sector, and by social and developmental agencies. Moreover, if the specific components of innovation can be identified and learned, it would be possible for many more organizations and individuals to successfully drive beneficial social and technical change.

If the term Innovation describes the business or economic dimension of the forward movement of society under capitalism, then the immanent, cognitive or mental aspect of this forward movement can be captured by the term Design. It is the multivariate, parallel, sometimes collaborative process of finding solutions to problems that have no obvious and available answer. Whereas the language of design gained prominence in the Industrial Age as a means for the rendering of surfaces and finishes for the more effective marketing of consumer products (posters and toasters), the concept has far wider application in the present. Design and Innovation are by definition the strategies through which the most intractable, complex, and multivariate challenges encountered by individuals or groups.

At our event, therefore, we seek to articulate exactly how these strategies can be brought to bear on the Grand Challenges facing our society, in areas such as:

  • Complete and Effective Healthcare for Mothers and Children
  • Increased Use and Acceptance for Toilets
  • Broad-based Higher Education
  • Participatory and Responsive Civic Administration
Over the course of the day-long event, we will consider different approaches and paradigms of innovation and how they may be applicable to these grand challenges. We will break out into sessions in order to apply these perspectives and approaches to specific challenge areas. At the end of the day we will seek to expand the circle of innovation in order establish new ways of collaborating and sharing knowledge such that we are able to accelerate and intensify the application of innovation to addressing these and other grand challenges facing the public.
Panchayat Meeting
Panchayat meeting on Village Sanitation in Khera village, Budaun District, UP


  • 09.00 Word of Welcome and Mutual Introductions
  • 10.00 Innovation and the Indian Corporation
        - Samar Halankar, Hindustan Times (moderator)
        - Anil Narayan Sondur, TATA Elxsi
        - Harish Bijoor, HB Consults
        - Ekta Ohri, Center for Knowledge Societies (respondent)
  • 11.00 Is Innovation in the Public and Social Sectors Possible?
        - Sunil Abraham, Center for Internet and Society (moderator)
        - Rohini Nilekani, Arghyam Foundation
        - Ramesh Ramanathan, Janaagraha
        - Ashwin Mahesh, Mapunity
        - Sneha Raman, Center for Knowledge Societies (respondent)
  • 12.00 The Challenge of Start Up Innovation
        - Amit Garg, MXV Consulting (moderator)
        - Mahesh Murthy, Pinstorm
        - Zackery Denfeld, Pacific Northwest College of Art
        - Naresh Narasimhan, VA Group
        - Aditya Dev Sood, Center for Knowledge Societies (respondent)
  • 13.00 Lunch: Regional Cuisines of Karnataka prepared with Local Ingredients
  • 14.00 The Theory and Practice of Innovation
    - Aditya Dev Sood, Center for Knowledge Societies (moderator)
    - Reto Wettach, Interaction Design Studios Berlin
    - Shiv Vishwanathan, Sociologist of Science
    - M. P. Ranjan, Design for India
  • 15.00 Grand Challenge Breakout Sessions
    A: Online Higher Education
    Moderator: Sunil Abraham, Center for Internet and Society
    Innovation Expert: Sneha Raman, Center for Knowledge Societies
    Domain Expert: Udhay Shankar, Intel
    B: Quality Maternal and Child Healthcare
    Moderator: Jayna Kothari, Center for Law and Policy Research
    Innovation Expert: Shehla Hussain, Center for Knowledge

    Domain Expert: Lakshmi Menon, G.E. Healthcare
    C: Toilet-training for All!
    Moderator: Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Center for Law and Policy Research
    Innovation Expert: Namrata Mehta, Center for Knowledge Societies
    Domain Expert: Sunita Nadhamuni, Arghyam
  • Tea Served During Breakout Sessions
  • 16.30 Reports Back from Breakouts
  • 17.30 Conclusion: Planning and Policy for Innovation and the Grand Challenges of Society
    - Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Center for Law and Policy Research (moderator)
    - Harsh Shrivastava, National Planning Commission 
    - Anant Shah, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
    - Jamuna Ramakrishna, Hivos Foundation
    - Dilini Wijeweera, LIRNEasia
    - Gaurav Gupta, Dalberg
    - Riku Mäkelä, Finnode

Individual Participation

In order to make each voice count, entry to the conclave will be by arrangement only. Others who are truly interested, should please drop us a few lines on how they would like to contribute and we will be glad to get back in touch. There are no registration fees. However, we would like to see participants take their own initiative in covering their own travel costs and making their own arrangements for stay so far as possible. If specific needs are perceived, please communicate them to the organizers. If you are interested in participating in this conversation on innovation, design thinking, and the public interest please contact Anand Vijayan at [email protected].

Institutional Participation

Confederations of industry, associations of management, departments of government and diverse development sector and civil society organizations are invited to express their interest in supporting this event.


  1. Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS)
  2. Center for Internet and Society (CIS)
  3. Venkatramanan Associates (VA) 
  4. Center for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) 
  5. Headstart Foundation (HF) 
  6. Chaia Innovation Accelerator (ChIA) 
  7. MXV Consulting (MXV) 
  8. Mint Newspaper (MN)
  9. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
  • For participation: contact Anand Vijayan, Innovation Planning, CKS
  • For media: contact Ayesha Vemuri, Innovation Research, CKS ([email protected])
For more info, click here [PDF, 496 kb]
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