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Workshop on Enabling Information Systems for Local Governance

by Prasad Krishna last modified Sep 30, 2014 08:18 AM
This event was organized by Jamia Milla Islamia at Tagore Hall in New Delhi on September 18, 2014. Sunil Abraham was a participant.

The One day workshop brings together practitioners, researchers and thinkers from the overlapping fields of IT, sociology and governance to seek mechanisms for involvement of local communities as active participants in information systems for governance. Conventional technological models are based on certain apriori assumptions on how engineers and designers expect people to use technologies as well as the social universe in which the information systems function. Social scientists and ethnographers on the other hand, concern themselves with how people use and interpret technologies and tend to have a better understanding of the role of technologies in the everyday life of users.

The first panel concerns itself with how these two diverse and possibly complementary ways of approaching technologies may synergise as a combined sociotechnical process rather than a purely technological one. Another useful way to understand the information systems as inherently socio-technical amalgamations is to examine the “informational model” – or the concepts, categories, and relationships – underlying the systems.Describing the systems in terms of their informational models enables people who understand issues of governance to speak to technologists on a common platform. Thus, the idea in the second panel is to discuss whether there is a need to rethink the mechanisms for building information models for local governance.

Some of the questions relevant to the workshop are:

  • What is the role of local communities in information systems for governance? How can local participation in governance be enabled/enhanced?
  • What are some of the existing applications and mechanisms for creating the concepts, categories, relationships, rules and constraints (the information model) used in building information systems for governance and is there a need to rethink them?

Workshop Program - 18 Sep 2014

9:30-10:00 - Registration

10:00-10:15 - Introduction to the Symposium

10:15-11:45 - Panel 1: Community Participation in IT Processes.

Information systems for governance generally involve many different kinds of users and stakeholders. The presentations in this panel are reflect how the role that these communities play at different stages of the technical process shape the conceptualization and outcomes of these diverse systems.

Atanu Garai (Fellow, Society for New Communications Research, Bubhaneshwar): Mechanisms of Community Enrollment in mHealth

Jagdish Mitra (CEO, CanvasM,A Tech Mahindra Company) – Arriving at Saral Zindagi: A suite of mobile applications to ease consumer life styles.

Chair: Dr Biswajit Das, Director, Centre for Culture Media and Governance (CCMG), Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

Discussant: Dr. Richa Kumar (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT-Delhi)

11:45-12:00 – Tea/Coffee break

12:00-13:30 - Panel 2: Community Representation in Information Modelling.

This panel describes the (often) implicit "Information Model" underlying IT enabled systems of governance. Making these models explicit also opens up the discussion of how social concepts and categories may be included as part of the model.

  • Dr Vignesh Ilavarasan P (Department of Management Studies, IIT-Delhi) – Information Models for Service Delivery in the Telecom Sector
  • Ravi Shukla (CCMG, JMI)–Prototyping Community Participation in Informational Models.
  • Chair: Dr. Arul Chib (NTU, Singapore)
  • Discussant: Sunil Abraham (CIS, Bangalore)

1 3:30-14:30 – Lunch

14:30 - 16:00 – Focus Group Workshop - Mechanisms for Community Participation in Information Systems.

The current research with communities around the Jamia Nagar area is taken as a case study. Participants are divided into two groups, the "process" group which is to suggest ways for community involvement in the process, and the "informational model" structure group. Each group is to suggest 5 ways in which communities can participate in IT systems.

List of People in the Second Half (there maybe more/different people):

  • Atanu Garai, P Vignesh, Ravi Shukla, Arul Chib, Sunil Abraham, Amit Prakash, Vibodh Parthasarathi, Pankaj Aggarwal, Biswajit Das.
  • Chair: Amit Prakash - I will speak to him beforehand about this.
  • Introducer: Ravi Shukla (5 Mins) - Q & A (10 mins)
  • Group Sessions (these can be in different parts of the same room) - it will require writing pads, pens , two white boards and markers/busters. Time is 20 mins.
  • Group 1 (Processes and Procedures to Involve Communities in Information Systems):
  • Facilitator: Arul Chib
  • Participants: Atanu Garai, Pankaj Aggarwal, Vibodh Parthasarthi

This group builds on their own experiences and comes up with 5 suggestions on how the IT process can be made more inclusive. This could mean - what are the different stages at which communities may get involved and how - as well as new ways of involvement.

Group 2 (Inclusion of Communities in Information Models)

  • Facilitator: Ravi Shukla
  • Participants: P Vignesh, Sunil Abraham

This group builds on their experiences to come up 5 suggestions on how community voices and concerns may be included in the Information Model. This could mean for instance - how to include minority voices in the model, or other factors of geography, culture, scale and temporality.

After this there are 10 minutes of presentation each by one representative from each group (this gives other people the space to wind-up/present).

This is followed by a summary by the discussant (Arul Chib) followed by discussion and winding up/ thanks giving by VP. (30 + 5 mins)

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