Design!PubliC — Third Conclave in New Delhi

Posted by Prasad Krishna at May 30, 2012 07:05 AM |
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On the 20th of April 2012, the third Design Public Conclave, organized by the Center for Knowledge Societies in collaboration with IBM, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google and the Centre for Internet and Society, was held at the National Museum, New Delhi. The Conclave brought together thought-leaders and decision makers from the government, the media, multinational organizations and academic institutions for a conversation about transforming India into an Innovation Society.
Design!PubliC — Third Conclave in New Delhi

Design!PubliC Event in Delhi

Sunil Abraham was a panelist along with Aditya Dev Sood, Arun Maira, Aditya Mishra, Sukumar Ranganathan, Bhairavi Jani, Ashwin Mahesh, Yamini Aiyar, Scott Burnham, Samanth Subramanian, Shanker Annaswamy, Ashok Alexander, Jeby Cherian, Pankaj Jhunja, Chakshu Roy, Ekta Ohri, James Crabtree, Theo JJ Groothuizen, Sam Pitroda, Darshana Gothi Chauhan, and spoke in the session on Participation, Collaboration and Innovation. The varied audience included representatives from the Planning Commission, the Embassies of Netherlands and Sweden, the American Center, the Ford Foundation, Premsela, DFID, PRS, Lirneasia, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Financial Times, Carnegie Mellon, Cambridge, NID, Asian Paints, Yes Bank, MTS, and many others.

The conclave began with three panel discussions exploring the relationship between trust, participation and innovation.

Participation, Collaboration, Innovation



The discussions touched upon different means to generate citizen participation in key decision making, including using social media, mobile phones and other technological platforms. These new networking technologies help create spaces for discourse, debate, and an opportunity for collective organization and activity. They also have the capacity to transform the agency and voices of previously remote societies. However, despite their potential to garner massive public participation, they have not really been utilized by most private, public or social institutions.

Mere participation is not enough. It is necessary to moderate the conversation and make respondents accountable for their comments, so that it does not lapse into a meaningless cacophony of anonymous voices. The challenge that remains, then, is to design a platform where both citizens and the government can engage in a meaningful way, without the barriers of language and literacy, and collaboratively arrive at meaningful, actionable solutions.

Imagining India as an Innovation Society

This conversation dove deeper into ways in which the necessary elements of trust and participation could be better incorporated in all the sectors of society in order to enable an innovation culture in India. Existing conceptions of innovation in India, including price-pointing innovation, and the need to move beyond this and create a culture that values systematic, routinizable innovation processes were discussed. When innovating in the public sector and designing systems and processes that affect the larger public, it is especially important to respond to the specific needs of the people. This is where avenues for civil society participation and the design of public spaces become especially crucial, as they function as interfaces between decision-makers and the public. Each panelist spoke about different aspects of this large challenge, touching upon user needs, education systems, intellectual property laws and methods of innovation. 


It was clear, as the conversation ended, that a lot more work and planning is needed to even begin to articulate and come to a consensus on what an innovation society looks like. 

Click to download the full report (published by Center for Knowledge Societies) [PDF, 2.18 MB]

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