Design Public 4: Conversation, Collaboration, Partnership

Planning for the fourth edition of the Design Public Conclave is well underway, and we’re pleased to announce that it will be held in Mumbai at the Coomaraswamy Hall, CSMVS, formerly the Prince of Wales Museum. The Conclave will be held over three days, beginning the 29th of November, and will have as its themes ‘Conversation, Collaboration, Partnership.’

The Theme

India’s Chief Economic Advisor, Raghuram Rajan recently pointed out that for India to return to a growth path, it must invest in education, healthcare, finance, water and power. The provision of these services is not merely a matter of political will – it is a question of ability and capacity. With currently available technologies and delivery systems, it is simply not possible expand access to these services, much less improve their quality, convenience and effectiveness from the point of view of end-users. Innovation in these areas is therefore essential. How can we think creatively about these challenges together, across the different sectors of society in which we stand and work? This is the larger theme of the Design Public Conclave.

The Conclave will address four of the largest challenges in India that could bring about economic growth and improved quality of life: Smarter Cities, Nimble Agriculture, Equitable Water and Post-Grid Power. These are all complex challenges that cannot be overcome by any one sector of society, and require a multiplayer, participatory and creative approach to solution-creation. By addressing these challenges in day-long workshopping sessions, we hope to develop actionable solutions in each of these four areas, that can be taken forward through collaborations and partnerships.

Read more about the thinking behind this edition of Design Public and the four challenge areas in the Design Public 4 Discussion Paper.

The Agenda
After the last edition of Design Public in New Delhi last April, we asked participants to send us their feedback, to tell us what worked and what didn’t. Several responded that they were most drawn to the breakout sessions, where they were able to get their hands dirty, but that they wanted them to last longer. Based on their feedback, we’ve made some changes to the structure of the Conclave. This time around, it will span two days, from the 29th to the 30th of November. In addition, we will be offering a day-long training workshop, the Certificate in Innovation Management, on the following day, the 1st of December.

The first day of the Conclave will be dedicated entirely to brainstorming and collaborative solutioneering around the four challenge tracks. We will bring in experts working in each of these fields from a range of different perspectives, including academics, entrepreneurs, policy makers, private sector companies, and more, to better position and inform the discussion. Students from leading institutions will also be involved in these sessions, the findings and conclusions from which will be presented the next day at the Conclave.

The second day will be comprised of panel discussions that bring a wide range of experts together to talk about such large questions as innovation in India’s public systems, how best to redefine public-private partnerships, and how we can reimagine Corporate Social Responsibility. Findings from the breakout sessions of the previous day will also be presented back to the audience. In addition, we will have keynote addresses by global leaders in social design and innovation.

Following this, we will offer a short, intensive day-long training on the management of innovation. This last offering is an addendum to the Conclave proper, and requires participants to register separately. More information on the structure of this fourth Design Public Conclave can be found in the Concept Note.

The Venue
The Conclave will be held at the Coomaraswamy Hall, CSMVS, formerly the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India. The museum was founded in the early 1900s as a memorial to the Prince of Wales’ visit to Mumbai, but was used variously as a military hospital and children’s welfare exhibition before it finally opened as a museum proper in 1922. Now renamed the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, the building has been declared one of India’s heritage sites. The museum houses about 50,000 artefacts and has an outstanding collection comprising of sculptures, terracotta’s, bronzes, excavated artefacts from the Harappan sites, Indian miniature paintings, European paintings, porcelain and ivories from China and Japan, and much more. And besides this, of course, the inspiring architecture and beautiful lawns of the CSMVS deserve a special mention, being inspired by Indian, Saracenic and Western architectural forms that embody a sense of cultural confluence, a harmonious joining of unlike perspectives.

We’re very excited about the venue because we get to continue our tradition of holding Design Public at culturally and historically rich locations like the NGMA, Bangalore and the National Museum in Delhi. Like last time, we feel that there couldn’t be a more appropriate place to talk about India’s future than in a place so steeped with its history, especially a history so appropriate to the focus of our Conclave.

We will be posting regular updates on the Conclave, including speakers, panel discussions, brainstorming sessions and much more over the coming months. Stay tuned!

About Ayesha Vemuri

Ayesha Vemuri is responsible for thought leadership and outreach efforts at CKS. She has undergraduate degree in Visual Art from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she also studied such varied subjects as biology, literature and the humanities. At CKS, she is responsible for curating the Design Public blog, managing our various social media platforms, organizing Pecha Kucha Nights and contributing to the intellectual content of the Design Public Conclave and other CKS initiatives. Find her on twitter at @ayeshavemuri.
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