Design Public III: An Overview in Pictures

What really happened at the third edition of Design Public? In many ways, it was all much more than we can wrap our heads around. While more reflective accounts of the day will soon follow, this is a quick overview of the day, for all those who couldn’t attend and for those who did attend but would like to remind themselves of the day. Please click on hyperlinks for more detailed overviews of each session.

The conclave began with a word of welcome by CKS’ founder-CEO Aditya Dev Sood, wherein he talked about the logic and structure of the conclave and invited all participants to briefly introduce themselves. It was very interesting to see the wide variety in participant profiles, ranging from very senior positions in established government or private sector institutions to young entrepreneurs and professionals.



Following this, we launched into the panel discussions, the first of which was on Trust and the Design of Services and Systems. The conversation focused on the need to design government systems for more transparency and accountability, as well as with more avenues for citizen participation and collective action.

The second panel discussion revolved around Participation, Collaboration and Innovation, and touched upon uses of various technological platforms including mobile phones and social media, to engender greater citizen involvement in governance and other social processes.

While the first two panels looked at trust and participation and explored their relationship to innovation, the third panel focused on the means to actually transforming India into an innovation society by incorporating more avenues for trust and participation into various aspects of society and culture.

Following this intense morning of panel discussions was a brief video message from Sam Pitroda, speaking on innovation in the Indian context. Participants then moved to the beautiful atrium courtyard of the National Museum for the official launch of the Bihar Innovation Lab, followed by a light but delicious lunch fueled with much conversation following the morning’s discussions.

After lunch, participants divided up into the four breakout groups and spent an hour and a half brainstorming specific applications of innovation and design in four different focus areas: Smarter Cities, Rural Innovation, 50 Steps to building an Innovation Society, and Startups for Social Innovation. This was followed by mutual presentations and brief discussions of the solutions generated within the breakouts.

Following this was a concluding plenary session, which wanted to focus on the concrete steps and necessary alliances to transforming India into an innovation society, but ended up being a more ethereal conversation about the need to design conversation so it yields meaningful output.

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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