In April of 2011, a group of activists gathered at Jantar Mantar, in support of Anna Hazare, who was taking an anti-corruption movement to the streets and raising an argument for a more responsive government. Around the time, Dr. Aditya Dev Sood, was being asked if he saw any relationship between the Anna movement and what his company, the Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS) was doing in terms of brining design into governance? At the time, he didnâ€™t see the connection, but today, looking back at the four editions of Design Public, a high-level conclave on innovation in the public interest, he sees the relationship in a completely new light.
The Anna movement, leading to the formation of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has managed to gather momentum in an incredibly short span of time, and will likely continue to do so. Add to this the increasing number of open data and open government initiatives around the world, and the links between open data, open government, and citizen centered government started to fall in place. Conversations and discussions that Dr. Sood was having with associates and friends, including one in particular with Juha Huuskonen, about 15months ago, strengthened this idea that open government is participatory and inclusive, and it leads to smarter government. If one proposes open government, it always calls for more participation from the citizens and therefore, these are not two different things. The goals of Juha Huuskonenâ€™s organization – the Open Knowledge Foundation â€“ that engage with Finnish citizenry by making available data in a responsible manner, is not so different from the goals of the Bihar Innovation Lab, chaired by Dr. Sood, which attempts to bring innovation in public delivery in the field of Health.
Just a few months ago, with the realization and operationalization of the Bihar Innovation Lab and the READ Alliance, Dr. Sood decided that it was time to have a public dialogue to understand new ways in which CKS could partner with the social sector and government, to form an institutional framework through which civic innovation could be achieved. With the elections right around the corner, this dialogue will be beneficial for our political representatives as well as our citizen body.
Never before, has Dr. Sood been so expressive about the expected outcomes of Design Public. There are two major outcomes we expect out of Design Public 5 â€“ (i) the establishment of a Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) India in partnership with SIX Global and SIX Asia based in Hongkong and (ii) the creation of a Civic Innovation Lab to promote citizen centric governance in Delhi which will focus on urban needs of today. Join us and others, on the 14th of March 2014, at the Vihara Innovation Campus, as we bring together thought leaders and a decision maker from around the world to make this into reality.