Why Design Public?

There’s a lot going on this weekend as we prepare for the event upcoming next week. We have people designing signs and banners, people printing books and reading materials, and people dealing with caterers, audio-visual equipment and other kinds of vendors. Amidst this frenzy of activity, I thought of taking a moment out to reflect on why were doing all this. Why Design Public?

These days there is no shortage of idea festivals, in India or in another part of the world. Back in 2003, when we first brought the Doors of Perception to India, TED had not been invented, nor had Pecha-Kucha. People didn’t go to Goa for Design Yatra or Think Festival. There was no Sankalp and no Khemka Social Forum. Today, just about everywhere you look you will see a new ideas festival or design event being cooked up.

We should recognize that we live in a time of foment and change, which is being fed by new ideas and new thinking. And also by new networks among small groups of individuals who are newly empowered to come together to make new things possible. But amidst this festival of festivals, why Design Public?

Design Public is not a place to see and be seen — it is not a muah-muah party for the connected set. It is not a place where ideas come to become smaller or made more accessible. It is a place were the best new thinking on innovation and how to do it and on how to make India an innovation society is brought together for further action. It is a place where new ideas and approaches to inclusive innovation can be aired in order to gain attention, feedback, momentum, resources, and to therefore acquire institutional density. To move from thought to action, from possibility to realization, to speed up the churning of society’s collective innovation cycle, and to spin out new collaborative projects, programs and activities. That’s the purpose and mission of Design Public.

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