I specialise in organisation development and capacity building, with over three decades of experience working with the private industry, international agencies, government, non-governmental organisations and policy think tanks. My pedagogical experimentation, design developments, and technological innovations are internationally published. I have a practicing interest in languages, indigenous knowledge systems and heritage, particularly Indian crafts.
Design and development:
I began work-life in the late 1980s in the United States, after a postgraduate degree in Mass Communication. That decade saw the development of the world’s first products in multimedia for education and I soon found myself at the centre of this work domain. I chose to return to India, to its kaleidoscopic socio-cultural canvas, to apply my new skills in the developing world. A programme, collaboratively executed by the USAID, the Indian Ministry of Water Resources and Education Development Center, Boston, laid the foundations for multimedia development in India. I began work on India’s first multimedia programme – interactive videodiscs for rural water and land management training, in a rapidly evolving technological universe. I was excited to lead a pioneering project that applied cutting edge technology to rural learning in India.
The challenges of working in rural India in 1990 were varied. There were long days of field work in the extreme summer temperatures of Rajasthan and Haryana. Still others spent trying to send faxes (facsimile) from the local post office in Udaipur using the only existing fax machine in town! Most significant, were the challenges of integrating diverse worlds – farmers, indigenous people, water user associations, professors, creative media staff, and foreign bosses. In those early years of multimedia, the idea was to enhance classroom training for water and land management with tech enabled visualisation and self-paced learning. We created simulations of natural phenomena, that were not possible to experience in real time and space. The programmes enabled adult learners to visualise, question, explore, observe, reflect, analyse and solve, at their own pace. Our final design was a technology enabled, exploratory, game like approach to real world problem solving – a pathbreaking tech and pedagogical development of the time.
I started up NIIT Ltd’s ‘Centre of Competence in Multimedia’ within R&D in the late 1990s. Later I created ‘The Design Lab’ which developed among the first concepts, content, products and platforms for educational technology for diverse audiences – adults, children, rural, urban, social & industry. These included the very first interactive cd roms for children’s education, learning management systems, corporate virtual universities and virtual classrooms.
The work on the globally acclaimed Hole-In-The-Wall project was launched 1999). I led the research, design and development of its first large scale rural implementation in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra (stories from ‘Hole In The Wall’). An evaluation paradigm (GUI Icon Association Inventory) I developed became fundamental to its pan-India research proofs. The research was internationally peer reviewed, published and cited. International collaborations included the distinguished Kaleidoscope Europe (Network of Excellence of European research teams TEL under Prof. Nicolas Balacheff), Laboratory Leibniz CNRS France, The French Embassy in India, French artist and pedagogue Pascal Monteil and the University of Newcastle, U.K. (Prof. James Tooley).
A learning project in digital art conceived for rural Indian children was recognised by the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France and shown for 3 months at the international exhibition ‘D.Day Le Design Aujourd’hui – 2005’. It was supported by The French Embassy in India, and conducted in collaboration with pedagogue and eminent international artist Pascal Monteil. We used scaffolded observation, reflection and learning-by-doing as pedagogical methods in a technological universe, for digital art education.
Presently, my consulting and advisory privileges an integrative approach for sustainable solutions for learning and organisational growth. The focus is on the learner, the organisation and their fundamental interdependencies. As Director and Principal Consultant with Aquarians Management Consultancy Pvt Ltd., clients include international agencies, bi-lateral agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs) and policy think tanks. (technology & learning in Panchayat Governance, India).
We hold that for change to be real, it must come from within. Learning environments need to evolve to integrate across subject areas, physical and digital spaces, action and reflection, self and the organisation, teaching, learning and being.
“The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught…The second principle is that the mind has to be consulted in its own growth….The third principle of education is to work from the near to the far, from that which is to that which shall be” — Sri Aurobindo
“Without an integrated understanding of life, our individual and collective problems will only deepen and extend. The purpose of education is not to produce mere scholars, technicians, and job hunters, but integrated men and women who are free of fear; for only between such human beings can there be enduring peace.” —Jiddu Krishnamurti
Certified MBTI Practitioner. ® The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and MBTI are registered trademarks of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the US and other countries
The Digital Art Project exhibited for 3 months at the prestigious design exhibition – ‘D Day Design Aujourd’hui’ – The Centre Pompidou , Paris, France.
WORKSHOPS, CONFERENCES, LECTURES
- World Bank and the Government of Karnataka
- United Nations Development Programme, India & Asia-Pacific.
- United Nations Development Programme, Timor Leste
- Center for Policy Research, India
- Swiss Agency for International Development, India
- Kudumbashree Mission, Kerala, India
- Sri Aurobindo Society, India
- International Kaleidoscope Symposium, Europe
- Intel “Innovation in Education”, South Africa
- Institution of Engineers India
- University Joseph Fourier, France
- IT for Change, India
- Kutch Abhiyaan, India
- T4E (Technology for Education) IIT-Powai, India
- International Usability Professionals Association, India
- The French Embassy in India
- Rotary International, India
- Seagull Publishers, India
- ACM SIGCHI, India
- Comet Media Foundation, India
- Education Development Center, USA
- Industrial Design Center IIT, India
- Underscore Records (Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan), India
- NIIT University, India
- Symbiosis Center of Information Technology, India
- PUKAR Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research, India
- ……and others.
- ‘Towards Holistic Panchayat Raj’, Twentieth Anniversary Report of the Expert Committee on Leveraging Panchayats For Efficient Delivery of Public Goods and Services. Government of India Report 2014.
- ‘Imagining India’ by Nandan Nilekani
- ‘The Beautiful Tree’ by James Tooley
- Annual Report of the French Embassy in India (2004-2005)
- ‘Impressions’ Journal of the Alliance Francaise de Mumbai
- ….and academic citations
BBC, Discovery Channel, Catalogue of the Centre Pompidou, France, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, DNA, The Indian Express, The Statesman, The Telegraph, Sakaal… and others.