The second service we are featuring is probably the most common service experience in India. Read the full story here

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Comment by Daniel Christadoss on January 19, 2010 at 8:58
Anab & Syamant,
Would it not be useful for some of the major services you talk about to use social media for improving their services. For example they could open a group/forum in networks like Wenovski and post areas for discussion. They would then enjoy some great suggestions and ideas from people around the world. This would also be like a virtual internship for students and others. In fact this could be a boon for non profit organizations to get projects accomplished with minimal funding.
Every one including the ultimate user could come out a winner. Could you talk one of the major or even minor players to come in to Wenovski on this experiment? All that they would need from their side would be a coordinator.
Comment by Anab Jain on January 19, 2010 at 6:25
Ditto Daniel's comments regarding Syamant's insights about information flows that need to become smarter. I think your points are great reminders about the problems we encounter in our new services today, where the chain is not working well, and hence there are flaws in the service. This would be very important to be kept in mind while designing these new services we have been talking about Daniel.

Since I have been researching local services in India, I am amazed how efficient the low-tech ones are - while my experiences with mobile or airline services in India that are new, has been appalling. In fact I wonder - does Airtel even have a single 'service' or 'experience' designer on board? Or spicejet? I want to go to and tell them to hire us ;)
Comment by Daniel Christadoss on January 16, 2010 at 22:16
Thanks for bring up the power of mobile for smarter information flow. The mobile clubbed with the information you have given us on health care delivery and expert knowledge based systems show how easy and economical it can be to increase the economic prosperity of the citizens of the world. You have again opened our eyes to so many possibilities for betterment. As a matter of fact social media networks could collaborate on building the necessary knowledge bases for health and for that matter any field. Few more drivable nails in the poverty coffin.
Comment by Syamant on January 15, 2010 at 9:50
Daniel and Anab

Great discussion and lots to learn.

Consider the following

- if one knows the specific needs of a particular set of people then someone else can devise a solution or service and another could perhaps provide a way for building and ensuring that services reach the specific set of people. In essence this is a chain of activities and resources.

- if you consider this chain, it is fairly evident that information on these 3 sets of people is not interlinked ie
the person who has a problem or is aware of a problem is not aware of the means to provide the solution and then there is always the issue of funds etc. Maybe the first step is smarter information flowing both ways.

- a colleague works in textile design and has worked closely with crafts person and has felt that the mobile could be revolutionary in terms of providing information and access to markets that would benefit them economically. Some of her experiences are here Indian Crafts and Mobiles , Real People, Real India, Real Stories , Then Why Not a Mobile for Her

- One of the key challenges is Health and the importance of delivery of health services in centers away from cities and urban towns. Before we even begin to talk of the more advance tools like EMR etc, there are simple things that need to be done . Do review Health on her Finger Tips

Its evident that technology could play a role but again the whole concept of micro-financing and lending has to be looked at closely to provide such services the funds they need.

Also information that links ideas to solutions to funding is the key to providing economic and social benefits. This is where perhaps digital connections could play a bigger role..

Would like your views. Thanks!
Comment by Daniel Christadoss on January 15, 2010 at 9:08
Anab, Thanks for putting it into perspective for me. I agree with your approach. It makes a lot of sense.
"designing and facilitating specific services which enable better lives" for Smart Cities / poverty one is a great start. You are always an inspiration.
Comment by Anab Jain on January 15, 2010 at 8:36
Hi Daniel, thanks for the post, and your insights. I think eradicating poverty is a tall order - although I agree, not impossible. However, as a designer, I believe my role towards that goal will lie in designing and facilitating specific services which enable better lives. By people-centric I meant taking a holistic view towards 'end-users' from those who fund projects and those who make policies. Its an attitude, that comes from putting people first, over greed. In India, there needs to be a political will to make that happen. I am not cynical, but I do believe that it will take more then a few people to make that happen, if at all. I think the way forward maybe to look at some of the new schemes - once again referring to the 'Rural employment scheme' and working together with policy planners to make more such visions become a reality.

Taking your points below - most poor people in India have no choice but to cook at home - the problem is to have enough money for two meals. Minimum wages for a labourer are supposed to be Rs. 200 / day, but how many people get that? Getting education to people over the web is ofcourse a great idea, and already a proven one. However again, its the mindset. Since the income of parents is not enough to support the family, kids are taken out of education and asked to work. I couldnt agree more with you about cars. Who wants cars? But once again, we need to look at aspirations. Most people in India have dreamt of a car. Now that the NANO is out and affordable, ALL people want a car. These are aspirations that have been fed to us, and while I believe in social media, I think its also responsible for creating more such aspirations and desires which are not sustainable. In fact the whole situation is perhaps too complicated. I'd be happy to start with idea around smart cities / poverty one and seeing how that unfolds?
Comment by Daniel Christadoss on January 14, 2010 at 23:54
Anab, you mention exploring 'people-centric' a bit more. Are you talking about starting with elimination of poverty to start with. That would in turn have a ripple effect and prevent other social ills.
What are the minimum requirements to eradicate poverty?
What does one require to survive?
Nutritious food, habitat, health care and education
I have been talking about Smart Cars, Smart Cities, Smart Health, Smart Education and others.
But the greatest area to really work on would be the root cause itself.
And it should not be too difficult to do
I have been calculating on food costs if cooked at home. It really costs very little
Next is health care. If one is educated to be healthy the cost of health care can be next to nothing.
Education: Today there is free education on the web. Take Sal Khans Academy as an example.
Habitats:Well with technology available today we could mass produce pre-cast housing for a very low cost
And then with all this who needs cars?
I would love to collaborate with all on this initiative. Believe me if all of us dream it, it can be done
Comment by Anab Jain on January 12, 2010 at 10:56
Thanks for your insights Daniel. I think there are a few lessons to be learnt from this. I have always believed in ‘people-centric’ over ‘data centric’ as an attitude to be adopted by urbanists and planners. At the moment, atleast in India, there is no choice but to be people-centric. But I wonder if we need to explore ‘people-centric’ a bit more? If people-centric is a design attitude then exploitation and difficult urban living conditions would not exist here in India. If people -centric is a no-choice attitude, then it can be quite top-down. (which I am observing)

Yes, the hawker’s survival skills have helped him become street smart and a service designer, from whom all can learn. And yes, it can help in gainful employment for millions of other such Haris. In fact the government’s rural employment scheme is one such answer. Am sure there are others.
Comment by Daniel Christadoss on January 12, 2010 at 9:47
I quote below from your blog
But these loopholes allow for a large population without a home address and a bank account to earn a living, which otherwise would have been impossible. And importantly, this seemingly ‘organic’ system also creates less waste, minimal packaging and almost no carbon footprint, making it highly sustainable.
Is there a lesson to be learnt here? Can we use these lessons as we build Smart Cities? Smart Cities today are I suspect could become too Data Centric rather than becoming People Centric. The Edible Gum Wallah shows a desirable work ethic. He works hard to take care of his family, establishes good will with his customers and is probably well versed in Service Design Principles using Street Smarts.
Is there wisdom in having a Hawker oriented society or a tleast a Hybrid. Sometimes one wonders how we can have a good mix of age old traditions with the wonders of modern technology. I guess that is where our Service Designers can break the mold. Please tell IBM to take notes. Is there an answer to eliminating inner city poverty and drug use through gainful employment?


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