Conversations on design for public good

On Oct 14, the Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS), an innovation consulting firm, hosted its second Design Public conclave in Bangalore. The venue (National Gallery of Modern Art) couldn’t have been more picturesque, aesthetic and appropriate. It’s not often that one hears about design and public good in the same breath so I diligently pursued …

Continue reading

The Ugly Indian’s Gift to Bangalore on the occasion of Namma Metro Launch

[Editor’s Note: The Ugly Indian, an uncategorizable Bangalore-based community organization, has been on my radar for more than a year. They have a fresh approach towards solving the problem of urban cleanliness; an approach that starts with acknowledging that we (“us Indians”) have abysmal standards of public hygiene; an internalization that “WE Ugly Indians are …

Continue reading

Does Microcredit work for the urban poor? Banerjee and Duflo Answer

In chapter 7 of Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo’s Poor Economics, they delve into the economics of lending to the poor and, among other things, proceed to answer the question “Does Microfinance work for the poor?” The answer depends on the definition of “work”. Banerjee and Duflo (B & D) found that no independent research …

Continue reading

Wheeling the UP rickshaw pullers away from exploitation

[Editor’s Note: Last week I had a phone conversation with Naveen Krishna, Managing Director of SMV Wheels (a Varanasi-based social enterprise with an innovative business model that steers cycle rickshaw pullers away from exploitative rickshaw merchants). Naveen is a Masters in Social Work graduate from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) who learnt all about the rickshaw …

Continue reading

Calcutta’s dying breed of ‘human horses’

As part of my research for an upcoming post on SMV Wheels (a social enterprise serving the rickshaw puller community), I’ve read many articles and viewed several photoessays. A photo gallery from National Geographic (April 2008) on Calcutta’s dying breed of rickshaw pullers (called ‘human horses’) is a great piece of photo journalism. I’ve embedded …

Continue reading