A small initiative that has blossomed into a beautiful trend !

Sometime back in early 2010 I alongwith Arvind, Narain and Ram were discussing on a city based community initiative to identify accident hotspots on ECR and curb traffic regulation. What evolved was a presentation of the possibilities to an audience at Ideacamp.

This caught the attention of Sanobar, a RJ by profession and then a newbie to TKF events. She put us on a Chat with the ACP Traffic Ms Sonel Mishra and me and Ram started the initiative of Capacity building CCTP (Chennai City Traffic Police) on Social Media.

The engagement involved creating awareness of the power of Social media to the Stakeholder group and discussing strategies of the rollout with the team. We powered the entire team on Facebook and twitter and primed for an official Launch on August 15, 2010 . Then we had to face the challenges of end user resistance to technology adoption and thereby a protracted delay in the rollout.

On one end both me and Ram had aggressively campaigned about this online and the media was eager to see this take off. Slowly we started facing queries from the community on credibility of the group and all such outburst. We interfered once to post on the search on Tamanna . Other than that we maintained the integrity of the site all along. Slowly the Knowledge Transfer happened in the month of May 2011 and today the wall is buzz with activity .

Today the Chennai City Traffic Police Facebook wall is nearing 8000 users online and daily action taken reports happening. We have transferred all knowledge artifacts to the Government and I take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of Ram and rest of the Team at The Knowledge Foundation on a job well done ! Thanx Team and we have made a difference !

That’s a Fiver

Come this April we complete 5 years of the birth of an Idea called The Knowledge Foundation. April 5 way back in 2006 we had completed our First Barcamp Chennai (India’s Second Barcamp) and that evening a few of us understood the power of what is possible within a group of highly motivated individuals working towards a common cause. Ever since that day we have journeyed together through memorable events and newer formats .

Most of us have forayed in different directions but took a lot of learning that we had into building / evolving better communities, workshops, codesprints, photowalks, online and offline clubs. Some of us have shaped careers from this experience, most of us have used this as a excellent platform to hone our presentation skills and all of us have used this platform to voice our take on anything discussed under the roof.

Whatever said and done there are a few things that we are proud to have accomplished at a very high level.
1. We totally redefined the way knowledge can be shared either free or near free in chennai. We redefined the way business networking landscape happened in Chennai.
2. India is always about volumes . And what best place than here to put “ Crowdsourcing “ to best use. 80% of our events have been successfully modeled on Wisdom of crowds.
3. We totally deconstructed and shared the dynamics on how to organize knowledge based events to varying degrees of perfection.
4. We have inspired a genre of social thinkers , domain leaders on the art of building communities both online as well as offline. A lot of patrons who have been a part of TKF or attended TKF events have gone forth and build communities of their own.

Honestly I write this is not to brag about what we have done in the past 5 years but is a resounding call to all who have walked with us any given day in the last 5 years attending any one of our events and found that we made a difference to join us in celebrating 5 years of that journey. Sort of a Thanksgiving to the entire patronage of TKF.

Invariably i have mailed this to all who have walked with us immaterial of where we stand today to join in on celebrations. I leave it to the group to suggest how best we can do this celebrations .

IGF 2008 Day 3 Favourite : Low Cost Sustainability Access

Format and Background :

The last three days of IGF at Hyderabad we have been talking about innumerable topics related to internet and its various topics , privileges, advances so on. But for the first time there was this interesting session presented by DEF (Digital Empowerment Foundation) India on a topic to ensure tha we bring the neglected masses of the underprivileged rural poor who don’t have access to internet.  The objective of the workshop was to discuss on the initiative we need to undertake to bring low cost , sustainable access to the rural poor so that we can empower the next billion into the ubiquitous information superhighway , the internet. The last 5 year has seen many ambitious projects, plans initiatives like OLPC, 100$ Laptop, rural kiosks, echoupal, Project Disha so on trying to create a better value proposition which can benefit the rural poor. All these initiatives created with a prime object for the underprivileged to take advantage of the benefits of internet. But each of these attempts seem to have some short coming or other and don’t seem to hit the nail on the head clearly. Thus the search is still on for a Utopian solution to the a low cost sustainable access. We are looking for a solution at the Base of the Pyramid where the market opportunity is amazingly vast. But at the same time the challenge and supporting infrastructure is pretty bare bone and hostile. The users at this segment are clearly a VFM ( Value for Money) market ie…value conscious .

The session was presided by : Mr Chandrasekhar, Special Secy, Dept of IT, Govt of India and moderated by Osama Manzar, Founder , Digital Empowerment Foundation of India and Manthan Award

The major Pain Points with conditions in developing countries like India is :

  • There is a severe shortage of power in rural india. And most of the time there is lack of adequate voltage
  • Lack of computers and basic cost of computers is at higher threshold making it less affordable for rural users
  • Lack of connectivity in the last mile, internet access in rural areas
  • Lack of knowledge / awareness among the rural poor on the benefits of internet
  • Uncertainity of technology adoption by end users in rural india

Given this established premise of thought it was subdivided into 4 Thematic groups

A. Access, Connectivity & Devices
B.Content and Services
C. Commerce and Business
D. Policy and Regulatory Focus

Each of the thematic groups was allowed to brainstorm for 15 minutes on the issue with donning the thinking hat and to evolve at points of influence and its recommendations. The evolved observations and recco were summarized into clear set of points that was bullet ted and put forth to the entire audience. All Recommendations were consolidated as a report to be sent to the IGF Secretariat and the Ministry of IT, Government of India

Recommendations of Session on Access , Connectivity and Devices

  1. We should focus toward providing low cost devices to rural poor with cheaper access cost. What we should focus towards will be something like mobile device that can be multifunctional in communication as well as for internet access at the same time can be charge and used for longer period of time thus derive better utility value to the users. Unless our solutions provide a dramatic level of Price – Performance it will not be a value buy to the user.And we identified the need for a hybrid solution that is able to integrate and address all the pain points of the system.
  2. We should look towards increasing the investment Capacity of end users or shared access should be made available
  3. Increase human resource capability in using the devices and connectivity. Rural Empowerment on using of these devices and internet need to be focused
  4. Technology seems to be having smaller phase out periods. We are currently using Core 2 machines and we have nearly 7 upgrades in PC based technology in as much as 4 years
  5. We need to create awareness on visible Improvement in the quality of life of end users due to connectivity

Recommendations Content and Services

  1. Standardize content to meet regional languages like standardization of keyboards of all vendors
  2. All citizen services to be made available in the mobile platform too
  3. Suggestion to insist on Uniformity in formats across different states in the same areas
  4. Translated content to be made available in regional languages too
  5. Prioritize and support use of Open source Software
  6. Services and content has to be made available and accessible to physically challenged (disabled) people too

Recommendations on Commerce and Business

  1. Need for a uniform policy for E-Commerce transactions and sites
  2. Uniform security standards for sites that adopt ecommerce traansactions
  3. Low cost / Incentivised access to E commerce sites
  4. Government support for low cost E commerce models
  5. Creation of Synchronous E commerce models that facilitate following market interactions :-    Rural >>Rural , Urban >> Rural and Urban >> Urban transaction models

Recommendations on Policy and Regulatory Focus

  1. Proposal to create a Corpus fund like USOF (Universal Services obligation Fund)
  2. Incentivising the service providers from the Corpus (USOF) Fund created to providers who extend services from urban to rural areas.
  3. Ability to share and distribute underutilized capacities (like internet bandwidth) and share infrastructure
  4. Right of the way policy
  5. Demand side policy facilitating long term sustainability
  6. Integrated or unified license for services for multiple services
  7. Spectrum regulation should reflect on public good

The session ended with deeper appreciation to the group dynamics that was clearly visible as outcome of such brainstorming session. All thanks to Osama Manzar for gathering such an elite participant list who also doubled as panelist to contribute in evolving the thought process. The entire gathering was more than 35 people strong and here is a snap shot of some of the participants who doubled as panelists

Panelists:

Deepak Maheshwari, Director – Corporate Affairs, Microsoft India
Rajendra Prasad, VP, Nepal Wireless
Syed Nazir Razik, Co Founder, The Knowledge Foundation.
Michael, Air Jaldi
Priyanthi, Diplo
Subho Ray, IAMAI
Ninad Vengurlekar, VP, IL&FS
Tahmina Rahman, AAIT, Bangladesh
Suresh Chanda, IAS
Ashish Sanyal, Director, EGPMU
Dr Rajiv Sharma, IAS
Sunil Abraham, Director, Internet Society
Joseph Thomas, Lead Partner, Byrraju Foundation
Sunil Kr Barnwal, CEO- JAP IT
Denise
Danny Nagdev
Sanjay Kumar

Additional Reading Recomendations:

1. C.K Prahalad ‘s ” Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid ”
2. http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/developing_native_capability/
3. Reinventing Strategies for the emerging markets

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Make a date with chennai on Nov 3rd, 3:11 pm.

On 3rd of November at 3:11 pm wherever you are at chennai all you need to do is click that moment either with your mobile cam of camera and upload the pic to our Flickr pool with a short description of where you were at that time slice with your name.

This is a small experiment to take a time slice out of the life of a chennaiite and try to potray the same online. For more details on this project pls visit our site http://www.311pm.com/

A date with time !