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[liberationtech] TODAY at Stanford: Design Thinking, Social Change, & Governance Revolution in India

Yosem Companys companys at
Thu Jun 4 09:15:07 PDT 2015

Design Thinking, Social Change and Governance Revolution in India

Vivek Srinivasan, Academic Research & Program Manager, Program on 
Liberation Technology

June 4, 2015 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Open to Stanford faculty, students, staff, and visiting scholars.

Ground Floor Conference Rm E008

Encina Hall 
616 Serra St.
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

FSI Contact: Audrey McGowan <audrey.mcgowan at>


Tamil Nadu is among the few states in India that provides basic public 
services such as schools, water, electricity, primary healthcare and 
transport almost universally.  These services function remarkably well, 
making a significant difference to the lives of people. In many cases, the 
state has achieved better outcomes than other states of India, but with 
comparable budgets. 

In this talk, Vivek will argue that the effectiveness of Tamil Nadu's 
administration can be linked to underlying processes akin to 'human centred 
design' that has been popularized by the Design school at Stanford, among 
others. This form of design thinking is slowly but surely making its way to 
other parts of India leading to a small revolution in governance in India 

The talk will be based on his recently published book, Delivering Public 
Services Effectively: Tamil Nadu & Beyond.


Vivek Srinivasan joined the CDDRL Liberation Technology Program as the 
program manager in February 2011 after completing his Ph.D. in social 
sciences from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Prior to this, he 
worked with campaigns on various socio-economic rights in India, including 
the right to food, education and the right to information. Based on these 
experiences Srinivasan has written (and co-authored) extensively on issues 
surrounding the right to food, including Notes from the right to food 
campaign: people's movement for the right to food (2003), Rights based 
approach and human development: An introduction (2008), Gender and the 
right to food: A critical re-examination (2006), Food Policy and Social 
Movements: Reflections on the Right to Food Campaign in India (2007).  

In working with these campaigns, he realized the widespread disparities in 
the provision of basic public services in India. This led him to examine 
how Tamil Nadu, a southern Indian state, developed extensive commitment to 
providing such services to all its residents in his doctoral dissertation.  
Oxford University Press published Srinivasan’s book based on the 
dissertation entitled, "Delivering services effectively: Tamil Nadu and 
Beyond" in 2014.

As a full-time activist, he also experimented with various IT platforms to 
make the campaigns effective. This interest brought him to the Liberation 
Technology Program at Stanford where Srinivasan is currently leading a 
research project entitled "Combating corruption with mobile phones".
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