CRIE Lecture 22 – Thinking Institutionally about technology design for social inclusion

Date: January 24, 2024

Balaji Parthasarathy will deliver a talk for the Collective for Reimagining Innovation in Engineering (CRIE) as part of the lecture series titled Thinking Institutionally about technology design for social inclusion


Historically, in a range of fields, recognition has been accorded to individuals, although the complexity of many problems require us to work together, bound by various institutions. Since the 20th century, the two dominant institutions in the public and private domains have been states and markets respectively. While the expansion in the role of these institutions led to a historically unprecedented growth in prosperity, they have failed to address the many “wicked” problems which have limited the extent to which vast sections of the population can share in the developmental benefits that have accrued. The difficulty of designing solutions to such problems is, in part, because they are hard to either characterize or define. As a result, technology, though useful, is far from sufficient. Another reason is because solutions have, typically, been sought by states, markets or civil society organizations working in relative isolation. As each of these institutional mechanisms suffers from their own limitations, new configurations are being devised to tackle the problems which continue to bedevil us. This presentation will sketch out a conceptualization of a new institutional approach: the hybrid domain.

CITAPP at IIIT Bangalore is an interdisciplinary think-tank set-up to focus on the policy challenges and the organizational demands made by technological innovation. Of particular interest to the Centre is how technological advances, along with institutional changes that harness the legitimacy and the powers of bureaucracies and market, address the needs of underserved communities.