- Ph.D. in Social Sciences, Maxwell School of Syracuse University (2005-10) [dissertation]
- M.A. Economics, Delhi School of Economics (1997-2000)
- B.A. Economics, St. Joseph’s College, Trichy, India (1994-97)
- Schooling, mostly at St. John’s Vestry, Trichy, India
- Independent consultant (2016 on) with clients in fields such as Wholesale, Retail, Fintech, Social media and Human rights
- Adjunct Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (Jan 2018 on)
- Research Scientist, Tech Policy Lab, University of Washington (Jan 2018 – May 2018)
- Visiting Scholar, Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law (July 2016 – Jun 2017)
- Academic research & program manager, Program on Liberation Technology, Stanford University (2011- Jun 2016)
- Lecturer, ‘Internet, public action & development’, Stanford University
- Instructor, ‘Politics of South Asia’, Maxwell School of Syracuse University (2005-10)
- Coordinator, Right to Food Campaign, India (2002-05)
- Policy Coordinator, National Alliance for the Fundamental Right to Education, India (2001-02)
- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), (2000)
Book Chapters (Peer reviewed)
Conferences, Newspapers & Reports
- Combating corruption with mobile phones: The project supports Civil Society Organizations working in rural India to fight corruption and improve the delivery of public services using technology. The project started in 2012 with support from Google and has been implemented in five states of India. Based on encouraging results, the project received a grant in 2017 for scaling and evaluation.
- Mobilizing equity: The project aims to improve the effectiveness of Elected Women Representatives in rural India by creating a knowledge base that they could access on questions of governance. We are working towards a digital platform that combines features of a learning platform (with structured content) and a Q&A platform (with an emphasis on peer-led learning).
- Massive Open Online Course on using technology to promote transparency: I was the course leader for a Massive Open Online Course that discusses ways of using technology to promote transparency and accountability. The course was offered in partnership with the National Democratic Institute and involved presentations by over a dozen leaders in this space. It was offered on Stanford Online during Aug-Oct 2016, and select teams from the course met in DC and in San Francisco for an in-person program during summer 2017.
- Constitution Explorer, a structured database of constitutions that will help people identify how different constitutions have dealt with various problems. I started this initiative with colleagues at Stanford, and the idea was adopted half-way through the project by colleagues in the University of Chicago and University of Texas, and it is now alive as www.constituteproject.org
- Secretariat to the Commissioners of the Supreme Court in the Right to Food litigation: The Supreme Court of India appointed Dr. N.C. Saxena and (the late) Dr. S.R. Sankaran as commissioners in what is known as the ‘right to food litigation’. I established their secretariat and worked with them for three years. The commissioners have been instrumental in framing many of the arguments in this landmark litigation.
- Placement Cell, Delhi School of Economics: Started an initiative to set up the placement programme at the ‘D.School’ that has since become well-established and very successful.
Invited presentations (selected)
Presentations on my work at the Right to Food Campaign: Boston University (2006), Harvard University (2006), Syracuse University (2007)
Delivering Public Services Effectively: Tamil Nadu & Beyond: Ashoka University (2016), Azim Premji University (2015), Cornell University (2014), Institute of Development Studies, UK (2015), London School of Economics (2015), Queen Elizabeth House of Oxford University (2015), Stanford University (2012, 2014, 2015), Syracuse University (2009), University of Connecticut (2012)
Presentations on technology & accountability: Asia Foundation (2011), Harvard India Conference (2014), Oxford Internet Institute (2015), Singularity University (2012), Stanford University (2011), Syracuse University (2014)
A few links to know me better
- A brief mention of my dissertation by Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze in an article here.
- Webcast of my talk on the role of technology in combating corruption (78 Mins).
- A talk on Combatting corruption with mobile phones at the Oxford Internet Institute.
- Design thinking & a revolution in governance at Stanford University.
- Can India’s welfare programmes be reversed? A talk at Azim Premji University. (A version of Book Talk)
- Webcast of my talk on democratic movements in the Neoliberal Era (28 Mins)
- A video of my friends trying to imitate my vigorous nodding of the head with a South Indian twist to it (1 Min). And then, you may want to check this out:
- The cutest goodbye message on video made for me (3.15 Mins)
I am a social scientist with training in qualitative research, design thinking, and data science. These skills were acquired in leading institutions such as the Delhi School of Economics, Syracuse University, Stanford, and the University of Washington. My work experience of 15+ years spans industry, academia, non-profits, and governments with notable clients such as Facebook and Teva. I am highly skilled in UX Research methods such as field studies, rapid ethnography, one-on-one interviews, group discussions, and diary studies. I am also proficient in data analysis and surveys and love to use python packages such as Pandas, PYMC3, SciKit Learn, and PySpark for analyzing data. Beyond techniques, you will find me to have strong interpersonal and organizational skills, and the experience of working with a wide range of stakeholders – ranging from rural tribal users with low digital skills to leaders such as sales directors, CFOs, CEOs, and heads of government administrations. Do get in touch in case you are looking for a researcher with a bias for action. I am especially interested in combining my interests in User Research and Machine Learning, and would be thrilled to participate in the design of AI enabled products. You can learn more about me, my interests and my life through this website including some gossip, my research, articles I published, reflections on life as a doctoral student, etc. Off late, I have moved away from the academia as my mainstay and have started consulting in the corporate sector. That journey started coincided with my fatherhood, as a result of which I have not had much time to update this blog on my UXR and Python development life. I promise to get to it someday.
Considering that you have come this far in this page, it looks like you have some interest in my life. Do come back, and I promise to keep this updated!