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Enabling Information Systems for Local Governance

The One day workshop brings together practitioners, researchers and thinkers from the overlapping fields of IT, sociology and governance to seek mechanisms for involvement of local communities as active participants in information systems for governance. Conventional technological models are based on certain a priori assumptions on how engineers and designers expect people to use technologies as well as the social universe in which the information systems function. Social scientists and ethnographers on the other hand, concern themselves with how people use and interpret technologies and tend to have a better understanding of the role of technologies in the everyday life of users.

The first panel concerns itself with how these two diverse and possibly complementary ways of approaching technologies may synergise as a combined sociotechnical process rather than a purely technological one. Another useful way to understand the information systems as inherently socio-technical amalgamations is to examine the “Informational model” – or the concepts, categories, and relationships – underlying the systems. Describing the systems in terms of their informational models enables people who understand issues of governance to speak to technologists on a common platform. Thus, the idea in the second panel is to discuss whether there is a need to rethink the mechanisms for building information models for local governance.

Some of the questions relevant to the workshop are:
  • What is the role of local communities in information systems for governance? How can local participation in governance be enabled/enhanced?
  • What are some of the existing applications and mechanisms for creating the concepts, categories, relationships, rules and constraints (the information model) used in building information systems for governance and is there a need to rethink them?

Tentative Program - 18 Sep 2014

9:30-10:00 - Registration

10:00-10:15- Introduction to the Workshop (Vibodh Parthasarthi, CCMG, JMI)

10:15-11:45 - Panel 1: Governance Information Systems as Sociotechnical Processes

Information systems for governance generally involve many different kinds of users and stakeholders. The presentations in this panel are indicative of how communities get represented and the roles that they play in different technical systems. The response and discussions suggest mechanisms for enhanced community involvement as a means to creating effective systems of governance.

Atanu Garai (Fellow, Society for New Communications Research, Bubhaneshwar): Mechanisms of Community Enrollment in mHealth

Jagdish Mitra (CEO, CanvasM,a Tech Mahindra Company) – Mobile Application as a response to social outcry: The Case of Sexual Harassment Hotline

Chair: Prof. Biswajit Das, CCMG, JMI, New Delhi

Discussant: Dr. Richa Kumar (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT-Delhi)

11:45-12:00 – Tea/Coffee break

12:00-13:30 - Panel 2: Information Modelling in Local Governance

This panel describes the (often) implicit "Information Model" underlying IT enabled systems of governance. Making these models explicit also opens up the discussion of how social concepts and categories may be included as part of the model.

  • Dr Vignesh Ilavarasan P (Department of Management Studies, IIT-Delhi) – Information Models for Service Delivery in the Telecom Sector
  • Ravi Shukla (CCMG, JMI)–Prototyping Informational Models in Participatory Governance.

Chair: Dr. Arul Chib (NTU, Singapore)

Discussant: Sunil Abraham (CIS, Bangalore)

13:30-14:30 – Lunch

14:30 - 16:00 – Focus Group Workshop - Extending Information Systems for Local Governance

The current research with communities around the Jamia Nagar area is taken as a case study. Participants are divided into two groups, the "process" group which is to suggest ways for community involvement in the process, and the "Informational Model" or structure group which suggests how socially relevant aspects may be included in the informational model.

Note: Time allocated is 15 minutes for describing the case study, 30 minutes for discussion within the group, 5 minutes for presentation and 35 minutes for discussion.