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Keynote at the DesignUp conference on 'Irrational Design'

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DesignUp, a Design-in-Tech conference in Bangalore, brought together an amazing and forward thinking group of designers, UX researchers, data scientists, policy makers, business leaders and entrepreneurs together over the course of 4 days on Nov 12-16. This year, the theme was about plurality in design. DesignUp is the largest Design & Tech event in Asia (excluding China), labelled by YourStory as the Definitive Design-in-Tech conference and listed by Quartz.com among the World's 20 most Exciting Design Events. 
I gave the keynote on the ‘Next Billion Users and Irrational Design’ that offered a new template to understanding the user behaviors and preferences of the next billion. 
After all, the failures of tech –the graveyard of apps - FB Zero, Secret and such, rests on the premise of negating the role of the cultures from below. Those at the margins of our imagination who have now become the norm – the next billion -  are pushing ahead with novel demands on interfacing, desig…

IAMCR Conference 2011 in Istanbul: Theme: Cities, Creativity, Connectivity

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Istanbul, here we come! The International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) will be starting next week from the 12th to 18th of July with papers surrounding the theme of Cities, Creativity, Connectivity.

I'll be Chairing a Program session on the "Second Wave of the Digital Divide" as well as presenting a paper on the following topic:

The leisure divide: Can the Third World come out to play?

In this Web 2.0 era, evidence is mounting on human ingenuity and creativity with and within online spheres. Much has been documented on how users innovate in a myriad of ways, opening possible economic and techno-social opportunities through play. From initially being viewed as “wasteful” and “idle,” cyberleisure is slowly but steadily being recognized as potentially productive, labor intensive and commercially fruitful. In fact, online leisure has stimulated a virtual economy where “dragon sabers,” a cyberweapon of the Legend of Mir III sells on ebay and “Farmvi…

Reforming higher ed in Jordan: politicking away

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Policy-making is political theatre. No doubt about it. That which is not behind closed doors is posturing. But rather than condemn posturing, we should try to understand it. After all, it serves a purpose. It makes public the intent to create buy-in as well as detect common resistances. Conferences oriented towards policy-making are hardly about making decisions then and there. It's about feeling the pulse, NOT of the generic public per se, but about key stakeholders in the game. So with this higher education reform conference in Amman that I was part of, ministers, deans, professors, private education consultants, ed publishers and others congregated for a period of 3 days to discuss key problems and solutions for higher ed reform. About 500 delegates including from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and others in the region took part in this process. It was an impressive turn out of card touting and name dropping. It was true to form, a networking event.

All this should not surprise. Jor…

Not quite "up in the air!"

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Am on the road right now, but not quite Up-In-The-Air style. From Amsterdam to Thousand Oaks (near LA but as argued by some, “far” from LA as possible), I’m doing the conference circuit, the social life of many academics. After all, here’s a willing audience for your obscure Whitehead reference and hand-punctuated intellectualism. And if you thought Marxism is dead, you’ve evidently not attended enough academic conferences. Impossible ideals are preserved in the confines of academia, a natural fodder for multiple critiques of real world practice, leading to publications and sustenance of passion from the vantage point of the beloved armchair. Don’t get me wrong; I love armchairs. It’s comfortable, and allows for a respectable pause for reflection and pontification. Of course, I like it even better when we’ve earned the temporary rest through actual experience but then, if that were always the case, whom would we have left to mock?

So what was this conference about? Well, besides the u…