I gave a presentation (MS Powerpoint format, 198 KB; PDF format, 202 KB) on Affordable Computing, as part of the “IT and Common Man” session on the first day of Much of my talk centred around what I have been writing in my Tech Talk series on SMEs and Technology.

Priya Ganapati (Rediff) has a review of the first day, suggesting that “the sessions were so boring and unfocussed that it is unlikely any decision maker listening to it would have been convinced to try it out.” I couldn’t stay for all the talks, but I did very much like the presentation given by Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala. He spoke about the innovation factory that he has engineered, and how some of the group companies incubated out of the Telecom and Computer Networking department at IIT-Madras are helping in making his dream of doubling India’s rural GDP from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 over the next decade.

I think the organisers should have had greater interactivity in the sessions. Q&A was not allowed, which I think is a very short-sighted decision. In fact, they should have restricted speakers to about 20 minutes, and had a 10 minute Q&A. The audience must interact with the speakers, and not just in the breaks. I’d go to the extent of saying that all presentations must be made available a couple days before the event on the website so that interested people can go through them, and come prepared with questions or even submit their queries and comments before hand. In this two-way world, to have only a one-way broadcast is just not done. After all, the aim is to generate ideas and discussion – this cannot be done without audience participation.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.