Aditya Dev Sood

Dr. Aditya Dev Sood is a serial social entrepreneur with a background in Design and the SocialSciences. He is a former Fulbright Scholar with two doctorates from the University of Chicago. Sood has built several different kinds of organizations, all of which are co-located at the Vihara Innovation Campus in New Delhi. The Center for Knowledge Societies ( is an innovation consulting firm, which focuses on user research, user experience design, design strategy and systems innovation. The Bihar Innovation Lab (BIL), supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, works with the Bihar state government to promote innovation in health and other developmental areas. The Adianta School for Leadership ( provides a professional post-graduate diploma through a unique learning-by-doing pedagogic approach, delivered through a network of working professionals.

The Startup Tunnel (STun) is a new kind of incubator-accelerator focused on social impact challenges in health, education, financial services and governance. The Civic Innovation Lab (Civilab) is a new initiative focused on citizen participation, open data and the citizen-centric delivery of urban services. The Vihara Innovation Network, which interconnects these organizations, is based in Singapore, and it is now working with the MAMPU program and the Pulse Lab, both based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sood has recently been involved in setting up MAMPU’s network of Innovation Labs across Indonesia. He is also exploring ways for local governments to use data more effectively, for example on the island of Lombok. Since 2011, Sood has routinely convened the Design Public Conclave dedicated to exploring how innovation can serve the public interest. He is now collaborating with the Social Innovation Exchange towards a Summer School in India in 2015. On weekends he can be found making sculpture, brewing beer and trekking with his wife and young son. He tweets from @adityadevsood

Ekta Ohri

Ekta2Ekta Ohri is the Senior Director-Innovation at the Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS). She has been involved in providing direction to project teams around applying ethnographic and user experience research methods as well as principles of design thinking for addressing a variety of social innovation challenges in emerging economies – ranging from improving rural public health delivery systems, providing financial services to the poor and bridging their information and communication gaps through telecommunications to enhancing urban mobility experiences. Ekta has a multi-disciplinary background in Architecture (Sushant School of Art and Architecture), Visual and Critical Studies (California College of the Arts), and Anthropology (Northwestern University) and is particularly interested in exploring linkages between design, culture and lived experience.  Email her at or follow her at @ekta_ohri

Namrata Mehta
namratamehtaNamrata Mehta is a Director – Innovation at the Center for Knowledge Societies, New Delhi. She has an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Delhi University, and a postgraduate diploma in Experimental Media Arts, from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. At CKS, she works closely on technology and infrastructure projects related to ‘mobilities’ in both urban and rural contexts. These range from mobile as well as telecommunication technologies, portable diagnostic devices and transport solutions. Prior to CKS, Namrata has developed games as a research tool for policy makers in the agricultural and urban infrastructure sector. Email her at or follow her @littlenemrut


Divya Datta


Divya Datta, Director-Innovation, anchors the Bihar Innovation Lab effort and advises the READ Alliance effort at CKS. She holds specific interest in the use of ‘user centered innovation for integrated development’ which serves as the foundation of all her creative initiatives. At CKS she is also responsible for developing new models for Social and Public Innovation, and encouraging participatory co-design involving citizen communities. Over her various innovation projects she has gained expertise in integrated development; chiefly in public health, agriculture, livelihoods, and early grade education. Divya has been the principal designer of the first-of-its-kind integrated Vaccine Delivery Kit which is a device for field immunization that equips nurse midwives to deliver, in even rural and remote low-resource environments, efficient and hygienic service, at a quality usually associated with resourceful healthcare establishments; we expect this kit to be piloted in 2014 in 8 districts of Bihar. Email her at or follow her @divya_skdatta on twitter


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