Dextrous Web to join PM’s delegation to India

I’m honoured and delighted to have been asked to join the PM’s delegation for his visit to India next week, in order to participate in a hack day with Indian developers in Bangalore. This should be a great event — we’ll actually only have 4 hours for the hacking, but hopefully we’ll be able to take some of the lessons we’ve learned about civic hacking here at home and apply them to some Indian problems. Very exciting.

From my loose understanding, India certainly faces some interesting and unique challenges. But I don’t know what they are, or how best the web can solve them. I’m sure there’s a broad section of Indian society for whom web applications are not a very practical solution to any of the challenges they face. At least for the time being. So, what are the problems experienced by Indians who are digitally included? And how can we use the web to solve them?

Should we be focusing on applications for mobile phones? Or on low-cost devices like the curiously iPad-like $35 laptop?

Should we aim to produce a quasi-public-service like FixMyStreet, or tools for accountability and transparency, like Armchair Auditor?

What sort of public data is available in India, both officially and for scraping? And how might we be able to use it to influence Indian public policy for the better?

As always, the aim for the day is to have something tangible, useful and interesting that we can show to people. Even if it’s only a screenshot or a very raw prototype.

Very grateful for your ideas, thoughts and advice!