Initiatives

1/. Global Transformation

Since 2010, Sisyphos has actively supported the effort to create and launch ‘People for Global Transformation’ (PGT): a global think tank co-founded by Mr. Sam Pitroda (Cabinet Minister, Adviser to the PM of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations and Chairman of the National Innovation Council) and Mr. Hubert Védrine (former French Foreign Affairs Minister).

The overarching objective of PGT is to play an active role in the creation of a more balanced, institutionalized and collaborative dialogue for Global Transformation in the 21st century. It aims to make bold and concrete propositions to allow a generational shift towards an inclusive and sustainable path of growth and development for the world. The group was launched in Mumbai in September 2012. CNBC covered the event through a special 20mn show aired in prime time on 20th October (http://www.moneycontrol.com/video/special-videos/people-for-global-transformation-eyeing-sustainable-growth_772189.html).

The core objectives of PGT are be to:

  1. take into account the new political, economic and development realities and encourage collaboration and cooperation between the West, the East and other emerging economies;
  2. strive to adopt a long-term perspective on Global Development and Global Governance;
  3. generate greater transversal thinking on technology and its consequences for all.

Today, PGT brings together 15 leading voices from across the globe on the issues mentioned above. Thinkers include academics, scientists, technologists, practitioners, philosophers, former politicians and policymakers.

www.peopleforglobaltransformation.org

2/. Fostering innovative Indo-European partnerships

a) Open Government

Sisyphos has supported the launch of the Indo-French Initiative on Open Government and Democratization of Information as a way to modernize the relationship between the State and the citizens (http://meaindia.nic.in/mystart.php?id=190016770). This initiative was started in 2010 in the wake of a larger one, promoted by the Government of India with the active support of the Obama administration and aimed at developing, among other sub-projects, a comprehensive open source software platform to be offered to any country interested in launching an “Open Data” program. (http://opengovplatform.org/ ; http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/06/22/growing-open-government-movement)

The aim of Sisyphos is to make France the leading European country in this “Open Government” alliance poised to involve an increasing number of countries across the globe. The combination of France’s influence in Western and Central Africa and well known capabilities in the field of ICTs offers for instance a great bridge to reach an increasing number of countries, notably those with less financial resource and a weaker skill base in the field of ICTs.

b) Creating bridges between France and India in the fields of innovation and technology

In July 2010, Sisyphos organized a visit in France of Mr. Sam Pitroda (Advisor to Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations). Our goal focused on promoting Mr. Pitroda's path-breaking vision of development, innovation and global transformation. Besides, we aimed at starting practical Indo-French cooperation projects with a pool of diversified stakeholders (political leaders, think tanks, administration departments, corporations, and universities). During this 3 three days visit, we organized a series of meetings with French leaders. We also established links with leading European high-tech companies, leading academic institutions and think tanks. Besides, we co-organized four events with French think tanks (ex: http://www.international.sciences-po.fr/en/05072010-conference-sam-pitroda-adviser-prime-minister-india-public-information-infrastructure-and-i) and attracted and managed significant media coverage (ex: http://www.euronews.com/2010/08/24/sam-pitroda-architect-of-india-s-communications-revolution/;http://www.france24.com/en/20100709-aix-en-provence-sam-pitroda-business-interview ; http://www.lemonde.fr/technologies/article/2010/07/09/en-inde-innover-pour-faire-disparaitre-la-pauvrete_1386073_651865.html).

Further to this first visit, and in the wake of the visit in India of President Sarkozy in December 2010, Sisyphos coordinated a second visit in France of Mr. Pitroda in March 2012. Meetings where organized with the French Government to discuss an elaborate cooperation agenda centered on innovations, digital economy and information infrastructures. Sisyphos also organized visits of two key competitiveness clusters centered on ICTs to promote the new French national policy on competitiveness clusters. Further as a follow up of this effort we welcomed, in May 2011 in Delhi, a French inter ministerial delegation focused on innovation and competitiveness clusters.

3/. Supporting Social Innovation

a) Cooperation with FING

In June 2010, Sisyphos signed a cross membership agreement between with the Next Generation Internet Foundation (FING, Paris, http://www.fing.org/?lang=fr). Created in 2000, FING is a French think tank aiming at helping companies, governments and communities understand, explore and anticipate transformations yielded by technologies (focus on NBICs), their convergence and their uses. It also focuses on exploring the transformational potential of open and user generated Innovation.

This partnership led to exchange of disruptive social innovation projects led by both organizations to foster cross-fertilization. For instance, “Chanderiyaan” (http://chanderiyaan.chanderi.org/) digital empowerment of a weavers’ community in Madhya Pradesh was presented at the last “LIFT Marseille” conference held in France in July 2011 (http://vimeo.com/29663813).

b) Cooperation with Imagination for People

In June 2011, Sisyphos became the representative of Imagination for People (IP, http://imaginationforpeople.org/en/) in South Asia. IP is an open-source, multilingual Web 2.0 platform dedicated to disruptive social innovation. IP aims to detect, publicize, amplify and adapt creative solutions to the new challenges of living together on a global scale. The goal is to expand the scope of social innovation to new Public–Private–People Partnerships. 

In November 2011, Sisyphos helped launching an innovative multistage partnership between the Digital Empowerment Foundation (India) and Imagination for People in the field of civic innovation (http://imaginationforpeople.org/blog/francais-imagination-for-people-prend-le-cap-de-l%E2%80%99inde/?lang=en). The cooperation includes four main areas of collaboration:

  1. Mutual data feeds (sharing content of respective knowledge bases; http://imaginationforpeople.org/en/partner/def-digital-knowledge-center/);
  2. Cross fertilization of respective social network of initiatives;
  3. Access to IP’s suite of tools supporting online collaborative workgroups;
  4. Access to IP’s citizen consulting offering (smart sourcing).

c) Cooperation with "Jaipur Hand"

"Jaipur Hand" is a project aiming to develop extremely affordable wrist/hand prosthesis for rural India. It brings together an international team comprising a group of bio-mechanical engineering students from Stanford University led by a professional (Prof. Armand Neukermans) and Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS, a Jaipur based NGO committed to the rehabilitation of disabled by providing them artificial hands, legs and other aids and appliances totally free of charge ; http://www.jaipurfoot.org/). Since November 2011, Sisyphos has coordinated the participation of Mr. Jacques Monestier, a French engineer turned artist, who developed an extremely functionally effective artificial hand which will serve as the lead design model.

4/. Advocacy work in the field of innovation, technology and transformation

a) Overhauling the French innovation and technology public policy framework

Since 2009, Sisyphos has advocated the creation of a Ministry of “Digital Democracy, Innovation, Technology and Transformation”.  We approached various French political parties ahead of the 2012 French presidential and general elections to convince them to create dedicated working groups in their campaign teams that would look at how best this proposal could be incorporated in their programs.

In our vision, the new Ministry should be in charge of the following:

  1. Defining a comprehensive long term ‘transformation strategy” supported by a centre of excellence for strategic futures thinking (development of innovative Foresight Tools) to leverage safely the transformational potential of “NBIC” technologies;
  2. Gathering under a single umbrella and rationalize all public policies related to innovation (research & technology, social innovation, open innovation, user-led innovation, …) which are currently spread over various Ministries;
  3. Consolidating all public policies related to the digital economy and society to leverage the transformational potential of ICTs while enacting a balanced technology risk management strategy.

b) Personal Data Protection in India

In 2010, Sisyphos took part in a survey on “Stakes and opportunities for personal data protection label scheme” in collaboration with legal and technical experts. The study was based on a questionnaire submitted to a number of large enterprises' managers. A report was submitted to the French Data Protection Agency (CNIL) in view of the launching of CNIL labeling procedure. (http://www.esteralconsulting.com/en/etudes/survey-stakes-and-opportuniti...).

Further, as the Unique Identity scheme unfolds in India, Sisyphos has been advocating the creation in India of a vibrant personal data protection legal regime enforced by an empowered independent regulator. This would ensure that the transformation potential of the UID project is unleashed safely and benefits all citizens. With the help of experts, Sisyphos submitted notes and policy briefings to decision makers and practitioners on personal data protection legal regimes, “Privacy Enhanced Technologies” and “Privacy By Design”.

c) Use of  biotechnologies to treat cardio-vascular diseases and diabetes in India

In 2011, Sisyphos took part in the design and implementation of a survey on the transformative potential in India of a radically disruptive cardio-vascular diseases’ and diabetes treatment based on growth protein. As India is one the worst CVDs and diabetes affected countries, this holistic survey looked at innovative business models focused on lowering overall treatment costs to reach the bottom of the social pyramid. It was conducted in cooperation with an U.S. biotech firm, some of Indian leading healthcare organizations and renowned surgeons.

5/. Young Indian Leaders of the 21st century

Since 2011, Sisyphos has taken part in a collaborative research project bringing together a team of Sciences Po students and a professional writer. The aim is to write short articles and eventually a book on ten to twelve emerging leaders representative of all sectors and swathes of Indian society (politics, business, social activism, science & technology, religion, arts and media, sports). Through these profiles, the objective is also to address the issues that India is facing at the turn of the 21st century. The group published a first set of articles on Mr. Ashok Tanwar (Lok Sabha MP) and Baba Ramdev (famous Religious leader).

6/. Cooperation in the field of Amateur Astronomy

Since 2009, Sisyphos has been helping the Uranoscope de France (UdF) building partnerships in India. Headed by Dr Christian Bourdeille, the UdF was created in 1995 with the fundamental goal of developing international relations between both amateur and professional astronomers worldwide with the help of Paris Observatory. This resource centre also aims at sensitizing the public to the sciences of the universe. The major recent achievement is the signature of a cooperation agreement between the Uranoscope de France and the Birla Science Center. The focus of this Indo-French cooperation lied in the construction of an astronomical observatory in the city of Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh).

The observatory is now equipped with a C11 (128 mm) telescope gifted by the UdF. The new facility (inaugurated in November 2011) will be jointly used by Birla Science Center and the UdF for observation events, research, amateur astronomy and community awareness. The next aim is to attempt to build a second Observatory well outside the city limits, in a rural area, dedicated to astronomical research.