Excerpts of India Power Talk with Navroop Sahdev, Founder of The Digital Economist

by | Aug 9, 2020 | Video Excerpts | 0 comments

A faster acceleration towards tech convergence is the need of the hour.

Gender inequality is the biggest issue in India, and men need to support the change towards women empowerment.

We shouldn’t just be focused on capital and economic growth but rather towards human betterment.

When it comes to women’s issues, I think they’re not women’s issues, they’re actually men’s issues.

Below are excerpts from the sixth #IndiaPowerTalk by Nitin Potdar with guest speaker Navroop Sahdev, Founder of The Digital Economist. The full interview has been uploaded on the India Power Talk channel on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7F-X5apUvU). If you wish to use anything, please attribute to India Power Talk and Nitin Potdar.

Intro

The convergence of technologies can be a great effort multiplier bringing people and communities together in tough times such as these times of the pandemic. Innovative and creative use of convergence tech can help scale businesses as well as social efforts not only to fight the pandemic but also to fight issues such as poverty and inequality besides helping in empowering women. Navroop Sahdev, in this India Power Talk hosted by Nitin Potdar, speaks about how she has successfully reached out to the right people to make The Digital Economist a global impact organisation steering tech convergence for a human-centred Digital Economy.

Summary

  • With the world going through a tremendously shared experience in tackling the current pandemic, a faster acceleration towards tech convergence is the need of the hour.
  • Sustainability, Equity, Transparency, Collaboration, and Decentralisation are the key pillars of driving tech convergence towards a human-centred digital economy.
  • The best and most secure jobs are the ones you create for yourself because no one can replace you, as they have your unique traits and characteristics.
  • Gender inequality needs to be tackled on priority.
  • India has the opportunity to engage with global and local audiences, so it can create local impact and showcase it to the world for which we can use the tools around storytelling and online/offline communities.

Steve Jobs was a master at looking into the future and observing that everyone has the sense that ‘right now’ is one of those moments wherein we are influencing the future. Today convergence of technologies aimed at human betterment is more than a buzzword and it certainly has the power to influence our future.

Pioneering economist and technology futurist, Navroop Sahdev (Founder & CEO, The Digital Economist), in a recent discussion on India Power Talk hosted by Nitin Potdar, insists that convergence of technologies is going to be the key driver for the future of innovation. “The more interconnected you get, the similar the environment becomes for different players – the more convergence dynamics you see,” says Navroop, who ranked as one of the Top Blockchain Influencers in 2018 by Media Shower. She cites how mobile phones have converged technology in the form of cameras, videos, photos, geolocation, etc., on a single device.

This necessarily means a host of technologies coming together, since it takes more than just one component to be the game-changer. Innovation is about connecting new dots. An acceleration towards that convergence is needed, especially now when the world is going through a tremendously shared experience in tackling the pandemic.

Navroop, who co-authored Blockchain Economies, the first book on the economies of blockchain, is on a mission to drive tech convergence towards a human-centred digital economy. She reveals that the five key pillars of this economy are Sustainability (taking care of our planet), Equity (in the true sense since equality is subjective), Transparency (in institutions, in governments, in society), Radical Collaboration, and Decentralisation.  “Every platform needs to have a Future Forward, a scalable digital product and a service offering that is focused on current stakeholders,” she explains, “We shouldn’t just be focused on capital and economic growth but rather towards human betterment.”

Interestingly Navroop also runs a centre of excellence on the human-centred digital economy, which attracts some of the top minds, scientists, practitioners, industry leaders and technology futurists to build systems that are not just resilient but are able to absorb shocks such as the global economy is currently facing.

Quizzed about how to enable and empower India’s vast human capital, she recommends decentralization as a key pillar to build federated organizations. “Avoid standardization of education,” advises Navroop. “Standardization can be dangerous as can be seen from the fact that today 80 percent of engineers in India are unemployed. Thankfully, creativity has no limit. That’s the beauty of it. Human creativity is limitless. So the best jobs, the most secure jobs are the ones you create for yourself because no one can replace you. They have your unique traits and characteristics.”

With more and more bright youngsters preferring to take up law as a career in India, how does Navroop think this large pool of entrepreneurs can move to the value chain? “I think there’s no one straightforward way to do it,” she answers. “When I look at the world, we still have a pretty deep north-south divide. The rich countries and the not-so-rich countries, the developed and the developing world. Capital is concentrated in the Northern hemisphere, and talent and people are concentrated in the Southern hemisphere. So simply being talented, being a hard worker, and being on an innovative journey is not enough. You have to know the right people.”

Indians are very innovative and enterprising and should understand their target audience because even if you are focused on a very specific segment, that would still probably be millions of people in that category.

Talking about women empowerment, Navroop insists that it is men who need to change and support women. “Nobody’s born shy. They’re told to shut up and sit down and sit back. So when it comes to women’s issues, I think they’re not women’s issues, they’re actually men’s issues.” That fits in perfectly with what Aamir Khan said at the end of the second season of Satyamev Jayate a couple of years ago. When asked what was the biggest problem in India which needs to be tackled on priority, he immediately answered ‘women empowerment’.

And tech convergence could help build the movement towards such social issues. “We’re at a point in history where now more than any other time, the tools to scale, the communities to scale, the availability of opportunities, are more, than any other time in the past. So that’s basically where again digital tech comes in.”

Finally asked what would be the one advice she would like to leave us with, Navroop has just two words, “Empower Women.”

About the speaker

Navroop Sahdev

Founder, The Digital Economist

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