India gets it

Over two years ago, the India created a National Knowledge Commission. According the charter, the National Knowledge Commission is a high-level advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, with the objective of transforming India into a knowledge society. At our conference in September on The Dragon and the Elephant: Understanding the Developing Innovation Capacity in China and India , we were privileged to hear from the Chairman of the Commission, Sam Pitroda. His presentation outlined the work of the Commission in a number of areas, including education and access to information (including but not limited to issues of libraries, translation of documents/publications, information portal etc.). Recommendations in these areas were made earlier this year. Ongoing work includes increasing science and technology research and education and the application of knowledge to practical uses in agriculture and industry (including the promotion of entrepreneurship).
I was especially interested to see the focus on the dissemination of information. In a nation such as India, with multiple languages and a sprawling library system, such a focus is critical. But problems of dissemination of information are not confined to nations such as India. The US information dissemination system needs to be addressed as well. Here, the challenges are different. In some cases, it is a challenge of information overload. In others, it is the problem of the information-divide. And then there are all the issues of what should be proprietary (and private) versus what should be public. And who should have access to what information (both the issue of public access to information and the issue of privacy).
The Indian National Knowledge Commission should help that nation move into the I-Cubed (Information-Innovation-Intangible) Economy. It can also provide us with some pointers and lessons – if we bother to pay attention.

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