New Book Contract with MIT Press/Harper Collins India

Am incredibly excited to share the big news on my new book, ‘Next Billion Ready: Designing systems to include the world,’ in contract with two fabulous publishers – The MIT Press & Harper Collins India . This comes at a perfect time as I have been awarded the residency fellowship at Bellagio, Italy by Rockefeller Foundation which will give me the time to think, write & connect with amazing thinkers and doers. My book will draw from my last 3 years of fieldwork with the next billion user groups and engagements with diverse organizations invested in AI innovations in the Global South.

Tech Trend reports indicate that the next big trend in digital won’t emerge from a Western market. There is pressure on governments and corporations to capture data in the AI arms race for the future of innovation. India and China already account for most of the users in the world without having reached market saturation. A typical user in the Global South is twice as active online than their Northern counterpart. Major tech companies have got on the bandwagon, setting up next billion user labs to gain insights on this vast user base. Inclusive design is less altruistic and more consumer centric, attuned to the potential of diversity to foster innovation. UX researchers, media startups, aid agencies, and business folks are eager to unpack the blackbox on this user group.

In The Next Billion Ready book, I propose ways in which we can envision new digital systems, and thinking to include the world. Drawing from fieldwork insights on young creators in diverse contexts such as Brazil, India, and Bangladesh, I reveal how their understandings of metrics shape their creativity, trust, identity, and political action. In my engagements with numerous public and private sector organizations, I share my learnings on what keeps UX designers, policy makers, digital startups, and aid agencies up at night as they struggle with tensions between risk and opportunity, and localization and scalability in design.

With rising geopolitical tensions, it is tempting to revert to old approaches to design and outreach. It would be a serious mistake to go back to viewing the next billion users as mere data sources to be extracted. Instead, I make the case that they are at the forefront to help us reimagine the future of work, creativity, finance, banking, and even the fate of our planet. My new book is targeted at UX researchers, designers, tech entrepreneurs/investors, media companies, & other orgs that focus on designing systems, products, & services to genuinely include the world. Really looking forward to getting this book out soon!