How can technology collaborations help us build a more sustainable planet?

How can technology collaborations help us build a more sustainable planet?

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Welcome back to day three of Engaging India at Almedalen, - here at the Almedalen week. Thank you all for coming once again to hear these conversations - between different stakeholders, multiple stakeholders - from industry, academia, - as well as government and civil society from India and Sweden. For those who are joining us virtually, - in all probability from India or Stockholm, - we are at this beautiful island of Gotland - where Almedalen week takes place every year. It has been on since at least 1968, 1969, - that is 53 years since Almedalen week.

It is held every year on the island of Gotland - where 20 000 to 30 000 people congregate - to discuss and share different perspectives - and to learn new ways to engage with each other. And of course, discuss some of the most pressing issues - that affect us globally today. I am delighted to have speakers joining both from Sweden and India. Some of us because they work at the intersection of both countries - and they are going to be speaking today as well. But before introducing them, - I am honored to share with you that our keynote speaker for today - Bunker Roy, the Founder Director of Barefoot College.

Bunker Roy is an educator and globally recognized - as among the most influential figures in community-driven innovation. He founded the Barefoot College 50 years ago at a village called Tilonia. This is in the northwestern state of Rajasthan in India. What is the Barefoot College? What it does? And how it positively impacts communities - in 64 nations across the world via its Solar Mamas program. That is the story our keynote speaker Bunker Roy will share with you. Welcome, Bunker. You're joining us virtually.

The mic is yours now. Thank you, Rupali. Now, the audio, everyone raise your hands, is it okay? Audible? [inaudible] [inaudible] to try and demonstrate - the amazing message of Mahatma Gandhi - who said there is a difference between literacy and education. Literacy is where you learn to read and write, - education is what you get from your family and environment. [audio breaks] - Bunker, I'm going to interrupt you here.

I think we are having an issue with your audio and video. - Maybe Bunker can switch off his video - and maybe you can speak so we can hear him? - Perhaps, Bunker you might want to switch off your video - if it's on a low bandwidth right now? And then we can perhaps come back to you. You can continue if your video is off, but let's see if we can hear you. The video is gone. Perhaps Bunker you might want to log out and log in again.

Let's try this once more. [inaudible] Just carry on. - Okay, let's carry on with the audio. Go ahead, Bunker. Bunker, can you hear us? And okay we'll try and fix - the keynote speaker's ordeal in just a bit, - but maybe we can continue with our panel discussion - and come back to you if you cannot hear us? - I think Bunker mentioned there was a thunderstorm coming - just before we started.

- Okay. He was afraid the connection might go. Oh, really? Ugh. We were looking forward to this discussion - but let me just try and fix this.

Raul, can you just come here? Thanks. Okay, we have him back. Bunker, can you unmute yourself? You're on mute. Unmuted. Unmuted. - Yes.

Can I continue? - Yes, please do. Alright, so. The Barefoot College only believes - the people who have traditional skills, practical skills, wisdom, - and use their knowledge to serve communities in India. When we came up with this conclusion about - having solutions that are [inaudible]. [inaudible] and urban solutions to a rural problem.

There have already been rural solutions to rural problems - and [inaudible] the major areas that we have focused. We felt that in many villages of India - all the men are looking for jobs in the city. There are only old women and youngsters left, - so why not reach in for these women from these villages - who are illiterate, semiliterate, - never been to a university or a college in their lives, - never left their villages. We thought that women would be a solution. Now, Rupali, you can show the film if you don't mind.

- In the poorest villages around the world, - people are looking for solutions to poverty, - pollution, access to clean water, and gender inequality. But one solution has been right there before our eyes: A woman. Her voice, silenced for generations - often by her own community, is now being used to inspire and transform.

Her lack of formal education isn't her limitation. She has the gift of traditional knowledge and conventional wisdom - and the courage to help us create a sustainable world from the ground up. Releasing her potential starts with a journey. One that begins in Rajasthan, India Barefoot College. Where she meets a world full of new challenges and possibilities. We see her and women like her - Learning new technology the practical way.

Giving them the skills they need to become barefoot solar engineers. Pioneering change. Upon returning home, - she brings light that illuminates homes and powers night schools She develops clean drinking water systems - and teaches others to do the same.

Paving the way for a better quality of life for all. The proof. Today over 1200 villages are solar electrified in 64 countries, - bringing new life to over 500 000 people one woman at a time, - one village at a time, one country at a time. The search is over. She is a solution.

She's a barefoot woman and she is our future. Being the change we would like to see in the world - starts by empowering her. Share her story. Share this video a join the movement.

Am I audible? Yes, Bunker. Please continue. Alright. The Barefoot College is perhaps the only college in the world - that takes illiterate women, - who have never left their villages in their lives, - who use sign language, - not through the written word, but through sight and sound, - train women to be solar engineers in six months. They learn more about solar lanterns and solar systems - than any graduate in India after five years of university. We have about 17 000 women now.

The prime minister of India called them Solar Mamas. There are about 17 000 Solar Mamas from 97 countries. The best part is that we have collaborated with - the ministry of external affairs. All the women who come from these 97 countries, - 36 countries in Africa, - all airfare - and the training course is supported by the ministry of external affairs. Today, we have about 40 women every year for six months - coming to learn how to be solar engineers.

They go back and solar electrify their own villages - mesmerizing the whole village because the came as grandmothers, - and they go back as tigers. They will solar electrify their own village on their own, - and when the men see the women have become solar engineers, - they are in total awe. I feel the local solution is the Gandhian solution. I will demystify, I'll do decentralized technology - right down to the hands of rural women - who can then be change engines, role models, - and also become solar engineers. Some are solar engineers for the first time - in the history of their country - because most of the men have disappeared into the cities.

No one wants to come back to the village. The village today, wherever they have gone and solar electrified - has resulted in reversing migration. People actually come back to the villages. There you can see president Macron - when he met the solar engineers in Delhi in 2018. The Solar Mamas sang We Shall Overcome in Indian-English.

It fascinated him so he wanted to see these solar engineers. One of the solar engineers came from Ivory Coast. She said in French to the president: "What are you doing with your program? You should train solar mamas - to be solar engineers to solar electrify their own villages. This is the solution. The long-term solution."

Suddenly she realized that she was speaking to the president of France. So, she went and hugged him like that. That is a picture of President Macron - being hugged by this woman from Ivory Coast. It was something that captivated the whole nation. Today, I think this is the solution. Demystifying and decentralizing the village.

The key change in the next years to come is about to be a woman. [inaudible] Ladies and gentlemen. Should you ever want to work - in non-electrified villages anywhere in the world, - please come to the Barefoot Collage - and let us solar electrify the villages for you. [inaudible] - Thanks Bunker. Stay on in case there are any questions. I am going to throw them to you. Any questions...

We apologize for a bad connection in the beginning. What Bunker was talking about was the Solar Mamas - that now are present in 64 different countries. - 97, not 64. - 97 now? Okay. I read 64, but it was a few years ago. Collectively, they are generating decently - 1.4 gigawatts of power which is equivalent to a nuclear plant. This is the answer to decentralizing and demystifying - right down the village level.

These women are the first and only financially and technically - self-sufficient solar electrified villages in the world. [inaudible] They are solar engineers themselves and they have [inaudible] - without any solar engineer from outside. Okay, questions? - Questions? - How are they financing this? How do you finance it? We have... You saw one photograph of Michelle Bachelet - who is now the UN human rights, she was the head of UN Women. She was fascinated by this so she gave us about 300 000 dollars - to solar electrify villages in the pacific and Africa. The government of India is financing - training and travel from anywhere in the world.

Now we are looking for people who could give us - funds for the equipment for installing solar equipment - in Indian villages today. That is our biggest problem today. Any more questions? All right. Go ahead, Swami. It is total silence.

You can ask your question, then I will ask him. - If I may and sort of go ahead and give a slight context... Who is that? - This is Swami, Bunker. Yes, Swami.

- Hi Bunker. There are no questions. I just want to give a little context to Barefoot College. I spent time at Barefoot College. I have spent time with Bunker and the wonderful people there. I get disqualified automatically because I have a Ph.D.

Bunker is very clear that if you have come out of the university system, - you can't go ahead and be part of the college for instance. That is a certain philosophy that is maintained in the college itself. I wanted to let everyone know - that because of the bad connection today, - Bunker has maybe not been able to get into the details of what the college is. But I also wanted to go ahead and put a put in front of everyone, - that as far as Bunker is concerned, - Barefoot College is one of the model institutions of India, 50 plus years, - has worked with the community, led mobilization model. He has worked with people who rarely otherwise would get an opportunity, - and has empowered multiple generations of communities - to go ahead and have a better quality of life.

All while being scientifically driven - and bringing in a certain scientific perspective. I thought that I should let everyone know, - considering that you're joining all the way from Tilonia, - a very bad connectivity area, - so I just wanted to give that context. Thank you. Thanks, Swaminathan.

Thank you, Bunker. At least we got to hear a bit from you. Thank you so much for joining us.

Perhaps next year we will try to get to here physically. I think that would be ideal for all of us. It was great to hear about the Solar Mamas, - and I stand corrected of course on the 97 countries - where Solar Mamas are in right now. Thanks once again. It was great to hear from you.

We can go back to where we started. As Bunker Roy showed us, technology can be a great enabler. It can empower communities. It can empower women. It can help - in my in more ways than we think that it can. It can provide education. It can it can facilitate -

a better environment for future generations. Now, innovations can also help us realize our shared global goals - and our sustainability goals. They can also help us reduce carbon emissions, reach scale, - provide affordable access to greener infrastructure, - help us decongest our cities and clean our water systems. To accelerate change for the better, - technological innovations need to be shared.

They cannot be individualistic or just - for very few people in very few places. Sweden and India have had a strong open source ethos. Additionally, there's an emerging sharing economy - that is developing in the marketplace both in Sweden and India. So today under the broad umbrella team of engaging India at Almedalen, - The World is One Family, we have invited industry, - academia and civil society - from Sweden and India to share their insights - and explore ways in which the sharing framework - for technological collaborations could be built for a better future.

A warm welcome to all our speakers joining us - both virtually and in-person. May I ask both gentlemen to join us? Let's head first straight to India. We have Neeraj Jain, the Chief Innovation Officer of Deloitte India, - who heads several cutting-edge initiatives towards sustainability. On my left is Jacob Hallencreutz, - Senior Lecturer at Uppsala University - and the group CEO of EPSI ratings - which specializes in consumer perception - and does a lot around sustainability and sustainable initiatives. And to his left is Anders Andersson, - the Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Spowdi AB.

It's a green tech innovation company enabling small-hold farmers - to move away from fossil fuel towards regenerative farming. And to his left virtually, is Jay Dutta, Head of Design at Udaan, - who has spearheaded several initiatives in technology - and the design for tech innovations. Udaan incidentally is one of the hundred unicorns in India. Also joining us virtually is Pawan Tahlani, - lead sustainability and climate change India - at Business Sweden. He handholds a lot of companies from Sweden - to do better business in India.

Next to Pawan is Thushar Jadhav, - Co-founder of Manastu Space that specializes in clearing space debris. We are starting from the ground, - all the way from agriculture and going right up to space - and using technology to connect - both he bottom and the top in many ways. I am delighted that this is such a diverse panel. Everyone comes in from such different entry points - when we are talking about technology collaborations - to help build a more sustainable planet.

But heading to you first Neeraj, I'm going straight virtually first. As chief innovation officer, you drive a number of initiatives - towards climate action. Could you put the virtual guest on that platform - on that television, if it is possible. Could you throw some light on what these collaborations are - and what these innovations are, - and how do you see the rule of innovation ecosystems - and contributing to a sustainable planet? - I think the key answer lies in - understanding or realizing, and appreciating two things. One is... It's not inventions we are talking about.

It is about best practices, it is about innovation. The second one is that small steps can lead to big outcomes. We look at where Deloitte is positioning itself, - we are taking a holistic approach, an ecosystemic approach - where we are saying what are some of the services - that we have been traditionally rendering to our clients - where we can now bring in the sustainability element - as we give advice to our clients. More and more of our clients, - given the awareness on the ESG agenda, - are open and demanding that we do so. We are not working in isolation.

The second thing that we are doing, is we recognize - that there are a lot of innovations - that are happening in the marketplace by startups. Certainly, we have Manastu Space here - as a prime example, we will hear from Thushar. We recognize that and we are building ecosystem partnerships - to help scale some of those more sustainable solutions - which can replace conventional solutions.

The new solutions being more sustainable, - The role that Deloitte is playing - is helping commercialize and scale up - these more sustainable solutions in a faster manner. Again, as a result of the ecosystem. So those are things that we're doing in the external side. On the internal side, as professional services, - I think the professor there, the EPSI CEO would recognize it.

In the line of duty or serving our clients, we are doing good. Pre-covid, we used to incur a massive carbon footprint. There is a realization and Deloitte has committed - to trying to reduce - its carbon footprint that we had pre-pandemic.

Again, we recognize that it is some of the parts, - so every Deloitte practitioner has undertaken - a mandatory climate acclimatization mindset, - acclimatization course. When we are recognizing the footprint in the small things that we do, - and then committing to what some of those activities are - that we will do differently, that allows us to contribute. We're becoming more conscious.

Those are some of the things that we as Deloitte - both from the perspective of an ecosystem impact - as well as building our own house - into more sustainable territory. That is what we are doing here at Deloitte to reinforce. It is all about thinking what is available, - what building blocks are available and what helps us position ourselves - in every dimension on a much more sustainable level. - Alright. Thanks for that.

Let's come back here to Sweden. We have Anders with us - who walks closely with India and Swedish - innovation enterprise that's working with India. How do you bridge - the innovation divide - or the different contexts between India and Sweden through your technology. We would like to hear firsthand of making technology - that perhaps fits in India as well, so context matters a lot on this. Yes, it does and - First of all, our innovation was kind of...

It came out from a pure selfish need - that was to circulate - and grow Crayfish in Uppland. - Okay. It was a hobby project that kind of failed - because we got bored of doing it. Then a number of years later we realized that what we had invented then - would fit perfectly to exchange diesel pumps - for small-hold farmers in the world - in becoming solar-driven irrigators - rather than diesel-powered irrigators.

We restarted the project but with a focus on - solving a big problem for small-hold farmers. India was our starting point. We got help from Business Sweden - and Swedish Energy Agency to go there and study the market. After a couple of years there, - we had a well-working, functioning prototype. That is now a commercial product - that is being sold in India and elsewhere. Still in fairly low numbers.

We have maybe a thousand installations in the world - but now we are rolling it out in the hundreds per month - and from next year, it's going to be in the thousands per month. It is growing rapidly. It's also an innovation that takes time to - have the market adapting too, - because we are selling a product that nobody knows exists. A solar-powered mobile device - that can irrigate one acre of land. When you tell that to somebody, they don't believe you. We have to show everybody that it works.

We have to go from village to village showcasing our product. We call this concept "seeing is believing". Nobody will believe it until they see it.

It's a very time-consuming process but we have from about... A little over a year ago, a strong relationship with SEWA - in North Western India based in Gujarat - but located in most of the Indian states. SEWA is short for Self-Employed Women's Association. There are 1.9 million members in India alone.

And through that grassroots organization, - we can scale up the "seeing is believing" concept. Now, we are training SEWA field agents to do this together with us. That is also why we are ramping up so quickly right now.

Thanks to these women. - Right. You're talking about seeing is believing. I am going to throw a curveball at Thushar. Thushar, seeing is believing perhaps in space - might not hold for us who are here on earth, - but you are in a very interesting space figuratively and literally.

Tell us more about it. How are you driving sustainability in space? Seeing is believing is actually... The space is the best way to do that. - Okay.

Space gives you a very different way to look at the Earth. Especially, if you remember - when covid started, there was a lot of information - about pre-covid pollution level, - post-covid and lockdown pollution levels. Essentially the heat wave that was in India - and what are the effects of that. How it was affecting different parts of the country - and its effect on the bigger population. All of this became possible because of space.

What we believe - is that seeing is believing in a very different point of view, - and that is through space. That is leading to a new way of solving a problem. For the climate or for farming. You can predict the farm output of a particular country. Or what disaster is happening, - what is the real strategy of medicating that disaster? A lot of things are possible through space. Like the Internet revolutionized the ways we solve problems, - we believe that space is the new platform to solve the problems of Earth.

That is our core belief, and we want to make that sustainable - through our propulsion system, reduce, avoid the debris. Space pollution is also because of humanity. We have increased the space pollution through the debris in space.

With the help of technology, - we are on that mission to reduce the space debris pollution - and avoid space debris pollution, so that our satellites are safe, - and millions and millions of people get - benefits of this new way of looking at earth - and communicating with it. That is the space. What we are doing for this, is we are building a new propulsion system. A new engine which is green, safe, and affordable. That will help to avoid the debris.

A lot of interesting things are happening in space - to drive climate action, - fight against climate change, We are helping through our green propulsion system - to make it more accessible and safe. - Right. Thank you for that, Thushar. Pawan, I will come to you and then to you, Jacob. Talking about Sweden India businesses, - and talking about how technology can be shared, - how it can be collaborative. I touched upon the context with Anders a little, - but I'd like to elaborate on that a little more, because a technology that is perhaps - made in Sweden, may not fit for India.

Technology which has been made in India perhaps may not be fit for Sweden. You work at the intersection of both countries. How have you seen the technology adaptability - change over the last few years? From India Sweden context, - what we work towards is kind of combining - the Swedish innovation with the tech of the Indian entrepreneurs - to develop localized solutions - which are fitting into Indian conditions - which are suitable for the Indian environment. Our belief is that once the solutions are established, - they are going to fit for all the emerging economies.

They require some sort of customization, - they require some changes in the business model - but this is a continuous process. This is an ongoing process - where in we work closely with Swedish technology - and they provide us two different frameworks and programs. One of these programs is the Indian, Swedish and Norwegian accelerator - which is a joint program of Swedish Energy Agency and Business Sweden. The program has been ongoing since 2013.

Each year we introduce six new technologies in India. In the last ten years, we have introduced 60 technologies - which have established close to 200 projects all across India. From pilot to commercial projects, - these technologies are bringing incremental green transition - to all different aspects of businesses in India. That is very critical. You have to adopt the step-by-step approach. You have to be open to showcase technologies, - localize the technologies, modify technologies, - Then you have to work out - how you can use your business model in an Indian context. That is a very critical part of - ensuring that the knowledge is exchanged, - the technologies are established in the local condition, - and then the expertise is kind of transferred from Sweden to India - and vice versa.

It is very important to look into the process - of accelerating the adoption of technology. If we can accelerate this process, - we will definitely always have a unique opportunity - to develop a sustainable and equitable future. In the end, the world is one family. Sustainability is everybody's business. We need to work accordingly. - Right Pawan. I'm going to take some of those points and give them to you. We are talking about adaptation, adopting - and collaboration, all of it.

One key component in this is the customer. If the customer feels comfortable with the technology, - then perhaps we can help technology grow - and we can make technology for good. That is a scenario that you are focused on a lot. Do you think it is used enough - when we are creating technology - and when we are adapting technology to different regions? Well, I think the first thing is to think - about the whole discourse of sustainable development - suffers from a gap between theory and practice. That's why I endorse what Mr. Bunker Roy said: decentralize, demystify.

I truly believe in co-creation processes - with end users or customers and other important stakeholders. I also believe in these emergent, stepwise change strategies - which is about facilitating learning and also about staying in motion. I almost said, "get the shit done" - but you can't say that in this context, but get the work done. Because there is a lot of talk about sustainability - and quite little action, at least from a western context. Yes, customer focus is crucial and I feel that we, as the sort of... I am sort of a research representative today - but I see myself as a pracademic, - because I have one leg in academia and one out in the "real world" - where I do market research.

I think that customer focus is neglected. We have a quite strong focus on product - and CO2 emissions and footprints and such - which is of course crucial, but we must not - in these development processes - forget customer needs, demands, expectations, - perceptions, and preferences. - Right. And talking about customer perspective as well, - Jay, if I can bring you in this conversation. You design for good technology and you design for innovation. One of the examples I believe you have been - very closely involved in, is designing for - certain situations like the pandemic Could you elaborate on that and how the customer focus needs to come in, - how the sustainable development focus comes in - when you design for good technology? - Thanks, Rupali. I think... The app that we designed during the pandemic - was something called Aarogya Setu, I'm pretty sure.

Everyone who's an Indian on this panel has used it and had it in your pockets. You have had to use it mandatorily at one point. I think it was an example of - I think what Anders was referring to "get it done". Get it done super fast.

We had to get it out in almost three weeks. We gathered together a private government partnership - with a lot of people on the team. I led the design initiative, it was a very tough one. I think the other one was of course - that you had to sort of make it collaborative - because we are actually presenting an unprecedented situation. I mean, neither have we seen it - but generations before us haven't seen it. They can't remember anything about it.

But this time around we have the technology. I think what we were trying to do is try to predict, - it's a probability kind of app, - but how the common man could understand this thing? How could we make it accessible for them? On day one we got out what seemed like a scientific paper - out there in the hands of people. We were working almost around the clock - with a lot of remote research also being done. The other thing was data from the constituencies of various MPs and MLAs - and the prime minister himself. We saw data coming in from... and we were very closely working with the prime minister's office.

I think a lot of government agencies involved in this whole tracking, - how do we get it? Are people getting it? Are they being misled? Do we understand it? We had a legal person on board. I think it was it was a very challenging situation. I think we got it done in like three weeks to a point where we said - this is something we've got to live with and people almost get it. That is just one example of where many of us have talked about - collaboratively co-designing something and making sure we get it. But my current job is also in an area, which is solving the subs.

This is a company called Udaan. It is not very known, because it is in the B2B space. It serves the micro, small, and medium enterprises. More the micro and small. Essentially think about it as the corner mom-and-pop stores, - the small pharmaceuticals stores, the small garment shops - across multiple villages of India.

After agriculture, this is the largest employer - or self-employment opportunity for Indians per se. This is trying to solve the whole issue around the procurement of things. You can't close the shop and go to a big city.

We are trying to bring in a lot of transparency - to the whole system overall. This means including these people - in your day-to-day design world. A lot of work happens - in the warehouses with the drivers for example. This is unlike your typical buttons and very fancy design work.

This is all about understanding human behavior - and how to design for drivers, for example, - to get them good delivery and at the same time-saving fuel and costs. I think this is a great example of good design, - good business, and good for the environment as well. I think we save fuel costs, we save time. We save emissions as well. I think a lot of other thing which is happening in design - an interesting view to design - which is about warehouse design. How can you make it compact, small, - and fit for the needs of various parts of India - because you have further Northeast, - and then you have Rajasthan.

Each with very different climate conditions. I think it's a very interesting area - where we're talking about sustainable business, - sustainable livelihoods, and of course the environmental impact. I think I was reading one of the BCG articles - in terms of how the small interventions can actually - a dd up to a big difference.

I think bottom line is to have a lot of co-creation and co-design. And lots of small things which add up to big meaningful numbers - in terms of impact, human impact, livelihoods. And of course, at the same time, going green in some ways. - Right. We are talking about several different technologies.

We have spoken about agriculture, we have spoken about logistics, - we are talking about healthcare and space. Is there... How rich really is an ecosystem now to have multiple - players and innovators build together? Or what more can be done in that space? Maybe I put that question to you, Neeraj. Sorry everybody, can you repeat the question? How vibrant is the ecosystem when it comes to different players - from different regions - creating technology which is for sustainable development? Because a lot of it is often done in silos.

There are small bits that are done in different places - and then the scope gets a little limited. How can we truly create an ecosystem? The answer to the first part of your question is - it amazes me what has already been done. And you ask how vibrant it is, - it's like a depth of the milky way of the galaxy. It may sound silly how I'm drawing an analogy with something - that has, despite all the technology, - has not yet been completely explored. It's amazing what is out there.

Hence, I say that actually the effort, - if anyone needs to make requirement, - is not to invent, it is to orchestrate. It is to bring things together. No matter what you want to do, the challenge is to discover is, - as Thushar was describing all the work they are doing, - the Spowdi example, the challenge in front of us honestly - is how do we scale up exponentially - - Right.

and make a sustainable future. come through in a much shorter amount of time - because we have to displace the conventional existing technologies - or ways of working for that matter. May I say, that there is an interest - of companies, institutions, stakeholders - who have invested so much money - thinking the institutions that are called building sector, - so the ecosystem is beyond vibrant. You asked me how vibrant it is, it is beyond vibrant. I think the challenge is in the orchestration off the scale-up - of the commercialization.

Why can't Spowdi, given all the business case articulations - 80 percent water saving, you know, 100 percent more harvesting. All these things are positive. Solar, electricity sustainability. Why can't they just kind of pan out all of India in the next four years? Why can't it attract the investment from soft bank, for example, - to do the scale-up. All the other big technology companies have done it. I think that's where the challenge lies. All the ingredients are there, everyone.

Right. Andre, as somebody who is so close to the technology, - is that a challenge that you associate with as well? the ability to reach out to ecosystems - that can help you accelerate scale? Absolutely. There are multiple challenges. First, you have the red tape challenge within India.

There are a lot of rules and regulations, - quite rightly, to fulfill. Then you have the buying process. If there are government institutions involved, - they are sending out tenders and they are, - you know, replied on and things happen. Then all of a sudden, there's a rainy season again. Irrigation is like selling ice cream. You have to have the ice cream there when the sun comes and it's warm - and you have a demand for it. You can't wait.

We have one starting point a year - when the irrigation is to be there. That starts roughly on the first of October - and ends on the last day of December, - because that's when you have the second growing season, after the rainy season. Or at least you have to have your irrigation systems there available. The other thing is the knowledge about the system. That is a huge challenge for us - because we have built all these beautiful IT platforms of e-training - and making the information available for everybody.

But then also our target group is enormous. We have about 130 000 000 small-hold farmers in India. How do you reach such a target group if you're a startup or a small company? First of all, you have to align yourself with huge corporations. Right now we're working with Jain Irrigation - which is one of the biggest irrigation companies in the world. We are in talks with other - big Indian organizations that we are aligning with - and starting strategic relationships with soon.

That's the other way. We need to have distribution and we can't have distribution - town by town or village by village. We have to go pan India as quickly as possible.

The third one is production. The only way to produce fast is to have production partners in the country. So you don't have to bring in all the components. The Spowdi system is built of about 70 components - and the components are coming from all over the world. If one component is missing, you can't deliver the system.

That is the third challenge, production. We also have to make the hurdle - as low as possible for the target group to acquire the system - because we are talking about a target group that is limited in - the ability to pay for the system. We have to form alliances with financial institutions - to create soft leasing products where we actually - the incentive for the farmer is that the cost of the system should be less - than filling up your gasoline tank with petrol.

- Absolutely. That is an interesting point. How do you make technology more affordable - compared to the existing systems of using fossil fuels. I'm going to... Let's look for solutions. We have talked about the challenges. Jay and Pawan, I'm going to bring you in - and then Jacob as well, and Thushar. But putting that to you first, Jay.

Here's a challenge on good technology - but the challenge is the distribution How can platforms like Udaan, - there are other open source platforms as well, - help that part of the puzzle? I think this is an interesting one for sure. Part of this is how we humanize tech - and how do we fundamentally change the behavior? This is one of the biggest things I see. The problem is not necessarily good tech or great tech or manufacturing.

Or distribution. Sometimes even when you have it... Anders mentioned that seeing is believing. People want to touch, feel, and see how it changes their lives. Does it really do that? If it is, people will go all out and do that.

I think part of it is to involve the grassroots level in terms of... I think one of the big things in there today is - that people may not be doing a lot of - different technological tweaking generally, - but they have adapted to the consumption - via YouTube for instance. Or TikTok, or whatever the equivalent of that is in India. You will see a lot of people even from religions starting to use these. These are such simple technologies. One is communication, - one is democratizing and getting it out to the masses.

The other is to see how the adaption can be there. I've seen it through the years. I was with Adobe and a whole bunch of other companies, - which is that sometimes as technology folks, - we have the technology looking for a problem. This is the real issue, I find, - that the human beings at the other end might not see it as a problem - or might have another thing they need to solve. It has to be a pull as opposed to a push mechanism. I think that is probably the fundamental way of doing it.

It is the same saying, right? If you make a better mousetrap, - people will line up to get it from anywhere. I think that is a big challenge. Apart from the whole reach part of it as well.

- Right. Jacob, you might want to add a little bit to that one. The consumer adoption to more sustainable technology. Yes, first I think - in this post-pandemic society, - globalization has become a slowbalisation. The pandemic has been a time machine - but digitalization has accelerated. My hope lies with the so-called market forces - which is the sum of customers' demands, - needs, expectations, wishes, future preferences.

I truly believe in collaborative approaches, co-creation processes, - emergent change processes. I don't believe in politicians. It is too slow. It is up to us, industries, entrepreneurs, and inventors. - We should have had a politician to defend themselves. I know I am right. That is up for another debate.

Perhaps, but I think if we look around - we all see what wee, don't we? Right. If I can get you, Pawan, in this conversation. Can organizations like Business Sweden ease this challenge? What is the solution from your perspective? - Absolutely, Rupali. You need to have a very hands-on approach. You need to get your hands dirty.

you need to start working with the technology - with the intention to impact a wider audience. Enabling the technology by connecting them to the right stakeholders. It is a complex market from different angles. You need to be connected to the right stakeholders and corporations, - like the rural stakeholders - to ensure that you can convey the benefits in the right manner. That is rightly pointed out in the discussion earlier. You need to create the pullback.

People need to understand the benefits. In Business Sweden, - we work closely with all the innovative Swedish technologies. Helping them getting in the right market - but also providing hands-on support on putting the right business model, - connecting to the right stakeholders. That is a key to succeed in a complex environment.

- Right. We also touched upon cost. Anders, you referred to that. The cost of the technology may not be fit for perhaps a region - that the technology is looking to as a market. Thushar, if I can bring you here. You deal with space. That is expensive technology. How can you make it cheap? Is there a low-cost approach to sustainability in space? - Cheap is very controversial.

I would put it more like affordable. - Low cost. Affordable is a better word, because the value is more than the cost. That is when affordability comes in the picture. From the outside, space looks like a lot of flashy numbers. Nothing is below two hundred billion dollars in the space. That is not the case, especially in the last five to seven years.

The cost of doing business in space - includes building the satellite and the components, - building the launch rails and then launching... The most important indicator of space use is - the cost of launching one kg from earth to space. It has decreased about tenfold - since the last ten years to last five years to now. In the next three to five years, it will decrease ten times more.

A hundred-time reduction in the cost of launching something - from ground to space. in the span of, say maybe 10-12 years or so. What does that do? It is like a geo moment for space. What geo did to Indian communication. Reducing the data rates like nowhere before. Unheard of. Something is happening in the space.

That has led to the rise of the services that were never part of this. Like a constellation of satellites that monitors Earth. All sides of Earth 24/7, giving you intelligence regarding - many small things that is happening in the world. Be that border security or climate change.

That is the way... Now, the space industry is going towards auto industry - in terms of scale production, - because earlier bigger and longers missions were good. Now it is smaller, more regular, and cheaper - thanks to industries' approach. All of these things are leading to - affordably accessing space. The low-cost technology or affordable technology. Doing it with the material that is available and reusing our technology - like Elon Musk is reusing a rocket.

These are the ways the space is reducing costs - and reaching billions of people across the world. - Thanks Thushar. We are running out of time - but I will give everyone 15 to 20 seconds each - to sum up or to give...

If you could look at what is the most important criteria right now - in accelerating technology towards attaining our sustainability goals - what would it be? Would it be going micro? Would it be ecosystem? Let's start with you, Jacob. Decentralize, demystify, and get the work done. Anders? For us, it's kind of twofold for the farm.

It's about creating or empowering them to make more money - to increase their livelihood or quality of life. For the world, it is to reduce CO2 emissions. One system won't change anything, but if we can get ten million - Spowdi systems out there - and reduce the market with ten million diesel pumps, - seven million tons of CO2 emissions will be taken out of the equation yearly.

Pawan? - Co-creation, accelerate deployment. The technologies are already there. We don't need to invent. It is more about finding the innovative business models - and their ways of localizing those technologies.

These things. - Right. Thushar? - I think accelerating technology is not about technology, it is about people.

We should start taking the people-centric approach. - People-centric approach. Jay? I think Thushar stole my words. I'm a designer who talks about human-centric design, - so I think that's a given.

But I think good intent combined with everyday action, - however small or big. I think it's important to accelerate towards that. - Right. Neeraj, final words? I'm with Pawan. Commercialize, scale up. Everything is already there.

We just need to discover them and bring them to the center stage. Some of these more sustainable practices and models - that are already showing us the way. We just need to bring them to center stage. - Right. If I can bring in one more, where we started: community. That is something Bunker Roy spoke about - he has over the last fifty years demonstrated it as well. That would be my little input to this conversation.

But thank you so much gentlemen for joining us. It has been a very interesting debate. We have spoken about the challenges, potential solutions, - perhaps the ability to scale and what stops us from scaling as well. We've talked about financing, low-cost models, - markets, and customer perception. Hopefully, all of it together - can enable us to create better technology - for a better future on our shared planet.

Thank you so much for joining us. And with that, we will end today's debate.

2022-09-22 05:50

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