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The Design of Engagements – I Srinivas Venkatram

The Design of Engagements is a new practice in society. What is “design of engagements”? It is the architecting of interactions between multiple (one, two, or more) stakeholders in the context of services, education, knowledge sharing, management of institutions, etc.

Why is “design of engagements” important? Why is it relevant today? The goal of ‘design of engagements’ is the creation of sustainable outcomes (particularly human outcomes) on a scalable basis. For example, in a classroom environment, effective design of the teacher-student relationship can lead to significantly superior (i) learning outcomes, (ii) thinking outcomes (iii) mental-model outcomes, and (iv) social ideal outcomes.

Its relevance today comes from three drivers: One, the fact that huge investments in infrastructure have been made

(educational

infrastructure,

technology

&

service

infrastructure, government delivery infrastructures, etc.) Two, the recognition that engagements must go beyond ‘functional outcomes’ (example – reliable, timely delivery of services to the relevant beneficiaries)

to include ‘human

outcomes (example – psychological access to the service, respect for the beneficiary, responsiveness to the problems and concerns of the beneficiary, etc.)


Three, the availability and proliferation of a range of new delivery technologies such as video conferencing, email, twitter voice chats, etc. which lead to innumerable opportunities for redesigning engagements and creating multimodal interactional environments.

Design of Engagements has the opportunity and potential to radically change almost all services, particularly those that are connected with some form of enablement – short-term or longterm – of human beings such as health care, skill building & education, buying & use of complex goods and services, social delivery systems, etc. Both government and private organizations would do well to assess the quality of their current engagements with their multiple stakeholders and leverage ‘design of engagements’ to create new orders of value with little investments in further physical infrastructure.

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