The vision of the Next Generation Infrastructure Laboratory is a commitment to bring the far reaches of all sciences - natural and human - toward growth and development that are inclusive and sustainable. In line with our vision, we have created a laboratory to research complex problems that form the spectrum of social and physical infrastructures. These infrastructures include provision of essential services, such as safety and security, food, water, and access to livelihood and physical infrastructures.
Many development projects fail because they are looked as being 'interventions'. For instance, a dairy development project in a village in Orissa did not yield even an additional litre of milk after 2 years and INR 2 crore. Reason: The officials did not realise that the locals were not interested in a dairy project. Instead of looking at development projects as 'interventions', we propose designing developmental efforts as an effort in integration - a synthesis of the institutional framework, the aspirations and needs of the people and the society, and the available technology. This design task is grounded in our values - inclusive and sustainable development.
Given this, what's our approach to design?
Designing in this fashion requires us to see policymaking problems as being complex and dynamic with many parts interconnected to form an organic whole.
We see policymaking problems as being complex and dynamic with many parts interconnected to form an organic whole. Moreover, different stakeholders need to participate in the process of decision making. This is enabled through computation. Complex and dynamic models can be realised leveraging technology and methods such as serious games, modelling, visualisations, and simulations. Moreover, it is a participatory space - stakeholders can interact and participate in every step of the decision making process. NGIL has thus embraced computation as the third pillar of research along with theory and experimentation.
Stakeholders play the central role in the conception of our research methodology, and provide key inputs at various points throughout our process. You will also note the shaded "Decision Theatre" ring near the models, visualization, and alternative components. In short it is a structure using computational power for modelling and visual displays for a theatre-like policy simulation environment.