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Culture as a Driver of Innovation

TitleCulture as a Driver of Innovation
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsMakkuni, R.
Secondary TitleInternational Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting: Proceedings from ichim03
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedÉcole du Louvre, Paris, France
EditorPerrot,(d. 2007), X.
KeywordsCulturally-rooted Computing, Culture-conscious computing, ichim, ichim03, Personalization and Cultural Customization of Technology., tangible interfaces, The Crossing

I present three examples of work in an emerging new field of culturally rooted computing and culture conscious product design in the context of developing nations. Against the backdrop of the proliferation of ICT in developing nations, these projects show how the aesthetics and visions of ancient cultures can shape new forms of computing technology, and how ‘culture’ can drive innovation. The large numbers of traditional design talent in developing nations must not be seen merely as a market for ‘Silicon Valley’ based products and methodologies, but rather as an opportunity for innovation and a rethinking of the forms of computing for all of the world. 1. The award winning Crossing exhibit project illustrates new forms of interfaces inspired by and based on cultural forms of India’s city of Transformation, Banaras. Installations and products of the Crossing exhibit show culturally rooted design as well as interactions with digital content that challenge the key board and mouse forms of interactions with workstations. 2. The Vrindavan Physical-Virtual Authoring Tool explores a multimedia-authoring environment that allows village children in rural India to compose digital representations of their sacred city, Vrindavan composed through physical, tactile media as well as digital multimedia. 3. Lastly we illustrate how communities in Asia personalize their technology, and how a technology whether a computer, a vending kiosk, or an automobile can serve as an extension of cultural identity and expression, and in turn how ornamentation is an essential design need. Given the needs of these emerging communities, culturally rooted computing will play an important factor in making technologies usable and accessible to people.