India Innovation Studio: Designing for Droughts

India Innovation Studio: Designing for Droughts

The India Innovation Studio: Designing for Droughts is a studio-based course taught through a multidisciplinary lens in Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The class operates in partnership with the government of Maharashtra to design, prototype, and implement a solution to a development problem facing India. Each year, the course examines a different challenge. This year, the topic is drought, which is particularly timely given indications that a severe drought is underway in Maharashtra.

The class is team taught in modules led by Professors Irfan Nooruddin and Mark Giordano, along with visiting lecturer Ann Pendleton-Jullian and teaching assistant Nandini Mullaji. In the fall 2016 semester of this studio, students explored the political and hydrological dimensions of drought. The spring 2017 semester focused on the policy, economic, and ethical dimensions of potential solutions, which students designed working in close collaboration with experts in the field, stakeholders, and the Maharashtra government. The design thinking component of the course exposes students to the nature and complexity of development problems and encourages them to identify solutions that are cohesive and multidimensional by visually mapping solutions.

During the length of the course, students work in groups, identifying specific of aspects of the drought they will focus on and attempt to solve. Selected students traveled to Mumbai, Maharashtra, in June 2017 to present policy recommendations to high-level officials in the Maharashtra government.

Irfan Nooruddin is the Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Indian Politics and the director of the Georgetown India Initiative.

Mark Giordano is the director of the program in Science, Technology and International Affairs, the Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environment and International Affairs, and associate professor of environment and energy in Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Ann Pendleton-Jullian is a visiting lecturer and a professor of architecture at Ohio State University's Knowlton School.

Nandini Mullaji is an alumna of Georgetown's Walsh School of Foreign Service. She graduated in 2017 with a degree in Regional and Comparative Studies.