Two days back, at the Web2.0 expo, a respected blogging pioneer and six-apart founder, Anil Dash announced to the world the launch of ‘Expert Labs’ – a not-for-profit technology incubator, that will focus on providing value to the US government and any start-ups that are focussing on government projects by focussing on cloud technologies.
Expert labs has been launched by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and aims to work at all three levels of policy, technology and science communities – bringing leading luminaries of the field together using web2.0 technologies and building thriving expert communities.
Dash said that the new initiative’s name reflects its goal of bringing three distinct communities of experts together: “We’re going to tap into the expertise of the policy community to identify what questions need to be answered,” he explained. “We’re going to tap into the technology community to collaboratively build platforms that help get those questions answered, and finally, we’ll tap into the science and technology communities to provide the answers themselves.”
Policy-makers could use social networking to solicit expert input on draft legislation, Dash noted, just as Internet users now routinely use technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail to poll friends before making household purchases. Ultimately, he said, Expert Labs will help to incubate new technology platforms for capturing and sharing expertise on emerging policies on almost any issue, from science and technology, to public health, and more.
It is pertinent to note that this idea of Expert Labs dawned on Dash, when he thought about the network of expert and successful friends he had and how they would love to contribute to the service of their country. With an equally thriving start-up ecosystem in India , its about time the Indian technology experts come together and giveback to the country that despite all overt corruption and infrastructure issues, is still providing them the ecosystem they need and thrive in.
With IT projects in government bound to pick up, the UID project may just be the tip of the iceberg and there may be immense opportunities for start-ups who focus on government projects and issues and an incubator that focuses on these start-ups.
Do you think having a science and technology incubator makes sense in the Indian context? or is the start-up ecosystem itself so fragile that the players need to become established before they can think of giving back? or is it the case that the Indian political scenario is so mired in controversies and corruption that the kind of experts the country needs, and can benefit from, will shy away from such communities? With Mr. Nilekani taking a bold step, don’t you think its time that other technology entrepreneurs too join hands?