Metrolife: Bharath creates inspiring policymaking tools

A game session with Pourakarmikas.

Bharath M Palavalli, co-founder of ‘Fields of View’ has been selected for the prestigious Ashoka fellowship for his work in nurturing the organisation. Ashoka is a large network of leading social entrepreneurs which impacts millions of people and communities. ‘Fields of View’, which was founded in 2012 aims at making tools to improve policymaking in India. Bharath spoke about the fellowship to Metrolife.

How excited are you about the fellowship? 

It has been an interesting experience. For many people, it is a validation of the work we are doing. This is a starting point to build on the work we have been doing in the last six years.

How is ‘Fields of View’ bringing about a change?

A public policy affects every individual or group in a different way. The diversity in the country is a big challenge for policymaking. We as tool builders have a government body or a civil society as our partner and the tool is created for them to use in their existing process to improve decision making. We want to make tools which help test the outcome of the policies and if they are feasible or appreciable by all people. 

Bharath M Palavalli
Bharath M Palavalli

What tools does the organisation make?

We create computer-based simulations and games. The games are both physical and digital. Physical games (board games, card games) and digital games have their pros and cons. For example, in one of our games we had an environmentalist, an eight-year-old and a real estate developer playing the game to build cities of the future. The real estate developer had to install a sewage treatment plant near a playground and a reserved forest area, the eight-year-old protected the playground and the environmentalist saved the forest. Within the confines of the game, they were able to negotiate and come up with solutions.

Do you sell the games?

All our tools are created with the help of research grants and are specifically designed for our stakeholders. We would love for a wider audience to be able to play our games if there are people who would like to fund creating these games.

Which areas do you focus on to build tools?

In the last four to six years, we have worked in the areas of urban poverty, transport, disaster management, energy, urban planning and waste management.

Have you focused on city-specific problems when creating tools?

In Bengaluru, we have worked in the areas of transport, disaster management, waste and energy. Recently, we published a study on 36 slums in Bengaluru which looked at the relationship between the urban poor and the city. Nobody has quantified how much slums contribute to the city. Many who live in slums are making our lives easier and we use them to earn greater salaries, while we don’t pay them minimum wages. 

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Metrolife: Bharath creates inspiring policymaking tools

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