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Creating an ecosystem and building a business in the process: Ashwin Mahesh (Lithium)

Ashwin Mahesh is an urbanist, social technologist, journalist, and researcher who studies the way cities are growing in India. He studied to be an astronomer and an Antarctic climate scientist, but since returning to Bangalore in 2005, he has focused on urban development and public problem solving.

In 2006, he founded the social technology lab, Mapunity, which he still leads. Mapunity works to apply technology to tackle developmental challenges in cities – in areas of transport, water supply, energy, climate change, public safety and governance.

At UnPluggd this year, Ashwin will talk about his latest initiative, Lithium, India’s first electric mobility solution for urban transport. Within a span of 18 months, Lithium has created a new ecosystem for transport based on electric vehicles. And along the way, the company has helped solve challenges in product development, energy supply and management, market creation, and engineering. As the nation begins to embrace electric mobility in a big way, Lithium has an early start on an exciting new journey – with a triple bottom-line focus from day one.

His research and advocacy focuses on ‘public problem solving’. How can we strengthen our cities through collaboration between public officials and citizens? How much of what we expect our governments to do can be done by us instead? And how would our choices be different if we imagined government not only for the people and of the people, but also BY the people themselves?


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