Talk it Over, is a weekly show curated and hosted by RJ Annapoorna Ravichander, Public Affairs Foundation. This series brings together a pool of experts who share their opinions and ideas on varied topics.
Jai Asundi is the Executive Director of Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), one of the leading Think Tanks in India. Primarily CSTEP measures and attempts to enrich public policymaking with innovative approaches using science and technology for a sustainable and secure society. Broadly CSTEP’s focus areas include climate environment, sustainability, energy and power and artificial intelligence using digital tools for social impact and materials in strategic studies. CSTEP also develops computational models in their research to leverage innovative technology-based ideas to solve development challenges
How is CSTEP Coping with the Pandemic
Jai mentioned that COVID-19 is a very unique issue right now. He shared his thoughts from two perspectives one-personal and the other work-wise. Personally he felt that he was fortunate that there was minimal effect in his life, apart from the inconvenience of not being able to travel and meet friends. He also felt he was lucky that he is amongst the lucky people who does not have to walk miles on the road, due to the pandemic. It was disheartening to see people who had lost their jobs and livelihood.
Professionally, he has taken over as the Executive Director and would have liked to meet most of his team members and speak to them to give a sense of hope and provide confidence during this trying time. A lot of work was “work from home” and most of the processes to meet his was in place, this concept at CSTEP was not new, since it had already started. To do this the HR processes had to be tweaked to include explaining to the staff how to effectively work from home, take advantage of the flexibility this offers.
In addition, they had to hire staff and had to figure it how the process could be made more effective, especially while ensuring and welcoming new staff. Productivity of work did not take a back seat from this “work from home” concept, so the organisation had to ensure the “human contact” aspect with the staff (existing and new) to ensure that “Business-As-Usual” to ensure that no work suffered.
The pandemic taught the:
Importance of maintaining good relationship with all the people they engaged with
Continue to work with the Government even more strongly to benefit the government
Not to take for granted issues like climate change and environment
Everyone should increase their knowledge on environment and importance of maintaining a hygienic surroundings
Be more humane considerate
Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander
Public Affairs Foundation