Sep 16 2009

iSimulate as a nexus for a CoP of economists

Published by at 8:06 pm under Communities of Practice,Stories

Cross posted from Nancy’s blog

gaureshI’ve been doing a  series of podcast conversations on my Full Circle blog about the use of social media in international development. As I was recording  this week’s with Gauresh Rajadhyaksh, I realized I was talking to a type of technology steward and I should cross post here on the book blog.

Gauresh works with the Development Prospects Group (http://www.worldbank.org/prospects), a central think-tank unit within the World Bank. The unit monitors economic indicators, analyzes developments in real and financial markets and produces World Bank forecasts for the global economy (http://www.worldbank.org/globaloutlook)
Much of the group’s work relies on collaborating with colleagues situated across the world. This collaboration is much more than email exchanges — so they have developed a web-based system: “iSimulate @ World Bank” — http://isimulate.worldbank.org — that allows users to access and execute simulations on some of our simulation models. This is an attempt at leveraging Web 2.0 features to increase collaboration and create a “community of practice” of economists. They have a blog that has some more background information: http://isimulate.worldbank.org/blog. The blog is a great place to start to learn about iSimulate. I’ve also embedded their “how to” YouTube video below.

Gauresh’s role has been in managing this system creation and its strategic planning as a tool for collaboration and communication. He also build some of the actual economic models that have been added to the system.

In the podcast Gauresh talks about how iSimulate was created, adopted and plans for the future. As I reflected after the conversation, Gauresh has been serving as a technology steward for this community of practice of economists in and outside of the Bank, noticing what is needed, developing a prototype that blends with the way people are already working, then takes things to the next level. Take a listen!

podcast-logo Gauresh_Rajadhyaksh_Sept14 (about 18 minutes MP3)

“The opinions expressed in the podcast represent those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the view of the World Bank Group, its Board of Directors or the governments they represent.”


Gauresh wrote in advance of our conversation:

We intend to use iSimulate in two ways:
1. Provide an environment for the creation of a global community of practice for economists.

Though we are currently focussing on an internal World Bank community, we hope to use all the “collaboration” features of the system to reach out to a much broader audience. We see this as an avenue to engage in a much more meaningful two-way dialogue with our colleagues and clients.

2. Provide real-time access to data and simulation models.
The iSimulate system is the first-of-its-kind in allowing users to execute “custom simulations” on World Bank models. While most systems provide simple data-access with some visualization features, iSimulate allows a lot of flexibility in experimenting with the assumptions, etc. We see this as a crucial step in increasing transparency and disseminating our work in a more effective manner.

Here is a video tutorial of the iSimulate platform.

Gauresh’s Bio

Gauresh Rajadhyaksha is a Research Analyst with the Development Economics department at the World Bank in Washington, DC. He is primarily involved with macro-economic modeling and manages some of the Bank’s development data systems. Gauresh has been a part of the team that set-up iSimulate @ World Bank and he is currently the Project coordinator / Program Manager for the initiative. Gauresh holds a B.E. in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Mumbai and a M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He is also currently an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

More podcasts!

I’ll have an additional podcast with Gauresh talking about how he got support for this project within the Bank, a large, fairly traditional organization. That will be part of my next series, “Why Web 2.0?” So stay tuned. The next podcasts in this series will be from Dr. Steve Eskow and Sarah Blackmun on the cultural and gender related aspects to bringing external (web 2) technology to communities in development contexts and Simon Staiger on planning and facilitating online e-consultations. I was hoping to get transcripts of all of these, but ran out of time. So if anyone wants to transcribe….?

Previous & Related Podcasts:

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    iSimulate as a nexus for a CoP of economists
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    Cross posted from Nancy’s blog I’ve been doing a  .. [link to post]

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