Technology can democratise access, but we need to work for a digital public

In an increasingly digital world, there is a rising need to address the gaps in access between those who have digital infrastructure and literacy, and those who do not. Deploying digital solutions for both public and private processes without acknowledging the realities of those it seeks to serve further deepens existing disparities in access and erodes the gains of technology.

Research and design solutions informed by lived realities

Build robust and tested approaches to enhance use of technology, increase accountability, strengthen governance, and create state capacity. We call these offline architectures.

We prioritize by working with existing offline architecture or intermediaries and streamline their needs

Offline architectures are a set of people, processes, and mechanisms that sit between powerful institutions and human beneficiaries, to bridge gaps in capacity, build access to services, and build participatory and inclusive governance. They exist alongside often digitised processes and delivery of services.

Our on ground work

Our research so far



Our last mile research pointed us towards breakdowns for access and the need for offline architectures in building the gap.

Build trust
Offline architectures such as human intermediaries help build trust in institutions for those at the last-mile.

Contribute contextual knowledge
Offline architectures understand the capacity breakdowns and build the ability and agency for those who need it.



Our research on platform governance pointed us towards the need for including offline architectures to account for governance failures.

Build accountability in technology deployment
Offline architectures should play significant and formal roles in governance in digital architectures serving society, thus enabling accountability

Empower agency
Offline architectures are important for amplifying key interactions to enhance agency to collaborate with digital architectures.

What the lab aims to do?

Through research, testing, and dialogue we build ways to learn from human and analog mechanisms or offline architectures that support equitable digital access for the most vulnerable pockets of society.



360 embedded field research to understand breakdowns in technology


Brews, roundtables, hackathons and challenges



Surveys, participant observations, experience tracking


Toolkits, Operating / How to manual



Invest capital and resources in ideas that can scale


Population scaled legacy and legal frameworks

How do we aim to do it?

We researched about problem-led mix of fieldwork & desk-based work and decided to orient ourselves towards solution-generation and testing.

Engagement with government

Engage with specific line ministries

Findings from specific contexts to relevant line ministries at the State and Central levels

Embed thinking in govt. for technology

Horizontal thinking on access - systematize process and approach - embed in government

Action on the ground

Enable and support civil society

Think and do-kits, aggregate findings and solutions across contexts

Galvanise and delpoy funding

Over time, channel philanthropic and impact investment capital to inclusive, responsible technologies.

Aapti Institute
The Digital Public Lab is an initiative of the Aapti Institute and intends to work closely with the Data Economy Lab, another Aapti initiative

Aapti is a public strategic research institution that generates policy-relevant, actionable, and accessible knowledge from the frontiers of tech and society, about our networked lives, to support the creation of a fair, free, and equitable society.

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