Dr. Chaturvedi’s interest in social empowerment was sparked in 2005 after he began a business which created agent-based simulations for the Department of Defense for use in war games, experimentations, planning, analysis, and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. During that time, he came to the realization that technology, while relevant in a defense context, could have potentially transformative impact on the lives of the poorest of the poor, by conveying knowledge and fostering empowerment. Dr. Chaturvedi, born and raised in the state of Jharkhand in northern India, reflected on the impoverished communities with which he grew up, and decided that the next phase of his career would be devoted to lifting those people in Jharkhand, and all developing parts of world, out of poverty.
As smart phone use skyrocketed after 2005, especially in developing countries, it became clear to Dr. Chaturvedi that educating people with limited literacy could be employed transparently and at scale not through classroom instruction, but through mobile phones. Thus, the ISEEK and its first project, Saksham, were born in 2012. By working with the world-class faculty and resources at Purdue University, ISEEK established its mission as empowerment through entrepreneurship and knowledge, but with a backbone of technology- Purdue’s strength. Mobile phones are the most effective means of disseminating knowledge in an interactive (game-ified), accessible way (for those with limited education).
The ISEEK team has grown into a large group of undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff. ISEEK’s team has a global makeup. Its members bring experience and knowledge from diverse disciplines such as gaming, social entrepreneurship, education, large-scale platform development, and content development. ISEEK will begin its activities in rural Jharkhand by the end of 2015, and will expand into two communities in Indiana in early 2016, as well as Bulgaria and Honduras by the end of 2016.