The Flourishing Bengaluru Collective

We are an emergent collective of diverse nonprofit groups and including lawyers, scientists, public health experts, technology and media professionals, climate activists, educators & civic action groups.

Why? What?

Like many cities in the global south, Bengaluru faces a challenging mix of aspiration, opportunity, disruption and uncertainty. Looming behind all of these developments is climate change and the transformations it will bring, willy nilly.

For example, while Bengaluru contributes 87% of Karnataka's economy, the rest of the state is dependent on agriculture and we can already see the impact of climate change on agrarian livelihoods. Migration to Bengaluru is bound to increase as a result. How will the city accommodate these migrants - both in-state and out of state? How can they lead dignified flourishing lives?

The Flourishing Bengaluru collective was formed with the realisation that large, complex 'wicked' problems cannot be solved by individuals or even by institutions, not even by governments with all their resources. Instead, given the scale of the problems, the only meaningful and lasting way to make a difference is by building ecosystems whose collective strength contains the potential to address them. A large number of people and institutions, of different types, must come together, each adding a piece to the jigsaw puzzle that when completed forms the overall solution.

In other words, our 'ecological thought' is a radical new way of looking at systemic challenges, and within that, we propose a radically decentralised governance model as the way forward

Our Founding Members

Abhayraj Naik

Abhayraj Naik is an activist-academic, community builder, and system practitioner for transformative change. His work focuses on art, ecology, education, ethics, and technology. He is a co-founder of the Initiative for Climate Action, and Visiting Faculty at Azim Premji University and the National Law School of India University where he teaches interdisciplinary courses on climate justice, law, and experiential learning.

Neethi Rao

Dr. Neethi V Rao is a health policy and systems researcher with interests in multi-level governance and intersectoral public policy at the intersections of environment and health. She's the technical coordinator for IR-Connect, the online community of practice supported by the WHO-TDR. She develops and delivers online & in-person training programs for adult learners on topics such as research practice and promoting evidence-informed policy.

Vedita Agarwal

Vedita is a business professional turned climate activist turned systemic problems explorer. She has done her B.Com.(H) from SRCC and her MBA from ISB, Hyderabad. Her volunteering stint with Extinction Rebellion in 2019 marked the beginning of her interest in the climate space. She is intrigued by all things climate, specifically intersectional environmentalism, climate entrepreneurship, and transformative and participatory climate action and is currently working with multiple climate ventures.

Ajay Raghavan

Ajay is a lawyer turned climate ecosystem builder. He is incredibly passionate about art, science, sustainability, and wellbeing. Ajay is a strong believer in empathy, design thinking and collaborative frameworks. He has co-founded the Initiative for Climate Action and Bangalore Creative Circus, both platforms aimed at building action climate ecosystems. He is on the Board of Dream a Dream and loves art, music, sport, and conversation.

Anna Schurmann

Anna Schurmann is a senior applied public health researcher who provides evaluation and strategy support. Based in Bangalore, she has run a consulting business for almost a decade, with clients ranging from UN agencies, foundations to small NGOs. Anna has led short- and medium-term engagements in digital health, capacity building and data use across 15 states in India and 10 countries.She blogs about public health here. Anna is originally from Australia and has also lived in Bangladesh, the US, the Netherlands, and Eswatini.

Manu Mathai

A decent, environmentally sustainable world can only be a shared and collective reality. How therefore might we build ‘sustainable structures of living together’ to organize such collective lives? This is a question that has motivated my work. I was born and raised in Bengaluru, and after stints studying and working in Dehradun, Panna, College Park, Newark, Rochester and Yokohama, I returned to Bengaluru with a hope of helping to build structures to organize our collective lives in ways that are sustainable. I am a faculty member in the School of Development at Azim Premji University. More information about my work is available here.

Jai Warrier

Jai is the co-founder of the Initiative for Climate Action (ICA), which is making transformative systemic change through climate action to transition to regenerative paradigms. Jai is also a Sustainability Consultant, currently working with a non-profit organisation to implement their Green Strategy in the Education and Employability sectors. His professional background has been in consulting in the social sector, i.e., assisting funders (Foundations, CSRs, Private Philanthropy) to define, implement and monitor their vision, mission and activities, for on-ground economic, environmental and social impact. 

Rajesh Kasturirangan

Rajesh Kasturirangan is the co-founder and CEO of Socratus, which seeks to be the midwife of collective wisdom. We do so by cultivating minds that solve wicked problems such as climate change using cognitive science, data and design. Rajesh is a mathematician and cognitive scientist by training. He has written widely on how the mind sciences can be applied to wicked problems such as climate change and the author of "Who Are We?: An Enquiry into the Indian Mind and How We Came to be Who We Are."

Arvind Balasubramanian

Arvind is a director at Socratus which he joined to further his interest in systems thinking, design and behavioural economics. Before Socratus he worked with Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives (APPI) where he anchored the Impact and Learning function and led their strategy refresh exercise. Through his work in consulting for over a decade, at Deloitte and Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, he has worked across areas related to education and skill development, government planning and e-government initiatives. Arvind is an industrial engineer and a management graduate from IIM Lucknow.

Vikram Rai

Vikram has been a Bengalurean for the last 25 years, living a bit of everything that Bengaluru is known for. Vikram’s interests lie at the intersection of communities, cultures and collaboration with a flavor of technology and its impact. He is an engineering graduate from BITS, Pilani and runs a health-tech startup, He is the General Secretary of Bangalore Apartments’ Federation, which is a collective of 1000+ RWAs across Bengaluru and is on the Board of MITU Foundation, which promotes menstrual-health awareness amongst disadvantaged girls and women.