Chintan Vaishnav / Sloan Senior Lecturer & Academic Director of the Tata Center

Dr. Chintan Vaishnav is an engineer trained to understand human as well as technological complexity in large systems — a socio-technologist. He is interested in creating socio-technical systems for improving lives in underserved communities, and in analyzing the implications of promoting and managing such technologies for policymakers, managers, and society at large. He teaches at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and is a member of the founding team of the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design.

Chintan’s professional career began in pure engineering research at Lucent Technology’s Bell Laboratory, where he designed network switches. During his years at Bell Labs, Chintan realized that for creating technology that effectively addresses some of world’s fundamental challenges such as hunger, poverty, etc.; engineers must learn not just to design technology, but also understand the interaction of what they design with public policy, market, and culture. To develop such understanding at the intersection of engineering and social science, Chintan came to MIT in 2003 for his PhD in Engineering Systems.

Chintan’s work today spans Technology, Development, and Policy. In the area of Technology and Development, he has designed and teaches a graduate-level course on Technology, Design, and Entrepreneurship for Emerging Community at MIT. The objectives of this course are to enable students to understand the challenges of designing solutions for development, apply design and systems thinking to frame problems, and make solutions rigorous, relevant, and marketable. His research in this area focuses on designing information technologies and systems to improve lives of agricultural communities.

In the area of Technology and Policy, Chintan’s work has focused on understanding the implications of Internet-based technologies for various levels of policy-making that ultimately impacts various forms of freedoms. His doctoral work focused on understanding conditions under which technology disruptions do and do not occur, and how governments could achieve regulatory compliance without killing innovation when Internet-based services disrupt traditional ones. More recently, he has modeled and investigated the impact of Cyberspace on political engagement, and issues of International Relations such as trade and security.

Chintan has advised the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and has over the past decade worked with several large communications companies who are members of the MIT’s Communications Futures Program. His work is published in the areas of computer networks, technology policy, strategy, and development. Chintan holds a BS and MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from RVCE, Bangalore and CSU, Fort Collins, respectively; an MS in Technology and Policy; and a PhD in Engineering Systems from MIT. He also holds a BA in Indian Classical Music. Chintan is an Indian national.