TED Fellows » TED Fellows Network » Gautam John

Gautam John

Entrepreneur + educator

Fellows Class:
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Gautam John

Professional Role

Current Titles:

New Projects Manager, In-house Entrepreneur, Legal Consultant, Strategy Advisor, Leverage Lead

Current Organizations:

Akshara Foundation, Pratham Books, Inclusive Planet


Uploaded Photos

Flickr Photostream


Pratham Books @ Connexions 2009

A video of our presentation at the 2009 Connexions Conference. http://cnxconference.rice.edu/ On openly accessible and reusable children's content. Slides @ http://www.scribd.com/doc/12586396/Pratham-Books-Connexions-2009

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Gautam K. John at the IndiaSocial Summit 2012

Gautam K. John, works with the Akshara Foundation and advisor to Inclusive Planet giving his presentation at the Power Talks: Future of Content, at the IndiaSocial Summit 2012.

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Participation Empowering Citizens to Demand Change

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Creating CHOICE in Public Education: Gautam John at TEDxBITSHyderabad

Gautam John is a recovering lawyer, erstwhile entrepreneur, earnest educator, pretend polymath and future dilettante. In this talk, Gautam discusses about the issues plaguing public sector schools in India, especially in the state of Karnataka and how Big Data can be used to provide a solution. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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ON Network Award Given at ONEF'13

2013 ON Network Award featuring winner Akshara Foundation.

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Gautam John Speaking at Takshashila Shala

Talk on Primary Education using APREST data and papers. http://takshashila.org.in/events/shala/speakers-at-the-shala-chennai-2011/

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WikipediansSpeak: Gautam John

Gautam John heads the Karnataka Learning Partnership at Akshara Foundation. Prior to his involvement with Akshara, Gautam has brought massive changes in the Primary Education sphere during his involvement with Pratham books. Gautam has been part of the Wikimedia movement in India for quite some time. He was one of the key people to set up the local chapter, Wikimedia India in Bangalore and a TED fellow. Centre for Internet Society's Access To Knowledge Programme (CIS-A2K)'s project "WikipediansSpeak" brings ideas, thoughts, experiences and messages from Wikipedians across the world. CIS-A2K's Subhashish Panigrahi brings a discussion with Gautam John in this series where Gautam talks about Openness, Open content, Open Source initiatives, Open Educational Research and Wikipedia's role in promoting free culture and free knowledge.

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Share Your Story

Ever wanted to volunteer and help out at government preschools and primary schools in Karnataka but didn't know where to start? http://www.klp.org.in can help. Come engage with us.

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Social Publishing
01/01/2007 – 12/31/2012
Our Social Publishing strategy aims to help us achieve goals of flexibility, scalability, and our mission of placing a book in every child’s hands. In particular, we want to create a shared value system of sharing and openness with a growing community of users and increasing the scale of the project. We curate communities that are passionate about reading and they help them us create and distribute content. This model rests on the idea of a participatory culture and an essential ingredient is a permissive licensing strategy along with a large community with shared values and an ecosystem to tap in to.
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Karnataka Learning Partnership
01/01/2010 – present
The Karnataka Learning Partnership is a is a public platform where all the stakeholders involved in primary education can participate and contribute to the cause of ensuring better schools and education for all children in Karnataka. This effort envisages a system where a network of non-profits working across multiple verticals - education, health, nutrition etc., will bring their data together to present a factual assessment and this will be used to galvanize community led ownership of the public schooling system to drive change. We anchor this effort on both ends of the equation - by building a network of non-profits, creating a technology platform for them to share data and hosting a common public platform to engage communities and citizens through multiple channels, both offline and online.
Project Website »


I started out as a lawyer with a focus on Intellectual Property laws. Post that, I have been an entrepreneur in the food industry, an agriculturalist, of sorts, worked as a small wheel in the cogs of a large company and now work with non-profits in the fields of education and publishing. I work at the Akshara Foundation where I helped build and lead the Karnataka Learning Partnership project, which is a technology based transparency and accountability project that creates leverage, policy and advocacy output in the public education space. I also lead Akshara's data and technology functions and work on organizational strategy. Previously, I worked at Pratham Books where I built their community and social media strategy and an open source children's book publishing model. Currently, I am an advisor to Pratham Books, Inclusive Planet Centre for Disability and Policy, STIR Education in India and Children’s Lovecastles Trust. During this time, I have also been fortunate to advise a few small startups in the legal, food and social entrepreneurship spaces and have been a founding board member of the Wikimedia India Chapter. My passion is 'access' as applied to knowledge and information.

Fun facts

Favorite meal:
I was recently in the Serengeti and had a meal that has been the best thus far. It was a combination of the setting (the plains of Serengeti with elephants and buffalo and giraffe and birds of all kind in the background and on the horizon), the food (a wonderful picnic hamper filled with every imaginable treat), the company (my wonderful wife and our lovely guide) and the occasion (our honeymoon). By far, my most favourite meal yet.

Vital Stats

Fellows Class
Living in
Bengaluru, India
Working in
Bengaluru, India
Born in
New Delhi, India



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