A redesign proposal for the Indian driver’s licensing system that addresses problems of corruption, accountability and road safety.

Student Project: Human and Social Systems, MFA Design for Social Innvation

Team: Pragya Mishra, Meghan Lazier, Renzo Perez Acosta, Akshata Malhotra, Pragya Mishra, Xintong Liu

Role: Research, strategy

Year: December 2013


Corruption is one of India’s most critical systemic issues. In 2012-13, 942% more money was invested in India in bribery than in education expenditure. As an exercise in designing an intervention for a large scale systemic problem, my team focused on a common transaction that is largely shaped by corruption culture and generates a huge impact on citizens’ lives – obtaining a driver’s license.


We discovered that small bribes were not the most pressing problem.  The real issue was that people who paid a bribe for a license and never took a driving course felt empowered to drive, despite the proper education, resulting in preventable car crashes. We sought to identify a place where all of the stakeholders had interest or ownership. We realized that small details and basic deliverables could have an extraordinary affect on people’s normal daily life, and that creating change in how things are done on the ground level could scale to catalyze behavior change throughout the system as a whole.


We researched the origins of corruption in India, as well as the existing landscape of attempts to address it. We leveraged our Indian team mates’ user experiences to  first map out the system of corruption – the players, their interactions and relationships, and feedback loops – and then zoom in and do the same for the driving licensing system.


Our final intervention proposal was a redesign of the driving licensing system with a focus on the interface of the license itself, so that it provides information that increases accountability and awareness of the implications. Through our initial system map we also recommended incorporating corruption blocking measures in other parts of the system, such as law enforcement and the judicial system, to support the intervention design.