Who We Are

Dr. Jessica Seddon
Founder and Managing Director, Okapi

Dr Jessica Seddon is Founder-Director of Okapi, an IIT Madras-incubated research and consulting group focused on institutional design for complex goals in changing times. She focuses on the interaction between technology change, information ecosystems, and social structures for collective action. Her work cuts across sectors - from infrastructure to environmental change to healthcare and financial inclusion - to enable innovative approaches to achieving collective purpose. Dr. Seddon has advised a number of state and national government initiatives in India, most recently the Kelkar Committee on Public-Private Partnerships, the Prime Minister's National Transport Development Policy Committee, and the High Powered Expert Committee on Urban Infrastructure. She is on the advisory boards of Prakti Design Labs and career discovery service Vidyartha as well as the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index (NEX). She is also a Visiting Fellow at the IDFC Institute, Mumbai, and Adjunct Faculty in the Departments of Civil Engineering and Humanities and Social Science, IIT Madras.

Dr. Seddon has published book chapters and articles on infrastructure, Indian political economy, IT and governance, environmental regulation and other institutional design topics in international academic and policy venues including Cambridge University Press, Journal of Development Economics, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Foreign Affairs and Harvard Business Review. Her work has been supported by Google.org, the International Development Research Centre, Stanford University, University of California San Diego, and the ICICI Foundation among others.

Prior to founding Okapi, Dr. Seddon served as Head of Research at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (Bangalore) and Director of the Centre for Development Finance and Professor at the Institute for Financial and Management Research in Chennai. She was also a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (Washington, DC). Dr. Seddon has held research positions as Assistant Professor, Political Economy, at UC San Diego, and in the Chief Economist's Offices of the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. She earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business and her B.A. from Harvard University.