Trendspotting: Why Things Matter, a collaboration between the India Habitat Centre and Hearth Advisors, presents discussions about an evolving future. The monthly series connects the frontiers of academia, research, societal concerns, technology and evolving thought with issues that matter to people’s lives. Discover insights and predictions to be prepared for a thriving tomorrow by breaking down silos between education, employability, research, technology, and sustainability.

You can join the monthly Trendspotting discussions at the Habitat Centre in New Delhi with exciting Indian and international panellists, business leaders, academics, policymakers, practitioners and civil society, fostering an environment where ideas flourish. In the week before each discussion, an annotated bibliography will be circulated, reflecting some perspectives on the themes that may emerge. Following the discussions, a reflective note will be available as a summary.


Please email us at [email protected] to be on the mailing list for these discussions.

Up next …

20 February 2024 (Tuesday), 7pm

Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

“Fashion’s Metamorphosis: From Fast to Ethical”

Within the fashion industry, the concept of sustainability has become contentious, so much so that a few brands have decided to eschew the term from their vocabulary altogether. Moreover, studies have shown that even our genuine efforts to embrace sustainability have had an insignificant if any, impact on the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

So, what comes next? Alerting consumers of the ever-increasing dangers of fast fashion and relying on them to pay more for products claiming to be “sustainable” while simultaneously pursuing relentless growth and perpetuating constant trends hasn’t worked. A different approach is needed. The question, however, remains- is it possible to move away from fast fashion without incurring the drastic economic and social costs of slowing down an industry as vast and prolific as the fashion industry?


Karishma Shahani-Khan (Founder, clothing label Ka-Sha, and Founder, Heart-to-Haat movement)

Mankiran Dhillon (Head of Strategy and Content, Fashion Revolution India)

Amrish Kumar (CEO, Ritu Kumar)

Ishani Behl (Founder & CEO, Sustainr)


Vidyun Singh (Founder Partner and Creative Head, Future Collective)

Coming soon …

19 March 2024 (Tuesday), 7pm

Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

“Living Heritage: A Balancing Act Between Preservation and Progress”

In the realm of heritage conservation, we encounter three distinct approaches. The classical stance champions the preservation of physical fabric in its pristine state; the second, involves engaging with communities intertwined with heritage, though it risks erasing the communities’ futures; and the third, radical, approach advises communities on preservation, yet grapples with questions of whose heritage and interests should take precedence. Striking a delicate balance between tangible history and community values, while safeguarding autonomy, emerges as a critical imperative. Join us at Trendspotting, where a panel of historians, cultural theorists, and anthropologists navigate this complex issue.

Previously …

16 January 2024 (Tuesday), 7pm

Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

“Innovation Partnerships: Can existing business models keep pace with innovation?”

Business leaders have a growing split on appropriate partnership models for innovation. There are two schools of thought. One is open to experimenting with dynamic business engagement centred on trust. This is based on a belief that value creation in a time of accelerating change requires equally agile partnerships. The other approach insists on incremental changes based on conventional business models run on tested management norms. Is the former approach the future of business? Or does the latter approach present a much-needed safeguard against socio-economic turmoil? What are the impacts of an expanding definition of stakeholders on corporate governance? What do these trends mean for profitability, business education, employment, and employability?


Dr Radhika Khosla (Associate Professor, School of Geography and Environment and Research Director, Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Oxford)

Dr Nalin Mehta (Managing Editor, Moneycontrol, and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore)

Prasad Shejale (Founder & CEO, Logicserve Digital)

Nitin Pandey (Founder & CEO, parentune)


Chanpreet Arora (Board Member, Internews Europe; Former SVP & Business Head AVoD JioCinema; Former CEO, Vice India; Fellow, Reuters Institute Oxford)

Previously …

21 November 2023 (Tuesday), 7pm

Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

“Diversifying Paths to Financial Inclusion: Rethinking Finance for All”

Diversifying Paths to Financial Inclusion: Rethinking Finance for All unravels the pathways towards economic empowerment. Rather than focus on a single point of intervention, the discussion will explore the intricate mechanisms that must harmonise to foster stable, sustainable, and inclusive financial models for economic empowerment and greater financial literacy. The audience is invited to consider the implications of accepting alternative mechanisms for improving financial access, the cause and effect of market failures underlying the mainstream financial models, and their consequences on long-term industry policies, practices, and theories.


Shobhini Mukerji (Executive Director, J-PAL)

Ajay Srivastava (Managing Director, Dimensions Consulting)

Dr Rajat Kathuria (Dean, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Shiv Nadar University)

Smita Mankad (Social Entrepreneur and Independent Director)


Shashank Vira (Managing Director, Hearth Advisors Group)

Previously …

31 October 2023 (Tuesday), 7pm

Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

“The Blind Side of Science: The Challenges and Journeys of Women in Academia and Scientific Inquiry”

For ages, women have faced systematic exclusion from scientific inquiry, often overlooked as both participants and subjects. Professor Anna Philpott will take us through her remarkable journey as a researcher and scientific leader, offering her perspective and insights along the way. She will then join a panel of experts and thought leaders to delve into the profound impact women can make when leading scientific teams. The discussion will range from the importance of assembling strong scientific teams and the necessity of women in medicine to examining whether imbalanced teams could be linked to injuries reported by women in professional sports using equipment designed for men.


Prof Anna Philpott (Head of the School of Biological Sciences, University of Cambridge)


Dr Gitanjali Yadav (Staff Scientist, National Institute of Plant Genomic Research)

Nandan Kamath (Sports Lawyer)

Dr Surveen Ghumman Sindhu (Director & HOD, Infertility and IVF, Max Healthcare)


Dr Vibhuti Patel (University of Cambridge)

Previously …

26 September 2023 (Tuesday), 7pm

Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

“Ed-Tech: The Revolution That Is Always Arriving Yet Never Arrives”

Ignoring the growing number of ed-tech start-ups that have faltered is nearly impossible. India is ed-tech’s second-largest market globally, and the middle class is drawn in by the allure of a new, technologically-driven education that replaces an ‘obsolete’ traditional education system. However, the critical question arises: Is ed-tech a thoroughly evaluated and impactful method of learning, or is it merely a well-oiled marketing machine that perpetually defers the dreams of ambitious parents to the next big invention? The panellists embark on a journey to explore and dissect the enduring promise that ed-tech is on a mission to replace traditional education as we know it.


Shikhar Malhotra (Trustee, Shiv Nadar Foundation, Director, HCL Tech, Chairman, Shiv Nadar Schools & Chancellor Shiv Nadar University IOE)

Sabina Dewan (President, JustJobs Network)

Dr Anupama Mallik (CEO and Managing Director, Vizara Technologies, an IIT Delhi startup)

Dr Jagjit Kaur (Postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Digitisation, AI and Society, Ashoka University)


Shashank Vira (Managing Director, Hearth Advisors Group, & Global Advisor to Cambridge University’s Digital Education Futures Initiative)