About Us

A think-and-do-tank

People for Global Transformation (PGT) is a non-profit interdisciplinary think-and-do tank centered on how to bring about lasting social change at scale to respond to the 21st century’s challenges. PGT particularly focuses on the changing geopolitical equations and the transformative potential of technology.

Co-chaired by Sam Pitroda (former Indian Cabinet Minister; father of the Indian telecom revolution) and Hubert Védrine (former France’s Foreign Affairs Minister), the group gathers fifteen leading global leaders and experts. PGT’s members meet at least once a year. Between meetings, they work with academics, scientists, technologists, practitioners and politicians to develop policy recommendations and design pilot projects to test out multidisciplinary innovations.

Promoting inclusive and sustainable urbanization in challenging environments

PGT’s mission is to advise urban stakeholders to become more innovative at delivering intelligent, inclusive and sustainable urban development at scale, especially in challenging contexts.
This includes helping cities build the capabilities needed to harness strategically the power of innovation labs, data driven strategies, collective intelligence, open government, civic innovation/tech and the collaborative economy.

Our Approach

We work closely with a wide range of urban stakeholders to explore how cities can become “intelligent” in the widest possible sense, beyond the “Smart City” utopia. Our approach is integrated, aiming at breaking silos and exploring the transformational potential of innovation and technology. It centers on capability building and generating positive deviance that can be replicated at scale.

PGT mobilizes some of the crucial resources (technology, finance, leadership, management), networks and expertise in the field of city innovation and urban development. To mobilize these resources, we develop content and expertise in partnership with academic institutions, incubators, think tanks, international donors, industry leaders, start-up companies, and non-profits. Recognizing that we live in an increasingly interdependent world, we also leverage the potential stemming out of inter-city cooperation.

What We Do

We pilot innovative projects in challenging urban environments

We pilot innovative projects in challenging urban environments

We are currently working closely with a set of Mayors grappling with urbanization challenges around the world. With their teams and other stakeholders, we design, deploy and monitor innovative pilot projects on intelligent, sustainable and inclusive urban development.

We build capacity for urban innovation

We build capacity for urban innovation

We help our urban partners harness the power of technology and innovation , new business models and new types of public-private-people partnerships to better serve the needs of their citizens and solve the increasingly complex problems that cities face.

We provide advisory services

We provide advisory services

We work with private companies, non-profit organizations and city governments to act as a strategy counsel and resource catalyst. With them, we identify pressing urban problems and help formulate and implement solutions for citizens.



  • Hubert Védrine
  • Hubert Védrine

  • Nicolas Miailhe
  • Nicolas Miailhe

    Co-convener & Executive Director
  • Sukhman Randhawa
  • Sukhman Randhawa

  • Brune Poirson
  • Brune Poirson

    Co-convener & director


Mr. Sam Pitroda is an internationally respected development thinker, policymaker, telecom inventor and entrepreneur, who has spent over four decades in Information and Communications Technology and related human and national developments initiatives.

Credited with having laid the foundation of India's technology and telecommunications revolution in the 1980s, Mr. Pitroda has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the global digital divide.

During his tenure as Adviser to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s, Mr. Pitroda headed six technology missions related to telecommunications, water, literacy, immunization, dairy and oil seeds. He was also the founder and first chairman of India's Telecom Commission. In these roles, he helped revolutionize India's development policies and philosophies with a focus on access to technology as the key to social change.

Mr. Pitroda was Chairman of India's National Knowledge Commission (2005-2009), an advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, set up to provide a blueprint for reform of the knowledge related institutions and infrastructure in the country. The Commission has offered a series of recommendations on various aspects of the knowledge paradigm to help India meet the challenges of the 21st century.

He was most recently Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations and has undertaken the ambitious task of providing a plan for creating digital infrastructure in the country for enhancing governance and improving delivery of public services. He was also the Chairman of the National Innovation Council (NInC) which is working on several initiatives to boost innovation performance in the country. Mr. Pitroda also headed the Expert Group for Modernization of Indian Railways constituted by the Ministry of Railways. He was also the Chairman of the Smart Grid Task Force set up under the aegis of the Ministry of Power, Government of India. He has also been appointed one of the founding Commissioners of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

He holds close to 100 worldwide patents and has published and lectured widely in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia.
closeHubert Védrine

Hubert Védrine

Hubert Védrine served successively as a diplomatic advisor, spokesman and Secretary-General (chief of staff) under the presidency of François Mitterrand, from 1981 to 1995. He later became Minister of Foreign Affairs in the government of the Prime Minister Lionel Jospin under the presidency of Jacques Chirac, and remained in office from 1997 to 2002. Subsequently, Mr Védrine founded “Hubert Védrine Conseil”, a public consulting firm specializing in foreign, economic and geopolitical affairs. He has been chairing the François Mitterrand Institute concurrently since 2003.

In addition, he has been appointed independent director of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy).

In 2005 and 2006, Hubert Védrine was chosen by Kofi Annan to be one the twenty international members of the High Level Group of the “Alliance of Civilizations”. Hubert Védrine was awarded Grand Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 2000.

He is the author of several books including: "Les Mondes de François Mitterrand", 1981-1995 (1996); "Atlas du monde global" (with Pascal Boniface, 2008); "Continuer l’Histoire" (2008); "Le temps des chimères" (2009); "Atlas des crises et des conflits" (with Pascal Boniface, 2009); “Continuer l’Histoire” translated by the Brookings Institute in October 2008, "History strikes back".

Hubert Védrine is a former student at the French Institute of Political studies known as “SciencesPo” and at the National School of public administration called ENA.
closeNicolas Miailhe

Nicolas Miailhe

Nicolas Miailhe is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow with the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS), and recently completed a Research Fellowship at the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. Besides urban innovation and civic technologies, Nicolas’ work centers on the governance of emerging technosciences. A respected strategist, social entrepreneur, and thought-leader, Nicolas is also a consultant in innovation, emerging technologies and international business development. He advises multinationals, start-ups, non-profits and government organizations. Nicolas is the co-founder of “The Future Society” and of the “AI Initiative”. He has over ten years of professional experience in emerging markets such as India, working at the nexus of innovation, high technology, government, industry and civil society. Before coming to Harvard, he was Regional Director South Asia at Safran Sagem, the world leader in aerospace, defense and security. Nicolas co-convened People for Global Transformation in 2012 and has led its growth since then. An Arthur Sachs Scholar, he holds a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He also holds a Master in Geostrategy and Industrial Dynamics from Pantheon-Assas University in Paris and a Bachelor degree in Political Sciences from Sciences Po Strasbourg.
closeSukhman Randhawa

Sukhman Randhawa

Sukhman Randhawa has worked at 'the Office of the Adviser to the Prime Minister of India in the area of Public Information Infrastructure' and provided her research and technical assistance with a focus on Broadband connectivity to Panchayats. She worked on facilitating several innovation related initiatives of the office, including setting up of State and Sectoral Innovation Councils, strengthening innovation eco-systems in industry, education and finance, assisting in international collaborations, as well as coordinating the activities of the National Innovation Council (NInC).

Prior to this, she worked as a Research Associate at the National Knowledge Commission (NKC), a high level advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, on the focus areas of Higher Education, Libraries, National Portal for Teachers, National Environment Portal, National Biodiversity Portal, Quality of Life, and worked on compiling the final report of the Commission. At NKC, she also worked with State Governments for implementation of NKC recommendations and preparing blueprints for action. She has also worked with a leading Education and Technology Services Consultancy in Delhi.

Sukhman has completed her Masters in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, UK and has obtained a BA in English Literature (Hons.) from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University. She is also an honorary fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust. After completing her Masters at Cambridge University she interned at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as well as the Penguin Group in London.

Sukhman is currently working as a consultant and has her domain expertise in Education and Social Innovations. She has consulted with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank and the State Govt. of Chhattisgarh, India. Sukhman is currently pursuing a Master in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
closeBrune Poirson

Brune Poirson

Brune is a consultant in innovation, sustainability and urban development. Based in Cambridge (Massachusetts) she advises companies and NGOs on social innovation, emerging technologies and inclusive business models. Until August 2014, she was Director, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility for Veolia in South Asia. Based in New Delhi, she was responsible for designing and implementing the company’s social responsibility strategy in India, with a special focus on access to basic services and social innovation. Before joining Veolia, Brune worked as Project Coordinator for the French Development Agency. Brune also spent three years at NESTA in London working on innovation policy. She was seconded to the Indian National Knowledge Commission headed by Mr. Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations. With Nicolas, she took a leadership role in convening "People for Global Transformation". Brune holds a Master of Science in Political Science and Government from the London School of Economics and graduated from Sciences Po Aix in France. She is currently pursuing a Master in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.