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Changing Education Paradigms – talk by Ken Robinson

With my interests in education increasing day by day, talks by Sir Ken Robinson are a must watch.
I watch it from time to time. Here’s one that questions the very fundamentals of education.

With so many questions being raised about the quality of education and the way it is delivered in India, it is a matter of serious concern. The purpose of education is different today than what it used to be.

Do watch this fascinating talk.

Rejoice. NID Ahmedabad as a institute of National Importance.

Design education in India just went one step higher in terms of more acceptance from the society and the people in the government. The realisation of the importance and role of design in the development of the society is important.  So, in my opinion, the recent passing of the NID bill in the Rajya Sabha, to declare NID as a institute of National Importance is a landmark thing. NID being the oldest design institute in India, had to get this. Today as I write this, there is more hope for design in India than ever before. This is driven not just from the perspective of education, but also the industry relations.

  • The bill will also enable the NID to undertake sponsored and funded research as well as consultancy projects.
  • It will enable the NID to conduct research and training in all disciplines related to design.
  • It would allow the NID to confer honorary degrees, diploma, certificates and awards and other academic distinctions and titles in disciplines relating to design.
  • The institute will now be able to award degrees to its students.
  • Also be able to open PhD Programs in Design. This was earlier being offered only by IITGuwahati, IIT Bombay and more recently Srishti school of Design (through Manipal University)

Image courtesy: Times of India, epaper.


NID Bill

NID Bill

I hope that the NID rewards the degree of Bachelor of Design, (BDes) the same that is being given to students at the IIT Guwahati, NIFT and other deemed universities undergraduate programs.  Ever since I got that BDes degree from the IIT Guwahati in 2005, I have wanted to see more people in my tribe. Though I have never faced any problem in my professional career, it was a bit difficult to explain the BDes degree to many, especially in areas of the country, where only BTech or MBBS or MBA are the degrees that they have heard of.

What we need now is a regulatory body to approve and look at the developments of Design Institutes in India. Technical, Management, Dental, Medical, Architecture education all has its regulatory body, but Design so far does not have one. Considering the amount of requirement that we have, I thing we are highly short on the number of design schools here. However care has to be taken to ensure that it does not go the engineering / management way of just increasing the numbers, compromising on quality. It was hoped that the India Design Council, would have that role of being the regulatory body, but its not been the case so far.

The Vision first series of discussions with the earlier government on the role of Design in the country and Visioning Design Innovation Centres to come up in the country. This does not directly translate to the setting up of more design colleges. Centres of excellence in Design, can be set up in numerous of the existing engineering and management colleges as well. A lot of the new IITs being set up have been involved in this process. I know of this happening atleast at the Disruptive Design course at IIT Gandhinagar and Department of Design at IIT Hyderabad.  The setting up of the DLabs by Indian School of Business, and its project of taking Design Workshops at Engineering colleges in India is commendable.

With the new government settling in, , in his post (an open letter to the new Prime Minister Modi) also writes about the possibility of a setting up of a ministry of Design in India.

  • The expectations are mounting and so are the problems. I want to draw your attention to do something dramatic, as is expected of you. Please create a new ministry: Ministry of Design.
  • The Ministry of Design can be the agent of change that you want to see. And you can count on the design community to join you in this cause.

These are all good signs for the progress of Design and Design education in India. The days ahead are challenging, because we need more professionals to get involved. It is good to see more professionals willing to come to Design colleges and spend time with the students. But the time is right to also make being in the design education field also a good career choice for designers.

Conquering Fear : My Thoughts on Entrepreneurship

I have been an entrepreneur at heart and have been trying out quite a few things. When  I reflect back on my life so far, I think there are certain instances, which I feel have inspired me. To me, entrepreneurship is all about conquering fear, and only by doing so one can be happy. Only when one is Happy, can one be an entrepreneur.

I spoke on this topic at the SAM UTH, event in VIT Vellore, on the 23rd March.

On Teaching Design

One of the things I have been doing lately is teaching more and more. There are two aspects to it. One is the love for teaching, and the other is more of a duty to be a design evangelist and in a way increase the popularity and acceptance of design profession.

Teaching to me is a very difficult thing to do and in a way the most challenging. It is also a world wide notion that the way Design Education is imparted is not up-to mark with the current trends and that it needs to change.

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to get associated with different avenues to see this dream fulfilled through the different avenues I am associated with.

As I head the operations of the design school, it allows me to get a more holistic point of view on design, in terms of what goes into designing a comprehensive program with proper learning outcomes.

At another design initiative I teach at we look at teaching Design to senior technology Professionals, who are just being introduced to design. This is challenging, since the participants already have a lot of experience.

Talking about design

Talking about design

One of my research areas has been to see how the principles of design can be used in the improvement of quality of education at the primary school level too.

I am excited over these initiatives, and I look forward to writing more about this in the days to come!

On Design & Business

Of late, I have been having lot of discussions with Entrepreneurs who speak the language of the business, and often I am trying to convince them on the value of design.

Also in the Business School that I teach Design, it is always to hear the impressions of the participants on the design aspects.

I came across this interesting video that talks about the times we are in today and the value that Design has for businesses. It’s a must watch.

Design the New Business – English subtitles from dthenewb on Vimeo.

Designing with Intent

What’s your intent

In today’s class we discuss the notion of Designing with Intent. It is a simple concept (well, no concept as such), but serves as a good guiding tool when looking at the design from the human centric approach.

I see this as a corollary from the User Centered Design process and the emphasis on the intent part.

The usage of the word intent of-course makes it appear a bit stronger.

I made the students of my class do this simple exercise of mapping their diploma projects to this intent. The discussions that followed were interesting.

As is the case with a lot of my classes, I often showcase Videos in the class. As designers,  getting to listen to these thought leaders is often interesting and gives a point of view that is then discussed. I use these videos to encourage the art of Design Criticism which is something I want all my students to become good at.

For this class we saw the TED video by John Hockenberry, where he claims that we are all designers and that the only thing that we should focus on is the Designing for Intent.

Why User Experience Matters – talk at Honeywell

Last week I was invited to the company Honeywell Technology Solutions, to give a talk on User Experience. I chose to touch upon the fact that User Experience is important and how every company should get a team for UX, engage with UX designers or atleast have the entire company believe in UX.

The topic for my talk thus was “Why User Experience Matters”. I loved the discussions that followed after the talk and was a great joy to see the participants enjoy the section on the Arial Vs Helvetica quiz. At the end of the day, everyone agreed that UX is important and how even small things like Fonts and Typography play a huge role in the UX process.

Here is the slide deck from the talk.


Design Day #8, Bangalore 18th May

I have been a huge proponent of the Design community in Bangalore coming together regularly and interact with each other. Often this happens only over projects, but the need to just come together more informally as well. Bangalore really needs a Design event that happens on a regular basis. There are two things that I am a part of and facilitate.

One is the movie+design nights that I host at my place from time to time, and the other is the Design Day event organized by Aashish Solanki and his team.

For those not familiar with the event, here is more about it.

Design Day is held on the third Saturday of every month, and a theme of Design is selected. There are two talks followed by a JAM session for an hour. The whole thing starts around 9:30 am and goes on till around 1:30 pm. The talks and JAM sessions are related to the theme.

The event is open to Designers and non-designers who share a passion on design and perhaps want to learn something about design.

The upcoming event is on the 18th of May and the theme this time is typography, something that I really enjoy!

Design Day Poster

You can register for the event here It is FREE, though registration is must for arranging the logistics and arranging for passes to the Microsoft Accelerator office where it is held!

I spoke on the theme of Design Education at the last edition of Design Day. You can view my presentation from the same in this earlier blog post .

See you on the 18th!

Design your own Whiteboard at home

With as low as 20 Rs .

Almost all homes in the apartment complexes these days have glass doors and windows. We thought to put it to some better use. We have been contemplating to buy a whiteboard, but did not want to mess with the walls so thought of using an alternative. Simple idea, but pretty effective to make up to-do-lists and do quick discussions.

Creating the base, cleaning glass door from the behind

Placing sheets in the back of the glass door

Tile the sheets properly to avoid any gaps in between the sheets

Put white sheets behind the glass

Come back to the front and start writing on glass. More sheets, larger white board

Write on the front side as a normal white board! Your White Board is ready!

Your Windows 8 inspired tiled whiteboard

Use the tiled structure for managing different tasks and projects

Total project costs: 6 A3 sheets : Rs 12 1 cellotape: Rs 8

Total Rs 20 only.

. . . → Read More: Design your own Whiteboard at home

The history of Typography

One of my favorite topics in Design is Typography. I could spend hours surfing beautiful types and their stories. I must have watched Helvetica quite a few times and have often made a lot of effort in the presentations I make to ensure that they look nice by selecting the right type.

Here’s a nice short video to showcase the history of Typography.

It’s a must watch!