Thursday, October 16, 2008

Catching up on M4

I'm really excited about my "Design for Sustainability" class and I started out by saying I want to use this to further develop my research from last term. I looked at all the areas for "products" (we do enough services and intangible things at GradID) that I could design. And then thought... who is it that I want to design for first? I had always thought of making educational games and toys for the kids, but after spending time with research, I knew I wanted to target the women first. So here I am, after carefully mapping out a rural Indian woman's day/week/life, I am ready to start designing a load-carrying bicycle that she can retrofit on her own. Something that will ease her chores, and give her more time to start something entrepreneurial, provide a means to get to sell her work, and make her more economically independent. But how will it change the dynamics of the village? That's one answer I need to find out!

I'm also trying to write an article for my entrepreneurship class - on how to make social design a part of your business portfolio. I met some interesting people in the process. I got back in touch with Marianna from DesignMatters and met her and Erica Clark to see how that became a part of education at Art Center. I also met Jocelyn Wyatt who is a part of the "Design for Social Impact" group at Ideo. An Acumen Fellow of 2008, she asked me if I was applying for the 2010 fellowship. I think I need more work experience - another year or two - before I go; but I decided to apply anyways. And for that, I need to answer my essay questions this weekend.

Thats's the update for now. Let's see how long it is before I come back here and write again. Till then...

"Design cannot not change the world!" -- SocialDesignSite

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A new beginning

There have been many times over the past year when I have wanted to add to this blog, but something or the other always came in the way and it took the backseat. But now that my schedule has kind of cleared up, I would like to try and write something atleast once a week.

So, for starters, this is going to be catch up from the last post!

Now that I am at Art Center, I further believe that design can be used to change the world. What I wrote in my application essays became the basis of my research paper last term - "Design's Potential Role in Transforming Public Services in Rural India". In it I identified seven areas that we need to look at - (1) Energy (2) Healthcare (3) Transportation (4) Education (5) Information and Communication Technologies (6) Water and Sanitation (7) Financial Services. I looked at interesting things happening in the areas already, like SELCO, Aravind Eye Care, etc. And compared it to solutions developed elsewhere in the world like Lifestraw, Wizzit, etc.

In conclusion, I developed my own principles that I believe I need to address while designing for rural India.
1. The value of research and co-creation
2. Entrepreneurial nature of rural India
3. Role of women in the rural society
4. Appropriate technology for local development
5. Sustainability and Community development
I'll write more on these later as separate posts. These are by no means the only ones and there will be additions as I continue my research and interest in the area.

This term I'm hoping to develop atleast two ideas based on these - a product for my "design for sustainability" class and a service/system business plan for my "entrepreneurship methodologies" class.

More for later.

"The Soul of India lies in its Villages." - M.K.Gandhi