Friday, November 03, 2006

Design Research: onio's take Nov 2006

I wish I knew this conference (Wonderground) earlier, I would have surely sent some write-up. It is a new begining probably when Onio has set-up a small team dedicated to Design Research. Though it is happening after 10 years of our professional practice of design in India. But yes, now this dedicated team is actually earning money for, Indian clients are now just about ready to pay money for DESIGN RESEARCH seprately. This team is consists of Designers, Management Super graduate and Social Anthropologist (we could manage one..). But as we are getting into this, we are realising is that all one needs is a smart mind and power to absorb, connect, project and articulate.At Onio we follow something called 'MUST' model for design research (which is our own find). Market, User, Society and Technology, all are equal realities in the business dynamics today. Tweaking anyone of them would result in setting new ripples in the market. We have incorporated SENSING as two steps before DESIGN (Sense Strategise Design). So our pitch is that 'WHAT' (research)to do is becoming a bigger question than 'HOW' (design) to do. Thus even branding exercise at Onio starts with 'SENSING' first. Conventional 'Logo design' comes towards the last end (it is amazing to see that this part of 'skill' seems to have reached an 'autopilot mode'). Similarly, for product design, 'concept generation' is way too below in the 'gantt chart' of activities. And surprisingly, I have started understanding the worthless(ness) of 'three concepts' kind of approach. Focus is now shifted to honing the 'context' and hence probably single concept would work.Our model does not explore new academic evolution of design domain but surely puts across a highly applied model of making a difference in the market. A very big challenge we find is to explain to our clientele the difference between "market research" and "design research". Which some times pops a expected question , " Is this going to provide us price- point as well?". :)Our experience with the two extreme of clients a) large international giants b) small Indian entrepreneurial set-ups who want to launch world class offerings; has been very good. Both the ends clearly understood the language we are talking and the deliverables that are expected from Design Research. It is usually the medium/large size established corporation who seem to have a set ideas on research. But it is heartening that they have started the articulation of softer issues at the top level.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A brand character write-up I did

Brand XYZ

A journey of a small star towards its greater destiny in the infinite universe….a spark of life poised to take on the fears of oblivion, in the expanse that tires the powers, that be.

When the sunrays touch the earth, pick the selected rays; silky, satin sheet of light would fill the room that has mild colours. Sit and warmly converse about the snow capped hills in the window.

There are moments of truth that fire the being right where it aches. But we are born soldiers…soldiers of astral destiny…either way we belong to sky…we fight hard to remain aloft..away from the drudgery that obfuscates the lesser mortals.

When there is a call…run. Because there is nowhere to hide. Run and fetch the best tulips you can, princess awaits you at the other end of the lake.

When there is a call, run..because to run is to pray is to have fun…

Stars are bright…because they have fire in their heart. When there is light, stars have contributed their share….whatever small it may be…

In the winds of change stars go…galaxies vanish concept of light remains. Master the light and ‘change’ adds to the glory of light.


A journey of a small star towards its greater destiny in the infinite universe….a spark of life poised to take on the fears of oblivion, in the expanse that tires the powers, that be.

XYZ is focused and steadfast, it hold close to the values it respects….as if they are the only universal truths.

XYZ is poise and grace…it’s a great balancing act in the danger zone. Its care and caution in all too favorable..grit and warmth when times are against.

XYZ is speed. Slow, slips…speed transcends. When sight is blurred in speed, check the construct…road becomes clear.

XYZ is about minds. Minds that connect evolve and transcend the perceptible and the subliminal.

Reading some future trends

Some trends: Freshly fried (to be elaborated)
Manoj Kothari

Unorganized will become Organized
Sectors: Agriculture, retail, accessories, construction, jewelry, home services, wellness
Current scenario, % of market in unorganizedà predicted shift to organized
Statistics of productivity gain /loss for becoming organized
World statistics US/Europe how does it fare?

Organized will become Aggregate Monoliths
Sectors: Steel, Consumer gadgets, dairy products, software,
Move to the next consolidation (rule of 3-4)
Recent acquisitions

Monoliths will give way to paradigm shattering start-ups
Sectors: Entertainment, telephony, transportation, hospitality, health

Social mobility will thrive on pseudo adoptions
What seems out of place for a section, will increasingly become adorable i.e. car owner in a slum, vegetable vendor with a mobile camera phone, a software engineer with private aeroplane.

Pseudo Icons to show prosperity. society would need more pseudo-icons for show of prosperity.

Old time social elites would move to ‘luxurious naturalism’
Excess of indulgence would give way to ‘lost touch’. Recall of the elements, with out losing the touch of cushion.

New social elites would move to ‘middle-class kingdom’
Extend the kingdom they owned. Make it ‘posh’. Bring the ‘royal extravagance’ and ‘arrogance’.

India would become a verbal society?
Tacit cognizance and symbolic communication on which Indian society flourished till now, will increasingly become verbal. Verbal because there are no more gaps left in mind-space. There are no reserves….We are spending ahead of our income.

All that is remixed, will have a techno tweak…
From clothing to music to ambience…the next tweak is digital, heavily impacted by newly discovered technology.

All that is classic, will have a ‘happy wrapper’
Amzad Ali Khan’s sarod recital, on you-tube..but a clip that only lasts a few minutes, who has got a time for 3 hrs?

Space, will be biggest differentiater
Cut the clutter…leave large margins; visibility due to size; visibility due to missing slab, missing articulation, missing perfection, missing notes…

Still on……..