Thursday, November 01, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
By Jim Louderback
"Why isn't MP3 dead yet," complained reader Matt Bieschke to me in an e-mail. "I've been waiting a long time for MP3 to die, and it just seems to get more popular."
Are there better Alternatives? There are, and they solve the problems. Microsoft's WMA, MPEG-4 AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) used by Apple's iPod and iTunes, and Ogg Vorbis all create much smaller files that sound as good or better than MP3s. Ogg Vorbis is free for all, both on the encoding and the playback side. WMA includes built-in digital rights management (DRM), and Apple has appended its own DRM to AAC—which makes music sellers happy.
Why hasn't MP3 been unseated? Formats, once widely adopted, are very hard to change. MP3 has become a lowest-common-denominator format: A device simply cannot be successful without supporting it. Why? Because so many users have invested so much time in creating and downloading MP3 files, and they'll resist going through gathering and encoding all over again. There's simply too much material in MP3 format floating around for us to change over, even with all the benefits of newer formats.
I don't disagree with your assessment of the MP3 format...
MP3 will never die.
it's not about adopting new standards; it's really about making money.
What's it going to take to change? I've developed a law of technology adoption, which I modestly call Louderback's Law: Unless a new technology includes breakthroughs in at least two different dimensions—without adding hardship along the way—it will not supplant and older, established one.
The idea of "LOWest COMMON DENOMINATOR" is a strong idea. BIC has become LCM of the pens. MP# has become the LCM of music. VICKS has become LCM of cold-relief balm in India..and SURF has become LCM of washing powder....very very difficult to replace the first movers advantage. First mover, that went to the masses....
Power of LCM is a greatly unarticulated that defies the idea of value creation through premium branding and the language of 'desire through scarcity'. At least we can say that it works slightly differently for a mass-marketeer visionery. Trading products under one brand umbrella and creating a product that flows like water in the market is totally different ball game.
The contextual objective of collaborative software is to create what’s called The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts & Cultures. “When you step into an intersection of fields, disciplines, or cultures, you can combine existing concepts into a large number of extraordinary new ideas.” In medicine for instance, inkjet technology is applied to develop layered pharmacuticals which time–release different medications in sequence.
Only through redesign of associative webs and barriers making up the stuff of context can information technology realize its potential, and avoid the ultimate context failure: groupthink.
IBM chief makes my job easier :)...makes Onio's job easier and makes the design industry a wee bit closer to public education on design.
Another quote which attracted my attention-
“Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.” — Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO, News Corporation
and yet another one-
The report quotes CEOs as saying:
"partnering is “theoretically easy” but “practically hard to do.”…”having a few beers together is not collaboration. Collaboration is a discipline.”
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Keep the list of questions ready in your bag and in your mind (not in your hand).
Try rehearsing the entire conversation through one or two sample interviews. This would get you into the groove.
Always go in the team of two. Better if one person is a woman.
Take some time, especially in the case of home interviews, to make the person/family comfortable in talking to you.
If they are talking to you, never be in a hurry to ask the next question.
Idea should be about ‘broaching the topic’ and not ‘asking a question’.
Note all that is happening around. Do not focus the camera only on the person who is speaking. While the voice is getting recorded, camera can actually pan the surroundings.
Note the brands that are in use, around the subject.
Note the body language.
Take a round of the market, to see the environment, ads, messages, trends in that living habitat.
Never. Be too apologetic about the interviews. Some of the subjects are too keen to be interviewed.
You can prompt/help them for certain issues, if they are not the talkative kind.
Also note the people and their interactions around the subject.
Take a look at the architecture, interiors etc. and articulate in the report.
Carry visual concepts to illustrate the ideas, but use them after significant comfort has been approached.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
"It is neither surprising nor sad that we are not ableto get an exact equivalence to 'design', an English word that during last eighty years has gathered layers after layers after layers of meanings, nuances and interpretations. The French who are at least ten times as fiercely proud of their language as we are ofSanskrit (or Hindi or Bangla, or Tamil or any of thefourteen Indian languages) have recenly settled downfor DESIGN with no change of spelling. Germany had alredy done the same while Russians (quite cleverly, Ithought) desided to add an entirely new word to theirlanguage, spelled DIZAIN"- H. Kumar Vyas
Friday, May 11, 2007
"Running a single-handed campaign, sans celebrities, catchy advertisements, audio-visual displays or any other vote-pulling antic, Mayawati only concentrated on her new social engineering experiment of wooing the once "untouchable" Brahmins to act as a catalyst to reinforce her strong base of Dalits in a highly caste-ridden Uttar Pradesh."
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Does it mean that a ditto copy of what has happened in mature economies+local needs, is the 100% projection of India as the design lead economy?
I see every country brings a tweak to the 'design' world from its own perspective. Recently I read that China is now one of the biggest manufacturer and exporter of cosmetics in the world. The world is guzzling what chinese aestheic senses are producing...China is shaping the beauty of the world (in a way). One can sense the chinese colour pallette in toys and plasticware already. World's kids are getting moulded to certain sensibilities through these toys and plasticware. There is democratised, more accessible and affordable to everyone, new toy on the shelf everyday for sure. So Taiwan, Korea and China have learnt the tricks of European design and mixed with their own sensibilities to evolve a new design language. India is yet to speak that language. Whenever that becomes visible there is going to be visual changes for sure, but there should be some thought level changes are but expected. I won;t be surprised if some of the thoughtlines create flutters in the design world across the shores.
Coming back to maturity stages, it appears to me that it is only a matter of time that cetain things will happen-
a) Design becomes integral part of corporate world
b) Design becomes a tool for SMEs for growth
c) Sensing paradigm takes root in market faced innovations
d) Disruptive processes are borne out of the shear madness that Indian market presents
e) 'Art' comes back in day-today objects
f) Multiple organisational bodies are formed to channelise certain efforts in this segment (Design council or not..
g) Industry shake-up happens as world wakes up to design service market potential in India (Kishor Biyani of Pantaloon is 'outsourcing' the IT needs to IBM in India...does it ring bells?)
h) 'Design' is broken up into more specific sectors. 'Furniture and Retail Design', 'Animation Design'...etc. Creative Services would be the overall gamut to address.
i) Boom in regional markets in the interiors of India will bring the crafts back..(it would be surprising..that craft revival will not be because of the Walmart sourcing from these people, but because of the own countrymen becoming conscious of their needs).
Current generation would be the 'speedy' generation who want things accomplaished all in their life time...next one would surely take a pause and reflect....:))
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
India has a small, busy community of professional industrial designers (around 3,000 in total). And for them, things have never been so good. While we hear from the European design professionals and interns at my design firm, Onio, how hard it is to find a decent design job elsewhere, many young designers in India find companies lining up with lucrative offers even before they graduate.
The software industry needs designers to beef up its graphical user interfaces; brick-and-mortar businesses need more traditional corporate design; and product-led companies have started turning to serious innovation and design. But while the overall mood is upbeat, the country's businesses are nonetheless sharply divided when it comes to their ability to absorb or apply real innovation. Here's a brief, personal take on the different attitudes being shown toward design in India today.
Let's begin with startups. There are two types of startups in India—and you see them in all industries. The first is spawned by the second or third generation of a well-to-do business family. These chief executives are aggressive and more attuned to a Western model of experimenting with new ideas than their elders, and they have generally experienced the power of good design.
But these guys suffer when it comes to major decisions that involve large changes or expenditure. Their boards are invariably still made up of older, more traditionally minded family members who make pushing forward a design-driven agenda less than smooth sailing.
Software for the Indian Market
The other kind of startup is usually the child of a team of technocrats who left flourishing careers to give shape to an idea—in other words, the more traditional, Silicon Valley style of company. Increasingly, entrepreneurs who were embedded in engineering want to convert that knowledge to capitalize on India's booming gadget market. These startups are more open to innovation, ideas, and expenditure than are those in the first category.
Transtrite, for instance, makes GPS-based vehicle tracking products, which are gaining popularity because of newly constructed expressways across the country. I should note here that despite the media frenzy about the Indian software industry, software products designed specifically for the Indian market are still a rarity. So this is a fledgling group, but one set to have increasing impact in the coming years.
Next are the traditionally successful companies that used to rule the Indian market with their once-great products that may now be badly dated. These are feeling the heat of competition from local companies as well as from better-designed foreign products, and are far from visionary.
Owners cling to an attitude of "We know what works for us. We know the market. Give us a design to match that foreign brand, and we'll take care of the rest, we've done it before."
Big Businesses, Old School
Part of this attitude comes from the monopoly they enjoyed in the past, and part of it comes from ignorance of the reality of innovation today. Sporadic or incremental innovation does not accomplish anything, and these companies are heading for a disaster unless they do something radical—and soon.
Then there are the established Indian business houses. These are usually a part of bigger conglomerates with multiple business lines—making and selling diverse products such as soap and software and employing designers across all their companies.
In general, all have done well in understanding the language and worth of design. I'm talking here about companies such as BlowPlast in office furniture systems, Titan in watches, Onida in consumer appliances, or VIP in luggage.
But today, some in this category are suffering from a problem of having enough insight (the starting point of design) to decide the course of innovation, but not enough to implement it within the new market realities, which are changing at a faster pace than ever before
Another Round of Mediocrity
In one meeting with a TV giant that had better remain nameless, I asked them why, when they've ruled the Indian market for so many years, they had not managed to become the Sony of India? Total silence. Even though they have a full design studio (doing reasonably good work), their products don't differ much from other international players who are putting all their financial and design might into eating the Indian pie.
Once these companies understand that they have to innovate, they don't seem ready to take the riskier step of continuing to do so. It will take another round of mediocrity and failure before they understand that engaging with higher paradigms of design is not optional. These companies have the potential to become shining icons of Indian design, but they need a visionary leader to take them there.
The fifth category is the most recent—multinationals wanting to localize innovation for the Indian market. This one comes courtesy of the booming Indian economy and signals foreign awareness of the end of the Indian consumer's love affair with foreign products.
Once upon a time, everything with an overseas label sold well. For years, foreign companies operating in India considered Indian consumers "Third World" residents who would be happy with any foreign label, and who didn't have an idea of ergonomics, style, or evolved taste.
Getting to Know You
Products that had proved unfashionable elsewhere were introduced in India, but then the Indian consumer began to catch on. Traditional segmentation and economic capacity-based studies don't wash any more. Gone are the days when Indian consumers would buy whatever was presented to them.
With many choices and plenty of information on what is available—and what constitutes world-class quality—consumers know what they are looking for. So now companies planning for a longish stay in India are seeking more local insights into the minds of their users.
One of the companies we are working with is Volkswagen, which is using a mix of market statistics, ethnographic research, and trend research to understand the dynamics of the Indian mind. They still have design studios far away from Indian soil, but there is a sign of increasing Indian involvement in their innovation process—at last.
The last category is the large public sector companies, hitherto untouched by "design." They are the legacy of pre-liberalized India and still enjoy huge support from the government in terms of money and policies.
Design here is a not a mandate. Usually it is forced by competition—one of the senior managers decides to try it out. The problem they face is that it can take a long time before the power of design is truly understood by all tiers of a hierarchy. So they continue to struggle with good design, bad design, and no design all lumped together. But these companies are becoming bigger beacons of design. They are ready to experiment.
So where does it go from here? Well, the Indian economy is booming. Consumers are showing signs of becoming discerning mature buyers and users. Companies are ready to spend money and take risks. The government even declared a National Design Policy (though the effect on the ground will take a long time to become visible) (see BusinessWeek.com, 2/14/07, "India's Designs on Innovation").
New design schools are opening every year (there are more than a dozen now). Design companies are getting their acts together to attract investors and grow (WPP invested in Bangalore-based Ray+Keshvan, Tessaract became Idiom with the help of Future Group, Onio got angel investment.)
Internationally acclaimed design houses like IDEO are on the prowl for their piece of India. Even the Italian government has seen the opportunity and is promoting the Italian design industry heavily on Indian soil. All of this points to an exciting road ahead for design in India.
There are hurdles for sure: the lack of a trained intermediate layer (design engineers and design managers) or a governing body for design practice, the lack of skilled supporting resources such as model-makers and prototyping companies, and above all, the lack of trained designers in the country may slow the big boom of innovation that can transform India. But it's coming.
Manoj Kothari is founder, director, and senior design strategist of Pune-based industrial design and branding firm Onio Design.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Stationery shops are my place of interest when I go to Europe. Though Pune also has exclusive super stores of stationery and one can find exclusive stuff here as well. But the kind of deep-ranging that can be seen in each product category is usually absent in India. I can see 5 different coloured corrguated papers. The regular brown paper my son uses to cover his notebooks is also available in several colours and exotic finishes like silver.....this ordinary craft paper has been turned into an object of desire. While sharpners and erasers have taken on a chinese look because of obvious reasons, notebooks, papers, high-end pens etc. have still retained the European flavour. I was delighted that Chinese onslought has not taken a toll there and quality is still respected.
I also took a tour of Stroget, the shopping street of Copenhagen with Genevieve. Luxury brand have come to a saturation of innovation. The accessories at Gucci or Louis Vuitton look drab and unexciting apart from the price tag and the brand equity they carry. A walk to Zara showroom was revealing. I had studied the rise of Zara and other new age companies like Skype a few days back. Zara is run by a spanish family and they change thier clothing products every 3 weeks. It is based on a strong local supply-chain (unlike IKEA which has a global cupply-chain). Zara offers affordable middle-end fashion garments with the tweak of 'new every time' one visits the showroom. At the same time, Zara sits next to Louis Vuitton and does not fill its showroom as if everything is under discount. I like the model and the feel. Visit to Ikea in Amsterdam (this was second time I visited IKEA...first was way back in 2000) was revealing too. The price tags on products suddenly appeared accesssible for an Indian buyer. A small wooden chair or stool that would cost Rs 4000 in India to make, were selling for for Rs 1500. IKEA has already announced thier plans to enter India. I won;t be surprised if Indian homes would be IKEAised and would lose the local identity. Even if local carpenters copy IKEA catalogues and make the furniture they surely introduce the 'stronger colours' or some 'decorative elements' on their own. Now that director of communication for IKEA attended our event (Insight India 2007), I see some ground breaking work by IKEA on Indian market (both on Product Design as well as Communication front).
Axel Olessen, the managing director of Copenhagen Insititute of Future Studies observed that not many Scandenavian companies had participated in our event because they are currently focused on China. According to him, Danish people are 'traders' and have a 'herd' mentality. Only some of them have noticed the changes in India and they are two years away from the Indian market. Copenhagen did appear to have the design consciousness more than Vienna or London etc. From telephone booth, trains, hoardings and day-to-day items did have a touch of thought. But then, it had no history of a city that usually glues me to a city. The kind of 'ancient air', Paris, Londond, Salzburg or Vienna exude, was totally missing from Copenhagen. It appeared to be a modern kid brought-up in luxury and good manners but rootless in culture. There was some sort of disdain for cultural harmony anyway...I felt (talking to Jessica and Genevieve and experiences from Sonali).
Living in Europe is costly? Stan bought a sort of row house with area approximately 3000 sq ft. with a garden attached, in Amersfoort. A sort fo luxury home when we think of Mumbai, Delhi or Pune, all 360,000 Euros. Any decent row-house in Indian cities would cost 1.5 crore rupees anyways. I took a taxi in Vienna from Barbara's home to Airport which is around 15 km distance. The taxi was a luxurious Merc and the charges- Euro 27 (i.e. Rupees 1600). I don't think we can get a Mercedez Benz for Rs. 1600 in Mumbai.... Mobile phones, cameras and refrigenrators and computers....cost the same in India and Europe....so where is the difference? A glass of water cost nothing in India (literally) compared to Rs.100 in Europe. One can get a decent one time food for Rs. 100 in India while you need to spend Rs. 1000. So food is extremely costly. Prakash had a good observation...wherever human touch is involved, things would be super costly in Europe...so true... a haircut would cost a bomb in Europe while it costs nothing in India...should we talk about massage? :)
more to come....lest I
Monday, March 12, 2007
I explained to him the company's position. He showed no emotions. He was my father's age. He heard me quietly. Then after 5 days he came and told me that he did not want the company's favour+money..he had arranged the operation free of cost in Sai Baba hospital in Andhra... :)
As many as 14 Indians have joined the coveted club, raising the net worth of the country's billionaires by around $90 billion.
Mittal, who heads the world largest steel company Arcelor Mittal, is the fifth richest person in the world with a net worth of $32 billion.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates continues to be the richest person in the world for 13th year in succession with a net worth of $56 billion among a record 946 billionaire pinned down by the magazine.
India's rich are marching towards the top the table with brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani, who split up their family's conglomerate, joining Mittal for spots among top 20 richest people.
India now has the largest number of billionaires among the 20 after the United States.
Mukesh, chairman of Reliance Industries, with net worth of $20.1 billion finds 14th spot and Anil is the 18th richest person commanding a net worth of $18.2 billion.
An interesting statistic that the analyses throw up is that Japan's 20-year reign of cornering highest number of billionaires in Asia has ended and it now has only 24 billionaires with combined worth of $64 billion.
The list has 178 newcomers including 19 Russians, 14 Indians, 13 Chinese and 10 Spaniards as well as first billionaires from Cyprus, Oman, Romania and Serbia.
Two-thirds of the last year's billionaires are richer and only 17 per cent are poorer including 32 who dropped below the coveted figure and out of the list.
The billionaires' combined net worth climbed $900 billion to $3.5 trillion which equates $3.6 billion apiece, the magazine said.
The average billionaire is 62 years of age and ingenuity, and not industry, is their common characteristic. They made money in everything from real estate to coffee, dumplings and ethanol.
Among those on the list, 62 per cent made the huge fortunes from scratch.
The United States has 415 billionaires which translate into 44 per cent of the total. New faces include Starbucks chief Howard Schultz, ranked 840th among the richest. It has 55 new billionaires and total net worth of its billionaires is estimated at $1.36 trillion.
Hind Hariri, daughter of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, drops off the list and Germany's 23-year-old Albert von Thurn und Taxis replaces her as the youngest billionaire.
China's Yan Cheung, ranked 390, makes a history as the country's richest person and is one of the three self made women in China to debut on this year's list. They join the exclusive rank of self made women including Oprah Winfrey ranked 664, J K Rowling (891) and Margaret Whitman (754).
Friday, February 16, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
simple structure that guards a tree and also provoides public seating in
crowded streets of Mumbai. If something can last in Mumbai, it will last
anywhere in the world...
I have only seen the draft that appeared in the news papers a few days back. Here is what I read in that-
1) First and foremost, it is a very strong note that government is finally taking a note of a profession that country needs so badly. We all know how
2) A policy statement like this would certainly culminate into 'some' action on ground (even if 10% of what is promised, implemented in next 3 years…country should rejoice). It also means that policy statement reads like a utopian bonanza. I see no specific focus within the agenda….for example, SMEs need the intervention of design the most. They are the ones who would be key drivers of Indian engine for Innovation. Where is the specific highlight on them? They all go under 2 lines, while design education and awareness is hogging most of the 'intent'.
3) There is no specific mention of 'design practitioners' who are the flagbearers of design. The whole idea of Design in
3a) Design, to deliver successfully, needs not only designers, education institutes and industry…but a collective eco-system that includes small-time suppliers, fabricators, artists, artisans etc. Small scale industry today is looked upon as just a 'supplier' to organized players….but in a 'design' led economy, this SSI base itself can become a hot-bed of innovation..This becomes a 'design eco-system',,,,this requires a mention and focus in the vision document….
4) 'Crafts' is a favorite phrase to indicate the Indian heritage, whenever we discuss Design and
5) From a vision statement itself, the policy should have spelled out the course…i.e. first two years would be focused on 'Design Education and Awarenes'…next two years would be focused on 'Promoting culture of Innovation in the Indian industry' etc. etc..
6) It is still using 'design' as a 'noun'…missing the whole notion of design as a 'verb' which is the central idea of 'attitude and process to innovate' in today's times.
7) There is no connection …not even mention to touch upon 'cultural anthropology' and 'history'…where is the 'Indian ness' coming from? No mention of research on what could be the Indian Design…..all that we practice today is a western view on design….whole idea of 'sustainability' is a western idea, built into original Indian thinking already….It is imperative that while National policy focuses heavily on 'Exportworthiness' of 'designs', there should have been a due space for 'softer' and 'essential' issues.
Onio Design Pvt. Ltd.
'Begin Differently' - Sense | Strategize | Design
Friday, February 09, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I have some lingering doubts in my mind i.e. touching the object, that you see...the same screen where you see your photo or information...touching with fingers may have some cognitive mismatch....And isn;t it funny that western world prefers not to touch the food (use spoon) but when it comes to touch dead-materials i.e. monitors they want to use fingers...more and more products would join the bandwagon of using intuitive interface ....too much use of fingers over the life-less material would cause numbing sensation too soon...
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I have seen this thread some time back but could not reply. I think the time has come when designers running small companies need to let go of the 100% hold and expand the reach with someone else's money. It is easier said than done. We at Onio have had several rounds of discussions with 'VCs' and 'Angel Investers'. In this process I also met and got some guidance from my IIT classmates and collegues who have played the equity game several times till now. By the way, Onio also successfully managed some capital inflow last year through an angel investment.
There are thousands of books on how to write a buisness plan and how to judge a VC's offfer. But I am answering only some top-level inquiries in the minds of a design entrepreneur. But please remember that like in colour theory, there are thousand thumb rules....but when you are in the middle of it...and your gut feel says, it is a 'Go'...then dump all the rules and just go for it...
Here are my learnings-
1. How much is your business (services) worth?
In the DotCom times...people valued their business up to 10 times their total turnover (there are several parameters in terms of kind of accounts/brands being handled, age of the business etc...I am only touching upon some thumb rules...). You can also cut your pie at your 15-20 times your profit. If you are holding IPRs which would make tomorrow's iPods then it can be 100 times your profit as well :).
2.How much should you let go in terms of initial equity?
Expereinced people advice that lesser the better. Don't let the 'control' go to a stranger for few bucks. 10%-15% is good enough dilution. Take money from two people with smaller chunks of money rather than from single entity. But Investors would never settle for less than 25-30%. Figure of 26% has special legal angle as, it give 'vito' rights to the investor, against any decision taken by the board. So you should probably stop at 25%.
But underline is that all depends on the deal you are getting. If APPLE is buying you stake and offering you some money for 98% stake for you company, hmmm..may be that 2% is worth more than 100% of you company all your life :).
3. How to gauge the investor?
People say that this is like an arranged marriage. You have a gamble of you life...but you need to be informed. You need to be informed about the background of your investor, as much as he needs to be aware about your corporate health. You need to meet the people at the companies, he/they invested in earlier. You need to do some 'googling' etc. It is never about how big a company and how influential a person, is investing in your company, it is more about 'personal comfort' you have with your investor.
4. What about Debt funds?
Yes, if you can garner bank funds, loans etc. for your next leap, please go ahead. That is the esiest way to save equity dilution for next expansion. We at Onio also managed a Credit Line, from a PSU bank, which came handy for buying office etc. It rquired a good gentleman bank-manager and a lots of explaining on what we do...A credit line of few-lakhs is a first option every entreprenur should try for...you lose nothing, but you get a support-life-line for liquidity crunches.
For more info, write to me personally.
Founder Director and Senior Design Strategist
NID-AEP-PD 1997, B. Tech. IIT Bombay 1992
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Is your company/client involved/interested in Innovation for Indian market?
This is to invite you for an exclusive event ‘Insight India 2007’, March 15-16, 2007 at the Danish Design Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark being organized by Onio Design and Style-Vision in collaboration with the Copenhagen Institute of Future Studies (CIFS), Copenhagen.
Onio is an integrated design and innovation consulting company with clientele like LG, IKEA, Volkswagen, McKinsey, TATAs, Godrej, Siemens, HPCL and several small to mid-size companies to its credit. Rated as one of the top Design Companies in India (Business World, 2005), Onio is spearheading the design revolution in India. Our partner, Style-Vision, France is one of the World's leading Trend Research company with clients that include Sony, Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, Philips, Adidas, Burberry, Estée Lauder, Chanel, Peugeot etc. to name a few. Onio and Style-Vision co-edit MegaTrends (a quarterly trend report, authored by 15 creative thinkers across the World).
Onio Design and Style-Vision have earlier successfully organised ‘Trends workshop 06’ in Mumbai (Feb 06, Sponsored by Pantaloon and attended by likes of HLL, ITC, Philips, Titan, VIP, TI Cycles etc.) and ‘Insight India 2006’, in September, in London (with participants from P&G, Steelcase, PearlFisher, Hitachi, Symrise etc.).
This unique interactive two day event is for people who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of Indian consumers, from a 'traditions, trends and design' perspective.
Who should participate- Those who play a key role in shaping the innovation strategies for Indian market (in products, services and communication front) i.e. country heads, head of strategy, brand managers, product heads, communication designers, product designers, R&D heads and marketing heads.
We invite your participation and hope to share useful insights that would shape the market in years to come. Networking with global managers is a promised return.
For participation, please fill in the registration form for the round table (open to 20 participants only). For more details, click-on to www.oniodesign.com/roundtable .
With warm regards,
Onio Design Pvt. Ltd.
'Begin Differently' - Sense Strategize Design
Ph(O): +91 20 2729 2173 Ext- 202 (D)+91 20 3290 1392
Telefax- +91 20 2729 2174
USA(O) +1 -610-295-5179
Survey 1/3, Plot 15
Next to Amar Apex
Pune- 411 045
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
I am going to face this question this afternoon from Prof. Sethuraman from NID. He is on a sabbatical, posing this question to practicing designers.
Well, question is a tricky one. Just like asking what thirst is, to a fish in water….what is light, to a lamp…Somehow it is easy to say the measures of excellence in other fields. In engineering, it is optimum energy usage, material usage, minimum human interaction, longer span of uninterrupted working etc. could be easy parameter to home on. Design, as a profession is changing its ‘brand character’ since last few years. When cave-man first discovered usage of fire and used a wheel for various things is now called the beginning design. What Onio is doing to lot of SMEs to go global through innovation strategies and product overhauls, is also design. What NID does for Bamboo development, khadi development and crafts rejuvenation is design too. And what initiative Sam Pitroda and Rajiv Gandhi could do to India’s telecom scenario and make the telephone available to a remote village through innovative small-exchanges is also called design. Sustainability in industrial production is design, energy and architectural conservation is also design……well, is America’s attack on Iraq is design too? India’s emergence as a powerful economy is design too? I think and I live, is it design too? One needs to get real. Design needs to get real as far as the definition goes. Design thinking and Design skill are not to be confused with each other. Design thinking can pervade humanity, but design as a skill, can only be available to trained few. This skill of research, articulation and correlation of human needs, then visualization and prototyping of solutions is something that needs training. This skill is what is needed in the developing economies the most. Skill not only in the visual arts (we already have thousands of colleges and institutions teaching visual arts in the country), but the skill of creating innovative, usable, optimized and humane products for the new society. ….
( I could not complete this …and meeting already took place…here the views are after the meeting synthesis)
It is important to understand the difference in the times we are living compared to classical origin of design profession. Speed, the new driving force of life around us today. Speed food, speed working, speed strategy, speed dating, speed marriage……life is hinging around speed. More output can only be achieve by speed….hence every science is pushed to increase the speed. But this speed is also causing visual blur…and psychological backlash. On one side the entire design (in fact every industry) industry is catering to this speed and consumption, on other side there is hue and cry in one lobby trying to discuss the separation in ‘sensation’ and ‘cognition’, the ‘touch’ and the ‘image’, the left and the right brain, the speed and the restive reflection, the blur and the synthesis. This speed has given rise to existential problems….loss of identity and anchors. Who am I , is the biggest question that faces the today’s sellers and consumers.
Result is that the design has become –
a) Integration at a highly complex level (‘Simplexity’ as a trend has been discussed in many forums). It is no more about singular exuberance i.e. good form, grear function, or great economics. It is no more design for a consumer or manufacturer, it is design for the value-chain.
b) Success is also collaborative process (individual excellence or intellect is subdued under the weight of consortium approach)
c) Sensation, skill, insight, experience….has got devalued under the weight of cognition, strategy, thought, words and images.
d) Technology, has emerged as an important differentiator that can bring cheers or tears, through the value-chain.
Excellence in such a scenario is highly fragmented phenomena. It is no more elemental success of aesthetics, or economics or usability. It is about integrated success. It is about collaborative win. It is about ownership that every contributing partner could bring to the table, where the rewards were kept. But caution, while it all seems every ‘extroverted’ phenomenon, excellence still remains at the core of individual. Sethu talked about ‘satisfysing’ (satisfying individual needs and aspirations).
Another thought occurred to me from ancient Indian philosophy….’Sarv jan hitay, sarv jan sukhaya’…(for benefit of all, for happiness of all). Could this be Onio’s philosophy?
Parting shot- Does Onio design strive for ‘excellence’ in design?