Design Thinking goes to Tihar Jail… creating theatre workshops for female inmates

While we all somewhat enjoy learning, being tested on what we’ve learnt is not always fun. But the cool thing is when we start doing, the theory starts being tested, not us!

And this process is so satisfying. Through it I’m gaining the maximum insights. With the guidance of Ideafarms, and in collaboration with Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), I am in the process of designing a month-long theatre workshop for female inmates at the Tihar Jail, using DESIGN THINKING!

After rigorous on-the-job training at Ideafarms and focused self-study of Design Thinking, I have come to believe in its immense scope and power. Now, I eagerly go out into a different field of play and test the reach of its scope.

It is a journey filled with uncertainty and anticipation, and I am loving every minute of it – from training LSR volunteers to going into the field and testing our prototypes.

We had our first session one week back and have used all the responses and feedback we got to sketch out the next 12 sessions. We plan to treat every session as a prototype and iterate on the process as we go along. While this approach can be challenging and may not result in a concrete output at the end of the month – like a play or skit, we are confident that, through our journey with the participants, we will leave them with an understanding of theatre and an ability to use it as they deem fit – whether for expressing, story-telling or performing.

With eagerness to see the workshops unfold, I go in today for our second session. Let’s see how the ball rolls!

 

Design Thinking with Women Entrepreneurs "Why should boys have all the fun?"

Less than 10% of startups have women as a co-founder. It is stated that about 73% women entrepreneurs failed to get funding from Venture Capitalists.” – WEEfoundation.org

The statistics about Women Entrepreneurs shock me. Not because I have lost touch with reality, but because I am slightly optimistic about change and the speed at which it occurs.

Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment (WEE) Foundation, IIT Delhi wants to help change these statistics. They have developed a curriculum for the 30 selected participants that is designed to target the specific needs and challenges faced by women in India. I am proud that we contributed our bit to the movement. Last Sunday, we conducted a Design Thinking Primer with them.

In order to practice Design Thinking it becomes necessary to adopt certain mind-sets – being empathetic, being open to failure, being sensitive to feedback and more. This is what makes the methodology so valuable to me and gives me the confidence that if adopted, it can accelerate change.

I also believe that our ultimate goal for Design Thinking must be to use it to create accurate and sustained Social Impact. Being able to share it with the WEE entrepreneurs has taken us one step closer to this goal and I’m excited to see what’s next.

It was refreshing to deliver a Design Thinking primer, alongside Mr. Sunil Malhotra to the group of inquisitive and energetic women with ideas they want to share with the world. Though it was a post lunch session – and we’ve all attended one of those – the interactive nature of the primer kept energy levels high!

In the two hour session we presented and discussed design and it’s distinction from art, craft and Design Thinking, as well as the ‘What’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of the much discussed methodology. My favourite part, was sharing exemplifying stories – it always drives the point home!

The session in action...
The session in action…

It was definitely a Sunday well spent for us and I hope that the participants of the session gained equal or more value than we gained conducting it!

Social Apps

Quick! A show of hands to see how many of you thought this was yet another post about yet another Social Media app? All of you?! Thought as much. Unfortunately, even a search on Google for “Social Apps” reveals a lot of Social Media apps and not any that matched our understanding of the term – Apps that can help / provide enablement to help with Social Causes.

The idea came to our CEO, Sunil Malhotra while watching the Satyamev Jayate episodes – Why isn’t anyone thinking of mobile solutions for the social sector?

Which obviously led to the question – Is someone thinking about Mobile solutions that can help?

Why Mobile?

Mobile phones are becoming the common man’s computer – available with all of us wherever we go and keeping us always connected – could they be used to empower the Social sector?

What is it about mobility solutions that make them perfect tools to become a vehicle of aid?

1. Their pervasiveness – in developing countries like India basic feature phones have managed to reach even into the rural areas.

A glimpse at the mobile market in India. (source: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/india-cellular-market-booms-but-not-for-operators/125678-11.html)

2. It’s a personal device and available with us wherever we go. In an emergency we naturally reach for our phones.

3. Simplicity of use – “ stripped of complex menus and navigation and even your kids have figured out how to use your phone better than you.

And just the basic fact that mobile solutions and smart phones have triggered everybody’s imagination and resulted in brilliant innovative ideas that touch every aspect of our life.

Let’s see some examples …

Close at the heels of the Satyamev Jayate episodes was the very unfortunate incident of the Guwahati molestation case. There was huge outrage and a lot of people expressed their anger and frustration, some through blog posts. Amidst all the outrage it was quite pleasant to see there was a sane voice of a young software engineer Shantanu (goes by @tantanoo on twitter) who wrote this post http://tantanoo.com/random-rants/2012/07/aftermath/ . In this post he explores ideas about how technology could come to the rescue in such situations. What stood out for me is that he peeks outside the proverbial box, into other boxes and draws parallels from the likes of natural defense mechanisms in the animal kingdom, from ongoing research in the Department of Defense and other apps developed across the globe (apparently there are quite a few of them out there!).

For example he talks about how maybe on the trigger of a button, the phone could shriek out loudly on your behalf (because let’s admit it, in most situations when we are caught off guard, though we do believe we need to raise our voice, we are not able to) or emit a smell so offensive (like a skunk does when its attacked) that the attacker is stunned. Do go through his post. Highly recommended.

It’s also heartening to see that someone has already made the first move in India. An Indian non-profit organization WhyPoll has launched a smart app called “Fight Back” which can help women fight sexual assault. The app lets women immediately alert friends and family if they feel threatened via SMS, email or facebook and they can in turn reach out to help or alert police who make help available faster. Similar apps are available and functional outside India too but its good to see someone make a move in the positive direction in our country too. The app and service I believe is currently available in Delhi and NCR only. Maybe a little more concerted effort is needed even from our authorities to recognize the value of such an initiative and roll it out country-wide.

First Smart App from India to help women reach out for help in case of a threat.

There were many such issues raised by the team of Satyamev Jayate – that are close to all of our hearts and we all feel something should be done about it. I am sure there are many ways in which technology and design thinking can come together in crafting effective solutions to address these malice. Much like pointed out in Shantanu’s post, a little out-of-the-box thinking is required, taking into account real-life scenarios and borrowing ideas from the life around us.  We would love to hear from you if you have any such interesting ideas or know of any Smart App ideas that have been / are being implemented in the Social sector. The iron is hot thanks to efforts like Satyamev Jayate. Let’s not let the fire die down!

Also Read:

Award Winning Case Studies @ Cannes Lions 2012

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a global event held annually at Cannes, France. It took place from 17 to 23 June this year. The festival showcased some fantastic ideas and work from several creative professionals around the globe. We bring you some of the best work in interactive, digital, design and smart technology space that we found really interesting.

 

Augmented Mobile Experience

1. A Shadow QR code, that works using the sunlight’s shadow to give people a unique lunch shopping experience. This campaign won the Direct Lions Gold Award.

httpv://youtu.be/EvIJfUySmY0

2. BAND-AID Magic Vision: Featuring the Muppets, a mobile AR experience that turns any ordinary BAND-AID Brand adhesive Muppets bandage or box into a stage for interactive entertainment so that kids forget the pain and enjoy. This campaign won the Mobile Lions Gold Award.

httpv://youtu.be/FE2I6G2_ogk

3. An augmented reality (AR) app created to help find the best students while giving them a taste of what life is like as a Medical Officer. This campaign won the Direct Lions Gold Award.

httpv://youtu.be/oUNm_n61maU

 

Innovative use of Technology

4. An annual report that could only be read under sunlight. Crafted by mixing right ratio of the photochromatic colours, in order to render the report all white under artificial light. This campaign won the Design Lions Grand Prix Award.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cahedLjFSmw

5. VIP experience for loyal customers of Red Tomato, by giving them fridge magnets in which with a press of a button, it would automatically place an order for their favorite pizza. This campaign won the Mobile Lions Gold Award.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFji6MbyxOI

Innovative Technology for mobile

6. Google partnered with Coca-Cola to create a mobile app that lets you gift a Coke can through a special vending machine anywhere across the globe to a stranger. This project won the First Cannes Mobile Grand Prix.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45Z-GevoYB8&feature=player_embedded


Ideas that can make a difference

7. Catching people while they’re already bleeding, by putting a simple marrow registry kit into a box of over-the-counter bandages, and turning an everyday act into a chance to save a life. This campaign won the Grand Prix for Good Lions Award.

httpv://youtu.be/ZG8NxjlyUxU

8. Minus One is a simple, one-step initiative to save fast-disappearing forests. A green initiative by Samsung Printers. This project won the Media Lions Silver Award.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KThJoYt4ml8

9. American Express created Small Business Saturday, a new shopping day right after Black Friday, to help small businesses get more customers. This campaign won the Direct Lions Grand Prix Award.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIYHjs1vEAo

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3 Point Something

 

Since the advent of smartphones and mobile applications, many enterprises are exploring ways in which they can take their business or parts of their business mobile .  We have ourselves helped organisations design concepts for how their Sales, Marketing or Field Service executives can be empowered with Smart Devices as well as Smart Collateral.

Although Mobile is the obvious way to go,  a mobile solution cannot be approached with a traditional desktop or even the web mindset. You cannot just package an existing desktop/web solution into a smaller screen and call it mobile. “Mobility is not Miniaturisation“.

Smart Devices are highly personal – so much so that a lot of companies are promoting the B.Y.O.D philosophy – they are always on, always with us, usually connected and directly addressable.

Which is why when our CEO, Mr Sunil Malhotra was requested to speak at the CII Conference on Mobile Business, he talked about “3 Point Something”  the 3 main factors – What, Why and How – any organisation should consider when they decide to go mobile.

We would love your feedback on the presentation. If you have an app idea or would even like to explore ideas on how your organisation can go mobile, get in touch with us. We have specially structured our offerings to help you Ideate, Design and Develop your Smart Apps.

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Videolog – An interview with Mr. Joan Kluun (Former MD – Waterloo B.V.)

Last week we had the honor of having in our office Mr Joan Kluun – former MD, Waterloo B.V. Ideafarms had worked with Waterloo and helped them design their Product Selection Guide (PSG as we like to call it) back in 2003. Almost 10 years since PSG and we are fortunate to still have a warm place in his heart, which was validated by the fact that he quickly agreed to give us an interview about his experience of working with Ideafarms. An interview that just started as his feedback on working with Ideafarms, soon grew into something much more insightful. Mr Kluun shared with us his valuable views and opinions about the need for a solution like the Product Selection Guide in the HVAC industry and how it can especially be a useful tool for any user given the current technologies and interfaces. Which is what gave us the idea of sharing it with all of you via this videolog. The Product Selection Guide is an interactive Sales Configurator we had designed and developed for Waterloo B.V back in 2003. You can read more about the solution here, or jump straight ahead to the interview.

The Interview

Mr Kluun shares with us his need for the Product Selection Guide at Waterloo B.V.

Back then, a solution like PSG, Mr. Kluun says was at least 10 yrs ahead of its time and according to him this solution now has a lot of potential, especially with the advent of multi-touch interface and portable devices like the iPad and Android tablet. Watch what he has to say about the future of Sales Configurators like the Product Selection Guide.

Mr Kluun also talks about his experience of working with Ideafarms. This one will make you smile for sure :-)

And also have a look at some of the pictures from his visit here

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ReMIX – a property search Android solution by Ideafarms

If you had a chance to read our earlier post here, you would probably agree with us that despite the vast array of solutions available in the market today, property hunting is still quite a tedious task for anybody. There is a clear need for a simple yet effective solution that will be available for the user at her point-of-inspiration! Which is where a smart phone comes into the picture.

There is a distinct value that a mobile solution and especially one on a smart phone platform brings to the user.  Smart phones today have practically become an extension of our being; our personal information, wants, needs and traits are all captured within our smart devices. We carry them with us on our person and it’s available with us wherever we go. It is little wonder then that if you are a smart phone user and are also looking for a house, your first instinct will be to look for an app that can help you do just that.

Which is exactly what ReMIX (Real-Estate Mobile India X-change), an Android solution by Ideafarms is designed to do. ReMIX comes packed with features like:

  1. A visual & interactive map-based navigation
  2. Location-based property listing
  3. Property listing and search – for buy or  rent
  4. Filtering of selections based on a user’s needs
  5. One-tap to connect with property owners / agents
  6. Remember properties and mark for future reference
  7. Set Alerts
  8. White-label product

All of these features and more, backed with our User Experience Design capabilities, ensure that you will have a handy and easy to use solution available with you when you go looking for your next house.

A White-Label Product?!

Did the words ‘white-label’ catch your fancy there? Yes, ReMIX is actually designed as an offering for existing Real Estate Classifieds Portals / Realtors / Real-estate Developers to integrate and offer as a value- add to their existing suite of solutions for their smart phone users. On purchasing a license of ReMIX, all you need to do is hook-up your existing database with ReMIX and you can have your own simple-to-use, branded application available for your smart phone users practically from tomorrow! In effect, we are taking away the headache from you of spec-ing out and developing a solution in-house. You can leave those nitty-gritties to the experts – us –  and have a spanking new Android app in the Android-Market with zero time to market!

All this sounds interesting and you want to know more, get in touch with us. You can email us at its[dot]MAGIC[at]Ideafarms[dot]com and we will be happy to set up a demo for you.

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Ideas of the week 23rd-Dec-2011

This week’s post for the Ideas of the week featuring ideas that might change our world.

 

1. IBM: Mind Reading machines will change our lives
Minds+Machines+Lives

In five years, we’ll simply be able to think something, and a computer will respond. That’s the vision from IBM. which just published its “5 in 5” ³ forecast, which attempts to predict five technologies that have the potential to significantly change our lives in the next five years.  More

2. City Fireflies, An Urban Video Game Whose Screen Is A Building
Video Game+ Computer Vision technology+ Smartphones

City Fireflies is a simple game that looks like tons of fun: Players cluster in a plaza in front of a large video screen showing a grid of 8-bit-looking “enemy” characters, which is superimposed on a live video image of the physical plaza itself. More

Read More: City Fireflies

 

3. LYTRO: The Biggest Thing To Happen to Photography Since Digital
Innovation+Camera

This Camera couldn’t  care less about focus . Lytro’s Technology is pretty simple. With this camera you can focus anywhere in the picture, change the light levels – and presuming you’re using a device with a 3-D ready screen – even create a picture you can tilt and shift in three dimensions. More

 

SEE ALSO : Lytro Camera Interactive Gallery Lets You Try The Magic Yourself [PICS]

 

4. 4 Big Trends for the Future of Sustainable Tech
Planet+Trends+Sustainabilty

 

Saving the planet and cutting down on emissions is a good thing, but who says you can’t have a little fun while doing so?“Sustainable” and “green” tech can seem boring, but the next generation of technology isn’t just good for the planet – it’s pretty darn cool to boot. More

 

5. Photographer i is a new interactive magazine designed specifically for the Tablet
Tablet+ Interactive+Photography

Photographers i is a new tablet magazine The magazine offers readers a behind-the-scenes look at photography, covering every genre possible – outdoor and studio photography, photo-journalism and fine art, editorial and portrait, and more. More

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s post compiled by Sanchaita Dey

Ideas of the week 16th-Dec-2011

This week’s post for the Ideas of the week featuring ideas that might change our world.

1. Design by Nature
Design+Design Thinking

In the minds of designers and those who have a soft spot for design, Maggie Macnab is perhaps, a household name, especially when it comes to concepts and ideas behind meaningful visual messaging. If you think you learned a lot from reading her other comprehensive volume, ‘Decoding Design: Understanding and Using Symbols in a Visual Communication’, then be prepared to make room for what you will gleam from ‘Design by Nature’ when you give it the chance it deserves. More

 

2. Apps For The Environment
Apps+Mobile+Environment

Last June, the Environmental Protection Agency launched a competition called Apps for the Environment, to find new uses for its data, much of which either never sees the light of day, or is poorly presented or difficult to understand. More

You can also find all the submissions here.

 

3. Ford Teases 2013 Fusion With Logo Recognition
Ford+App+Branding

Ford has launched an iPhone and Android app that is activated by pointing the phone’s camera at a Ford logo — either on a car, online or even printed on a piece of paper. When the app reads the logo, it activates a 360 degree version of the new model, which you can use for a virtual driving course. More

 

 

4. A Crossword Puzzle That Doubles As A QR Code
QR Code+Marketing+Idea

Filmmaker Christian Svanes Kolding sees an opportunity for QR codes to be more than just lame marketing tools. More

 

 

 

5. Your Car Is The Next Advertising Battleground
Contextual Advertising

Those hours you spend driving each day will soon be interrupted with contextual advertising, pointing you to that Starbucks around the corner or the McDonald’s just down the street. More

 

 

 

6. The Cult of Ideas
Ideas+Innovation+Design Thinking

The Cult of Ideas is a dangerous cult lurking within the field of corporate innovation. It is a disturbing cult in which members worship massive numbers of ideas above all else. Sadly, however, the ugly truth is that the cult of ideas can stifle creativity and inhibit innovation. More

 

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile the idea of the week at our Garage Sale

Real-time Proceedings Manager

Easily manage any last-minute changes to the sequence of your event – be it the speakers or the presentation. More

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s post compiled by Nitish Sharma

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Property Search – RemIxed

Today’s Real Estate Marketplace is filled with a great many Online Exchanges whose primary aim is to empower the consumer to get closer to his dream property. Today’s consumer is aware of the market, knows how to filter and select and has a whole host of services from dedicated agents to Market Exchanges to help him in his selection process. All he needs then, is dedicated time to search for properties – be it on his computer screen, or driving around with his agent.

But consider this,

He doesn’t  always want to drive around looking for a house but would love to find a house when he is driving around
He is very busy and is constantly on the move
He doesn’t always have those few hours to spare and he doesn’t  always know multiple agents who will get him that one house he wants
He’s not always inspired by what he sees and rarely does he find what he wants at the time that he wants it

Property search obviously, still is, a long drawn out, tedious process. At Ideafarms, we’ve turned this whole business of Property Search inside out. We researched the market, drank endless cups of coffee discussing realities with Agents, scraped through the internet looking at technological solutions, and built on our own User Experience study searching for property for our own office premises. Here’s what we realised :

You can’t plan inspiration – that perfect property won’t always wait for agents or portals.
You can’t always plan time – You just have to use it.
And you can’t plan somebody’s property – It is still a very personal decision

We are User Experience Consultants. Understanding people & their interaction with their environment and in their context is our bread and butter. And today, we’ve gone and put our money where our mouth is, literally. Our belief in our experience is so strong that we invested our time, money and resources into creating a solution for users like us who, while still dependent on Agents and Exchanges for property, have the need for something more in tune with their current needs.

The user, like us, is Mobile and his eyes and hands are always glued to the phone. For him, there is nothing more personal than his phone which is with him everywhere he goes. If that is what gives him his inspiration, then that’s where our solution needs to be.

We’ve called our solution Remix, simply because we took the best of what current solutions have to offer and added our experience and brand of creativity to it. It also helped that we had an acronym to fit it well! – Real Estate Mobile India Exchange.

Remix has been built on the Android platform – for today’s changing user and his evolving needs. We believe it augments every solution that exists today to help anyone interested in Property.

We’d love to see it do the same for you.

Get in touch with us.
its.magic@ideafarms.com

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