When you hear the word Design Thinking, your mind hears Design and you talk about design and you think that it only a designer’s job; while had that been a different word, you would have thought differently – the meanings that I attached to it would not have happened.
Design Thinking is NOT Design
Misunderstandings around design thinking are quite common – even (especially?) within the design community. For instance, in her talk ‘Design Thinking is Bullsh*t‘, Natasha Jen, Partner at Pentagram in New York, talks about Design Thinking as being a linear process, and one that trivialises design into a wall of post-its.
If you see Design Thinking as a ‘designerly way of looking at business problems’, it stands to reason that it’s meant for non-designers. Unlike what most businesses expect from ‘methodologies’ and ‘frameworks’ it isn’t a codified, standard process. And that’s another part of the challenge. It isn’t meant to replace actual design, and it doesn’t magically transform business people into designers.
Of the many things it does stand for, Design Thinking balances Business (viability), Technology (feasibility) and Human Interaction (desirability) in defining the products and services organisations take to markets. This key aspect forms a highlight in our recent podcast: Design Talks: Design-in-Tech for the social sector.
Explaining away the tirade
Setting the misunderstanding of the phrase Design Thinking aside, why do designers still resist it? Khoi Vinh, Principal Designer at Adobe, answers this in response to Natasha Jen’s skepticism.
Khoi presents an insight into the design community, the wall that designers have built around the discipline, and why the rise of Design Thinking will not undermine design, as most designers seem to fear. He takes the analogy of engineering: the idea that ‘everyone can code’ and the availability of free online resources to learn code have not threatened engineers, or the discipline or trade of engineering.
Words like ‘bandwidth’, ‘beta’ and ‘reboot’ have become a part of our vocabulary — used by those outside of engineering — and has led to a greater understanding (and value) of engineering. This is where ‘design thinking’ presents an opportunity — to broaden the language of design, to help expand the community of design, and to help build a world that values and understands design better than it does today.
As first-time visitors to the Buddh International Circuit, we stood in awe of the sheer dimensions of the complex. Long before we even reached the entrance gate we were greeted by the sound of tires burning rubber on a warm October morning. Adding to the special atmosphere was the fact that we were guests – that grand treatment for being the mobile app partners of the Vento Cup.
Gasha escorted us to the team’s paddock – ha, that was a new word for us!
“There are the cars and on that side is the pit lane. You can see the action along the straight leading to the start-finish line. And there’s a giant screen up there for seeing the rest of the action. Now I’m going to leave you guys to explore on your own. Don’t you get into any trouble!” Gasha warned me with a mischievous smile.
“Oh! Don’t worry, I won’t run on the pit lane!”
At the paddock, the race cars posed like rock stars, sporting sponsor tattoos, shiny glasses and modified accessories. As we admired the cars, a large horn began blaring warning sounds. A few bikers were riding into the pit lane. As soon as the bikes entered their team’s paddock, the noise stopped.
We stepped on the pit lane to cross over to the fence – a single wired wall beyond which was the race track. Standing at the fence and looking straight ahead, a speeding racer becomes a mere blur, with the vibrating air being the only evidence of his* existence.
“Excuse me, Ma’am” cried a lean heavily tanned man, jogging towards me. His head was tightly gripped by a red cap and headphones, his white shirt read ‘Marshal’.
“I’m sorry, but no slippers allowed. It’s against the rules.”
I stepped back and apologised. He jogged away, blowing his whistle while I stood at the edge of the paddock, and watched at a distance. A little while later he walked up to me and said, “I am extremely sorry, Ma’am, but those are the rules. I just cannot let you cross. Maybe we can arrange for some boots for you.”
I was surprised and humbled, if not a little embarrassed by his generous offer to help me (strangely the phrase pleasant user experience came to my mind).
I managed to arrange a pair of shoes on my own to make it to the fence – yes, I waited for the warning sounds to stop before crossing – so that I could watch the racers speed away barely a few feet from me.
That shot of adrenaline down my throat, I came back to the paddock. The Marshall caught me returning the boots to its barefoot owner and we all shared a hearty laugh.
The Vento Cup was scheduled to start at 11:30 am and we were asked to move to the lounge upstairs so that the cars could be taken out. The drivers, covered from head to toe in fireproof overalls, gloves, shoes and headgear were fastening their seat-belts as we moved away. A short while later, we were leaning against the railing as the modified Volkswagen Ventos began grunting out of the paddock below us.
They went around the track for a formation lap and lined up at the starting grid. The five lights in front of the grid illuminated and went out to signal that the race was on. The cars shot out of sight within seconds – but the sound didn’t go very far away from us. A minute later the sound grew louder and the race leader entered our line of sight. With cars moving fast – apparently the average speed around the track was 133 kmph – it was hard to keep track of who was who. What was clear was that there was a sizable lead, growing bigger with every lap, between the first and the second car.
The horns of the pit lane began blaring again. A car came in – it’s rear wing hanging precariously by one bolt. The pit crew quickly removed the wing and he drove off.
It was in the fifth lap that we identified the Ideafarms car – our car – unfortunately quite far back in the standings, but fighting hard with two other cars.
As the chequered flag was waved, the podium finishers crossed one at a time; the midfield finished much closer. Our car came seventh (hey, at least it wasn’t last!)
With the Vento Cup championship having drawn to a close, we stayed back to watch the Asia Road Racing Championship, with some fierce looking bikers leaning scarily close to the track on the kerbs. More than one biker skidded off. While their bikes were quickly removed by the ever vigilant marshalls, the bikers hitched a ride on rather slow moving scooters back to the pit lane!
During one of the races, one biker suffered a massive accident and lay motionless on the track for an extended period of time. Spectators on both sides of the track ran in the direction of the biker, while red flags were frantically being waved. An Ambulance raced to the biker. It was then that I noticed a large gate along the fence to let the Ambulance take a shortcut through the pits to the medical building behind the paddocks. The Marshal, with whom I had interacted earlier, turned into a traffic policeman whistling out clear instructions for the quick movement of the Ambulance.
Amidst all the adrenaline and exciting sounds around the track, this incident was a rude reminder of the perils of motorsport and it’s not all fun and games on the track.
Early in the evening we decided to leave, and leaned over the railing for one last look at the speeding daredevils performing wheelies and standing up on their bikes while crossing the line at full speed.
Two sounds of a whistle directed our attention to the pit lane below. The Marshall waved at us. We waved back and burst out laughing as he pointed towards his boots and nodded his head in what seemed like a question!
On our way out, we peeked into the paddock where the the cars were getting a thorough checkup and greasing and thanked Gasha for a very memorable day.
We left the circuit in good spirits, wondering when we would return – perhaps not anytime soon. But when we do, and quite likely for next season’s Vento Cup finalé, I’ll make sure I have shoes of my own.
* While the field this year was all male, last year’s Vento Cup featured two female drivers competing against the men.
Jugaad popularly referred to as ‘frugal-innovation’ has become quite a buzz-word. Borrowed from Indian colloquial for “a quick fix”, Jugaad is being touted world-wide as the “frugal and flexible approach to innovation”. HBR defines Jugaad as …
Which according to us is not quite the complete definition. Hailing from the land where this word originated and seeing it in play all around us, on a daily basis, for so many years, we do believe we understand the essence of the term and hope this post will help communicate it. You see a “quick-fix” is just that – a “quick-fix”. Sure it applies innovative thinking – a brilliant spark of inspiration that can help you overcome a problem and find a solution – but one that will hold just long enough till you can find a permanent solution to the problem. Or maybe even in situations where you don’t actually need a permanent solution.
Jugaad can be thought of as a survival tactic. It is sometimes even equated with street-smartness. It could be a safety pin to hold together a rip in your shirt, old gift-wrapper paper kept to be reused, a tape to fix a broken pair of spectacles. Does it work? Sure. Is it safe? Is it sustainable.
In the same vein, do examples like Tata Nano actually deserve to be filed under Innovation? Is it actually alright to make a car cheaper while compromising on the safety of the parts and technology used?
Here are a few pictures we illustrated as well as collected from our environment to depict examples of Jugaad to you. We leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions by the end of it.
Like we said, the above examples of Jugaad can be tested against measures like safety, sustainability, fulfillment of one’s desires or aspirations, to see whether Jugaad should actually qualify at the same level as Innovation. Is “good enough” enough? We welcome your comments.
Here are some more interesting reads that you might want to read:
Our very first game The Ladies’ Oracle has been out there for quite a while now on the Google Play Store (Android Market) and it has been getting a great response and from users worldwide! The game is so well liked that it has already crossed the ten thousand download benchmark – through just word-of-mouth.
Originally a classic book (written by the famous Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa), we adapted the Oracle to be a pocket friend that can help you through any situation of your day-to-day life *wink*.
And we have been overwhelmed with the great response the app has been getting. Some say the app was hugely accurate (all credit to Mr Agrippa). Some users even asked us to make the app for tablets and other smart app platforms !
We are so happy you guys are having fun playing it. And we do plan to keep improving the application and for that we would love to get your feedback. If you haven’t already played it, download now and play! Give us your feedback on how we can improve it for you.
You can read more about Ladies Oracle in our blog-post. Also, you can head to the Google Play now and download the game.
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.
Ideafarms has had a long association with Mr Tom Koulopoulos, since the days of his book ‘Smart-Sourcing‘. When our CEO Mr Sunil Malhotra first read the book, he was pleasantly surprised as we had been living the model talked about in the book since back in 2002 – that of partnering with clients and helping them innovate on the non-core parts of their business.
Which is why it was an honor when Mr Koulopoulos shared the copy of his upcoming book ‘Cloud Surfing’ with Mr Malhotra and requested him to write a pre-release review for it.
Without much further ado, here’s announcing the launch tomorrow of Tom Koulopoulos’s next book Cloud Surfing!
Ideafarms brings you a snapshot of what to expect.
Truth in the Cloud: How transparency will keep us honest
Innovation in the Cloud: How the way we create will be redefined
Commerce in the Cloud: How we will radically change the notion of value without risk
Reputation in the Cloud: How influence is redefining the economics of business
Learning in the Cloud: How we will go about educating ten billion brains
Community in the Cloud: How we will rely on one another going forward
Mr Malhotra shared the review of the book on his blog. This is what he had to say about the upcoming book – Cloud Surfing.
THE FUTURE AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE. – Yogi Berra
The fact that I have the opportunity of reviewing Cloud Surfing before its launch sitting halfway across the world in India, hints at Tom’s having already made a round trip to the future. Everything in the future is about connections – Machine-Machine + People-Machine + People-People – that will reach from 5 billion today to a staggering 100 billion in 2020. This is likened to the number of neurons in the human brain. Whether or not this means that the world will become intelligent, one thing is certain – our past cannot inform the future of work, life and play.
Tom is a natural at storytelling and you run into pleasant sprinklings of anecdotes that stay with you throughout the book. Each chapter of Cloud Surfing is a revelation; the more I read the more curious I became. Parts of it are science fiction at its best, only it may not turn out to be fiction.
Only one question remains unanswered – “What if it rains?”.
SpicyIP did a follow up post on Ideafarms-Continental IPR dispute after the recent developments at the Indo-German Bilateral talks held in Germany 9-11 May. Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Sh. Anand Sharma raised the the Ideafarms-Continental dispute during the meet and the German government has assured a just solution for the lawsuit. In their post SpicyIP also mentioned that their team members were contacted by German lawyers who also think that the judgement of the German court was violation of Ideafarms’ IP, trade and investment rights and that they are willing to fight on behalf of Ideafarms.
Let us know what are your views about IP rights violations and the recent developments of the government backing the SME sector up.
The SpicyIP team noticed the Ideafarms-Continental dispute, how despite the unathorised use of Ideafarms’ product by German company Continental AG the German court ruled in favor of Continental AG. The SpicyIP team decided to write about it and bring it to notice timed with Indo-German bilateral talks held in Germany, 9-11 May 2012.
Since 2007, Continental had been using a software framework of Ideafarms, named InDExT, a general-purpose / generic software framework for storing, retrieving and approving documents and managing business processes through a proprietary Visual Navigation system. This software had been customised for Continental as QMD, Quality Management Documentation by Ideafarms for a separate customization fee and installed in the Germany-based servers of Continental under a click-wrap license. The licence agreement was accepted by Continental and was also available for viewing through the software interface itself.
In 2010, when Continental signed the aforesaid termination agreement, it was liable to pay the license fee for the said software for the year 2010. …
… The matter, however, proceeded to be heard the next day, wherein the Court acted in a manner that did not conform with the idea of fairness or neutrality. Without allowing a trial, it rejected Ideafarms’ counter claim and instead of allowing any argument on Ideafarms’ part as to what might constitute a valid licence/transfer fee, it summarily awarded Continental the rights to the software. …
… Overall, even setting aside the procedural irregularities that the German judge might or might not have indulged in, the decision prima facie appears to contain several laches, such as how could Continental have been awarded the software rights without a trial, when it had never claimed ownership, nor had disputed Ideafarms’ copyright over the same. Even the licensing issue was not settled by the Court.
17th April- A day that is very important to us, as this day Ideafarms was born, and now its been a decade. An important milestone has been achieved successfully.
Our celebrations began way back when we crafted our new year’s greeting card relating with all the moments that we had in our journey (our clients, our parties, our people). Take a look .. Just a click away .
We also revamped our website and launched it on our anniversary. You can check it out here. Any kind of criticism and ‘Aww! thats nice‘ will be wholeheartedly accepted 😀
Our day was special as we had a ceremony at our work-place followed by a small party. The day began with work assigned to everybody – ‘Filling up balloons ‘. Everybody was enjoying that for once they had something new to do at the work place. In no time we had decorated our place with balloons.
You could feel the excitement in the air, the whole office was decorated to reflect the mood that a festival brings every year, which put a big smile on everybody’s faces.
Our CEO Mr. Sunil Malhotra and CFO Mr. Rajeev Malhotra were given a warm welcome, followed by a religious ceremony.
The pooja ceremony was done to seek the blessings of the almighty and bless our souls.
Rangoli in office has always been a part of our celebrations – the Indian way. Ruchi put in her creative hand and made a fantastic one.
After the ceremony, we had another ceremony, the cake eating ceremony 😀 . The cake was tempting and yummy-licious so it was hard to get our hands off it.
But the party ain’t stoppin as we had a grand celebration at Chonas, Khan Market. The food was superb and we all loved it.
Sarvesh captured our 10-year journey into this beautiful poem as we turn 10, and create a landmark in the history.
Oh ! wait its not over yet. We got a lot of attention from our loved ones on Twitter too. Check it out.
Our dear @Ideafarms turns 10 tomorrow. Quite a journey! I’m sure it’ll get written about someday