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We Are Still Focusing On Output Side Of Design Rather Than Seeing It As Input: Experts

Panelists discuss how good design can lead to good business at BW Future Of Design Awards 2019.

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BW Future Of Design Awards 2019 was held today in Mumbai which saw dignitaries of the fashion industry imparting wisdom about how design can change businesses. A panel discussion on Good Design is Good Business had experts from the industry explaining how sustainability can be coupled with design and then monetised for not only human gains but for the planet as well. The panel was moderated by Pradyumna Vyas Former Director, National Institute of Design and had experts such as Hari Krishnan, Executive director TBWA India, Himani Mehta Dehlvi, Atul Khanna, Founder Tooltech Global Engineering, Amit B Wadhwani, Managing Director at Sai Estate Consultants Chembur and Bharat Khetan, Promoter, Worknomics, Partner Baked Pie LLP.

Opening the discussion, Pradyumna Vyas said, “We are into the fourth industrial revolution which is where the boundaries of physical and digital are getting blurred. It’s the system, big data, artificial intelligence, a lot many things are coming now with robotics and has completely changed the scenario of design. 60 per cent of children in less than 10 years of age won’t know what job is going to be there 20 years from now. These are disruptive times.” He further added, “We are not only talking about the human-centric design but planet centric as well. Sustainable development is the goal. Technology is an enabler. Business people have used technology for convenience without caring about how it is harming. This vicious circle of consumer thinking of making a business is leading to environmental loss and there is a need for the total model of design to evolve.”

Himani Mehta Dehlvi spoke about how nature inspires her designs. “To me, nature is the biggest design. Nature has balance, movement, circular economy. In my work also, when I do a realistic cinema, the whole movement towards using organic materials, recyclable items avoiding plastic is a choice we make as a designer. It influences as films influence a huge population.”

Atul Khanna talked about the eight senses that are the need of the day for design. “Design now is about eight senses. Five we all have, three more got added with time. The design drives sales. It is very important in the Indian context where we have only 0.3 per cent of world trade stand up in a committee of nations when you have 17 per cent of the population. Design is going to be a big driver and it must be 100 per cent recyclable. Design isn’t luxury, its aesthetics. Ikea is not a luxury but aesthetics. It drives sales. The design has a commercial social and economic purpose.”

Hari Krishnan points out that design is still seen as an output rather than an input. “Public obsesses over anything that is well designed on an output level as result consumption increases. But we are still focusing on the output side of it rather than seeing design as an input. Anything that creates a problem for the planet is not a great design. The focus is now shifting towards can we make the process of beverage drinking less invasive to the planet. I can buy an electric car today but I wouldn’t know where to charge it. That means the product has been designed but the system hasn’t to make it work. Good design makes things work not make it beautiful.” He asserted that businesses have to stop looking at design as an end output but more as a larger system that can support the new mindset.

Bharat Khetan talked about optimizing the sources of nature in real estate. “The idea is that since real estate is the one biggest consumers of natural resources, optimising the sources in five elements of nature coupled with intangible services are mostly aesthetics. When you spend 8-10 hours of your day at work, the motive is to get maximum efficiency out of it. Our idea is to give that human influence an edge. So as a business when we talk about it, it becomes a differentiating factor as well a commercial enterprise that is also delivering social value desired in this area.”

Amit Wadhwani revealed that it’s not kids and women who are demanding but grown-ups too. “Any design today needs to help the owner or the person who is placing the order to monetize. The design has to be directly proportional to how dynamic the thinking of the consumer is. Grownups are demanding as well and not just kids or women. The design has become such a big subject, I hope private equity of the world doesn’t spoil this industry. I see a lot of hygiene in architects. They are today making stuff that will help developers monetise better."