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We never escape design in our daily lives, it is everywhere. There is never an absence of it- something is either poorly designed or well designed. And the point was driven home to us last week when TBI was privileged to speak at the Bengaluru Design Week.
We met some extremely inspiring people in the field of design. who gave us some deep insights into the importance of design to the world.
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Dhimant Parekh, the co-founder of TBI, delivered a talk on the ‘Design of Media’, speaking about the way that TBI inverted the focus of media to grassroots solutions and the effect that it has had.
More on that later, but first, we want to ask…
What is design?
“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”
This quote by the genius behind Apple (who have set global standards in the world of product design) really says it all. To answer the question, ‘What is design?’, we have to look much deeper than just the outward appearance and form of any ‘thing’.
Design encapsulates the entire use of the ‘thing’ and its interaction with its users.
Design has a huge influence on the way we think, the way we emotionally feel, and ultimately the decisions we make. This applies to not only products, but to everything under the sun: services, processes, public spaces, traffic, education, and any kind of system.
These ‘things’ are designed for people to use, and of course, everyone wants to use things with comfort and ease, and not get frustrated and drained!
The Association of Designers of India (ADI)
#BlrDesignWeek is an initiative of the ADI, aiming to bring together creative minds from the city of Bengaluru, from a wide variety of backgrounds. ADI is committed to promoting best design practices in India and creating a strong network of designers within the country.
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They have taken it upon themselves to increase awareness of what ‘good design’ is, an awareness which is much needed in the citizenry. We must be able to spot bad design anywhere, and improve it. There are many areas of public life that need a redesign, and we need the best design minds in the country sharing ideas on how to do it! So, if you are a budding designer, check them out!
To reiterate, design is not only about appearance, but very much about functionality, and applies to processes as much as it does to products. Take this example from China, where many interventions aimed at reducing waiting times (and hence improving patient satisfaction) have been implemented in Chinese public tertiary hospitals.
The interventions were designed by looking at the entire process of patient care in these hospitals and identifying causes of unnecessary time delay. The changes they made to the overall process included procedure changes, like simplifying the scheduling of appointments and setting up a help-desk for patients who were late for appointments.
They also looked at what changes needed to be made from the perspective of the hospital staff, and the perspective of the patients. This allowed them to make considered holistic changes to the process, and resulted in waiting times to decreasing by nearly half!
This leads to happier patients and a better overall experience for all.
Imagine applying this kind of thinking to all areas of society: traffic management, construction, city planning, railways, Medicare, education, and so on. How many badly designed things, processes, and systems do we come across every day, and how does it end up making us feel?
All of these things can be improved and be made a joy to use with some clever design thinking!
The Better India- A New Design for Media
When it was our turn to take the dais, Dhimant spoke about the traditional media approach being top-down, where largely the reporting is being done at a policy or governmental level, and the effects eventually trickle down to the grassroots. This is a tried and tested model, and certainly a cornerstone of any democracy. The people of a nation must know what’s going on in it!
But as Dhimant highlighted, the ‘design’ of the TBI model is a bottom-up approach. Here at TBI, we love shining a light on solutions that are happening at the grassroots. These are things being done by ordinary citizens in their communities. And what is most important is that these solutions can be replicated in other communities.
Not only do these stories inspire people, give them information, and get them involved, but they cause grassroots solutions to spread, creating a continuous feedback loop of impact.
The best part of #BDW2018; @dhimant of @thebetterindia who demonstrated how honest, positive #digital communication bridges can elevate marginalised people and communities across geographies. #designthinking #socent #NEWS #socialmedia #BeTheChange https://t.co/91aB8B79IE
— Rekha Saleela Nair (@rekha_s_nair) October 7, 2018
In this way, TBI complements traditional media. We feel a balance of both approaches is required (top-down and bottom-up), and we are dedicated to telling stories of impact, innovation, and growth in India. Positivity in one part of the country can spread throughout if we start by talking about it!
“In India, design is just not talked about enough, and this is a great step in bringing these conversations to the mainstream where they belong,” says Dhimant, speaking about the event.
“I have always been convinced that design is central to a successful product. And that being said, it’s so important to everything that India will do in the new millennium. We literally have to design the future!”
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