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Frugal Digital

Frugal Digital

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2010 onwards

Project Manager, Frugal Digital, Denmark.

Frugal Digital seeks to explore a deconstructed view on technology at a local level to address large global challenges. It is a research group that focuses on researching methods and practices around creating digital solutions in low resource settings like that of developing economies. The main research enquiry is how do we apply frugality to digital life and create solutions that are inexpensive, adaptable, re-purposes or uses available resources and creates valuable knowledge along with new solutions?

I have helped in creating the projects, planning & conducting field research and eventually dissemination of various projects and results. The project continues to invest time and resources on new projects and it is an ongoing activity.

Read more about Frugal Digital here.

Read my travelogue here

* The Frugal Digital Project started as a Research Project at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, led by Vinay Venkatraman.

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Understanding Business Ecosystems

Understanding Business Ecosystems

2012

Editorial Planning, Book Design

Client: FORA, Ministry of Business & Growth, (ERST) Denmark.

Years of research on the formation, rise and sustenance of  business ecosystems led by Jørgen Rosted  had resulted in vast number of Reports and data. The need for a collated reading of this data was needed to fully understand how strong are Danish business ecosystems compared to the best? Why do strong business ecosystems only emerge in some places? And can business ecosystems be shaped intentionally?

The brief included a detailed editorial planning of the information they had and eventual production of the books with detailed drawings, illustrations, visualisations and a presentation of key take aways in an effective style.

Read the Reports on Foragroup’s website.

*The project was financed by the Danish Business Authority, the Danish Growth Fund and Symbion.

 

 

 

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The future of insulin delivery

The future of insulin delivery

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2009

Design Researcher, CIID Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design

India, USA

Client: Novo Nordisk

Earlier projects with Novo Nordisk had generated  insights into patient needs, opportunities and barriers to care in India, China and USA and we co-created  product ideas based on strategic value drivers for future modes of insulin delivery in such economies.

The project involved months of research into observing how people would understand new paradigms in product forms and new insulin delivery systems. And how at a higher level these new ideas would fit into the existing healthcare infrastructure in each country. Outcomes included design prototypes for four new product and service solutions.

The project also involved a series of training workshops and sessions enabling user research with their internal teams by supporting them with necessary tools and knowledge of ethnographic techniques and eventually synthesizing observations into value drivers. This exposed Novo Nordisk researchers to new people-centred approaches to innovation.

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Understanding Living with Diabetes

Understanding Living with Diabetes

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2008

Design Researcher, CIID Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design

Client: Novo Nordisk

The aim of the project was to travel to India, China and USA and understand what it meant to be a diabetic and live with the life-long condition there.

Diabetes is a huge health challenge world over and Novo Nordisk is a world leader in developing insulin delivery systems for diabetes. But the current explosion of diabetes to epidemic proportions all over the world,  has meant that new social trends and health tendencies need to be understood for Novo Nordisk to continue developing relevant solutions. It needed a contextual understanding of how diabetics cope with managing diabetes, acceptance of medication, the role of their healthcare providers, support from the family etc. Our research confirmed the fact that insulin is part of the solution, but not the entire solution, and this led Novo to consider other kinds of initiatives that would positively influence people’s lifestyles. Local infrastructure, both at a city scale and personal homes, personal health beliefs, peer pressures and superstitions, insurance mechanisms, state support and family- all affected how a patient coped with his treatment. Treatment was available but not always accessible.

We helped them shape their perspectives of working in emerging economies and future product strategies with clear, rich cultural insights and feedback.

This project was the beginning of a series of projects I worked with CIID and Novo Nordisk as it spawned many ideas to future products, services and the more profound role they could play in helping diabetics cope with their condition beyond insulin delivery.

Read my travelogue here

 

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Design for New Markets

Design for New Markets

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2008

Lead Designer , Export Strategy Consultant

Client: Ministry of Textiles, Thirubhuvanam Silk Weavers Cooperative, Tamil Nadu.

The Thirubhuvanam Silk Weaver’s Cooperative has been a key producer of highest quality silk saris in this region. The cooperative is best known for its use of pure zari (gold thread) and dyeing quality. The cooperative was the only of its kind to be ISO 9001:2008 certified.

While these silk saris have a reasonable local market, the future is clearly a dilemma between dwindling number of skilled artisans and rising cost of silks and gold  (used in the zari). The Ministry of Textiles identified this cooperative as one that had immense potential and has supported and funded this Export Promotion Project at the Cooperative to improve their product portfolio for new markets with product diversification. The project involved assessing their current skills and strengths of this cooperative and coming up with a design strategy to reach out to new markets. I have worked with this cooperative at two market levels – diversified product range for the local markets (India) and development of new fabric weights for export. This was mainly for the luxury contract market in Europe.

The challenge for design intervention was beyond just producing new designs. Weaver motivation in this cooperative has been the biggest issue. Inspite of using existing infrastructure for weaving (thus reducing technology investment costs), weavers clearly voted for weaving zari products as their wages were surprisingly  linked to this.

Over a hundred new design collections of home textiles were produced for this project over a period of 4 years which were woven subsequently and presented at various international fairs.

Many reports and Recommendations were written to the Planning Commission after this project to help form a better support […]

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Textiles for Fashion

Textiles for Fashion

2006

Textile Design 

Client: Napapijri & Camiceria Apparels.

Handwoven scarves in very fine cotton (140s singles) were developed for Napapijri’s Summer collections in 2005, 2006 & 2007. Introduced a discrete Napapijri flag woven into the scarves which became a key design feature in their scarves.

 

 

 

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Strategic Design Intervention for Weaving Clusters

Strategic Design Intervention for Weaving Clusters

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2005

Lead Designer & Coordinator, Design Cell Chennai

Client: Ministry of Textiles & National Institute of Design, India.

The Strategic Design Intervention for Cluster Development Project  in Tamil Nadu was lead by the National Institute of Design, India. I was chosen to be their Lead designer for the duration of this project for 3 years

The Project started with intensive field trips to 5 clusters (Cuddalore, Gudiyatham, Thirubhuvanam, Vilanthai, Woraiyur) in Tamil Nadu and studying them over a period of months to understand weaver potentials, skill level, infrastructure availability and possibilities of introducing new concepts and eventually create teams of weavers who would weave a pilot run of our new designs.

Design intervention was planned at various levels from improving yarn qualities to new, sustainable dyeing practices, understanding weaver aspirations to creating a strategy for motivating them towards change. During this period, they were introduced to new softwares to help them design and visualise their products and theywe re advised on how they could avail of such services locally. They were also introduced to low-tech visualising methods and were shown a wide spectrum of examples and best practices in the handloom sector from all over the country for inspiration.

Introduction to natural dyeing was carried out as small workshops in each cluster.

Read more about my travels and the project here.

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Futur Floors

Futur Floors

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2002

Designer, MA Trading Co. Badhoi, India

MA Trading was a traditional hand knotted carpet manufacturer in Uttar Pradesh in India. They wanted to leapfrog into the next generation of hand craft by relooking at their techniques and materials for the future.

3 concept rugs were produced for them with an underlying theme of using recycled plastic waste

The Light Up! Rug was created with plastic waste collected locally and hand woven with LEDs. A piezo sensor enabled a reaction when people stepped or sat on the rug. The visual feel of the rug was very organic, and varied based on the plastic collected.

The Pull Me! Rug was a playful take on using rubberbands in a hand knotted carpet. The carpet maker used hand knotting as a primary technique at his factory and rubber bands were an unlikely raw material. The rubber bands used in this rug were temperature stabilised to increase their durability.

The Rugs were displayed at DOMOTEX 2003 at the pavillion for Future Trends won a special mention at The Elle Decor Awards 2003 and I was awarded the Young Designer of the year Award for this.

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