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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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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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On Time Delivery

On Time Delivery

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2010

Design Researcher, CIID Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design

Client: Maersk Line

The aim of the project was to  design and develop tools for internal transformation, motivation and vision setting for Maersk Line’s stakeholders

On Time Delivery is a key enabler of Maersk Line’s vision of being the most reliable logistic service provider and an industry leader.  Through series of user research we  discovered unspoken working patterns and unmet needs, which were shared with Maersk stakeholders. This was then converted into a series of ideas that could be implemented at different scales and could be customized for local needs.

We prototyped various physical and digital tools to inspire organizational focus and prompt new work behaviors. We worked together with Maersk Line to develop digital tools to displaying real time delivery data and other key metrics about its international fleet and kits with physical artefacts for employees to better understand Maersk Line’s vision for On time Delivery.

 

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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 […]