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18th December 2013 Science and Innovation Network

Indo-UK Design Escapades

Design 1I have been a ‘SIN’ner for merely two months but I am consciously    obligated to say that I have had the most enriching experience in this short span of time.  Just as I finished ‘Innovation’ week it was time to prepare for and welcome the Design Delegation team i.e. Mr John Mathers, CEO, Design Council, Mr David Townson, Senior Design Associate, Design Council and Mr Frank Boyd, Director, Creative Industries KTN and Ms Jessica Bland, Technology Futures Analyst, Nesta. The SIN-India team sponsored and facilitated this scoping visit for the UK Design Council to India from 25-29 Nov 2013.

The delegates were part of the two day CII Design Summit at Delhi, where an MoU between Indian Design Council and Design Council UK was signed. The second part of the visit started in Pune and ended in Mumbai.

Design 3The roundtable discussion organized by the Fashion, Art & Deign Academy (FAD) in Pune turned out to be inquisitive and interactive. The Indian side said that there was need to include design at the grass root level, making it a part of the curriculum. Soon after lunch we drove down to Mumbai. John, David and Frank had a chance to enjoy the roadside ‘chai’ (tea), which according to me is much better in taste than a 5 star hotel tea (and they agreed)!Design 2

We finally made it to Mumbai at 8 pm (IST) through all the crazy traffic and with people moving in a chaotic Brownian movement. I don’t know what made me think that Delhi had bad traffic; I stand corrected!

The next day was another full and busy day with an early start at 8.30 am (IST). We all felt that we spent more time travelling in Mumbai than in meetings, but that’s often the way when you’re trying to pack too much in a single visit!

As a follow up to the MHRD meeting in Delhi, where it was identified as an opportunity to build a UK-India research and innovation network on future cities, MHRD will be funding a network of IITs, IIMs and SPAs (Schools of Planning & Architecture) to collaborate on future cities.

We met Prof Chakravarthy and his colleagues from IDC, IIT Bombay. UK delegates were highly impressed by IIT Bombay’s campus. The faculty at IIT Bombay gave us a very warm welcome and seemed very eager to collaborate with the UK.

We also met a couple of design consulting firms such as Vyas Gianetti Creative and IDEO.  Preeti Vyas, who is also a member of the Indian Design Council, felt that there is a need to understand Indian clients. She said that things in India tend to move a tad slow and therefore, give rise to frustration and impatience in people who have studied abroad and want to work in India.

Personally, my highlight was the IDEO office. It’s a small pace which is very efficiently and smartly utilized, with loads of coloured post-its all over the place.  It has the ambience that would make you want to be creative to go with the spectacular view of the city around you.

Our final meeting was with Ms Aishwarya Pathy,  India Design Forum Co-Founder at Four Seasons hotel. Discussion were around India looking to collaborate on the Design Leadership Programme and how corporate could benefit from a greater awareness of design leading to commercial success.

John and David finally got a day off to do some shopping the next day. Their excursion included sightseeing, shopping and a yacht ride!

For someone with no experience and background of Design and Future Cities, the week was an amazing learning experience for one and fun on the other hand. I hope this scoping visit is the very first of the many to come and will result in great collaboration between India and UK in this field. The first step in this direction is a proposed Indo-UK workshop on ‘Future Cities’ in February 2014. We will keep you posted on that!

3 comments on “Indo-UK Design Escapades

  1. A very intersting week, I was glad to be a part of it, though it sounds like I missed the best bits by not accompanying the delegation to Pune and Mumbai – maybe next time!


  2. Sounds like its a huge effort to collaborate between UK and India. I hope MHRD makes sincere effort to improve standards infrastructure wise.

    Great Blog, loved reading it!

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