Happy Birthday to Us: 10 Years of CKS

It has sneaked up on us, but CKS is 10 years old today. I conducted an interview with our Founder and CEO, Dr. Aditya Dev Sood, on how the company’s journey has progressed over this past decade, and where he sees it going in the future.
rencontre halal rencontres femmes 38 Go Here http://www.ekichronicles.com/?pityr=steve-o-dating-show&6d3=35 site de rencontres dans l'aude rencontres amicales sarreguemines rencontre celibataire pays basque http://infoal.com/?rymine=sure%C3%B1a-principe-pio&f12=f0 meilleur site de rencontre femme mûre rencontre française pour mariage
Ayesha Vemuri:
How did it all begin? What have you accomplished in this time? 

Aditya Dev Sood:
We conventionally date the company back to February 9, 2002, when I hired Uma Maheshwari to help with ‘content’ — we had no concept of design research at that time. Along with my ‘secretary’ Malini Munisamaiah who had found her, we became a three-person team, and so, in theory, an ‘organization.’

When I’d set out I really wasn’t sure how design and social research could or should fit together. We hadn’t created the innovation cycle or any of the innovation training documents that we later developed. We didn’t have a multi-terabit archive or a blog or any kind of track record or network of alumni who have graduated on from CKS to other things in life. We hadn’t developed any of the insights, understandings or approaches that now characterize the ‘CKS Way.’

[Read more…]

Reflections on our visit to Ghana

The focus of the Vodafone project, currently in progress at CKS, is to understand mobile adoption and usage patterns in emerging economies in order to predict the future of mobile internet and data services in these semi-rural locations. For our research, we went to several different locations in Ghana as well as India, where we conducted several different research protocols with a number of different individuals, communities, users and service providers. And right now, our team is in the middle of the analysis part of the project, and we’ve been struggling with and shuffling around all the data and information we collected over our field visits.

Naturally, all the protocols we conducted over the month-long field visit to Ghana has left us with a wealth of data that we are now sifting through in order to identify and understand patterns of usage. But in going through all the information, especially our visual documentation, we’ve been noticing that, besides the data that is strictly related to mobile usage, there are several images that provide very valuable contextual information about the culture, the people, their philosophies, joys, values and more. This is especially the case for Ghana, since it was our first visit there and we found every mundane aspect of what we saw to be fascinating. Our final report will not include these, but they give us some peculiar insights into the culture.

[Read more…]

CKS Promotes Healthcare Innovation in Bihar

February 1, 2012. Patna. Today, one of our Senior Design Researchers has gone to Patna, Bihar to be a part of an intensive workshop on healthcare in Bihar. The workshop was organized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and brought together all the different stakeholders and funding grantees of the Ananya project for healthcare. CKS has worked extensively with the Gates Foundation, specifically in the realm of healthcare services in Bihar, and were invited there to talk about our experience with employing methodological, systematic processes of innovation in ongoing healthcare related work.

CKS works with Sam Pitroda and the NInC towards a Centre of Design Innovation

February 1, 2012. New Delhi. The National Innovation Council, headed by Sam Pitroda, is working on building twenty educational centers across India that focus on Design and Innovation. In order to accomplish this, they invited several relevant entities, of which CKS is one, to present their ideas and provide their expertise for constructing such a center. CKS presented its proposal for one of these centers today, and looks forward to knowing the outcome.

ColourNext Dialogues in Mumbai: An Overview

The first ever edition of the ColourNext Dialogues was held at a restored mill in Byculla, Mumbai on the 24th of January. An intimate gathering of designers, architects, academics, sociologists, cultural critics, design students and writers, Dialogues was a fascinating half-day discussion on the four social trends identified in ColourNext 2012.

The day began with a short welcome address by Dr. Aditya Dev Sood, founder and CEO of the Center for Knowledge Societies, who organized the event in collaboration with Asian Paints. After introducing the event as a space to dialogue about all things colour, Dr. Sood invited participants to introduce themselves and say a few words about their professional or personal interest in colour. The answers given reflected the participants’ wide ranging backgrounds and interests, but also indicated the myriad ways in which colour could be understood, used and appreciated. Whilst some of the responses were about practical applications of colour, others spoke of the psychological and sociological responses to colour, that colour can be considered the most direct medium of communication, and that cultural connotations of different colours can vary considerably.

Sneha Raman, Innovation Manager at CKS, followed this with a brief presentation on the process of identifying these trends. After this, participants were introduced to the themes through artistic portrayals, in installations wherein the theme could be understood visually and spatially as well as textually. After spending a few minutes observing and interacting with the installation, they spoke about what it signified, whether it seemed relevant, and discussed the appropriateness of the associated colour palettes.

Overall, all the participants were in agreement about the relevance and importance of the trends identified, and considered each one to be pertinent in the present time. The installations were perceived to be both beautifully executed and highly appropriate, and were also varied enough that they collectively seem to portray several different aspects of our individuals selves as well as our society as whole. Whilst Awakening talks about our inherent spirituality and ‘collective consciousness, Headrush is more about an individualistic, adventurous and risk-taking drive. Small Joys is about lightness, playfulness and taking out moments to revel in the smaller pleasures of life, while Crystal is about introspection, elegance and an appreciation of subtlety and nuance.

After this, participants talked about the value of ColourNext, how it could be taken forward and improved, and how it could be used in both personal and professional contexts. One of the points made was that ColourNext is unique – it is the only forum in India where people can come together to converse solely about colour and its many dimensions. It is the only attempt made to understand the evolution of the colour story in India – where it comes from and the direction it takes. It is an effort to move beyond the purely visual appreciation of colour, and to understand the underlying societal, technological, psychological, cognitive and cultural factors that impact our colour choices.

Participants also spoke about the participatory nature of both the ColourNext process as well as of the conclave as being at the crux of its success. This kind of open forum, where individuals from a variety of different backgrounds can gather to discuss colour and societal trends, yields deeper insights than any other trend forecasting effort. If order to take ColourNext forward, this discussion could be taken online, participants suggested, allowing even greater participation and constantly evolving understandings of these themes.

ColourNext Themes: Crystal

‘Crystal’ was the final theme discussed at ColourNext Dialogues, led by a panel of M.P. Ranjan and Shimul Javeri Kadri. Shimul described the theme as ‘beautiful, elegant, and relevant,’ a theme that necessitates reflection, a requestioning of form, space and light. She also spoke of the subtlety inherent to theme, which was also reflected in the associated palette, consisting of colours that were variations in hue rather than highly contrasted. M.P. Ranjan picked up from this and talked about how this theme indicates quality, nuance, and the underlying structure of form, thought, and even colour. He spoke of the fractal shapes and geometrical configurations of the installation as imbibing the sophisticated but natural language of mathematics, which is the basic structure of all forms, objects, and possibly even perceptions.

Participants also discussed how each element of the installation and even the colour palette could stand alone as complex and interesting objects inviting deeper reflection, but that all the component elements also work together to create a harmonious whole. They spoke also of the quality of uniqueness of each element as being integral to the theme, in addition to the lightness and simplicity it managed to convey despite its many complexities.

Associated images along with a description of this trend are given below the fold.
[Read more…]

ColourNext 2012: The Process


ColourNext is an innovative trend forecasting initiative for Indian interiors, developed by Asian Paints and conducted in collaboration with the Center for Knowledge Societies. The ColourNext process includes gaining an understanding of emerging societal trends and changes in consumer behavior, and thereafter predicting their impact on design and décor choices. The resultant output includes an in-depth analysis of four prominent societal trends, along with information about relevant social events, media and brand associations, moods, emotions, and an expertly curated colour palette related to each trend.

ColourNext 2012 marks a decade of this work, which has been widely influential in defining colour choices in interior decor over the course of its evolution. This time around, however, certain changes were made to the process in order to make it a more wide-ranging trend forecasting, where the focus was not solely on colour and visual trends, but on larger societal trends.

The process began with preliminary secondary research of online sources, where researchers collected both textual and visual data of prominent changes and news from different industries. Alongside this, researchers also conducted a ‘visual scan,’ a comprehensive record of various kinds of visual data prevalent in everyday contexts, from magazines, newspapers, high fashion and design to hoardings and billboards. They then began to assimilate a realistic picture of what these various changes in society, technology, media, design and culture could mean for visual design and aesthetics.

Seven strong social trends emerged from this phase of data collection, which were then presented to experts during in-depth interviewed in order to validate and refine them. Visual design trends were correlated to these seven societal and lifestyle trend stories, garnered from a visual bank of over 1000 images. 700 of these were selected to be presented as stimuli during ‘creative studio workshops,’ where the team invited experts from a range of different backgrounds to collaboratively predict visual and design trends for the coming year, of which eleven were considered pertinent for the coming year.

This was followed by focused interviews with experts in different industries such as media, space design, architecture and interior decor in order to ground the trends in local happenings, whilst keep global influences in mind. Collaborative creative workshops were held to validate these, followed by a discussion on these trends by a panel consisting of seasoned sociologists and media experts in order to filter these down to the strongest trends.

Thereafter, workshops were held in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, engaging 32 experts and 60 students in various creative settings. These day-long intensive creative studio workshops created a vast pool of fresh visual themes, that were filtered down and fine-tuned to make up the final themes of ColourNext 2012. This happened in eight collaborative workshops where the Asian Paints and CKS teams worked together with colour consultants to cluster and filter the entire set of themes.

The information from all these sessions was collated and presented at Style Leader Workshops, where leaders and design thinkers from various industries like architecture, photography, art-direction, product design, apparel design, media and design education came together to decide upon the best possible thematic visual directions for the year 2012. Once the themes were voted upon during these workshops, the project teams from Asian Paints and CKS were able to finally crystallize all the information into the four major themes being revealed later today, at the ColourNext 2012 launch.

As a final step, the team collaborated with colour consultants to translate the final themes into colour and material palettes. These palettes sought to capture a critical part of the visual expression of every theme as well as the meanings, emotions and moods that themes are meant to express. The launch today will present installations on each of these themes, which will also be the subject of discussion for ColourNext Dialogues, to be held the following day, the 24th of January (see agenda).

Agenda for ColourNext Dialogues 2012

As we mentioned in a post earlier this week, the Center for Knowledge Societies is collaborating with Asian Paints in organizing an event, ColourNext Dialogues 2012, a a first of its kind conclave on colour trends, forecasting and visual directions in Indian society. The conclave, to be held at a restored mill in Byculla, Mumbai on January 24th, 2012, will be an intensive half-day discussion on the visual significance of observed and predicted social trends.

Speakers will Include

Shimul Javeri Kadri, Principal Architect, SJK Architects
M.P. Ranjan, Design Thinker and Independent Academic
Aparna Piramal Raje, Columnist, LiveMint
Nien Sao, Colour Specialist and HoD Fashion Dept., Pearl Academy
Wasim Khan, Director, Lemon Design
Valerie Bonnardel, Reader in Experimental Psychology, University of Winchester
Sarita Sundar, Partner, Trapezestudios

The event, moderated by Dr. Aditya Dev Sood, will begin with a walk through the installation spaces, in order to introduce the themes to participants. This will be followed by discussions on the visual, especially colour-related, significance of each of these themes. An agenda for the day is provided below:

10:30 – 11:00 Installation Space Walkthrough

11:00 – 11:10 Welcome address by Aditya Dev Sood

11:10 – 11:20 An Introduction to Colour Next and its Objectives by Mr. Joshua Karthik

11:20 – 11:40 A Dialogic Approach to Colour Trends

11:40 – 12:00 Presentations of Themes by Sneha Raman, CKS

12:00 – 12:30 Interactive Session on Themes

12:30 – 13:50 Panel Discussions on each Theme

13:50 – 14:00 Closing Note and Invitation to Lunch

Participation at ColourNext Dialogues is by invitation only. However, if you are interested in attending, please contact Vedika Khanna at cks@cks.in

Sharing Sticky Knowledge

What do we really know about innovation? We style ourselves innovation consultants, but what is the specific nature of our expertise?

We held a workshop at the CKS innovation lab in Delhi earlier this week to generate provisional answers to this large question. We asked senior members of our innovation team to write out on post its particular examples of knowledge or skill or other capabilities and insights that were resident within our organization.

A wide variety of responses were received, and these ranged from highly formalized forms of knowledge, including academic and professional disciplines in which team members had been trained, to entirely informal and residual kinds of knowledge, which gave innovation experts a kind of gut or feel for how an innovation process was going to work out, and whether it was on track or not. In the middle were a variety of different kinds of skills, more or less tangible or abstract. There were also value systems and elements of a shared worldview, something we chose to call a ‘learned philosophy of action.’

At CKS we have developed formal training tools to address many of these tangible and ephemeral forms of knowledge, so as to try and provide a window into the way we work for new recruits. Sometimes these training tools have even been requested and used by clients. In many cases, however, we find that the training tool is fully understood only after the learner has been through the innovation process it seeks to provide knowledge about.

While some kinds of knowledge can be easily transferred to others, there are types of knowledge that are inherently sticky — that is to say, knowledge that is inherently ingrained within one’s own lived experience and therefore nearly impossible to share. Therefore, any type of training program for innovation would necessarily need to be composed of an array of different modules and activities, with the correct balance of theoretical grounding and practical application of that theory. This is the kind of immersive approach to innovation training that we are now in the process of developing.

Design!publiC Panel Discussion 4: The Theory and Practice of Innovation

15:06 M.P. Ranjan talks about how good design or good innovation is not necessarily about money – it is a matter of thinking about solutions, with passion, empathy, responsibility and commitment. Gives an example of good design in the Daily Dump project by Srishti professor and designer.

[Read more…]