Does Innovation amount to Impatient Optimism?

ex boyfriend dating someone new The Gates Foundation is slowly growing into a powerful global force driving innovation around the world. Its health and developmental agendas have gradually be revised and realigned into a framework that increasingly blends improving the world with doing new things in order to be able to improve the world. Their motto, impatient optimism, seems to capture that sense of purpose and vision rather well.

rencontre imprУЉvu Here at CKS we’ve been working closely with the Gates Foundation since 2009, when we began ethnographic research and design activities in Bihar around vaccine delivery services. The Foundation is a sponsor of our upcoming Design Public Conclave and we’ll have several of their key personnel at the event as well.

speed dating in bloomington indiana I sat down yesterday to talk with Ashok Alexander, the Country Head of the Gates Foundation in India. He talked to me about the need for immersive engagement, intimacy, understanding, between those who are trying to do good and those one is trying to help. In the case of Avahan, for instance, the Gates-supported HIV-AIDS program, Ashok said that learning about sex-workers and their lives, livelihoods, challenges and threats was all critical for designing the intervention. That kind of approach, and the learnings that came from understanding how to prevent violence against women in urban environments, turned out to have surprising impacts on how the Foundation was able to think about maternal and child health in rural areas, including in the state of Bihar.

http://velopoulos.gr/peliccan/2946 Ashok Alexander will be speaking at the Design Public Conclave on how to better imagine India as an innovation society. He’s got the kind of engaged, critical and visionary perspective that we need to institutionalize in new ways to actually transform ourselves into an innovation society.

How are Innovation and Excellence related?

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est ce que je vais rencontrer l amour Jeby Cherian wrote me a note the other day saying, and I quote: ‘one of my pet peeves is our “just enough is good enough” attitude.’ Jeby wants us to make a commitment to excellence in everything we do in India, from the design of transportation systems to roads and sidewalks to airports and other forms of urban infrastructure. Jeby points to the outstanding conceptualization, planning and execution of the Delhi Metro as a counter-example to the way things are normally done in India. This kind of haphazard and ill-conceived infrastructure and environmental planning is also often excused in the name of jugaad, or indovation.

agence rencontre chinoise What is the essential relationship between excellence and innovation? I think Jeby is on to something, and that this relationship bears more thought and discussion.

The first thing that comes to mind is that excellence may also encompass a notion of the ‘ideal fitness of things,’ which can only come about by continuing to ‘make things right’ until they achieve that state. Another name for this repetitive or iterative effort to keep making things better until they are ‘right’ and ‘fit’ and ‘excellent’ is design.

Another thought one might offer is that conceptually the word jugaad refers to a joining of unlike things, that don’t necessarily usually or naturally fit together. Continuing to work on that assemblage until the elements do naturally fit together, again, represents something more intentionally and careful, and this is one way in which we can distinguish the products of design from jugaad.

Check out our prior thoughts on jugaad and indovation here. What more can be done to help people understand the value of design and innovation in making new things possible? Your thoughts welcome below…

Experience Based Design: Healthcare

Public institutions are often criticized as being bureaucratic, inefficient, or ineffective at fulfilling the purposes they are designed to do, compared with private, user-centric, industries. Often in the case of public institutions, individuals have no opportunity to choose a better product, as is the case in the private sector. That therefore leaves little incentive to innovate the design of public services. However initiatives are not absent. ThinkPublic, a social design agency, has worked with hospitals in the UK to redesign the National Health Service to become a more patient-centered public service. Their experience based design methodology involves individuals’ experiences, existing and aspirational, in the design process. Interviews, videos, photographs, journals, and web blogs of patients, carers, and hospital staff have all been used to design new, patient-centered, solutions for several difficult areas of health care, while simultaneously encouraging patients, carers, and staff to work together to address problems.
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ColourNext Dialogues in New Delhi: An Overview

The second edition of ColourNext Dialogues, a discussion on the trends identified in Asian Paint’s ColourNext project for 2012, was held in Delhi on February 28th. Fashion designers, artists, architects, interior designers, and students met for an evening to interact with the ideas, give their critiques, and discuss the social trends behind the colour palettes.

To open the event, Anand Vijayan of CKS, spoke about the inspiration for ColourNext Dialogues, and the opportunity to look deeper into the colour trends for real meaning. Ekta Ohri, head of projects at CKS, invited participants to talk about their own relationship with colour. Some professionals spoke about their use of colour in design and art, and observed a growing trend to more neutral, blank colours. Several participants spoke about colour as the first and primary means of communication with the world, making colour the defining aspect in an object’s identity. Whether professionals, students, or neither, all the participants enjoyed colour as more than a visual experience. They spoke about how colour as an expression reflects mood, emotion, and even personal identity.
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ColourNext Dialogues Delhi: Awakening

Awakening was the final theme discussed at ColourNext Dialogues in New Delhi. Speakers Siri Devi Khandavelli, an intermedia artist based in Bangalore and Delhi, and Shalini Jaikaria, Founder and Designer at Gieshadesign, began by talking about their first impressions upon seeing the installation. To Siri, the installation signified a sort of spiritual journey, an ascension of the soul through time and experience. She also spoke of how the many birds and their upward movement suggested that each individual was aspiring to move upwards, which contributed to the collective rising. Shalini was drawn to the installation because of its delicate fragility and soft transparency, elements she uses in her own work. [Read more…]

ColourNext Dialogues Delhi: Crystal

The third installation of the evening was Crystal. Speakers Anthony Lopez, CEO and Primary Designer at Lopez Design, and Banhi Jha, Dean of the National Institute for Fashion Technology (NIFT), noted Crystal was distinctive from the previous installations due to its order, transparency, symmetry, and strictly planned design. Its white and clear linear design imbued it with a sense of purity and perfection. Its design is simple, yet complex, forcing participants to think deeply about its meaning. Many participants felt a connection with spirituality, infinity, or the journey of the afterlife.The symmetry, transparency, and light hues give Crystal and ethereal feel instigated a philosophical journey, a meditative and reflective appreciation of its design. [Read more…]

ColourNext Dialogues Delhi: Headrush

Headrush, the second theme of the day at ColourNext Dialogues in Delhi, incited some interesting reflections amongst the participants. Speakers Shristi Bajaj, founder and designer at Designbait and Pushkar Thakur, founder and creative director at Grafiosi Design studios, began by talking about the energy and dynamism of the installation. To Pushkar, it signified not only only energy and immediacy, but also drama and even danger. To him, Headrush is about discarding inhibitions and facing the unknown and the thrilling. [Read more…]

Transforming Field Research with New Technologies

Yesterday, I became the proud owner of a 4GB Echo™ Smartpen, a brilliant new piece of equipment that could offer immense benefits to researchers, journalists, or anyone else who needs to take quick, but often voluminous, notes. Upon arrival, the pen created a great deal of excitement in the office, filled with researchers constantly burdened with the exhausting task of long audio transcripts and over-filled field diaries, who were elated to see a device that would make recording as well as revisiting data substantially easier.

The Echo Smart pen has a number of features that make it such a boon: it has an excellent audio recorder that captures notes with perfect clarity, and features a fairly high-quality built-in speaker to play back your recorded audio in addition to the usual headphone jack. It has a built-in USB port, which makes the transfer of audio files to your computer much easier. But the seriously genius aspect to this pen is an infrared camera built into the tip of the pen, which allows you to begin, pause and end recording by tapping on an icon printed onto the pages of a special notebook provided by the manufacturer. The same camera also allows you to play back your recording from a specific point by tapping a particular point in your handwritten notes, and even to save the notes as a PDF directly onto your computer. The PDF, too, is an interactive document, allowing one to click on any point in the text to play back the associated audio recording.

Usually, field researchers jot their notes in handwritten format, while the audio is captured separately. Digitizing handwritten notes, transcribing audio and then going back and forth between the two is often very time consuming. With this pen, however, one can take handwritten notes on the special notebook and the audio is captured alongside. Once the PDFs are downloaded, each page could have multiple notes and audio recordings attached, and would allow one to review and navigate through their notes with much greater ease.

The EchoSmart Pen is an excellent example of the kind of innovation that could potentially transform the way we work, substantially reduce the time, energy and resources spent on recording data, and all the while make it easier for us to collect, manage, store and analyze information. It is an example of an intelligent design that could enable and speed-up future innovations and designs.

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.
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Ayesha Vemuri:
How did it all begin? What have you accomplished in this time? 
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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.’

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Contextualizing Technology and Behavioural Change: The Case of the Dishwasher

“I want a dishwasher in my new kitchen,” a 32 year male corporate professional explained to his architect while discussing ideas for the interior design of his recently bought condominium in Gurgaon, India. This demand certainly appeared a bit quirky to the architect, who immediately started comparing the cost and convenience of getting dishes done by a domestic help to the cost of running a dishwasher. The home owner, on the other hand, had already decided the model of his new machine. After passionately cooking for six years in his American suburban apartment kitchen owing to the ease of use of modern technologies, the professional certainly missed this aspect of his life for the past two years after relocating to India. One of his biggest motivations for cooking came from the desire to have a clean kitchen, during and after the cooking process, which has not been possible since he moved back.

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