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Lessons learnt


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Portfolio as of May 2010.

Published in: Design, Technology, Business
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Lessons learnt

  1. 1. Over the course of my studies and one year in Auroville, these are some of the lessons I’ve learned.. They have become an important part of my process: - Create with, Not just for others - Empathy - Details - Visualize Scenarios - Don’t talk green, Do something - Do, It’s ok to suck - Fail, It’s ok
  2. 2. It has become evident to me over the course of a few projects that it is important to create with others, this means many things - Let the user have a say in what the product looks like even after they buy the product, such that they can exercise their own creativity with the product aesthetic or usage - Working in teams means giving up ownership of ideas, so that it is truly a collaborative effort For eg. The ‘little piggy’ project that will kick off over the next month is a project where much like ‘the gnomes in that french movie’ I will send these clay pigs to friends all over the country and ask them to answer the question - ‘Where did this Little piggy go?’ ‘What did this Little piggy do?’ with photos and videos which would make their way onto a blog.
  3. 3. DIYLamp This first year project was to design a lamp for children between the ages of 8 and 12. It became clear after a bit of research that children need lamps less for task-lighting on a desk and more for ambient lighting. After much iteration the product became a lamp that was also a toy. The idea was the beginning of a constant attempt to include the user in forming the product. In this case, the child builds the form using LEGO-like blocks to reflect light from the base box learning the basics of light in the process.
  4. 4. Pass it on In this project I sent out a book with the illustration of the first cell of a story to a friend, who illustrated the next cell and then passed it on to somebody else by post/courier. Although this would have been immensely simple to do over the internet it was interesting to see how collaboration could work out by ‘snail mail’. The books have been out there about a year now, and it’s moving very slow.
  5. 5. Generally defined as the ability to understand another person’s feelings or situation, This word takes on a broader meaning in the sense that not only is it to understand a user’s true scenario, but also to create an environment in which I can really test a product under development to see if and how it works.
  6. 6. Chompers - Scissors for Children The brief of this project was to design scissors for children in the age group of 5 to 8. Early attempts at redesigning the scissor didn’t really work until the innocent gesture of cutting made by the fingers gave our group of four the spark to come up with this idea. The entire detailing and conceptualisation was a team effort unlike any I had participated in before (nobody in the group can still say who came up with the concept). This product was iterated by building mock-ups and then testing them.
  7. 7. Delivery Aids for a Postman With this project, it was the first time that I was faced with a user scenario that was completely new to me. Following two postmen around on their beats over a few days really put into perspective the real issues faced by the postman. Nuances like removing of bundles while on the cycle/bike, security of the post, of the cycle, methods of fastening, became much clearer. This led me to develop one standard product, with a modular strap system that could be used by a postman irrespective of mode of travel
  8. 8. As the project went forward, I found that making paper mock-ups that worked much in the way the final product would really helped my process as it helped me envision dimensions (volume of bundles) and usability. This was the first time with one of my projects, where a completely functional prototype was created and then tested and critiqued by the user. As shown in the images the final product can be strapped onto a cycle frame, and used as a messenger bag. An accessory was also developed to help the postman carry and segregate into bundles.
  9. 9. ‘Design is in the details’ This statement really hit home when I started realising how much of the concept could be dictated by dimensions, - I found that I started enjoying and liking products which had these hidden details that really made the product a delight to use without bringing attention to themselves. - The idea of using standard consumables (or parts that wear out easily) for ease of replacement has now become a mainstay in most of my projects.
  10. 10. Cooking Kit for Low Altitude Trekking & Camping The brief of this project was to try and provide a casual weekend camper/trekker with a single cooking unit that consists of a stove, utensils and storage for cooking materials. With this project the point about dimensions dictating the concept became clear as the idea came about from the way in which the curves of different utensils fit together with the curve of the stove. This was the first time that I used standard accessories (burner, fuel knob etc.) for easy repair and replacement.
  11. 11. Modular Mounting Systems This project was my final diploma project where the brief was to design a universal mounting system so that accessories such as street lights, seats etc. can be mounted on light poles of different diameters and varying sections. Even though the initial brief covered only mounting, my mentors urged me to research the entire process in detail, from putting up the pole all the way up until taking down of these street light poles. By looking into the entire lifecycle, I picked up details about the process of mounting as a whole and all the tools that were used by the workers.
  12. 12. Towards the end of the project thanks to my mentors, I learned that the beauty of the product lies in its details. With this product, they had me focus on forms of parting lines such that even the smallest of lines mimic and match the form. For cable passage, we worked out forms in the mould in such a way that the cable just needs to be pushed and it finds its way through the complicated innards. Overall during the process, a lot of attention was paid to undercuts and wall thicknesses.
  13. 13. VisualizeScenarios
  14. 14. ‘Design is storytelling’ I first heard this statement made by Mauli Maroor at a workshop at Designyatra. But I didn’t quite understand it till I did the Nokia project, where research was in the form of stories, representation of the research was in stories, and finally all conceptualization and presentation was in the form of scenarios.
  15. 15. Swayam - A future scenarios project for Nokia This was a project that was done as part of a team of twelve. It was to look at domains of human interaction such as gyms, retail, banking, event management and to see what role a device could play in these areas such that the environment is totally connected one that always adapts and reflects a person’s personality. The concepts in this project were products & technologies that were presented in the form of stories and scenarios.
  16. 16. Being an obsessed reader of blogs and design newsletters online while in college, I read a lot about ‘sustainability’, issues of ‘climate change’ et all. But, on my first trip to Auroville itself, I realized that I didn’t know anything about these issues. What started as taking up a job to rework an exhibition soon turned into a number of smaller projects - The eco-exhibition needed more then just some exhibits, it needed an overall vision and a system for volunteers to participate and contribute. - Mission Tejas, an initiative for rural lighting, required a rethink in its strategy and a new website. The website, which will become a platform for rural lighting agencies in India is now under development - I have had, over the last 7 months, a front row seat in the development of policies and products towards a more sustainable future.
  17. 17. Bikescapes In my first trip to Auroville, I was part of a workshop that endeavoured to create products and sys- tems to create a bicycle friendly environment to promote the use of cycles over fossil fuel based transport.
  18. 18. UNDP MNRE Solar Water Heater Study This was a project that I worked on while in Aurore (Auroville) that was a market assessment study all over south India to understand the current position & perception of solar water heaters in the market and to make recommendations to strengthen the market penetration for the same.
  19. 19. This is a nugget of wisdom that I chanced upon while reading a blog. ‘Do, It’s ok to suck’ This is a big shift for me, in the way that I work, because since then I have taken on things that I would only talk about like, doing a play in the role of Duryodhana, Becoming Clown BigMole, Attempting to learn the Harmonica.
  20. 20. My Porcelain Throne - A photo series.. Happened across a porcelain WC dumped on the sidewalk, so I took it for a ride around Vimannagar.
  21. 21. Design Gupshup What started as a gung-ho attempt to revive a student activities platform single-handedly ended in failure. The reasons for this varied, from a misunderstanding of the dynamics of students in the college, to having created a situation where the whole initiative was so dependant on me that there weren’t successors to take it forward when I left.
  22. 22. Resumè ‘Vichaar Station’ at Fundamental ‘08 Model United Nations 2005 – ICJ, Dhirubhai Ambani International Model United Nations Name: Akshay Roongta 2004 – General Assembly, The Hague International Model United Nations E-mail: 2003 – HSC, Mumbai Model United Nations Website: 2003 – General Assembly, HR Model United Nations Photography: Positions of responsibility Video: 2003 – 2004: Games Captain at DAIS 2000 – 2003: Prefect at BSS Education: 2005-2009: Experience: Final Year, Graduate Diploma in Product Design 2009 – 2010: Aurore (Auroville Renewable Energy) Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune Projects: UNDP-MNRE SWH market assessment study, Eco-exhibition, Mission 2003-2005: Tejas International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme 2009: Bikescapes Project, Auroville Dhirubhai Ambani International School (DAIS), Mumbai 2009: Internship at Cluster-One Design Consultants 2003: Project: Modular Mounting system for street light poles ICSE 2008 – 2009: Nokia Research and Conceptualization Project Bombay Scottish School (BSS), Mumbai 2008 – 2009: Samas Media Lab Copywriting for hoarding design Skills: Editor of Samas Satellite (Ongoing) Leadership, Oration, Teamwork, Motivating other people, General Proficiency at 2008: Nokia Conceptualization workshop using the computer 2007: Workshop by Kirloskar and Elephant Design + Strategy Summer of 2007: Internship at Ticket Design Softwares: Projects: PLC, Refrigerator, User Interface for dryer Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Indesign, Adobe Illustrator, Rhino v3.0, Bunkspeed Summer of 2006: Internship at Interactive Avenues Hypershot, iMovie Profile: Copywriting and Keyword generation for Search Engine Marketing Summer of 2005: Internship at CA firm Activities: Summer of 2003: Job at vintage car restoration workshop 2009 – 2010: Clowning Workshop by Ashwath Bhatt 2009 – 2010: Theatre in Auroville: Played the role of Duryodhana 2009: Participated in ‘In a planet of our own’ workshop and conference at IDC 2007 – 2008: Managed Design Gupshup Brought together students in college to form a community for discussion and collaboration Event Co-ordinator ‘Desi Tadka’ at Fundamental ‘07