vision first

The Power of Social Network is already having its effect. Two days ago,
we approached Sam Pitroda, Chairman of Knowledge Commission of India
and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Innovation. We expressed to him
the concern of the Design community in India over initiating steps to
invest in the infrastructure for 4 new NID’s even before following due
diligence in clarifying the vision for such an expansion.

In our request for his intervention, we reminded him that when NID was
set up with direct support from the then Prime Minister, Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru, Vision Came First and the infrastructure followed.
We requested that the same process needs to be followed and we need to
co-create a vision through participation of many of us on this social
network who are willing to help him by tapping into the ideas of
different stakeholders and shape a vision. Such a collaboration would
lead to a vision that is more in sync with the new realities and
aspirations of India. He agreed. We urged him that there is a need to
reclaim the legacy of direct patronage to design from the highest
level of the government.

At his request we are going to channelize the energy and ideas that
exists within our network and we will reach out to others who may
currently not be direct participants in designers’ online network but
have a stake in establishing design as a key competency across
different disciplines and sectors.

So watch out for more news. An initial group of volunteers, comprising
of Rashmi Korjan, Dinesh Korjan, M.P.Ranjan, S. Sundar, Sudhir Sharma,
Joginder Panghal, Jatin Bhatt, Uday Dandavate, Ashish Despande, Poonam Bir Kasturi and
Amit Gulati have started initial conversations to set in place a
mechanism to broaden this process of co-creation. Our objective is
simple- Vision First.

Please use every platform available to you, your colleagues, your
clients, your teachers, your students, government officials who
understand and appreciate the role of design in nation building and
start a conversation about “Vision First”.

Many of you have expressed your support for this effort. We will need
more participation from your end as we hit the road (the information
highway) collecting pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. One of us will update
you with more when we start putting in place a robust instrument to
collect your ideas. You are all welcome to joing the Vision First




  1. Mary Kay Johnsen, Special Collections Librarian, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

    For design planning in India — are there ways to
    get women and girls involved substantively?

    I remember a presentation about using solar-powered
    Apple laptops or hand-held devices to collect health statistics from
    remote villages in India – by nurses on bicycles, many illiterate, who
    trained to use the icons for father, mother, boy child + age, girl child +
    age, and tuberculosis, and a few other icons for typical problems.
    –and the talk was around 1998. What has happened since then with solar
    and services like this?

  2. Suresh Sethi

    The concept for a new Design (institute) initiative can be summed up as Design Collaborations with Communities, its role should be about community and co-operation, about collective imagination, about people’s participation. Recognizing India’s basic needs is the key to this institution’s identity. The goal is to do basic research, a continuous quest for ways and means to improve and innovate, to promote a sense of urgency and willingness to do new things for the next billion user and to enhance their quality of life.
    We have to Design change for the next billion user from the standpoint of daily life environment. De-Sign can be read as “destroy the sign” – we do not need more NID’s – we need institutions that have new values and emerge from the encounters and dialogues of people. The Way of Indian Design is to develop a vision which brings the inner and outer world together. We need an integrated vision, a vision that grows in sharing, in giving generously and enables us to understand the need for well balanced attainments of human ends.

  3. Indrani De Parker


    The research area for my PhD is Reassessment of the Design Foundation: Reflecting on the Future of Design Education in 21st Century India. It took me three years at IILM School of Design, Gurgaon, where I was invited by A Balasubramaniam, the then Dean to design & coordinate the Foundation Program. It was a challenging task as it involved identifying and connecting all the elements that made up the program and weaving them together appropriately while trying to fuse them seamlessly to the next level of specialization. The profile of most of the students was urban, English and semi English (‘Hinglish’) speaking – who are active users of social networks like ‘Facebook’. ‘Google Search’ is their window to the world, answer to everything and Wikipedia is their free encyclopedia. Not all chose to pursue design as a profession out of passion.

    At the end of the third year, as I took a step back to reflect upon both the design & execution of the curriculum and students’ performance, I realized it was time to reexamine the program. Needless to say I had more or less based my curriculum on the Bauhaus Model. Fifty years is a long time; it was time to change.

    Fortunately, I was not alone in my thoughts. MP Ranjan already had the foresight & had magnanimously organized two International Conference “LOOK Back-LOOK Forward” organized jointly by HfG Ulm and Design Education in India, a title that aptly sums up the objective behind the intensive one-day conference and interactive workshop which took place first at Bangalore and later at Kolkata. It was very reassuring to know, that there are many who shared a common concern, questioning the issues and future of Design Education in India. More and more design educators have been persistently questioning the appropriateness of the pedagogy that is being followed over the years. There is a strong need felt to review and revisit the existing systems. This conference was a great motivation to pursue a research in Design Education in India and reflect on the future of design education.

    Subsequently, I joined IDC, Mumbai, where I felt the rigor and discipline of a research would facilitate me to investigate, document, analyse and address the issues of concern. A Research Programme would provide the opportunity and platform to study and assess past and current teaching methodologies and arrive at appropriate, relevant and effective teaching methods for tomorrow. The intention is that this research would help improve structure for Basic Design in a ‘Multidisciplinary’ Design Programme, which would be relevant both in context and content. I quote Ranjan here…
    ‘The NID has been reduced to being a appendage of the DIPP while its mandate at its inception was to serve all sectors of need in India and these would include agriculture, healthcare, mobility, education and financial systems besides 230 sectors of our economy that have unmet needs but the current disciplines offered at NID and at other schools do not afford these wider interpretations. Further the management of the Institutes may need to be made more aligned to academic activities of research and action and this would call for a new way of looking at possibilities rather than the outmoded practices that are followed at NID.’

    As part of the research, I had the privilege of documenting the course ‘Issues & Perspectives in the Craft Sector, orchestrated by Lakshmi Murty for the students of IICD, Jaipur. Lakshmi has been conducting this course since 2005. This gave me the opportunity to visit IICD Jaipur, where Sangita Shroff, Director, is doing a fabulous job of creating a synthesis among the craft sector, social sector, business and design. She is currently in the process of changing the curriculum in context to the present needs and future projections.

    While in Jaipur, I met Benoy Thoompunkal, presently Dean at Arch Academy of Design. Started by Archana Surana, it has grown in the past 10 years from a two room setup to a full fledged design school with plans of expansion. Benoy too is currently in the process of reviewing the present curriculum.

    During the CII-NID Conference Designing for a Billion customers in Dec 2010, at Delhi, interestingly enough, ‘Education’ was missing from the original list of Areas of Concern. It was later included by popular demand and the breakaway focus group discussion on design education had Prof Nadkarni, Prof Ravi Poovaiah, Benoy Thumpulkar, Archana Surana… In his concluding speech, Prof Nadkarni stressed that change can be initiated only when there is a change in education.

    NIFT is in the process of ratifying the academic curriculum. The same is being done with a view to strengthen the curricula in sync with the need of the industry; technological advancements; newer modus operandi et al. A ‘Curriculum Review Meet’ was scheduled on January, 2011 where industry experts, members from peer institutes, well-established alumni and NIFT faculty members from across Centers participated. Thoughts and experience were shared and valuable suggestions were made to improve the curriculum.
    Many Design Educators in the country are working towards reviewing existing curriculum and many of them are working in isolation and experimenting within their restricted spaces. The list of Core Group Members for Vision First Initiative couldn’t have been better and the prompt action taken is worthy of applaud. However, there should be an exhaustive list of design educators who have contributed over the years in design education, who should be involved in this collective movement. Some names I strongly feel I should mention are:

    Sangita Shroff
    Lakshmi Murty
    Suchi Mathur
    KB Jinan
    Nien Siao
    Sunali Aggarwal
    Pravin Mishra
    Pradipto Ray
    Ankur Choksi
    Kriti Mongia
    Lolita Dutta
    Benoy Thoompunkal
    Chaula Patel
    Pankaj Narain
    Shailan Parker
    Joginder Singh
    Sagarmoy Paul
    Chandrashekhar Bheda
    Chakradhar Saswade
    Suchitra Seth
    Sanjeev Gotra
    Vishwesh Sant
    Dalip Daswani
    Manish Iyer
    Gurpreet Siddhu
    Orijit Sen
    Ranmal Singh Jhala
    Shalini Bansal

    Sudhakar Nadkarni
    Kirti Trivedi
    Uday Athavankar
    Raja Mohanty
    BK Chackravarty
    Ravi Poovaiah
    K Ramachandran
    AG Rao
    Anirudha Joshi
    GG Ray
    K Munshi
    Nina Sabnani
    R Sandesh
    Nishant Sharma
    Shilpa Ranade
    Purba Joshi

    This list is not exhaustive, others should add to it….. an effort to work collectively and not in isolation….
    Indrani De Parker

    • Hi Indirani,
      Good to see a long statement of your Phd intent. It sounds interesting but was amused to read your account of who attended CII NID events sub group on Design Education. I can understand your sensitivities and your fancy to your current interests and partners, but such selective forgetfulness does not bode very well as a fair practice.
      Jogi Panghaal

  4. Indrani De Parker

    Dear Jogi
    You are right and I am extremely sorry. Considering I have mentioned you in my document…I don’t know how I have made this blunder… My apologies… And completely agree that ‘such selective forgetfulness does not bode very well as a fair practice.’ May I rectify this… Below I share part of the report made earlier this year

    Focus Group Discussion: CII – NID Conference Designing for a Billion Customers
    New Delhi, Dec 2010

    Design trends in India are changing to meet the needs of a billion customers at price points that are affordable and with solutions that keep the spirit of innovation alive, make products user-friendly and reach out the widest cross-section of consumers. The 10th Confederation of Indian Industry and National Institute of Design (CII-NID) Summit that took place in the capital, addressed the complex challenges that designing in India is facing in the 21st century after 50 years of conventional design practices.

    With the Summit theme ‘Design Democracy – Design for Billon Customers’, the two-day summit that has drawn design experts from across the country deliberated on the changing customers demography, new design opportunities that mass production can create, setting up of new eco-systems for innovative and cost-effective designs and the scope for unique businesses in the transforming design industry.

    Themes were pre-decided for the breakaway focus group discussions. Education, which was absent from the original list of focus areas, was included by popular demand. The group members were Prof Sudhakar Nadkarni, Prof Ravi Poovaiah, Jogi Panghaal, Benoy Thoompunkal, Archana Surana. The issues discussed were:
    1. Demystify Design
    2. Form Learning Clusters where people who are involved in creative activities will teach
    3. Create a model where students acquire credits from crafts people directly
    4. Dream… One Billion Educators for One Billion Learners
    5. Dream… One Billion Designers for One Billion Consumers

    Jogi, thanks for pointing this out… I will be more careful in future.

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