As we move on in India from a brick and mortar economy to a knowledge and information based economy, definition of Design, role of Designer and Design institute stands to change completely.
Industrialisation and associated developmental activities have touched only parts of India, largely located in cities or their neibhorhoods. This development also brought with it certain key features like: it gobbled nature, it excluded vast sections of people from participating in it and created dangerous divide between the rich and poor. Furthermore, it has no use for people’s understanding of their own cultures, skills, histories and certain autonomies that they have enjoyed, thereby presenting to us a huge diversity of knowledges, tools and experiences.
Coming of the new economy, with knowledge, global markets and imagination as it’s core drivers and riding on the wireless infrastructure of communication technologies, opens up a sudden new opportunity in front of all of us, 1196746504 Indians ( latest figure as I passed the population clock at AIIMS Delhi today. There is still possibility for vast segments of our people to leap frog into knowledge age bypassing completely the brick and mortar age of unsustainable development.
But it requires a crucial invention or perhaps reinvention to accomplish this. And this is about a set of people who are skilled and knowledgeable to trigger new imagination and propose and execute daring new scenarios which build on what people know and empower them to become partners in shaping a new global market of shared values.
There is a danger lurking around the so called success stories where the affected people have real feelings that their destinies are for sale to the richest bidder. Design has the skills to reverse this feeling and stand by people to enable them to actualise their own destinies. But this calls for a radical re-imagination of design, design schools and designer.
Now is the time to do it.