Blog

New year resolutions

New year resolutions that we take up are like the reiterations we apply to our designs.

Though I have not considered such things before, this new year, I decided to take up transforming resolutions.

The time I landed here in London, I found it difficult to adapt myself to the climate here. And I more often take this reason for granted and give an excuse to myself for not going out actively as I wanted to.

Being my first time abroad, and that too for a year, I decided before coming here, that I will go all around the city and explore places that I have dreamed all my life to go, to the ones that I have not even heard of.

Secondly, I wanted to make sure that I give enough time to maintain my physical condition. To make that easier, I joined the Badminton club (I love badminton) to make that into a practice. But the one disadvantage with that was the training was only for a couple of hours once a week. That made it difficult for me to maintain it as a routine all week through. The entire semester went off with me trying to figure out what to do instead.

This semester, I decided to change my sleeping cycle, which is usually from 2a.m to 11a.m (I blame Netflix and Youtube for this :P). By sleeping early and waking up early, I would be able to go out for jogging in the mornings.

The next is to make sure that I am active and try to be more socializing with the people I come across in my daily life. By following that, I can make more friends (which everyone loves to).

I have to contribute more for my company Renovate and take it to greater heights than what we as a group have aimed for.

I also want to read a lot of books from this year’s start.

I will let you all know if I am able to follow all the above mentioned resolutions in the coming days.

Have you thought about your resolutions?

Happy New year my people! 🙂 Stay amazing.

Advertisements

REnovate and how it happened..

It was the time to figure out and form our groups. Unfortunately I missed that class and by the time I met my classmates during the next class, most of them sorted out and formed groups within themselves. I was quite disappointed about missing the class on that day.

I personally felt I could have communicated better with my classmates from the other courses (Managing of Creative Economies .MSc and International Business Management MSc.) and I feel this was mainly because the scheduling of each of our weekly class time tables which did not give us the chance to meet outside the class and get that friendship bonding among us. Even then, I know there is no room to account for excuses because the point of this was to get of our comfort zones and get to know each other better and figure which of  us would make up a good team within ourselves.

Nothing matters now because I eventually went to form a group with three others coming from different backgrounds having got a degree in their field of expertise. We were luckily a group that was diverse and simultaneously not too different to loose track and eventually run out of balance within us. There is a very thin line between being diverse and being too different which makes it difficult to find a common ground.

It just happened to be organic and coincidental that we met at the entrance of the Kingston Business Building during the break time of our Design Thinking for Startups class. We were two from Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship MSc., and two others from International Business Management MSc..

I vaguely remember how we started talking with each other, but as soon as we moved on conversing, I found the excitement and eagerness to group with the three others. We went on to form the group! Hoorah!

The next thing was to come up with a name for it. I have to thank my teammates for accepting the name I suggested right away…and yes! It was ‘Renovate’.

It was myself, Siddarth, having a background of architecture and designing, with a passion to understand and research on the purpose of what is to be done, being the Technical Director for Renovate.

The next being Faseem, coming from a background of commerce and accounting, he understands and evaluates the tangible value of the team’s REnovation. He is the Financial Director for Renovate.

Next is Shreyans, coming from a background of legal studies and having a deep understanding about marketing, he helps the team with legal steps and to do the marketing for our REnovation. He is the Marketing and Legal Manager for Renovate.

Finally, but definitely not the least, Beyza, having a background of engineering and seen and experienced the professional side of things, she is the one who holds together the team and takes care of the process forward. She is the Managing Director of Renovate.

I feel everything we do in this world is already here. Be it a product or a service, everything we create is from the resources around you. It is only that you are using those and giving those an even useful and proper purpose. So I prefer to call it ‘REnovation‘ rather than it being called ‘Innovation’.

 

 

 

 

 

Clean the car the greener way

Back in India, during one of my rides in an Uber cab, there was a typical issue that came to my mind. The car’s interior was spread with the smell of the artificial air fresheners and the rest of the car was dirty. We know that it smells badly when there is no proper maintenance of the vehicle.

I asked my cab driver on why he had to opt for such a strong fragranced freshener he replied that the customers coming in his car give him better star rating. Some people may like such a strong fragrance, but I did not, and eventually end up with a headache because of it. Between this strong ‘Aromatherapy’ I got in the cab and the ultimate fact that it does more harm than good, I was wondering what the sustainable methods are to keep the cars odourless.

When cleaning vehicles at home, we often choose synthetic chemicals and products that in the long run damage the environment and cause health issues. Instead we could act in ways that compete against the mainstream cleaners.

Natural alternatives that are nontoxic and which do not off-gas poisonous residues should be our preferences. But we must make these cleaning agents ourselves at home and many of us don’t know where to start.

While beginning cleaning your car the greener way, it is advisable to begin with its interior. Non-toxic cleaning agent is possible online through some websites, and there are easy recipes for them as well.

To get the odour out of a car we most often reach for those overpowering artificial fresheners that sit on the dashboard or dangle from the mirror. These are often made with some form of plastic and will end up in a landfill at the end of their lifetime. An alternative is to sprinkle a mixture of potpourri with some baking soda inside the car and leave it overnight. The baking soda cleanses the odour and the flowers leave a nice fragrance. You can vacuum it up the next day.

While cleaning the exterior of the car, buy the filters for the hose pipes that are available online. These filters provide great force and use less water. This not only saves many litres of water from going waste; it also protects the earth from harmful chemicals that are often present in the washing soaps we use. So, whether it is the kids or pets that caused the car to get all dirty and smelly, the next time you want a deep cleaning, go natural.

 

The hidden treasure in our gardens

It started off as a replace to plastic in our showers, by getting rid of the ‘bath loofah’ with a natural product and it eventually opened my eyes to the existence of another bio-wonder with many possibilities.

What is luffa?  Luffa refers to two species of gourd: Luffa aegyptiaca (vegetable gourd) and L acutangula (gourd loofa). Both the species are vines with yellow flowers that thrive in tropical and sub-tropical climates and are used interchangeably. Luffas belong to the gourd family, along with watermelons, squashes, hard-shell gourds and cucumbers. Mostly, the luffa can be harvested for its fruit or allowed to mature completely in case of it being harvested for its fibre content.

luffa-f-3

Many countries across the world are taking luffa as a cost effective and sustainable material for building. In Paraguay, activist Elsa Zaldivar came up with this material to tackle the need for low cost housing for 300,000 families due to the lack of wood.

Luffa wastage created by trim from the export bath sponge market were being sent to the landfill. This waste, combined with recycled plastic and other agri-fibers (corn husks and palm leaves), formed a composite panel. These panels are an inexpensive, lightweight, flexible building material that helped communities reduce their agricultural waste while generating income and providing sustainable housing.

Meanwhile in India, a building material is being made from the luffa. Combining charcoal and soil and luffa, a brick with an interlocking module has been created by the team at the Indian School of Design & Innovation to form eco-friendly concrete. The main principle is that the charcoal is combined with the fibrous network of luffa that provides flexibility, porous structure and strength. The pores provide anchorage for plants and reduces the temperature to form a ‘cool brick’ — which keeps the spaces cool whilst simultaneously providing a growth medium for plants.

This humble and fibrous material has gone from a simple scrubber in the shower to a new age sustainable building material. Your garden certainly has such treasure that you could not have imagined!

What is design?

Design is often thought to be a styling spell over products, just like an icing on a cake. It is misunderstood and associated with the fashioning of people, objects or environments and related to be a signature touch. Despite that, many have proven design is much more than that.

It is what that gives ideas the ability to shape up and make it commercial thereby making it a business and attracting customers.

Design is a process and not a one-step thing which many companies ought as a way to make their business successful. A good design process should be collaborative, open, based on proper research and most importantly done from a customer/user point of view at any time.

The process of design has evolved over time and it can be applied on the development of almost every product or service. The design thinking, and its process should be equally applied both at the earlier and the later or final stages of product development.

Let me list below the important features to be considered to turn an idea or a research into an innovation.

Customer/User point of view

This is the foremost and the most important of those. By involving the thought process of the end user in the early stage and the ideation testing (when the product is still a prototype), the designer can avoid risks of getting failed and the probability of making sure the design welcomed commercially is high.

Diverging and Converging techniques

Design, as a process, applies actively on Convergence and Divergence. Divergent thinking is when the problem is identified first and then giving it a solution, while Convergent thinking is the analysis of information and then arriving at a design conclusion. The best way to do it is I feel being in between both the techniques.

Testing and Iteration

We all know that design is an iterative process and the ideas and concepts should be tested, and re-iterated. If there is a great value for the business and the design, this feature will definitely pave way to improvement and new design solutions.

Multi-functional orientation in team work

The best design is always the one that comes up with rounded solutions, that takes into account different points of view, and the business system. Designing facilitates a multi-functional orientation while working due to it being clear on the designers (in case of team) working on a common goal and targeted on the user.

Visualization and Articulation

Of course, it is also one of the important features as it is the visualization of ideas that leads to a proper innovation. One can get a clarity, and there will be a flawless exchange of ideas. A good visualization also simplifies complex ideas and result in a sophisticated look and feel before the design is finished.

Are numbers important for designing?

Being a designer, I have always hated mathematics from my school days. But mathematics is everywhere around us. If one does not know the basics of the number game, then life could turn miserable.

In fact, we can learn how important numbers are by observing our very nature.

A good example is the importance of numbers by which plants grow.

In the two figures given below the first figure shows an assumption of how leaves consecutively grow at 180 degrees (half of a circle) from each other. So, there are two points in the circle (if a full circle is the plant’s stem) where the leaves can grow. In the second diagram, we see that the sunlight, which is the source of food for the plant, is only received by the top two leaves, leaving the leaves at the bottom without sunlight. If this is the case, then the leaves that did not receive the sunlight will eventually die.

If we keep it at an angle of 120 degrees (one third of a circle), there will be three points where the leaves can grow on the stem of the plant. Even in this case, the bottom leaves will die, only difference being there will be three leaves on the top instead of two in the previous case.

So, what could be the angle that is followed by the plants that gives enough sunlight exposure for all the leaves to live?

Let us see what a Fibonacci series is first.

Fibonacci series is a series of numbers in which each Fibonacci number is the sum of the two preceding numbers.

  • The series starts with the number 0 and 1.
  • So, the third number will be the sum of its preceding two numbers, 0 and 1, that is 1.
  • The fourth number will be the sum of 1 and 1 (preceding two numbers), that is 2. The list goes on as below:

             0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377……

The interesting fact about this series is, if we take up any two consecutive numbers and divide the larger number by the smaller one, the resulting answer is always approximately 1.618 (The Golden Ratio).

Now let us divide the number of angles in a circle (360) by the Golden Ratio, 1.618.

360o /1.618= 222.5o degrees

(which can also be said as 137.5 degrees since 222.5+137.5= 360)

Screenshot (23).png

If the leaves grow at an angle of 137.5o, the leaves will get sufficient sunlight. Without such calculations (or with?), almost all leaves grow with this angular difference.

Not only plants, almost everything created by nature follows Fibonacci series!

This is a Fibonacci spiral.

Screenshot (26).png

We can find the same spiral on a snail shell, on a satellite view of a cyclone, and also in the shapes of galaxies. That is why this Fibonacci series is called the God’s fingerprint.

 

Who else can be a better designer than the ultimate designer God himself? If he follows numbers in his design, then we better shall do the same! (or no?) 😛

The first week & the Lean startup session

After a week of going around Kingston and getting done with my enrollment process, I went to Kingston Hill campus for the ‘Introduction’ week. I met my module leaders and classmates. It was a good experience to become a part of a group coming from different backgrounds.

On the following Friday, we had our ‘Design Thinking for Startups’ module introduction. There, our class got bigger with students from MSc. Managing for Creative Economies and MSc. International Business Management joining us. We introduced ourselves with each other and our Module Leader, Janja Song was handling the module for those two days.

The activity, we call it ‘Lean Startup weekend’ was about creating a marketing campaign for Adidas by choosing any city of our choice and work on various parameters to achieve it.

With a group of seven members in our team, we started off the first day (Friday) by figuring out each of our city’s issues and choose to work in the city that has a critical issue that needs to be addressed critically. That discussion was an eye opener for me because I got to know what problems each of the cities face on a regular basis.

20180921_153104

Unsurprisingly, we collectively decided to work on Delhi, the capital of India. Most of the world knows the issue there, but for the ones who do not know, it is the high number of rapes in Delhi.

According to an article of Hindustan Times, 2018:

  • More than five women were raped every day in the national capital in the first three and a half months in 2018.
  • Delhi police claimed that in 96.63% of the rape cases reported last year, the accused was known to the victim.
  • According to the data, 578 rape cases were reported to the police till April 15 in 2018 as against 563 in 2017 during the same period.

These statistics show how dangerous the city has become for the women in Delhi.

20180921_153254

On the second day, our group saw two of the members leave and two new people coming in instead.

We did a character sketch of a woman, in her youth, living in Delhi, analysed and came up with how she would various parameters like ‘Think and feel’, ‘hear’, ‘say and do’, ‘see’ influence here character. At the end of this, we were able to empathize for her.

img-20180922-wa0016

So, we came up with a campaign for Adidas to encourage ‘Boxing’ for women, both as a sport and to be self-defensive by introducing specialized equipment. We came up with products aimed for this and also socializing ideas that would also encourage people in the city realize women’s deserved position in the society that would allow them to utilize and contribute for its betterment.

I felt satisfied and happy for having such a good experience of working for my country’s biggest issue. We finally presented it in front of the class and the invited judges and I felt overwhelmed to secure the second position in our class in terms of the points the judges gave us.

The session was indeed the kick-start I needed at the start of the course.

 

img-20180922-wa0009

img-20180922-wa0017