Design Thinking

The pros and “Cons” of Storytelling

The pros and “Cons” of Storytelling! Storytelling. Steve Jobs wasn’t the first to talk about, or practice it. Nor was he the first one to focus on the customer and build differentiation. Function and form. And he wasn’t the first to capture customer personalities, traits and passions in their marketing and communication, instead of just reading a dull list of […]

Gucci’s Packaging – Not so Gucci

Gucci’s Packaging – Not so Gucci I recently conducted an interactive session on Design Thinking at a leading investment bank. It might be easy to assume that applications of design thinking at an investment bank are limited. It is quite the opposite though. And the applicable scope of design thinking just seems to grow bigger with each passing day. The […]

Airline Seats and Behaviour

Airline Seats and Behaviour Do you think those extremely uncomfortable airline seats have anything to do with our behaviour when we are flying? Remember the last flight you took. Unless you were traveling business or first class, you can’t forget the tiny seats. And the armrests, that always seem to have gotten closer from the last time you flew. To […]

Need Ideas? Dress Down

Need Ideas? Dress Down Despite the Mumbai heat, I don’t miss an opportunity to wear a suit. Especially to a first-time work meeting with people. However, things are different if the agenda of a meeting is problem solving or ideating. Then, I not just prefer, but also strongly recommend a casual dress code. Why? Think about the times you get […]

The Non-Financial Side of Business

The Non-Financial Side of Business A call with an industry colleague last week set in motion, thoughts on how we measure individual or business success. As a kid growing up in India in the 80’s, studies used to be quite a tricky part of life. Studying history, for instance. We had a ton of dates to remember, and it somehow […]

Why Design Thinking is Here to Stay

Why Design Thinking is Here to Stay A close friend recently shared this article titled ‘Why Design Thinking will fail’, written in 2013 by Jeffrey Tjendra. Jeffrey is a designer entrepreneur and strategist. Among some of us friends, there was were points of disagreement on the article. Jeffrey does seem to have a good understanding of design thinking. This post, […]

Venture Capital Elevator Pitches

Venture Capital Elevator Pitches I left my job at a venture capital (VC) firm in 2010. After freelancing for a bit I then worked with a high-technology company in the robotics space. I then started my own strategy consulting practice, which over the years has matured into an interesting blend of design thinking, management strategy and human behaviour. Three fields […]

The Entrepreneur in a Venture Capital World

  The Entrepreneur in a Venture Capital World Imagine a food connoisseur has a vision of opening a restaurant. Selling a carefully crafted list of delicacies, whose preparation has taken years to refine. This aficionado has thought of everything. The cutlery that would highlight the preparations, what the entrance to the restaurant would be like, the kind of chefs he or […]

What’s Your Profession? Did You Bring More Soldiers?

What’s Your Profession? Did You Bring More Soldiers? In 1970s, according to the TV series Mindhunter at least, the FBI was filled with accountants & lawyers instead of more relevant experts in areas that mattered. That is, in place of behavioral analysts. That seems to have been the case with the Indian Venture Capital industry too for some time now. […]

Sunset Marmalade

Sunset Marmalade Why are some brands killing the obvious in packaging design? If anything is better than the taste of orange marmalade in the morning, it is the sight of it in the jar. Like a beautiful sunset. With strands of peel as if in suspended animation. However, some leading Indian brands, and probably many others too in India and […]

Number Fifty-Four…The Bike with a Bamboo Core

Number Fifty-Four… …The bike with a bamboo core! What does it take for innovation to be possible? Simply, just the intention. You need to want it badly enough to make it possible. I happened to see this online a long time ago. I am still in awe of it though. People in Ghana find themselves in unfavourable temperatures, with long […]

A Session on Innovation, Design Thinking & The Future of Work

A Session on Innovation, Design Thinking & The Future of Work Earlier this week, I was invited to conduct a session around ‘Innovation, Design Thinking and the Future of Work’ at the Indian School of Management & Entrepreneurship, for a batch of about 170 grad students from Vaze College. The most enjoyable session I’ve had so far.   An ideation exercise […]

Design Thinking – Shelters for the Homeless

Design Thinking – Shelters for the Homeless [3.5 minute read] Here’s the next post, towards sharing stories and incidents around design thinking in daily lives, towards a better collective understanding. My earlier post was about taps at home, and why house helps might be wasting water. If you missed that, here’s the link. Now, in developing India, as the nouveau riche […]

Design Thinking – Water Taps at Home

Design Thinking – Water Taps at Home [7 minute read] I’ve had the habit of applying aspects of Design Thinking to my work and personal life for some time now. In fact, off late it is literally a ‘permanently on’ app running in my head. I use it to review products or services, or to wonder why some startup is […]

Does Your Fire Escape Plan Work?

Does Your Fire Escape Plan Work? Early hours of 29th December saw a horrific fire at a rooftop restaurant in Mumbai. I could hear a continuous stream of distant sirens just before going to sleep. I couldn’t have imagined the extent of death and destruction. The restaurant is a breezy rooftop one, with plenty of bamboo and plastic on the […]

Vulnerability of Tech Processes and Human Decisions

Vulnerability of Tech Processes and Human Decisions Here are two interesting incidents I came across online in the last week. One, about a seemingly harmless vulnerability in an online service’s process. The other, a possible vulnerability in human decisions in a human-dependent, traditional business. First of, a French literary buff, conducted an interesting experiment. It was to check his hypothesis, […]

How Well is Tata Motors Connecting Aspirations?

Earlier this year, Tata Motors announced a new brand identity. ‘Connecting Aspirations’. Sounds good, but how well is the company truly connecting aspirations? For many years now, I have wondered why Tata Motors isn’t among the top 2 selling passenger cars in India. Despite being, what I believe, is a company and group that represents an image of the ideal […]

Can We Easily Spot Left-Brain and Right-Brain Thinkers?

Can We Easily Spot Left-Brain and Right-Brain Thinkers? Just a thought. And I could be wrong. How can we easily spot a strong left-brain, or a right-brain thinker? In an argument/ discussion between two people with strong, opposing views – is it possible that those who tend to reply almost instantly each time, especially early on, without sufficient information, are […]

Design Thinking: An Idea for Tesla’s Supercharging Wait Time Problem

An idea using a Design Thinking mindset, for Tesla’s Supercharging Wait Time Problem Tesla has really transformed the automobile industry, cracking the existing fuel industry and automotive heavyweight nexus. And this is despite the first versions of electric motor driven vehicles dating back to 1828! That’s when Hungarian Ányos Jedlik invented a type of electric motor and a model car […]

What the Customer Wants

What the Customer Wants There has been the occasional debate between two schools of thought: You need to ask the customer what he/she wants; and, The customer doesn’t know what he/she wants until we show them (remember ol Steve Jobs?) A bulk of the views I’ve come across so far lie on the side of ‘ask the customer’. However, it […]

A Design Question: Turn Indicators on Cars

Image: source A Design Question: Turn Indicators on Cars As cars get sleeker, so do its lights. But I’ve noticed that the entire rear light cluster has been shrinking in size on some cars. And in some, the turn indicators are designed or placed in a way that possibly defeats its purpose. A car’s rear lights cluster includes reversing lights […]

Ryan International school – Are CCTVs the Best Solution?

Ryan International school – Are CCTVs the Best Solution? 5 min. read. When faced with a problem, ideally, we should get to the source of the problem first. Only then can we attempt to solve it. But of course, we all know that! And yet, almost always, we will first react to a problem by attempting to solve it with […]

Fierce Competition

Fierce Competition A lot of companies face problems from time to time. Let’s focus on problems that are controllable, i.e., outside of those to do with a declining economy, financial meltdowns, etc. In such situations, many business leaders have had to address shareholder concerns. And many of them justify the situation as ‘witnessing fierce competition’, or something to that effect. […]

Design Thinking: What a Patient Wants

Design Thinking: What a Patient Wants Design Thinking is a relatively new concept in many countries including India. It is, however, already some decades old now. And having been practicing it for a few years now, I often get asked what it is about. And for examples of its applications. For starters, design thinking is a mindset. One that uses […]

Amazon Go, This is How You Could Go

Earlier this year, Amazon announced its Amazon Go concept. The cashier-free, and hopefully hassle-free grocery store. The news did seem to receive a disproportionate amount of public interest.    Sources: 1 – link, 2 – link Of course we’ve all had our share of standing in queues. Queues where cashiers billed and packed at a pace, a sight that looked […]

Dr. David Lagrew – Saving Mothers with Empathy & Innovation

More women in labour and new mothers die in the US than in any other high-income country. And the CDC Foundation estimates that 60% of these deaths are preventable! 60%!! In one of the most developed countries in the world. And since 1990, only 13 countries in the world have seen a rise in maternal death rates. The US is […]

India’s Roads and Bottlenecks

India’s Roads and Bottlenecks Bottlenecks and traffic jams on the streets. Are they an unavoidable phenomenon, or something we caused or created? Same with the lack of lane discipline in Indian drivers. Are drivers always to blame? Or could it be, that some part of the problem is because of how our roads are designed? Living in Bombay, I notice […]

Microwave Idea – Return the Turntable to Original Position

Image (only used the LG image because I use one of their models at home): source I’m not exactly on top of the latest microwave oven features. Don’t think I even know most of the old ones. But if this feature doesn’t already exist, it would be great to have. I’m assuming this is how it works with most models, […]

A Lego Stealth Fighter/ Drone

Just built a Lego stealth fighter/ drone. It does need a little imagination to smoothen the edges, etc., bear with me on that… But that said, have a look and let me know what you think. Image above: Side-view. Completely collapsed for hangar/storage  Image above: Wings fully extended (it folds at two points, one, the grey section mid-wing, and the […]

Stop Glorifying terror

The world governments need to stop glorifying terror outfits. For starters, irrespective of what those terror groups might call themselves, what if victim countries gave them shameful and cowardly names. That way, the citizens wouldn’t fear them the way they currently do. Wayward or lost youngsters would probably be averse to joining such groups if their names were funny or […]

Is A Bot After Your Job?

Image: Robin Williams in the Bicentennial Man Yuval Noah Harari paints an interesting and arguably grim picture of the future, in his book Homo Deus. He runs through possible ways in which the world and we humans might evolve. To give you a glimpse, think of computer programs evolving at the blistering pace they are. From predicting our needs to seamlessly trying […]

Do Laptops Need to be a Pain in the Neck?

  Image: source Irrespective of where we place a laptop when we use them, they’re usually well aligned with our arms and hands. This helps make typing relatively effortless. However, have you noticed how the screen is almost never aligned with our head and neck? Depending on the time you spend on the laptop, this causes a sustained strain on the […]

Design Thinking Basics – 3

In his book ‘Change by Design’,  Tim Brown of IDEO highlights the 3 spaces of innovation. These criteria could be considered as some of the foundation pillars of Design Thinking. Here’s a pictorial representation of the same. What is Design Thinking? ‘Human-centered Design Thinking’ is a mindset, an approach, and some tools that help solve complex problems or pursue complex opportunities. Unlike […]

Design Thinking Basics – 2

In his book ‘Change by Design’,  Tim Brown of IDEO succinctly explains the 3 mutually reinforcing elements of successful design programs. These criteria could be considered as some of the foundation pillars of Design Thinking. Here’s a pictorial representation of the same. What is Design Thinking? ‘Human-centered Design Thinking’ is a mindset, an approach, and some tools that help solve complex problems […]

Function, Form, and Overripe Apples

Image: source Over the decades, we have been seeing Apple grow at a blistering pace. Built on thinking different while staying hungry and foolish, it certainly created new sectors while killing redundant ones. With unwavering customer-focus, Apple maintained child-like curiosity, unbelievable innovation, and startup agility. The brand continues to enjoy a stronger following than even some religious cults. The iPhone surely leaves little to be desired […]

Design Thinking Basics – 1

In his book ‘Change by Design’,  Tim Brown of IDEO succinctly explains the 3 overlapping criteria for successful ideas. These criteria could be considered as some of the foundation pillars of Design Thinking. Here’s a pictorial representation of the same. And what is Design Thinking? ‘Human-centered Design Thinking’ is a mindset, an approach, and some tools that help solve complex problems or pursue […]

Do Traffic Light Colours Need a Re-look?

We are all familiar with the three colours on traffic lights. They remain a classic example of universally recognizable design. But are the colours effective and safe, or do they need a re-look? Colour blindness has been known to affect about 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women the world over. That translates to 8% of world population dealing […]

Think A-Team: The Latest Services Menu for Startups

Think A-Team: The Latest Services Menu for Startups Hi Entrepreneurs! Late last year, I started a service called ‘Think A-Team’, to bring human-centered design strategy & other relevant services in a transparent manner to aspiring entrepreneurs & enterprising startups in India and abroad, to help them grow faster and better. One of the key This has been possible by using […]

Think A-Team: For the Design & Strategy needs of Young Businesses

Think A-Team: For the Design & Strategy needs of Young Businesses Image: link Hi, all you enterprising entrepreneurs, I am pleased to give to you, ‘Think A-Team’, a growth partnering service for all your business strategy needs. The intention behind it, is to help you make your business challenges a little less challenging. And to work with you on growing […]

See Ma, No Hands – Reviewing the Dettol No-Touch Soap Dispenser

See Ma, No Hands – Reviewing the Dettol No-Touch Soap Dispenser Here’s a product review. You wouldn’t be reading this if you were fortunate enough to live a secluded life in the hills, which means you’ve most likely visited a reasonably-priced restaurant around. And you have probably noticed how the wash basins usually have water all around the tap/ faucet. […]

Can You Handle This? Dangers of Bad Design

Can You Handle This? Dangers of Bad Design When making products, or even installing one, more often than not, haste does make waste. Some calmness and a little imagination goes a long way in avoiding the following…                 Above, is the inside of a rear door of a Maruti Eeco. I wonder how […]

The Seat Next To The Lady

The Seat Next To The Lady Recently, the latest player in the online travel business, Travelyaari.com brought in the option of “block your seat next to a lady” on your next bus journey. Yeah, I know. My eyes lit up too for a moment there. But no, buddies, your lifelong dream of getting a seat next to a pretty gal, […]

Far From Perfect

Far From Perfect We recently ordered a table for home. A small and fairly simple design, with a Rosewood coloured Melamine polish coating. However, to make the base stable, the people from the store turned it upside down to chisel a little bit. And this is how the underside looked. To save a few bucks, the underside was conveniently left […]

Forward Pass

Forward Pass Try this. Say instead of zipping past a car on the opposite side of the road waiting to make a u-turn, slow down (of course, look back first, to make sure you don’t cause a pileup) to ’em make the turn. The driver will be pleasantly surprised. They don’t expect it. Nobody does. And that’s what makes it even […]

Multiple Copy Paste

Multiple Copy Paste Ever felt the need for a double or second ‘Copy-Paste’ option on your computer, tablet or even mobile phone? That is, when you could copy 2 different things one after the other, and then paste them back in sequence. As opposed to doing a copy-paste and copy-paste. I’ve seriously felt a desperate need for it on several […]

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name? There is this shopping place close to my office (don’t know if it would qualify as a mall, cause even though its got some of the characteristics of one, it does not feel like one). Anyway,I drop in there sometimes to grab a bite at a restaurant there. So once I enter the main gate, there […]

Google, Search Better

Google, Search Better You know how you sometimes Google something, but the results are random or irrelevant. And you know how Google has the +1 recommendation option on search results. Now, here’s a suggestion that should be considered for Google, shopping sites, and those offering search directly via Google. How about an option similar to the FB ‘Like’ button? Individuals […]

We Deliver.!

We Deliver.! Several years back, I used to work in the ever so famous BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) Industry in one of India’s IT hotbeds, Bangalore. My job involved providing technical assistance to North American customers of our pretty impressive all-in-one printer range. There was a time I wondered if the monotony could leave me permanently depressed. Or worse, brain-damaged. […]

Be Your Best Judge

Be Your Best Judge This is a small extract from Michael E. Gerber’s ‘Awakening the Entrepreneur Within’. Michael Gerber is the bestselling author of The E-Myth Revisited, E-Myth Mastery. He says “Unfortunately, most businesses don’t close soon enough. They just linger on and on and on, surviving as best they can. Entrepreneurs should never create a business simply because it […]

Dare to Venture?

Dare to Venture? “The best things in life are free, But you can keep ’em for the birds and bees; Now give me money, (that’s what I want) that’s what I want.” – Barrett Strong Lets see. First time entrepreneur? Maybe you’ve already taken the brave leap, but suddenly hit a roadblock for lack of funds to scale up? Or […]