Design Process
  February, 2015

Discovering the process of design and takeaways

Hari Nallan

Some time ago, I had requested a friend of mine, Rhonette to write an article on her learning from the workshop I co-facilitated.

The workshop was one of the series of workshops my company, Think Design had conducted at the campus of Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, as part of its Design and Innovation program. The workshop was facilitated by me and Rama Brahmam Aleti, cofounder, Think Design.

Below is the response to my request.

There is a saying I like, even as the reality of it consistently challenges me. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; it is the glory of kings to search it out.” I have discovered and am discovering (present continuous) that the process of design is like that.

I have just concluded a two week design workshop, which, by virtue of the number of hours alone, was intense. One of the first things I learnt in that workshop is the term “design sensibility”. I have none. I do not know how to shape the look and feel of something. Through this workshop I developed a brand new respect for people who can design in general, and for Hari and Rama (from Think Design: www.thinkdesign.in), our Facilitators, in particular. These guys are really good!!!

General appreciation aside, the workshop was good for me because the design process required that I work out some of the nebulous details for the social entrepreneurship venture I had/have in mind. Now that was challenging. The thing is though, I realize that even when you have an idea in mind, all the resources required to bring it to fruition are not within your hands … you don’t even know what they are when you begin. The process of “searching it out” involves collaboration, iterative steps, change, adjustment, reworking, fortitude, patience, etc., etc., etc. And make no mistake, it is a process! The movement from concept to reality has many steps, and does not happen overnight. For me, that is one of the things I am coming to realize and have to learn to embrace. Moving the idea from the sterile vacuum of your mind to the real world, with all of its apparent constraints, external forces, real issues, etc., takes some doing.

What I came away from this whole design process with is an understanding of the requirement for internal postures that will not be compromised by opposition, the passage of time, negative feedback or any other limitations. I have come to realize, and am realizing (again, present continuous) that at your core you have to be fixed in your decision and belief in the validity of what you set out to do. From there, everything on the outside may change (as well as it may not), so that the final product looks nothing like you initially imagined. However, on the inside, you remain as grounded in your pursuit at the end as you were in the beginning. What you get from the design process, if you execute it properly, is an enhanced version of your original idea, which is much better than anything you could have dreamed up on your own.

Design is definitely an interesting process. I continue to search it out …

Hari Nallan

Hari Nallan

Founder and CEO of Think Design, a User Experience strategist, Designer, Speaker and Educator. Think Design is a Leading Design consultancy with offices in Denver, New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru; and collaborates with visionary organisations to identify, build and materialise innovative products and services.

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