Bridging inequality by
Designing for communities, solutions & ecosystems
After many years of experience in the sector, we have repositioned our purpose to “designing impact” (from previous “design for impact”) as we see enough innovation and existing design solutions across India where we don’t see the need to reinvent the wheel every time. We believe the design can play a role of “facilitator” or “enabler” to solutions and can facilitate ideas or innovative tools to be more market or community ready. Hence, we rather shape or design the impact an organization or solution intends to make in our ecosystem.
The current biggest challenge our design approach is facing is not the solutions or ideas we create but how design can inspire or influence socio-cultural behavior to adopt solutions. Given the complexity and diversity of communities in India, the social problems are far more complex to be resolved. It requires a multi-disciplinary approach to ideas and to influence people to change their mind-set and behavior to scale a solution. Designing for a billion market has been one of our lessons shared here.
We approach our impact criteria broadly under four areas that influences our design thinking:
It is not just about social impact but also if the solution or approach is socially relevant to the target community/ audience.
Economic scalability and growth can be endless as profits and the larger inequality challenges in the world stems from the limitless idea of profits or economic growth that has negative impact on other areas (society, ecology). Sustainability of economic growth is a much needed criteria.
Ecological preservation and conservation might require a different approach, however, impact sector and commercial sector are obligated to maintain a balance of resources they extract from nature, to put it back safely. A balance of ecology is an important step to support growth and development.
With global changes in cultural practices, ideas and values, it is not just important to preserve and conserve it but also to contextualise culture for younger generations.
Humans need to increasingly assess the impact of its business, product or service. Not just on their respective “target customers” but also the environment and wider stakeholders involved in the creation, production and consumption of new ideas, products or services.
Sustainability through design in products, services, systems and how we live is the future role of design . We need to build sustainability as a way of life and not just as a tool in social, economic, cultural as much as our environment/ ecology as these four pillars are interdependent.
Sustainable businesses, communities/ cities/ regions and lifestyle can contribute to a more manageable global resources and we need to design them contextually.
Sustainability centered design looks at a paradigm shift in using design as a thinking and execution tool beyond human-centric approach. In a hyper-connected world, impact of design and innovation is not just on humans but also on larger ecosystems of economy, society, ecology and culture. We need to build in sustainability that allows a more equitable distribution of resources and opportunities for communities across regions than need more than a higher income for quality life with rights. Sustainability centered design addresses this as not just a design thinking process for solving challenges but also looking at systemic challenges.
Sustainability centred design as a process can help us design products, services or systems but to evaluate its impact and relevance, we need to measure sustainability through impact metrics. It is a tool for evaluation of an idea or solution that can be improved or innovated further when we are able to measure the impact. We view designing impact as an evaluation tool for a sustainability centred design process.
We would continue to share the impact centric design approach through our work and externally to our audience and we share our design ideology journey here. Given the current global changes, the need to look at impact of a project, sustainability centred organization or an idea is important and has an inter-connectedness effect across regions or sectors.