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Putting People First

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Search results for 'dandavate'
19 January 2007

We need macrodesigners, says Uday Dandavate

Uday Dandavate
Uday Dandavate, principal of the participatory design agency Sonic Rim, and faculty member of the Danish 180º Academy, just wrote a thought-provoking post on the Anthrodesign Yahoo! Group arguing that it is important for designers to incorporate MacroDesign concepts and top-down thinking in their approach.

Many organisations, he says, would benefit from professionals specialising in using design and innovation as a macro level thinking process.

To open up the discussion on his ideas, I re-publish his post (which is already starting a debate) here:

If I follow the evolution of the field of design, I do believe that we have borrowed concepts and inspiration from a variety of fields including architecture, psychology, sociology and anthropology. In continuation of my earlier post on scaling design, I have been wandering around (intellectually) to search for new inspiration and concepts that would help me develop my ideas about taking design at a more strategic and mass scale. I think I have found some direction and want to share it with you, so that together, we can help define new directions, ideas, tools and language for what I now propose to call “MacroDesign”.

I am now going to borrow concepts from the field of economics. As you all know, the field of economics is broken down into two distinct areas of study: microeconomics and macroeconomics. The branch of economics that analyzes the market behavior of individual consumers and firms in an attempt to understand the decision-making process of firms and households is termed as Microeconomics. It is concerned with the interaction between individual buyers and sellers and the factors that influence the choices made by buyers and sellers. In particular, microeconomics focuses on patterns of supply and demand and the determination of price and output in individual markets (e.g. coffee industry). I propose that what we as designers have been engaged in for a long time is Microdesign. Macroeconomics, on the other hand, looks at the big picture (hence “macro”). It focuses on the national economy as a whole and provides a basic knowledge of how things work in the business world. For example, people who study this branch of economics would be able to interpret the latest Gross Domestic Product figures or explain why a 6% rate of unemployment is not necessarily a bad thing. Thus, for an overall perspective of how the entire economy works, you need to have an understanding of economics at both the micro and macro levels. “macroeconomics,” and saw it was a matter of scope and scale. Macroeconomics examines whole economic systems and how different sectors interact. This perspective considers issues of income, output and growth, inflation, and unemployment. National economic policies and complexities of industrial production come into play. (Investopedia 2006)

The bottom line is that microeconomics takes a bottoms-up approach to analyzing the economy while macroeconomics takes a top-down approach. Regardless, both micro- and macroeconomics provide fundamental tools for any finance professional and should be studied together in order to fully understand how companies operate and earn revenues and thus, how an entire economy is managed and sustained. (Investopedia 2006)

There is some learning for us and a great opportunity to take Design to a strategic level, if we study the evolution of these two types of economics. Design Education, in my view should incorporate MacroDesign concepts, especially at graduate level. I do believe that organizations that operate at higher levels such as governments (local and national), International development agencies (such as UNDP, WHO, UNESCO), international consortiums of global corporations and many such macro level organizations would benefit from professionals specializing in using design and innovation as a macro level thinking process. I am beginning to think that the body of knowledge within the design field is limited by our focus on bottoms up approach (which is critical), and has not been balanced by people dedicated to top-down thinking as well. It is time design students have the opportunity to pursue careers in MacroDesign and become evangelists for MicroDesigners.

27 April 2006

Uday Dandavate on striking a balance

Uday Dandavate
Through Core77, I learned about the thinking of Uday Dandavate, a principal of the participatory design agency Sonic Rim.

Dandavate, who is trained as an industrial designer and is from Indian origin, is a thorough believer in the duty of every designer, every manager and every leader to reach out to everyday people so that they have a real opportunity to participate productively in whatever matters to them, carefully framed within a broader concept of sustainability and human dignity.

He speaks, I think, clearly and deeply about some of the ethical and philosophical reasons why many of us, including we here at Experientia, do what we do. It is therefore my pleasure to write about him here.

During the IDSA Western District conference, Dandavate presented a talk entitled “The Scam Called Experience Design.” As reported by Stephanie Munson in Core77, Dandavate said: “We can’t hope to design experiences for people; rather, what we can (and should) do is co-create with the people for whom we are designing. In order to do so, we need to be empathisers, and in order to become empathisers we need to visit people’s homes and their imaginations. Designers should be looking for inspiration not in the slick design magazines (although we all love them), but in the real world and the world of imagination. Only by understanding deeply what experiences people dream of and aspire to can we then hope to innovate the tools they will use to get there.”

In the article “Striking a balance” (which he allowed me to post directly on this blog), he explores the idea of sustainability in design and innovation more deeply. “The imperative,” he says, “is to redefine the innovation process and align it with the skills and energies of the vast majority of people who are being forced to the sidelines.”. He speaks about the responsibility of companies to “gain empathy for the needs of ordinary people who will ultimately live with their inventions” and to engage in people-centred innovation. But he also stresses the responsibility of the consumer: “Every individual needs to take responsibility as a consumer for supporting an economy which creates work and an opportunity to live life with dignity for people of every skill level.”

Download article (pdf, 88 kb, 3 pages)

In the article Designs with Thought, published in The Hindu, India’s national newspaper, he speaks more about the Indian context. “Any innovation should have a relevance to society,” he says. “It is very important for designers here to enlarge their vision globally, but work in accordance with specific local needs and conditions.”

25 January 2012

Does corporate ethnography suck?

samladner

In this first piece, Sam Ladner examines the different temporal conceptions of ethnographic fieldwork in industry and academia:

“Academics frequently criticize corporate ethnography simply as “too short.” But this is just as shallow an insight as is the idea that culture=consumerism. Academics, of all people, should know that culture drives practice. The rapid pace of contemporary corporate life clearly and reasonably demands shorter time horizons for any research project. It is more than obvious that time differs in academia.”

Read article

Sam Ladner’s post lead to an extensive discussion on anthrodesign, with contributions by such people as Uday Dandavate, Tricia Wang and Melissa Cefkin.

In Part 2, Sam will discuss how corporate ethnographers can avoid compromising research.

11 May 2011

Macro design for nation building

Uday Dandavate
In his paper “MacroDesign for Nation Building“, Uday Dandavate, founder and CEO of SonicRim Ltd., elaborates on the concept of MacroDesign, a public policy perspective in understanding the role of design and design thinking.

This article is written with the purpose of drawing the attention of policy makers – politicians, government officials, and public policy consultants – to a new way of improving how citizens interface with public institutions, services, infrastructures,and processes.

As the design community in India is mobilizing ideas to co-create a new vision for the expansion of its design education infrastructure, this article aims to help public officials better appreciate the contemporary relevance of design in conjunction with two other practices that have received greater attention and public investment: invention and innovation. Understanding the interrelationship between the three practices will help policy makers plan for and boost creative energy nationwide.

The concept of Macro Design provides a public policy perspective in understanding the role of design and design thinking.

Check also Dandavate’s paper “MacroDesign with Denmark” where he describes how Denmark is about to establish an Innovationcenter in Asia to facilitate closer cooperation between Asia and Denmark for strategic innovation and design and on Denmark’s unique potential as a partner country in the global arena.

17 October 2008

From individuals to the collective

ArchiTech
Jeff Parks of Boxes and Arrows just posted a lot of material from the recent IDEA Conference (Chicago, 7-9 October), including a 41 slide presentation (pdf) by Aradhana Goel, the service design strategist at IDEO:

When we look through the lenses of society (how we connect), mobility (how to move) and sustainability (how we consume), we realize that the world has changed dramatically in the last couple of years. Aradhana Goel discusses connections between these emerging trends, design thinking, and service innovation.

You can also find audio files of the presentations by David Armano (vice-president of interaction design at Critical Mass), Alberto Cañas (co-founder and associate director at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition), Chris Crawford (Storyton author and inventor), Bill DeRouchey (senior interaction designer at Ziba Design), Jason Fried (co-founder and president of 37signals), Jesse James Garrett (co-founder and president of Adaptive Path), Dave Gray (XPLANE founder and chairman), Andrew Hinton (lead information architect at Vanguard), Jason Kunesh (independent design professional), Elliott Malkin (artist and information architect), and Edwina von Gal (author and landscape architect).

IDEA 2008 materials

4 September 2007

People regularly featured on this blog

In alphabetical order:

A
Marko Ahtisaari
Ken Anderson

B
Nik Baerten
Genevieve Bell
Chris Bernard
Tim Berners-Lee
Ralf Beuker
Nina Boesch
Danah Boyd
Stefana Broadbent
Tyler Brûlé
Bill Buxton

C
Jan Chipchase
Hilary Cottam
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Alistair Curtis

D
Uday Dandavate
Liz Danzico
Regine Debatty
Paul Dourish

E
Jyri Engeström
Richard Eisermann

G
Jesse James Garrett
Fabien Girardin
Anand Giridharadas
Bruno Giussani
Adam Greenfield

H
Laurent Haug

I
Mizuko Ito

J
Bob Jacobson
Matt Jones

K
Jonathan Kestenbaum
Anne Kirah
Dirk Knemeyer
Jon Kolko
Mike Kuniavsky

L
Loïc Lemeur
Dan Lockton
Victor Lombardi

M
Nico Macdonald
John Maeda
Ranjit Makkuni
Ezio Manzini
Roger Martin
Stefano Marzano
Simona Maschi
Bruce Mau
Grant McCracken
Jess McMullin
Peter Merholz
Crysta Metcalf
Bill Moggridge
Peter Morville
Ulla-Maaria Mutanen

N
Jakob Nielsen
Donald Norman
Nicolas Nova
Bruce Nussbaum

P
Steve Portigal

R
Carlo Ratti
Howard Rheingold
Louis Rosenfeld
Stephen Rustow

S
Dan Saffer
Nathan Shedroff
Jared Spool
Yaniv Steiner
Bruce Sterling

T
John Thackara

V
Marco van Hout
Rob van Kranenburg
Mark Vanderbeeken
Joannes Vandermeulen
Jeffrey Veen
Timo Veikkola
Michele Visciola
Eric von Hippel

W
Tricia Wang
Luke Wroblewski

Z
Paola Zini
Jan-Christoph Zoels

29 November 2006

Learning people-driven innovation at the 180º Academy

Anne Kirah upside down for the 180 Academy
The website of the Danish 180º Academy, that I wrote about earlier, is now live.

The organisers “believe in people-driven innovation, enabling [their] students to understand innovation from the point of view of everyday people. Accepting this fact, 180°academy turns the traditional approach to innovation [which is technology-driven] around.”

The academy combines “theory with practice in a cross-disciplinary programme allowing students to understand the innovation process as a whole” and covers “topics as diverse as ethnography, competitive analysis, ideation, prototyping, branding, business plans and patenting, to name a few.”

The objective is “to educate top talent in large and small companies worldwide to innovate holistically – internally within their organisation’s different departments and externally by meeting the needs and aspirations of the people they are innovating for.”

The 180º Academy offers three part-time programmes which are designed for working individuals: the flagship nine-module Master Practitioner Programme, the three-module Executive Programme for executives, and a smaller six-module Insight Programme for mid-sized and small companies.

The acting dean is Anne Kirah, former senior design anthropologist at Microsoft (see my recent interview with her). Other professors are Richard Pascale (associate fellow, Oxford University) and Lars Thøger Christensen (professor, Department of Marketing, University of Southern Denmark). The faculty also includes the following visiting professors, consultants and associate professors: Teng-Kee Tan (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), Kirsten Becker (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Uday Dandavate (SonicRim, USA), Simona Maschi (Milan Polytechnic and former associate professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea), Heather Martin (also former associate professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea) and Pia Betton (Framework Identity, Berlin).