Innovation In India--Part Two. Design Thinking Is The Answer.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on December 19, 2007

Shilajeet (Banny) Banerjee, who runs the Joint Program in Design at Stanford, gave a really insightful speech at the CII_NID conference. He talked about growth being a profound paradox in India. Some 250 million people have been brought into the middle class from poverty in recent years. But on a recent day when the stock market hit a new high, India was ranked behind Ethiopia in the Global Hunger Index. India has fast economic growth, but its population growth is even faster. It will have 1.4 billion people by 2025, up 400 million from today. And finally, India is expanding economically, but to do so, it needs to triple its energy supply in 15-20 years to make that happen.

This complexity requires a new way of thinking and, to Banerjee, design thinking is the answer. He then listed the elements of DT:

Collaborative Thinking
Process Mindedness
Holistic Multi-Disciplinary Approach
Human-centered
Tech/Business focus
Systems thinking
Synthesis
Rapid Concept Generation
Envisioning
Rapid Prototyping
Visualizing
Catalyzing decision-making
Storytelling
Realizing
Roadmapping
Managing transformation

Banerjee said that Design Thinking needs to be applied to much higher strategic levels to solve major economic and social problems. This is as true in the US and Europe as India. Amen to that. Banerjee

flew to Ahmedabad after the Bangalore Summit where he watched nearly 200 people graduate in 17 discipline at the National Institute of Design school there. He says "the scale and the
money involved makes a lot of the programs in the US look miniscule."

He also point to the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. "I was there evaluating an innovation contest where the winners get
awarded venture funding and also to speak about a government of India funded institute for creativity that they are involved in." Clearly a source of talent in India--and for the globe.

Reader Comments

Otto Driessen

December 19, 2007 5:30 PM

Excellent post! Living in Brazil myself, it makes me wonder where the platform for sharing - and in particular, CONNECTING - is for truly global, interconnected design thinking.

It seems to me the next step has to be a version 2.0 of all the cozy World Economic Forums, Design & Business conferences and national design summits & agendas. Social technologies are only the start. And it may well be that we find the answer is not as tech as we think.

Now more than ever there is an opportunity for the BRICS countries to unite, stop complaining about the arrogance of the Anglo-led world, and instead offer alternatives for our collective futures, spearheaded by design thinking from these emerging powerhouses.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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