24 September 2013

Notes from Kyoorius Design Yatra, August 2013

By Divya Sharma, Account Planning Director (JWT, Gurgaon)

The atmosphere has changed only slightly since I first attended in 2008. Slickly organised as always, the projection screen actually stood out as impressive; rectangular with two wings, the slides were made in these new dimensions and could build sideways or as one long strip; gave the speakers interesting possibilities for telling their story. 

The theme was “Create Change

Paul Hughes spoke of the difference between 'change' and 'transformation' and almost every talk displayed the responsibility for change at the creative industry, right from where each of us sits. Not clients. We bring the change through our beliefs. Laura Bambach of Dare UK said “there’s no such thing as a bad client - only a difficult one.”

Highlights for me were Bart Kresa of BartKresa Design and Melissa Weigel from Moment Factory both working in video mapped projection on buildings – stuff of dreams; Dharamveer Kamboj a farmer and inventor who got a standing ovation for his machine that can process any fruit, flower or vegetable into pulp, juice or extracted oil at the change of a setting – he has enabled farmers to process tomatoes right at the field for the freshest ketchup, make rose petal oil or aloe juice depending on the crop, created 200 jobs for wives in his village making strawberry jam; then there were font designers from Ek Type who developed usable indigenous font families out of truck and juice shop graphics; Karin Fong from Imaginary Forces, Laura Bambach from Dare UK, and people from Cinimod, Fitch, Facebook..

Sharing bits and pieces noted down; in parts. Starting with Margaret Stewart of Facebook. The room was packed to the rafters. She spoke some good things in a quiet way. The cynical lot who can’t show they’re impressed by anything of course sniggered about how she 'said nothing’; as if she could have shared FBs algorithm with us. I liked “Design for people where they are, not where you are or where you wish them to be”

Director of Product Design, Facebook
What does it mean to make change happen?

It’s easier to think of change slowly, over time. Or as sudden with design that calls attention to itself.

But sometimes change is slight, small, unseen.  

There was an exhibition at the MOMA in 2004 later made into a book : Humble Masterpieces (Everyday Masterpieces of Design)by Paola Antonelli that made me think about the things we live with every day and not notice. They are so perfectly designed, we don’t see them. They are human centred at the core. Useful. Easy to use. Effective. Things like the band aid, an ice cream cone, the brown paper bag. They don't call attention to themselves.

In the same way, there are digital platforms that are not about high design. In fact they almost look bland. But they change the way people live with each other. Interact.

Facebook. YouTube. Twitter. Instagram. Google search.

These platforms have engaged and impacted a huge number of human beings in the last few years. They affected us all. And they all had people, and people’s content at the forefront.

So what do these platforms have in common?
  1) They are open and adaptive
- they are living organic systems
- evolve through time
- depend on the world
- they don’t resist change, they are extremely sensitive to change

  2)  Human centred
- all focused on people
- trying to solve some need – information, connecting

  3)  Human driven
- don’t depend on an elite group
- discovery and creation is by billions of people around the world
  On Facebook, everything in the world is seen through the lens of your friends.
  You see the world through people.
  4)  They are invisible
- the technology is massive, the algorithms are powerful, but they heighten the
experience without being there (visible) 

5)   Neutral aesthetic
- makes all content come out looking good
- all of the world feels welcome

6)  Lastly they’re beautiful
National Geographic: Life in a Day (produced by Ridley Scott) : a crowdsourced documentary film that selected clips submitted on YouTube in one single day July 24 2010


Be open to change
- all these platforms had a different plan when they started
- they stayed adaptive, watched how their design was being used by people

Be a facilitator
- co-design with the world

Make it about people not technology
create change with humanitarian design
- empower people

Design for people where they are, not where you are or where you wish them to be
World changing design must have a lot of humility.

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