Design as a calling:
I saw potential in numbers and wood as a child, excelling in math and woodworking. Handmade objects and delightful graphic design were interesting and moved me to experiment with materials and projects. I applied my visual eye to everything I saw potential in, from a matchbox cover to my father's police uniform. From varied early experiences, I aspired to study at the National Institute of Design(NID), Ahmedabad, world-ranked and India’s foremost design institute.
My education began with Engineering as a response to my parents’ thought that Design was not a real job. Undergraduate study in Computer Engineering taught me to handle pressure and complete all assignments, while developing a portfolio to apply for post-graduate studies. Graduating with a BE in Computer Science Engineering from PESIT Bangalore, I was free to pursue my dream. I was selected for a Postgraduate degree in UX Design from NID, after multiple rounds of the selection process. With tens of thousands of applicants trying for ten spots, you either have to be extremely lucky or extremely talented.
In one of my projects at NID, I saw the potential in an egg to be remote control and carried it around for weeks as inspiration. It only broke twice.
At the beginning of my design career, I realized that just being an advocate of the end-user was not enough to create the impact I wanted to make. Having immigrated to Canada, I took the opportunity to achieve an MBA from The Rotman School of Management – The University of Toronto. MBA studies supported my mission to bring ‘design thinking’ into business innovation and management because it offered real life examples of where the methodology could be applied. Upon graduation I collaborated with a classmate to apply design thinking to business problems through our business venture, Blue Guru Consulting.
Not-for-Profit and Social Action Projects
I see potential in social action projects to drive environmental sustainability and social impact. IndusOrigin, was my first social venture, bringing traditional Indian crafts to an online platform as a way of connecting business expertise to underserved cultural communities. Since 2013, I have been on the Board of the Sophia Hilton Foundation: “Storytelling for Education’, a Canadian Charitable Foundation dedicated to the dissemination of Tamil Folktales and Language in Canada and India. During the pandemic, I have helped establish PAY IT FWD, an online opportunity for Non-profit and Charitable organizations to have their design needs met through volunteer activity of designers and creatives.
These activities provide opportunities to spread the word concerning the impact of ‘Design Thinking’ —and the ability of design to make a difference in the world.
Design is a belief system
Even when not designing, I enjoy aspects of design in cooking and photography. As a photographer, I see potential everywhere. As a cook, I see potential in leftovers and food that might soon go bad.
My signature dish is Litti-Chokha, a traditional dish from my native state in India.