Saturday, December 8, 2012

Communication Breakdown

Sometimes I wonder if I am actually designed to work at night. The best ideas, the most random thoughts, the best solution happens when I should be actually sleeping. It is already 3.20 AM and am here writing this blog. Now if you happen to read this post(most likely it will be myself reading it after ages) you should be thinking why in the world am I awake at this time when I was really tired and should have slept 4 hours ago. Well I was reading my old blog posts on this blog. I realized how well connected I was to what I was doing back then. Every thought every instance is captured. It's been 5 years since I been stating that world is a cube. YES, 5 years since this blog started. What happened in these 5 years? shit loads. I became a designer, I started working, I questioned my passion and right now I read through most of the posts on this blog. Reading all the old posts feels so good. I feels so connected to myself. I used to think about things. Design was not something i did, design was life. think about design, link things to design, everything had to have something about design.


What is happening now? Why is it that the connection is lost? Why dont I think about the things i used to think about earlier. Why the puzzles of design are not that interesting? Why is the curiosity in knowing the answers to simple things missing? What the heck is happening? NO CLUE. But then I read all these posts here. I realized one difference in then and now. Then there was some motivation to do things. There was this i-cuboid to update. Though not many would read it, it has always been a way to connect to self. That is what has changed. Now that the people are missing and life is not just about design, but about thousands of different things, there is this disconnect with the thoughts. The reason to learn new things which was to share the learning is somewhat missing. That is why I wanted to teach someplace. This will not just get me closer to people who are like minded but also help me pedal my thoughts and think more. There are so many things to do in life. What we do is waste most of the time in tasks we dont even know how are they (not) helping us. Why do we lose passion is when we dont look at the things we are doing as not tasks but stories to be told someday or to be written on your blog. If I have to tell this moment as a story like I am doing right now, It will be so much better than saying "yeah one day i was awake late at night and i thought i should write my blog". No, Stories are the things you will leave behind. These are the things that gives your life some sense, a meaning and if not recorded these stories are lost. If not for this blog how would i remember how my 5th semester jury went? How will i know what I learnt from my past experiences. The only way to do that is to note these experiences and then try to make sense out of it.

"Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever—because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference." -Steve Jobs

Cant imagine a dull life like now with such a wonderful thing as design. The beauty of it lies in not just making new things but understanding what it is that is making something the way it is. Without design I would have never had i-cuboid, Without i-cuboid I would have never collected so many memories and experiences, without these experiences I would be nothing. Design has shown me how to analyze things and it has given me a mindset to look at things from different perspective. Life might be dull but it is design that gives me the ability to sit back and look at my life and see what is it that is going wrong. The purpose, the GOAL, the reason, i-cuboid. The only way to know what is going on with my life will be to connect to my thoughts and the best way to that will be none other than to keep updating this blog. Recreate the identity of i-cuboid in me. Awaken the thinker/designer and connect the dots in future.

Though the new year is still almost 20 days away, I think I already have a new year resolution, To connect to myself and write more* so later it makes sense like all these posts are making sense now.

*If the world does not end like Mayans thought it would.

PS - Its almost 4:00 AM now. Already feels like good old college days. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The driving force behind my work at Embrace

How often do you get to experience something magical? Magic for me is something which is unbelievable but its true. There are lot of phases in life and we change a lot as a person as we become a part of new experience. We grow. We learn new things and we forget few things. Experiences are unique, what I make out of same experience would be completely different from you would. Life to me  is all about these experiences.

About six months back when I graduated from my design school, little I knew about what my life is going to be like. All I knew was I will be working with Embrace, a medical device company which makes low cost infant warmers. Being fresh out of college I did not know what job is, Internships are different. I didn't even know what I will be working on. I did not know what I have learnt in past 4 years, how will it help me do what I am going to do. Then I came to bangalore and joined Embrace knowing only one thing, save those babies.

I have completed 5 months at Embrace and what I see now is what I mentioned earlier, Magical. I was a part of development team of Embrace Care, a "lower" cost infant warmer than Nest which works on hot water. This product which has been in development for 3 years have gone through multiple changes and is very much different from the initial concepts. I joined in 4 months before the product launch but I have seen different versions of this product. Making tens of prototypes in single day, after building 50+ prototypes I have seen this product take shape as it stands today and is used in market. What used to be just prototypes in college were now actual steps to save a baby's life in future. What seemed to be boring parts specs are now assuring that there is a quality product which is out there and which will make sure that a baby is sleeping in warmth which it's parents can provide for it.

When I visited the user of this product in a village in Tamil Nadu. I could recognize the product packaging from a tiny wrinkle on it's box. The bubble wrap used for packaging seem to communicate with me saying "hey, remember how you put this tape on me so I hold the heater better?" The print on funnel, the print on the product, the instruction pamphlet all of it, even the serial number stamped on the product comes alive and talks to you. What is even more important and amazing is they all seem to be happy. They are happy that they are there with that family and they all play a part in keeping the tiny 1.6KG baby warm. When I see 4 months of work talking to me and communicating with me, I can just imagine how people who have been working on this for years would feel like. But I am glad I can at least feel a part of they are feeling when they see the product out there as I can say now I know what it feels like. It feels MAGICAL.

After a day's work when you go back and see a video about the place you work for and how it is impacting the lives of so many around the globe you feel privileged and also you feel proud to be associated with them

Embrace 2012 from Embrace on Vimeo.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Where is all the happiness in this world?

Past 3 months in Bangalore I been travelling a lot by local public transport. Bus number 201 takes me to my destination daily. Rarely I get a place to sit in the bus, but what I do get is 45 mins to think about the things around me. For past about one week I been trying to see how many people are smiling while they travel or even while they wait for bus. The subjects also include the people outside the bus in their own vehicle. Before we go further, lets understand this experiment.

How can one tell if someone is happy without even talking to them. So I assume if someone is smiling they must be happy. So I start looking for smiling people on street. What I saw was bit alarming. I get to see maximum of 2 people who are smiling amongst hundreds of people I get to see. I am not sure why the number is so low but then if someone else is doing similar experiment and happens to see me, even I wont be smiling. Is the reason for this the environment we live in and the kind of effect it has? I remember people in Pune much happier and smiling than those in Bangalore. Is it something to do with the atmosphere or the work culture? or is it you cant see happiness if you not happy? there are lot of possibilities and I see lot of opportunity where city can take initiative to make the residents happy.

Maybe this can a be new way to design, design for happiness. I should contact some design competition organizers to organize a competition which has a topic "design for happiness". 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hello World. (again)

Yes it's bout time we say hello to the world outside the Institute of Design. I can call myself a Designer now and trust me it still does not feel any different from earlier. The curiosity still remains the obsessions still remains and the cluelessness about what is design also still remains.

So what is gone? asked the part of me.

Gone are the days of staying up in studio, gone are the people, gone is the student discount. My graduation was a big thing for my parents. FINALLY they must have said in their mind trying to calculate the amount of money they can now save by not paying the huge tuition fees and the hostel fees. More than that they must be happy that now he is an individual/grown up. This did not stop a mother from calling the "grown up" by the stupid pet name she has been calling him for years. But yeah she plans the wedding already, God save the graduate.

Life is different in some way. Not too sure how. Things do seem to be different. a certain maturity in thought and also the change in language can be seen. I don't know if this is just because of the graduation or is it due to something else. But there is certain excitement, to see the world, to explore options, to prove your worth, to live up to the expectations, to be known, etc. These things have been there for ages but still never felt they would matter. There is sudden urge to perform. Which I think is really good as it drives you to the extremes and makes you test your limits. It's only when you cross your limits you will know you can do better. Acceptance of failure and using it to perform better is the new way of thinking. "Ok, I did not perform to the mark, I know that myself, I can and should perform better tomorrow" these are the thoughts while I go off to bed now. What makes us think of all this? is it the graduation? or is it the surrounding we are in? It is not just you but you need some inspiration that tells you"boss you did something, fine.. but if it was good enough then it did not communicate well, as no one is ready to accept your idea." When you take this in, absorb it in yourself, then you know how much more you need to perform.

This is the world outside the design institute. The world that makes you perform, better than you did today. At least this is the world I am in right now and am already feeling luck for it to be like this. This is the only way I can set better standards for myself. If everyone appreciates me, how will I ever grow, I'll just do what I do, I will never learn.

All I'll say to the new life is, "Hello new life, show me what I can do."