Takeaways from Nasscom Design Summit 2018

An initiative by NASSCOM called Design4India, the theme this year revolved around “Embed: Design in your DNA” – connecting the holy trinity of Design, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I attended the summit yesterday at The Leela, Bangalore which involved expert-hosted keynote sessions, design pitches by product startups and workshops that explore new ideas and methodologies around cultivating innovation, sustainable design, the importance of design and more.

My key takeaways:

  • Design should be considered at the very beginning of any project/ business by applying Design thinking principles rather than as an after-thought to improve the aesthetics. It needs to amplify our human capabilities as we adopt extensive technology in all domains of our living.
  • Apply design, not only to front-end (customer facing) aspects but also to back-end operations and process, said Unmesh Kulkarni of Honeywell as he took a session on Designing for Real World Problems. Eg: In implementing fire-security system for a large building like a mall, hospital or hotel, it could take many weeks or a few months to set it up, however a well-thought through design from planning to installation could reduce this time to probably just a few days, saving time, money and effort. It’s time Design thinking played a role in how our cities function, environmental challenges and citizen services.
  • Lakshman Pachineela Seshadri, Head of Innovation at SAP Consulting and a Design faculty at IIM, Bangalore spoke about asking the right questions which lead to answers that make a dent in the world.
  • Prof. Lakshman also talked about how inculcating a design culture throughout an organisation’s spectrum and across all teams, could reap many benefits. He quoted how Indira Nooyi successfully got Pepsi Co. out of a bad stint of low sales to generating better revenues by adopting a design culture.
  • Why DESIGN?

Mahesh Mathur from Myntra had an interesting take on this. Having studied architecture himself, he took inspiration from the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright said it best: You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledgehammer on the construction site.” Design serves a similar purpose. It’s always easier and smarter to make quick prototypes and test them out with user groups rather than launching a product full fledged in the market.

  • Geetha Narayanan, founder of Srishti Institute of Art Design left the audience on a thought-provoking note while she discussed challenges of new age career options and how educators need to cope up with this rapid pace in order to craft relevant professional courses that suit industry’s need. Students should be provided with the knowledge and certification which can help them land in a job/career to earn a decent living. Industry and Academia need to put forth a combined effort to address this.
  • Designit, a Wipro company, led a session titled ‘Beyond the Screen: Service Design in the Age of Digital.’ Peeyush Agarwal brought in a new perspective with the need of Service Design – which stitches all the individual elements of a customer journey vs. a customer’s interaction with an app or product. It is to do with designing the entire end-to-end service experience that your customer goes through. To me, this sounded like a great application of Design Thinking and i’m sure it will be quite a hot niche in the near future.


  • I also attended a workshop – Designing for Mobile in a Mobile-First world, conducted by Mahesh Marath and the Think Design team. It was a fairly informative session on the best practices as well as Do’s & Dont’s in screen design with some hand-on screen development
  • The day ended with a talk by the couple – Parveen Dusanj Bedi and
    Kabir Bedi. While Parveeen threw light on how the fashion industry, which a several trillion dollar industry is the second most polluting sector. This was definitely an eye opener for me while she quoted several statistics and tragic incidents that left laborers in many developing nations and planet earth in a bad shape. This is one industry that will definitely require re-shaping sometime soon.
  • Kabir Bedi was probably the most exceptional orators of the day, thanks to his profession I guess addressed the gathering on a rather generic note, touch upon Designing one’s life. How we spend our time to what we wish to give priority to and a general sense of awareness about ourselves in this tech-dominant world.

Interestingly, I read a similar article in TOI a couple of weeks ago which said the most popular course in Stanford in not in computer science but something more important, it’s called DesigningYourLife. A quick and curious google search led me to their website. What originally started as a class at the Stanford d.school has now evolved into a book, a course and a movement in itself. Do check it out as it may be the best investment to apply Design Thinking to your life as we continue to do it for objects around us!