Friday, November 30, 2007

User Centric Design Opportunities for GeoVisualisation

Paper and Visual presentation to the first National Conference on GeoVisualisation (GVDRP-2007) at NID in December 2007.
Image: Case Study on village resource mapping assignment by the students of Gandhinagar Campus of NID.

User Centric Design Opportunities for GeoVisualisation: A presentation to the first Geovisualisation Conference at NID.

Prof. M P Ranjan
Chairman, GeoVisualisation Task Group, DST
Faculty of Design, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad

The first National Conference on GeoVisualisation (GVDRP-2007) gives us a unique opportunity to reflect on the design opportunities that are emerging in our country for the creation of User Centric Design in the field of GeoVisualisation. Design can bring a new approach to the use of the amazing technologies that have been developed by science and technology and this is an area that we will need to focus on if the current developments are to be put to effective use by ordinary people in their day to day lives.

India lives in many centuries and the rapid strides of development and the forces of globalisation are impacting the lives of all of us, particularly those who live and work in the rural sectors of our economy. It is here that most of our people live and perhaps where we should be making an effort to make a positive impact through a concerted effort to make the tools and processes accessible to the people who need it the most. How do we achieve this when the tools and technology has been held and operated by educated and urban oriented individuals and institutions and when these are not designed to be available to the rural inhabitants? This is perhaps where design imagination can create new avenues for the application of these new tools and techniques in a democratic and ubiquitous manner all over our land. Is this a pipe dream or can or be a reality? Can we demonstrate this possibility in a few significant case studies so that it evokes a sense of commitment across the country to use these now widely available resources particularly in an IT enabled manner.

Image: Case Study of a student project by Sujay Swadi Sanan made by hand drawn buildings to illustrate the Heritage Walk Map for the Old City of Ahmedabad. In this paper we will show that many new applications are indeed possible and these would cover the hitherto ignored areas of application in a participatory manner to make it both usable and relevant to the local condition and the aspirations of the people whom it is to serve. Some suggestions have been made using examples of classroom and research projects conducted by the students and faculty of the National Institute of Design to show how the tools and knowledge domains in the area of geovisualisation can be applied to new and interesting applications that can reach far into our rural hinterland and how these could become a mission that would be achieved through active user participation to address local needs and aspirations in a variety of critical areas of application. These could be called design opportunities since the intention is to add value to the local situation through making the information and knowledge both usable as well as accessible to the users in their own domains.

The areas of application that we see are in mapping out the resources and local knowledge resources in a highly usable geospatial data base that is empowered and enabled by local participation and with the close involvement of local school and professional participants. For this to work we would need a back end that is technology enabled and based on web based tools as well as a field level strategy to keep the database alive and locally relevant. The fields of application could be for stakeholders in primary and secondary education as well as to empower the enormous skill base that promises to become the foundation of the creative economy of the future just as it has been an active ingredient in the sustenance of the rural economy in the past. Blending the past and the future to meet emerging needs could give us immediate benefits as well as long term resources to move our economy forward with wide participation of many sectors of our population. The areas that we envisage are village resource mapping that could be carried out and maintained by the use of simple and usable technologies in conjunction with sophisticated but highly usable backend technology tools and infrastructure. Such maps would keep local data of interest to local stakeholders as an area of priority and the creation and utilization could be carried out in a decentralized manner while remaining usable for a host of administrative and developmental situations.

Image: Case Study of the proposed web enabled and geo-referernced database of handicrafts clusters in India that could be used to empower and enable the creation of creative industries based on a rich local resource of skills and tarditional knowledge. The examples that are shared include a heritage walk at Ahmedabad, a village resource and design opportunity mapping venture, a craft skill and distribution mapping research as well as some speculative applicatioins that are proposed to be taken up with design students at NID in the near future. These design driven applications and explorations will be local in character but some of the insights that are gleaned would help set the agenda for a wider mission based application that would bring huge benefits to the stakeholders across the country. It is proposed that the DST and the NID Centre for Geovisualisation could partner in the research that is needed to make these design journeys that will set the tone for new and effective applications of Geovisualisation in the country.

The visual presentation titled "User Centric Design Opportunities for GeoVisualisation" can be downloaded from here as a 1.9 MB pdf file.

Conference on Geovisualisation at NID: Concluding Remarks by Prof. M P Ranjan

Image: Detail of a map of the Heritage Walk through the Walled City of Ahmedabad designed by NID student Sujay Swadi Sanan in the classroom. He used hand drawn facades of each building along the route showing a unique and creative expression of Geospatial Data that can be used by tourists and heritage enthusiasts.

Concluding Remarks to the 1st National Conference on GeoVisualisation held at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad on 28th to 30th November 2007. This was co-sponsored by The NRDMS (DST) Government of India, New Delhi and the NID, Ahmedbad.

M P Ranjan
Chairman, Geovisualisation Task Group
Faculty of Design, National Institute of Design

As the Chairman of the Task Group on Geovisualisation it is my task to use this occasion to make my concluding remarks that would help delineate the agenda of the task Group as well as list the areas of focus the we would need to focus on in the days ahead particularly in the context of the deliberations and recommendations that have come out of this wonderful conference. On behalf of the Task Group on Geovisualisation I would list the core areas of emphasis that would help us set priorities and directions for the work in the field of Geovisualisation in the Indian context in the days ahead.

1. The first Conference on Geovisualisation has helped us bring together a large number of expert groups at a design institute who have a great deal of cumulative experience in the subject and we are grateful to the speakers and participants for sharing their insights that have culminated in the drafting of the recommendations that would be reviewed by the NRDMS DST, Government of India to take this initiative forward.

2. We have a good list of proposed Demonstration Projects and domain specific initiatives that is an outcome of this conference as well as the ongoing activities of the Task Group in identifying and initiating these through the expert groups who can carry out the research required to deliver these demo projects and then help realize in on the ground where it is needed.

3. The proposed Centre for Geovisualisation at NID has taken a step forward with the NID team putting together the first Conference on Geovisualisation and this event has given us the opportunity to review the scope and dimensions of the field and this will help set the plans for the research and education activities of this Centre in the days ahead. The infrastructure and skill sets that would be brought to this Centre too would be informed by the ongoing discussions with the various expert groups that the NID has been able to bring together under a common platform of this Conference and in the days ahead I am sure that these small steps will be supplemented by a sustained programme of research and design action that will give a strong impetus for the field as a whole particularly since one of the key roles will be the challenges that come with the field being multi-disciplinary and therefore having many implications of the integration of a diverse set of skills and knowledge into usable and high quality offerings in the field of GeoVisualisation.

4. Promotion of the concepts of Geovisualisation and the need for the use of Geo-Spatial data bases in a effective manner with the help of Geovisualisation tools and procedures needs to be embedded in many sectors of our stakeholder groups and in this initiative it is recognized that we will need to make a sustained effort to reach out to all the stakeholders be they young students who need to understand the concepts or to decision makers who would need to use these tools and concepts for the various fields of application that have been discussed in this Conference.

5. The promotion activity would need to extend to the Policy makers at the National as well as the Regional levels and to a large number of our administrators who would be sensitized to the future possibilities and critical features of the Geovisualisation activity space. We would also be working on the area of Policy guidelines that can enhance and extend the use of this knowledge and skill through the drafting and processing of supportive policy frameworks so that much of the data that is held in the Government sector can be mobilized for development initiatives in the local Panchayati Raj Institutions across the country in a decentralized manner.

6. We need a good Communication Platform in order to achieve the reach and impact of a rapidly growing field as well as the locate India at the leadership position that it had in the field of Cartography and public data use for good governance. We propose to set up an Web Portal that uses Web 2.0 standards to empower rapid and sustained participation of a large number of players as well as support cooperation across domains and institutional boundaries in an open source framework to make the whole initiative cost effective and accessible to all sections of our society.

7. The whole area of Training, Content Generation and Demonstration through the identification and creation of suitable exemplars has assumed a major significance in the task of the Geovisualisation Task Group. The expert groups are requested to address this urgent requirement and create fertile experiments and elective based offerings in existing institutes and university departments to fast track the development of these critical resources which can then be offered through a mass contact programme as e-learning initiatives to the numerous stakeholders that would need to be reached by these training initiatives in the days ahead.

8. The Task Group on Geovisualisation would also flag the Key Policy Issues that would need the attention of Government and try and articulate the areas of priority and the desirable directions that would need to be taken in this composite field that is now called by the broad term of Geovisualisation. One of the key recommendations that have been stressed by a number of speakers is the use of Government funding and policy and legislative supports to make these inputs an Avenue for the Open Source movement to grow in India in such a manner as to ensure easy access to such resources at the grassroots level all over the country.

9. The Task Group on Geovisualisation is also determined to Expand the Base of Experts and Partners who can contribute to the Geovisualisation movement taking root in India and here in addition to technology, science and design we will need to bring on board management and administration at many levels so that a seamless transfer of research to the land can take place through the creation of useable products and strategies in all fields of application.

I compliment the NID and NRDMS-DST teams for the excellent conduct and planning of this Conference on Geovisualisation and we do look forward to a sustained programme of activities in the days ahead. I would like to thank the National Institute of Design and its Director, Dean of Gandhinagar Campus and the Anchor Faculty from NID for being excellent hosts and for the three days of stimulating discussions and presentations that have brought a good number of insights that can be taken forward by the Task Group on Geovisualisation with the active support of the NRDMS-DST Government of India.

Contact Information for Proceedings and Resources
For obtaining copies of the proceedings and any additional information the contact person is Dr Bibhu Dutta Baral, Chief Coordinator & Anchor Faculty: Geovisualisation Research Initiatives at NID
email contact:

First National Conference on Geovisualisation: Welcome Address by Prof. M P Ranjan

Image: Screenshot of village study done by NID students as part of the Data Visualisation course to explore applications for geovisualisationWelcome Address delivered to the 1st National Conference on GeoVisualisation held at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad on 28th to 30th November 2007. This was co-sponsored by The NRDMS (DST) Government of India, New Delhi and the NID, Ahmedbad.

Prof. M P Ranjan
Chairman, Geovisualisation Task Group
Faculty of Design, National Institute of Design

Welcome to NID and this is a good time to raise some questions as well as to try and provide some answers.

I have four key questions and a host of associated answers. So let me begin with my Welcome address by addressing these one by one.

1. Why GeoVisualisation? What is it anyway?
What are the Issues and opportunities? What are the domains of application? In my personal agenda is another big question, which is, how do we make complex data dealing with geographic spatial implications visible and usable to the ordinary citizen in India.

We stand on a great tradition of cartography in India. A few years ago NID was requested by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India to work with the Office of the Survey of India to develop an exhibition to celebrate the Great Arc project which was the first ever mapping of a part of the globe and this had happened in India some 200 years ago. Since then India has been at the forefront of cartographic traditions and now it is time to take leadership again through excellence in Geovisualisation. In this we would be happy to partner with the NRDMS-DST who have sponsored this event as well as reflect on the work done in Ahmedabad by ISRO and many other organizations that has set a platform for this new field of Geovisualisation to take root in India with a strong partnership between Design and science and technology initiatives.

2. Why Design?
Design is now being defined as a much broader field that takes intentions to the creation of value to society and ecology through a process of thoughts and actions. Design deals with products and applications and it has a user focus while the dominant ideology is having a technology focus especially in the fields of application that we are dealing with in the areas of geovisualisation.
Through design we intend to address the needs of many sectors including education, development, planning, management and most critical of all in the induction of innovation into this sector and all the potential applications so that we can unfold huge value in the process of both creation as well as delivery.

3. Why this Conference?
The geovisualisation agenda can only be addressed by adopting a multi-disciplinary context as a given condition for moving forward since so many disparate skill sets would need to be integrated and this is an attempt to bring all these skill sets to a common platform to address our complex needs and opportunities. This is also an attempt to bring together the multiple knowledge domains of geography, cartography, computation, visualization and design in the service of real challenges that call for the use of geospatial data and representation for the core tasks of local planning as well as in decision support systems in a number of domains of application. We also need to build awareness, commitment and the linkages that are necessary to make the whole operation to be useful to the people at large in many parts of the country as well as in many walks of life and at many levels, local and national.

4. Why at NID?
The Institutional objectives of NID has taken us down a path of discovery and in recent years NID has set up a number of new initiatives that deal with technology design fusion that has culminated in the setting up of new programmes and disciplines and the setting up of two new campuses in Gandhinagar and at Bangalore. Both these initiatives are to supplement the work that has been done over the years at the Paldi campus dealing with promoting design as a core ability in a huge number of sectors of our economy, in my estimate, about 230 sectors that are in critical need of that discipline. NID has proposed the setting up of a Centre for Geovisualisation to provide a platform for research and design explorations in the various sectors of application of geovisualisation which would need a strong interface with the already developed areas of science and technology with particular emphasis in making these applications user friendly by addressing opportunities in usability and accessibility by those who need it the most. We hope to use this conference to help build the agenda for research and education to be conducted by the proposed centre and I would call on the participants to provide directions and suggestions for the NID team to take forward in the days ahead. We are also interested in showing through our interest and actions that the various investments in science, technology and management need to be supplemented by investments and the use of design in this very critical new field and that this would influence other such initiatives for partnership across disciplines in the days ahead.

Welcome to NID and to Ahmedabad. I would, like to take this opportunity to welcome all the speakers and delegates, students and experts to NID as well as to compliment the NID and DST teams that have done the background work to make this happen. I would particularly mention Dr Bibuda Baral and Rupesh Vyas of NID and Dr D Dutta of NRDMS, DST, Government of India and to their teams for their sustained efforts to help realize this event. I would also take this opportunity to thank the Geovisualisation Task Force team as the Chairman of the Committee for their active support in leading the deliberations that have culminated in the launch of the first National Conference on Geovisualisation and for setting in motion a chain of events that will be of huge significance in the years ahead. I will be speaking later on the theme of usability and in my presentation I will share my views on areas of application and on the design opportunities that I see for the read ahead in the field of Geovisualisation in India.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Herman Miller and Vitra bring back the spirit of the Eamses to Bangalore and India

50 years of the Eames Legacy: The spirit of the Eamses in Bangalore and India

Image: Prof Ranjan and Sridhar Harivanam at the Herman Miller office in Bangalore with the Eames Wire Chair
Charles and Ray Eames are back in Bangalore and their spirit and their design presence is palpable at the Herman Miller office in Indra Nagar, Bangalore as well as the Vitra International showroom on Lavelle Road, Bangalore. I was able to visit these places during this Diwali vacation on my brief stay in Bangalore. I had a mission to fulfill and this took me on an Eames tour of Bangalore, which is possible today since the furniture designs of this legendary Eames couple, Charles (1907 – 1978) and Ray (1912 -1988) are now available in Bangalore through the Herman Miller Inc. and the Vitra International offering. I have been requested by my Institute to explore and develop the concept for a major conference on the Eames legacy in India, which will reach a landmark of 50 years after the writing of the Eames India Report in November 2008. This task will give me the occasion to revisit the Eames story from a number of perspectives and I proposed to share the findings periodically on this blog in the days ahead. Look out for the conference announcement and details on the NID website.

Image: Eames Wire Chair at Herman Miler Bangalore
The Herman Miller office is located a few metres short of the flyover to the Airport Road from the Indra Nagar’s famous 100 feet road, this is one of the many multinational offices that are now dotting the Bangalore landscape and a stark reminder of the massive changes taking place in the Indian business environment. Design is taking centre stage through the arrival of the Eamses through their remarkable furniture, which used to be available only as expensive rip-offs but these are now offered as original licensed products with the legendary Herman Miller warranty for the first time in India. These do not come cheap due to the still high customs duty and exclusive pricing policies but the quality is immaculate and the design memorable to guarantee satisfaction.

Image: Prof Ranjan with the Eames Chaise Lounge at the Vitra Show room in Bangalore. designed and prototyped in 1948 for Museum of Modern Art exhibition it was brought to market by Vitra in 1991.
On the other hand the Vitra business model is unique since all offerings from the Bangalore showroom are made to order at their factory in Germany and shipped direct to the customer in exclusive shipments. Vitra had licensed the Eames products originally from Herman Miller for sale in Europe and the Middle East between 1957 and 1984, but in 1984 the rights were transferred to Vitra who have been offering the products directly to their customers.
Image: A wall at Vitra Bangalore showing the exquisitely made miniature classics offered by Vitra Design Museum
I am sure that the Indian audience will gain insights about the Eames legacy and would appreciate the finer aspects of their design offerings if they have a first hand exposure to the design philosophy and product quality that is represented by the furniture designs on offer by these two licensed producers who have been faithfully following the Eames detailing and keeping the product collections in production over the years. The Eames molded plastic chair for instance has seen an amazing production run of over 5 million pieces in the 25 years after it was designed in the 1950s and it is still as fresh as it was when it was first offered.

There is much more to the Eamses than meets the eye and we will need to devote more space and time to explore the variety of design offerings that they brought to the table. Furniture, products, toys, exhibitions, animation and live action films, photography as well as the now famous “History Wall” for many specific exhibitions which was a fore-runner for the hypermedia structure that has emerged on the web, and I would like to explore all these dimensions in the days ahead.

Image: A snapshot of a quote from the Eames India Report as it appeared in the Design Issues from the MIT Press
I close this post with the opening quote from the Eames India Report, a quote from the Bhagavad Gita, that sets the tone and context for the new design Institute that they proposed to the Government of India in 1958, the then proposed National Institute of Design which was eventually set up at Ahmedabad in 1961. More to come.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

World Usability Day at Bangalore: Lecture on Social Equity and Design

Towards an Accessible World: Opportunities for Designers was the title for my lecture. This image is part of the model prepared by my students who as part of the Data Visualisation course at Gandhinagar Campus visited one village called Sahpur in Gandhinagar to look at design opportunities in a typical Indian Village. Looking at the particular as part of usability was my focus in my lecture. rather than talking about the Target Audience we need to look at the needs and aspirations of Meena and Mohan in the Indian context.

The World Usabality Day is a concept driven by volunteers across the world and by industry visionaries who have found value in supporting the event with corporate sponsorship. This year I was invited to speak at the mini conference at the National Institiute of Advanced Science (NIAS) auditorium which is located at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. From 3.00 pm to 7.30 pm on a Monday evening when Bangalore is hard at work dealing with the worlds information technology opportunities about 200 or more IT professionals from some of the leading national and multinational companies managed to get away to look at usability and design in critical areas of our lives. Braving the traffic and driving all the way across Bangalore they stayed till the end of the show only to spend the next hour or two to get back home after an eventful evening. The lectures were stimulating and informative and the crash workshop in envisioning usable new services and product concepts in three areas of need that was on the minds of the organizers, all volunteer IT professionals working in the usability space.

The enthusiasm and commitment that they brought to the workshop session was quite amazing. After some lead lectures by Dr. Girish Prabhu, a case study of a new internet access computer developed by Intel, Prof M P Ranjan speaking on design opportunities that can bring social equity to Indian villages and the lead organizer Sarit Arora of Human Factors, Bangalore sharing a usability test on the new Indian Railways ticket booking site the conference broke up into assigned teams to explore the design challenges. Three broad areas included services for the elderly, a low cost cell phone and a health information system for Indian villages. Each challenge zone had three teams and the format for innovation was intense and got all the creative juices flowing for a few action filled minutes of discussion, ideation and modeling. The half hour extended to another quarter and the five jury members went around reviewing one group at a time, each in a two minute show and tell format, very exciting.

This exciting interlude was followed by two more lectures and case presentations. One by Dr Reynold Washington and his IT colleague H Gururaj on the health care information system that he had helped develop for sex workers in Karnataka and Maharashtra and the insights that were gleaned from this pilot study which is now being rolled out in an improved format. The second was by Sean Olin Blagsvedt from sharing the prototype services that they had developed for converting the informal networks that all of us use to get domestic assistances and their efforts to design and build it as a viable business proposition. The challenges in these two case studies revealed the huge opportunity that existed in India at the non industrial sectors for IT services and value added web services that could address latent needs that have remained outside the ambit of organized business at the bottom of the pyramid.

Dr Prabhu reflected on why the Intel efforts had failed in India although they had used the best of class problem solving techniques in developing the product and the technology for the village based internet kiosk project. I saw that they had focused on the technology. Battery backup, heat tolerance and dust resistant casing and all the other front end and back end systems that should make the system work, but it failed, why? The focus seemed to be on making a robust and low cost solution but I did not hear what the village folks were supposed to do with the whole offering and it seems to me that this may have been the key to the failure of the whole effort, focus on technology and economy and missing the user and their particular condition in the location. The effort to evolve a general solution may have led to the local opportunity being missed and the product failed. There may be other reasons which we will only know if we look deeply It is ironic that the case was presented at a conference on usability when the core reason for the failure was caused by a lack of it.

Sarit Arora presented the Indian Railway ticket booking system and the tests showed a series of gross failures in addressing usability issues in the web based system and the interface. The home page had no picture of a train as one would expect and the user testing protocols showed a whole lot of missed opportunities and missed cues to help users move forward to achieve their objective of booking a ticket. My own assessment was that the case showed a stark failure of design from first principles which cannot be set right by usability testing. However most administrators and corporations would invest in usability testing of a poor solution rather than invest in a good design solution in the first place, a common problem that we see all the time in India. With huge investments being made in product testing and standardization and very poor investment in innovation and design across all fields of application.

The healthcare case by Dr Reynold Washington and Gururaj too was another example of a great challenge of a problem located in a complex context which was dealt with a huge commitment by the use of dedication and use of technology however in spite of all the data that was shared about the stated success of the efforts in containing the spread of HIV and Aids there seemed to be a complete lack of the use of design, once again the promise of technology and administrative diligence are held out as dependable and justifiable and measurable answers while we can envision that by using design at the macro micro level as a system the impact and effectiveness would be different. The use of the integrating force of design is missed here in their presentation which I do believe will make a significant change, if only they tried. Once again a missed opportunity for the use of the multiplier effect of design in a truly wicked problem.

Sean Olin Blagsvedt made an exhilarating presentation on their efforts to build a startup internet service called and explained the business model of the social networking site which was also a business with clients, agents, mentors and applicants. The task is complex and it holds promise of delivering some real felt needs at an affordable price. A lot will depend on the quality of decisions that they take at both the strategic levels as well as at the level of detail, both will need to be addressed adequately if the offering is to be sustainable and valuable at the same time.

My own presentation dealt with design opportunities that could usher in social equity particularly in the rapidly changing rural landscape across India as well as in the numerous sectors of need across the thematic sectors such as Nature, Life, Work, Health and Play. These categories were used to get our students in the Design Concepts and Concerns course to explore and inform the range of possibilities and these explorations can be seen on our education blog here. The call for moving our focus from the general to the particular was characterized by the need to shift our attention from talking about a target audience at the general level to thinking and looking at “Meena and Mohan” as they live and work in their own situations and context in an immersive manner if we are to ensure a proper fit and result in bringing empowerment and social equity to all their transactions with business and society in general. The electronic voting machine and a study of a particular village are offered as case studies for the proposed design approach. The presentation 1 MB pdf file can be downloaded here.

The conference organizers here in Bangalore, the Usability Professionals Association (UPA) and the CHI Bangalore have proposed to place the video recordings of the lectures on YouTube and when they do I will provide a link here. You can see more about the World Usability Day, Bangalore conference at this link here.

PDF file of 1 MB size of my lecture can be downloaded from this link here. Towards an Accessible World: Opportunities for Designers

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rotmans School of Management, Toronto: Business School that is steeped in Design Understanding

Image: Six Recent covers of the Rotman Magazine
Rotmans School of Management, Toronto: Business School that is steeped in Design Understanding
Besides the KaosPilot, a small school located in Aarhus, Denmark that I wrote about on this very blog (see 22 July 2007 post) there is another cool school that has been seriously using design thinking and action as their primary tool for preparing management students to face the challenges of the emerging creative economy. This is the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management in The University of Toronto. Since 1998, when their Dean – Roger Martin – came to the school from industry with his insights that design was something that all successful business leaders used intuitively, he decided to articulate an innovative path forward in management education by applying this insight to the design of business programmes. They have come a long way since then and the efforts are bearing fruit if we look at the acknowledgement that is coming from the business press.

Businessweek and Fortune magazine have both already rated the school among the top ten schools which is a hard fought position of recognition for leadership in a highly competitive space of business education across the globe. In my view they are already ahead of the best since they have seen the value of design and innovation and have managed to integrate the lessons into the programmes offered to their students. The future is already here. I would like to see this interest in design and creativity enter into the fabric of management education in all our Indian schools and only then do I believe will we be able to achieve the universal mission of quality of life that the "Eames India Report" had called for way back in 1958 when the NID was being contemplated in India. (download Eames Report pdf 359kb)

BusinessWeek has once again recognized the contributions of the Rotman Dean, Roger Martin and he has been named a “B-School All Star” – According to BusinessWeek – “Martin's micro-innovation mantra has shot through business circles worldwide: To succeed, he says, corporate managers should become flexible problem-solvers, not sophisticated numbers-crunchers.“ – In 2005, his inventive teachings, which meld business and design thinking, earned him a spot on BusinessWeek's list of "innovation gurus."

Rotman School has adopted a policy of integrating design into management education and to quote an official communiqué of the school which says – “The University of Toronto's Joseph L. Rotman School of Management has set out to become one of the world's top tier business schools. Located in North America's 3rd largest financial centre, the Rotman School is taking an innovative approach to management education, built around Integrative Thinking™ and Business Design™”, which will amply illustrate my point.

The Rotman focus on innovation and creativity has been able to attract great faculty to their school and now Richard Florida, the guru of the Creative Economy fame, has joined forces with the school to build its forward movement, as reported by the school.

Image: More covers – a must see list
Will the numerous Indian schools of management take note of these moves taking place far away, half way across the globe, and will the Government of India listen to these examples and relent to include design at the core of its planning agenda? Only time will tell, since we can only hope and wait to see if these messages sink in and bear fruit eventually, which I do hope is sooner than later. The lessons from the Rotman School of Management are thankfully available for all to see through their remarkable programme of publication that has been sustained over the last ten years with three issues each year, each addressing a specific theme or industry sector and each exploring in depth how design thinking and innovation can make a significant impact across these sectors, very impressive indeed. All the issues of their magazine can be downloaded from their website at this link here. The image above would just give a glimpse of what to expect, go get it.

Great stuff. Very stimulating indeed.

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