Thursday, October 30, 2008

IL20 Tasks: Thumbnail Images and Expression of the Particular

IL20 Tasks: Thumbnail Images and Expression of the Particular

M P Ranjan

Image 1: Cover and a sample page from IL 20 Tasks by Prof. Frei Otto and his team.

I have long admired the vision and the power of visualization that is represented in the series of publications that came out of the Institute for Lightweight Structures in Stuttgart under the leadership of Prof Frei Otto. Of these great publications numbered from 1 to 41, one stands out for its audacity and brilliance, and this is the IL20 simply titled “Tasks”, (Aufgaben – in German) and it was produced in 1979 as the 20th in a series of outstanding books that captured the research agenda of the school and the founder, Prof. Frei Otto himself. The origins of this comprehensive research agenda date back to the early 60’s with the publication of two books “Tensile Structures” and in the Newsletters of the Development Centre for Lightweight Construction in Berlin where Frei Otto had already made numerous sketches and suggestions for lightweight structures long before they appeared in practice and in the field. These visualizations were the forerunners of things to come and by their very presence they managed to mobilize support from a wide variety of partners and research enthusiasts who would otherwise have not been able to appreciate the finer aspects of the proposals contained in the Frei Otto thesis. The sketches make the proposals comprehensible and credible and is I believe far more effective than long texts of arguments in favour of or in a descriptive mode about the proposed area of lightweight structures.

Image 2: Expressive thumbnail diagrams that appear in the books by Frei Otto in the IL series from 1 to 41.

In May 1976 Frei Otto set out the outlines of the book titled “Tasks” and Jurgen Hennicke took up the challenge of articulation and compilation in the end of 1976. With the IL team getting into “Brainstorming mode” in the early 1977 and based on these sustained dialogues Frei Otto developed a “Work Programme” that included a list of 100 subject suggestions that could be the focus of the IL teams well into 1990’s. The “Work Programme” that appears in pages 306 to 317 is richly illustrated with the famous thumbnail images so characteristic of all the IL publications, in pen and ink style, crisp and expressive of the concept and manifesting a particular form that most represented the prototype of the concept that was being discussed, and in this case 100 subject areas. The IL 20 is then an elaboration and extension of these 100 subject areas that Frei Otto intended to research over the next twenty years, all spelt out in great detail to draw in partners from a host of disciplines that would be needed to carry out this complex set of research tasks in any meaningful manner. Unfortunately this section in only in German while the rest of the book is bi-lingual to include English texts with the images.

Image 3: IL 20 Tasks as a source of inspiration for the Design Opportunity mapping assignment in the DCC course conducted by the author at NID.

The very idea that one could draw the future had me rivetted and amazed when I first saw this book in the late 70’s. Since then I have been wondering why we do not use this as an approach to map out the design opportunities that lie all around us in India with its huge set of problems across as many as 230 sectors of our economy. I have since decided to introduce my students to this wonderful pursuit of mapping out all the design opportunities that are a product of their imagination in the form of expressive sketches and then in the form of more detailed scenarios as part of the Design Concepts and Concerns course and each batch we are able to address a particular sector of our economy and make a master list of all that needs to be done and sift out those that can be done with our limited resources, looking at both the possible as well as the viable, to further make a list of priorities that can be taken to the planners if we are given a chance to do so. In this process the students learn to do what we would call design thinking and action at the macro-micro level, that of building the future in the thumbnail sketches that lead on to the scenarios that each one of us holds dear in our imagination and helps build our conviction that stems from this very articulation of the possible and the realisation that something worthwhile is indeed possible in all this complexity around us. These thumbnail expressions help us map the contours of the ideas that are developed into scenarios where the fine tuning can take place through which we also develop our own convictions about its viability and we can identify strategies to make it work. Concepts which start off as being quite general are given a particular form through the medium of sketching and in this way they acquire a very particular manifestation as we explore and compare various alternatives that present themselves to us in the cycles of imagination and articulation that is the design journey.

M P Ranjan

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Handmade in India: In book stores before Diwali 2008

Handmade in India: In book stores before Diwali 2008

M P Ranjan

Image: The book release function at Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhavan on the 21st July 2008. Shri Shankersinh Vaghela, Union Minister for Textiles, Government of India with Sanjay Agarwal, Development Commissioner of Handicrafts (extereme left) and Dr Darlie O Koshy (extreme right) at the book launch function.

I met Bipin Shah of Mapin Publishers at the farewell lunch for Dr Darlie O Koshy that was hosted by the Chairman NID ‘s Governing Council, Mr Salman Hyder on 23rd October 2008 at the Fortune Landmark Hotel in Ahmedabad. He gave me the good news that the book was received very well at the recently concluded Frankfurt Book Fair with an order for 5000 more copies which I presume will be the second print run for the book which had still not hit the stands in India. He was not able to give me any indication of when the first print of 5000 copies would be available to the public since the Development Commissioner of Handictrafts had yet to take a decision on the marketing MOU with Mapin and the first print run that was completed in August 2007 was still lying in godowns in Delhi and in Ahmedabad.

I do not know what happened overnight, since suddenly and out of the blue, the owner of the Art Book Centre in Ahmedabad, Mr N A Patel, arrived dramatically at NID on 24th October 2008 afternoon with 100 copies for sale to faculty and students of the Institute, finally breaking the silence in which the books were lying over the past one year and three months after its printing in Singapore. I hope to hear from both Mapin Publishers as well as from the Development Commissioner of Handictafts on the further availability of the book across bookstores in India, which I hope is quite soon. I tried to check out the Mapin Publishers website but it was a shame that none of the links worked and I hope that they fix that soon. I will report again on this blog when more information comes my way but I am quite relieved to see that at least some copies have found their way to the market after such a long wait. Perhaps NID should offer to carry stocks of the book in our publications department just as we had done for the Bamboo and Cane Crafts of Northeast India when the book was not available in any book store in India when it first was released in 1986.

Do look out for the book in a bookstore near you and let me know if you find them on display in your favorite store! This should be a good Diwali after all the carnage on Dalal Street these past few weeks as the Sub-Prime financial panic spreads from the Wall Street to the emerging markets and this is significant since our book is intended to help our living crafts in India and the crafts community here to negotiate this tumultuous change through globalization and pave a way forward for our craftsmen to build a live and vibrant creative economy on the foundation of accessible information which can be our future if we set our mind and policy to realize what is possible with the use of Design in India. The second and third volumes that are still in production as well as the proposed web based initiative to follow all hold the promise of making the Hand crafts of India an accessible resource for the production of goods and services across the world through a creative reinterpretation that would be made possible by direct access to information and people in the days ahead.

The previous posts on the Handmade in India are listed below:

FRIDAY, 25 JULY, 2008
Handmade in India: The team and the mission

Handmade in India: Book Launch in New Delhi

Design inside Education: Let us start early, for our schools in India

WebInnovation2007: Web 2.0 Conference at Bangalore

Handmade in India: A Handbook of the Crafts of India arrives from the publisher

Download the complete book here as a pdf file 337 mb size Handmade in India as pdf 337 mb size

M P Ranjan

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mission and Vision: Craft Ecology for IICD Jaipur

Mission and Vision: Craft Ecology for IICD Jaipur

Prof M P Ranjan, NID, Ahmedabad (18 October 2008) Based on note prepared for the Governing Council at the IICD, Jaipur.

Image: Models proposed in the IICD Feasibility Report (download pdf file 386 kb) to capture the tasks, objectives and processes through which these would be carried out.

The Indian Institute of Crafts and Design (IICD) was set up in 1993 based on a Feasibility Report written by the NID, Ahmedabad. The Government of Rajasthan had placed its support for the creation of the IICD in Jaipur because of its promise to bring together three core capabilities of Design , Management and Technology for the development of the Crafts sectors of India. This is the first and only Institute that is mandated to develop knowledge resources and the “Agents of Change” who could make this happen in the field. The Institute has taken time to establish its foundations at the new campus in Jaipur and over the past ten years a credible education programme in crafts design has been established and the students of these programmes are showing their impact in various fields across the crafts sector. Now it is time to take stock and review directions as well as the changes in the macro-economic environment in India as well as across the Globe.

Indian crafts is facing its most critical test of survival due to the massive change that is happening in the National infrastructure leading to huge displacements of population and loss of traditional occupations and unrelenting urbanization development. The focus today is still people as it was when the Institute was established and being a small organization in relation to the huge size and reach of the crafts sector in India the appropriate strategy would be to continue to build high quality catalysts who can act as the transformers in a growing circle of influence through research, design and direct field action.

The Institute will need to expand its focus to include integrated services and know how across various areas of need that are faced by the crafts clusters in India and offer a single window of interface enabled through the “agents of change” who are the main products of the Institute. In addition to design and innovation the services that these agents should offer would now need to encompass social empowerment and confidence measures that would come from an understanding of business processes, finance and management literacy and access to real markets that can produce value to selected groups of crafts entrepreneurs who would form the second leg of the tripod offering. The Institute, in partnership with its main products the “change agents” will engage with numerous crafts entrepreneurs in the field to form an ecosystem of people and processes that would bring stability and creative renewal at all the centres that the Institute chooses to engage with, usually at the invitation of the various stakeholders involved.

Therefore rather than looking at the students as completed products at the end of their education at IICD we would need to innovate community building systems using web based networking and rapid research feedback to create a living meta organisation of collaborators and a growing knowledge base. The institute will quickly need to initiate a direct contact programme with the crafts entrepreneurs drawn from numerous crafts clusters and through a formal programme instill in them the confidence and the abilities to work with the trained designers and technical experts who are the growing number of IICD graduates from its major education programmes.

This new programme will have synergies with the main education programmes and the ripple of impact will grow with each batch of crafts entrepreneurs who return to their major clusters along with new ideas and an integrated set of tools to transform his or her landscape in his cluster while generating value for self and the community. They cannot act independently in the initial stages of their return to their clusters and it is here that we need to partner with development agencies such as the DC(Handicrafts) DC (Handlooms) and the Ministry of Rural Development at the State and Central Government level besides a host of NGO’s and Crafts based industries active in that particular region besides National and International philanthropic systems for support and sustanance. This ecosystem development approach should be refined with the building of working prototypes and in this way a small institute in Jaipur can make a huge impact in the transformation of vast sectors of our crafts based economy which is still a living resource across India today.

We would need to review policies of faculty engagement and introduce liberal approaches to attract and hold high quality professionals from a number of fields including design, management and technology. The Institute must encourage individual and team based research and adopt web based methods of dissemination to help support a widely dispersed user base who would be the growing stakeholders of the Institutes offering. This effort would need to be an integrated region development initiative rather than just an effort to help a sustainable development model across diverse crafts activities all of which would require new knowledge and creative resolution to achieve both ecological as well as socio-economic sustainability models in each of these locations in an ever growing circle of influence.
Staying small and flexible on the one hand and with a big reach on the other hand through the use of web based technologies and networks of field based collaborators for communication and research dissemination would be at the core of vision and drive the mission of the Institute going forward, particularly in the next ten years.

Prof M P Ranjan,

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Modeling and Mapping: Tools for Design Exploration

Design Concepts & Concerns: Modeling and Mapping - Tools for Design Exploration and mapping Design Opportunities
Prof M P Ranjan

Image: The Karnataka group used a choreographed skit to tell their story of design opportunity explorations and shared their thumbnail explorations as well as the chosen scenario, both displayed as placards on their body. The front had the thumbs arranged, as a letter form while on their back was the scenario, which would be explained by their team adjacent member. This group missed categorizing the explored design opportunities using higher categories in their focus on the ideas created by the individual.

Design Opportunities can be felt but not seen since they are a product of the imagination that is triggered by a particular perception or insight and these are nurtured by the designers conviction till it can be manifested in the world through the process of visualization, construction and operation. I am therefore not surprised any more when policy makers and the public alike fail to see value in a particular design offering till it is almost fully realized and placed on the market as a compelling offering and at an attractive price with an appropriate set of features. Design offerings take on a particular form and these can be easily differentiated through both deep and - or superficial transformations and compositions which is a strategy that companies use to make a range of offerings to meet a variety of price points and an equally wide range of feature sets to make for an active market where none exists.

Image: The Tamilnadu group used a metaphor of a number of kites in the sky to map out broad areas of design opportunities in the fields of agriculture, industry, and fisheries and at the infrastructure and systems level of action. The thumbnail maps of the individual design opportunities were categorized and arranged along the string that held the kite in the sky and the developed scenarios came out of their group debates and identification of priorities. However most groups did not know much about agriculture and this was visible in the fewer design opportunities being identified for these sectors of collective ignorance, suggesting scope for additional research before these explorations are done once again.

The format for exploration was created earlier this year when the DCC course was offered to the Foundation class in the previous semester and over the past few months we have given this format to each batch of DCC students at Gandhinagar, Paldi and at Bangalore and the results have been very encouraging indeed. Group and individual explorations can be bridged by making the design exploration journey a shared experience by giving the peer group a place in the process of design opportunity mapping and this reinforces the process of exploration through the strengthening of the expression through a process of peer discourse and sharing that would otherwise have not been encouraged in a design class that may be project driven and one that involves individual exploration. Since the group has a shared agenda to realize the best design opportunities with the focus of a chosen theme along with a given bias, in this case the theme is Food and the bias for each group is the chosen State – Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh – the process of articulation and choice making is both individual as well as group driven.

Image: The Andhra Pradesh group used the metaphor of the branching tree with its elaborate sets of deep and capillary roots, each part with a particular name, characteristic and attribute that mapped the real world attributes that the students found in their journey into the field during the previous assignment, The group was particularly successful in their exploration and as a group that were able to show a wide range of application areas and fairly developed scenarios for the particular design opportunities that came out of the group selection processes that they had adopted for their task.

Numerous thumbnail images are created on the format provided and each image is supported by a brief write up that describes the salient features of the design proposal or as we call it the design opportunity. These are discussed and debated within the group as they emerge from the hands and minds of the individual creator of the images and these then may go through a further transformation with the incorporation of the feedback that is so critical for the design journey to get a bearing that is akin to the potential responses in the market place. However the conviction levels of the designer would determine whether or not the suggested changes are carried out in full or in part, if at all. The insights that led the designer to make this particular offering may not be seen or be visible to his colleagues which sets up a platform for discourse and debate and these processes at an important part of the conviction building process in design when it comes to making a decision, in favour or against a particular offering or a part thereof, of that particular offering.

Image: Scenario visualization being shared by some of the students from each group as part of their final presentation of the DCC course at NID Bangalore campus.

Students then select one out of many potential directions that are revealed in their design opportunity mapping and this choice is done in consultation with the team members. Each student then sets out to develop his or her chosen design opportunity and in the process sets out to build a visualization in the form of a scenario that would help articulate the particular offering, its impediments and potentials, the business models that would need to be considered to make it a success in the face of known and anticipated competition as well as a host of other factors that would deal with material, function, aesthetics, economics and other meta level criteria such as current and future legislation and the ethics of the offering in the context of society, culture and the ecology in which it is to be manifested eventually. This complex offering applies to all kinds of design situations and the design student is taken through these in the classroom long before they came face to face with these complexities in the field in which they are required to act.

Prof M P Ranjan

Understanding Food: Anthro-Design Research

Understanding Food: Anthro-Design Research in the DCC class at Bangalore
Prof M P Ranjan
Quoted with permission from "Design Concepts & Concerns" blog

Image 1: Presentation by the Tamilnadu group in session at the NID Bangalore Centre. The group chose to build a flow chart of their understanding and the presentation uses a “story-board” that was represented like a film strip from the Tamil cinema story as shown in the illustration below. The storyboard was personified by the image of “Annaswamy” their man from Tamilnadu, from childhood to old age, and the food for all seasons brought into sharp focus by the overlapping threads of their story.

The first assignment at NID Bangalore dealt with mapping ones own knowledge about food and each group had a particular bias from which their knowledge was to be mapped and shared with the rest of the class. As describer earlier this thematic bias plays a strong role on how the subject is addressed and it even shapes the perception of the situation and this was quite evident in the various interpretations that were exhibited by the groups, each working with Climate, Region and Culture, as their given bias for investigation and articulation. While I did not specifically tell the students that they were not expected to do elaborate research on their subject of food with the bias assigned to each group, they did not have the time to do such research and all the teams had to fall back on their well of knowledge that resided in their collective memories and from which they drew quite liberally through a process of brainstorming, categorization and articulation to show their models and constructs on the given subject FOOD – with the bias of Climate, Region and Culture.

Image 2: The ‘story board” shown by the Tamilnadu group who used the persona of a young Tamil software engineer to represent their understanding of the chosen theme of “Food from Tamilnadu” shown here as a life time story, a journey from the cradle to a ripe old age, very interesting indeed.

The Second assignment saw the groups fanning out to various places in Bangalore to carry out direct contact research in the mode of “anthro-design” with each group being assigned to a particular region State of South India. The assigned States were that of Tamilnadu, Andhra and Karnataka, each assigned through a draw of lots, which was done on behalf of the group by their student coordinator. The group members then went into a huddle and made a plan for gathering information and this information strategy played out over the next three days with the groups meeting and exploring Food and eating places in Bangalore, each looking at their respective State issues and trying to make sense of the vast field that could be covered by the omnibus assignment with very low definition and broad interpretation. As designers they were to investigate the subject directly from the field in live contact with ‘experts” and ‘stakeholders’ from whom they could get valuable insights about their assigned subject – FOOD from one of the three chosen States of South India.

Image 3: The Karnataka group looked at the business of Food and explored the various dimensions of Karnataka cuisine as well as the typical resources of the State as they had discovered through their engagement with their contacts and eating-places across Bangalore city.

The Udipi café, MTR – “Mavali Tiffin room” and Café Coffee Day success story played strongly on the minds of this group and shaped the story that they had to share with the class through their wall size model and their mega success stories of food and the potential for a revolution from the State of Karnataka to the world at large. Their presentation was located in the basement workshop space of the NID Bangalore Centre and they impressed with their scale and sense of structure that was achieved in their model.

Image 4: The Andhra group was shocked by the stories of poverty and distress that came from many of their contacts across the migrant labour now in Bangalore. Their installation, which is the appropriate term that can best describe the assembly of objects, sarees and posters that the group assembled to tell their story, was colourful and then filled with coloured light and everything turned red….

Making contact with live sources of informants in the field is so important for design students since it is important for them to learn that what they need is not knowledge of the kind found in books as much as getting a feel of the situation and in picking up specific insights that would give them a sense of direction and a glimpse of the way the trends shaped up in their area of investigation. It is here that anthro design as a subject area gets appreciated and some degree of competence is built up in handling such research where book based knowledge would certainly not fill the need. This kind of experience would be useful for design students and through these experiences they would also learn about research strategies to be used in the field and the whole range of processes of making contact, making observations, meetings and interviews as well as processing the rich data from the field in order to glean insights about latent needs and future possibilities are all critical for design education.

Prof M P Ranjan

Saturday, October 4, 2008

CFBI-NID: Bamboo for Grassroots Development:

CFBI-NID: Bamboo for Grassroots Development:

CFBI-NID (Centre for Bamboo Initiatives at NID), Tripura Bamboo Mission initiatives: NID IPRITI IL&FS TBM – bamboo craftsman training initiative at Bangalore.

Prof. M P Ranjan

Image 01: Workshop commences at IPRITI, Bangalore with bamboo craftsmen from Tripura and NID designers with technical inputs from IPRITI scientists.

The National Institute of Design (NID) through its Centre for Bamboo Initiatives at NID (CFBI-NID) and the Infrastructure Leasing and Finance Services (IL&FS) entered into an agreement to develop and deliver a bamboo based small craft industry initiative as part of the overall mission objective of the Tripura Bamboo Mission (TBM) that is spearheaded by the Government of Tripura. The IL&FS has extended their technical, financial planning and manpower expertise in furthering the mission objectives of the TBM and they in turn have cooperated with the CFBI-NID to move the bamboo furniture and product design initiative through a project format that includes product design, craftsman training as well as field training that would help seed and incubate the new micro-enterprises in the State of Tripura.

Image 02: Stackable Café tables and benches, a local to local strategy offered by NID to kick-start local entrepreneurship in the Agartala region.

The NID had entered into a MOU with IPRITI, Bangalore earlier this year to cooperate in new initiatives in bamboo product development with a special focus on laminated bamboo and bamboo mat board applications in a number of fields. In mutual agreement with all the partners we decided to bring the project with the IL&FS to Bangalore since the NID Bangalore campus is located just opposite the IPRITi campus in Penea, just next to the large CMTI campus on the very busy Tumkur road. This proximity and an already agreed platform of cooperation opened a new window for bringing the IL&FS – TBM project to Bangalore campus where the faculty and students of the Design for Retail Experiences (DRE) discipline were keen to explore bamboo as a future material for eco-friendly retail environments.

Image 03: Rubber wood gussets and planks used to upgrade bamboo furniture form another leg of the NID design strategy to leverage the availability of this new material from local production facilities in Agartala.

IL&FS has identified nine master craftsmen from the Agartala region to partake in the CFBI-NID design development and training programme and along with these craftsmen an IL&FS supervisor was deputed to manage the day to day programmes with the NID Bangalore coordinator Divya Darshan and Joint Project Head and NID Faculty, C S Susanth from the NID Bangalore Centre. Prof M P Ranjan as Head of the Project stationed himself at Bangalore from 17th September to 30th September 2008 for the design development and training components of the project that is being handled under the management of the NID Outreach Department located in Ahmedabad while NID Bangalore handled all the local logistics and project support systems through Shashikala Satyamurthy and Centre Head S Goshal.

Image 04: The ubiquitous “Alna”, a local clothes rack, offered in new design configurations using rubber wood gussets to support the “Local to Local” design strategy advocated by NID.

Dr C N Pandey and his team were very supportive and provided the space in their well equipped Bamboo Development Centre for the conduct of the workshop as well as provided some key training inputs in bamboo treatment and finishes that was organized as associated demonstrations and lectures. The NID design team of Prof M P Ranjan and C S Susanth was joined by other members from NID Bangalore including Divya Darshan and Niju Dubey who participated in the design and training activities on a regular basis. Further, three NID students from Furniture design discipline joined the team as experimenters and occasional trainers and they too developed their own understanding of the new material through their association with the workshop, the results of which will be seen in the future, I am sure. Of these students, Garima Agrawal has chosen to take the bamboo project as her major diploma project and she will be taking this initiation and travel to the field to commence her research and study at Agartala in the near future.

Image 05: Exhibit of all new bamboo products developed at the design cum training workshop at IPRITI as shown at the NID Bangalore lawns for the closing function on 30 September 2008.

The design strategy outlined by the team this time looked at the building of products and systems that had a “Local to Local” character since the craftsmen while being very skilled at bamboo work were still to learn about being entrepreneurs and learn to manage a business enterprise on their own. The IL&FS and the NID design team are providing handholding and mentoring supports as part of the next stages of this project and in this the making of local products would bring a degree of self confidence to the crafts entrepreneurs since they could learn from direct experience and use their local knowledge to build their business experience. The major product category chosen for this strategy was the local “Alna” an ubiquitous clothes rack usually made in wood and found in every home in the Eastern Region of India as well as all over the Northeast of India. We therefore designed a wide range of “Alna” type products to demonstrate product diversification and the possibility of customization of a basic idea to generate variety. The other products included benches and tables that could be used in domestic situations as well as in local café’s across Agartala region, which by the way is a huge local market that is attracting many furniture makers from New Delhi and Mumbai. These are local opportunities that the Tripura craftsmen can learn to address in their process of learning a trade which they could then sharpen and refine to address more sophisticated markets in other cities in India as well as in the export sector, once their level of confidence has grown to manage these with comfort and quality.

Image 06: The closing function attended by Director IPRITI, Il&FS Managers, Coordinator Tripura Bamboo Mission, Centre Head NID Bangalore and Head, Centre for Bamboo Initiatives at NID and the design and craftsmen teams.

Another major design decision was the use of rubber wood in combination with bamboo for several of the products. In an earlier collection we had designed all bamboo furniture as part of our “Katlamara Chalo” strategy where the joints were made using round holes drilled with a flat-bottomed drill bit and secured with bamboo dowels and bamboo counter pins. This joint was used once again for all the bamboo pole joints and all bamboo components were kept straight without the use of any bending that is commonly associated with bamboo furniture. The rubber wood components were of two types, plates for surfaces and shaped gusset members for particular joints between bamboo frames. This way the bamboo craftsmen could obtain the rubber wood components from the new and growing rubber wood industry in Tripura and offer value to their customers with the added functionality of smooth surfaces and precise gusset joints that are also visually modern. This strategy had us seeking the help of Sandeep Mukherjee for the precise manufacture of the gusset components, drawings for which were prepared on cad software by Niju Dubey. Several ranges of “Alna” were developed using these special gussets and as we go forward we anticipate an enlargement of the range with the addition of new components as dictated by the design scheme and the functionality required. The Tripura craft scene is now sufficiently sophisticated to accommodate this shift to outsourced components as they develop their marketing strategy in the days ahead and this would also help them fetch a better price in the market and provide value to the customer who is being exposed to many imported products of high quality.

Image 07: The new “Alna” and other products at the lawn exhibit at NID Bangalore for the closing function.

The training programme culminated in the production of several new designs that aligned to the product strategy proposed by the NID team and at a concluding function at NID Bangalore on 30 September 2008 we conducted an exhibition of all the products at NID Bangalore which was visited by George Jenner, Chief Coordinator of the Tripura Bamboo Mission, Sharmishta Mohapatra, Senior Manager and Advisor – Trade Facilitation, IL&FS, New Delhi, Dr C N Pande, Director IPRITI, Dr S Goshal, Centre Head, NID, Bangalore and all the crtafts trainees and the NID design team with the students of the NID Bangalore and they were hosted by Prof M P Ranjan, Head, Centre for Bamboo Initiatives at NID. At the concluding function the dignitaries spoke to the audience about bamboo and its role in the future as well as the strategies of the Tripura Bamboo Mission and the plans and activities in the coming years. These provided new opportunities for all partners to use their skills and knowledge for the development of the bamboo sector in Tripura and in the process bring overall development to Tripura State, particularly in the rural areas that have been deprived of industrial development over the years. Plans and now afoot to send our teams to Tripura for the next phase of the project that includes the setting up of micro production units with the use of an appropriate set of hand held power tools and the hand-holding supports from the IL&FS teams in finance and marketing support in the field. NID designers will work closely with these craftsmen to realize the objective of getting these new products to market and in the process establish the confidence levels of the crafts entrepreneur as well as help maintain quality of production with the use of simple manufacturing strategies that are embedded in the design programme.

Prof. M P Ranjan

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