Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Making Indian Design Globally Competitive

Some Indian design companies are doing some phenomenal work but others who have potential may not be able to survive and make a mark. Also those who can survive, may not be able to be globally competive due to the lack of design infrastructure and environment. I propose 7 points to the proposed chartered design body of India to make Indian design globally known. In the past few months, there has been a sustained dialog online and offline proposing a chartered design body. Here are my 7 sutras:

1. Incubation of design entrepreneurs Many prospective design entrepreneurs drop out of entrepreneurship due to many reasons -- some of them include lack of capital, lack of adequate infrastructure, etc. The proposed body must be able to identity and help such entrepreneurs.

2. Funding for design entrepreneurs One trouble that many mid-size design companies face is the lack of capital to grow to become internationally competitive. Be it lack of capital to hire, or buy equipment, or cash flow. Most banks do not extend working capital loans to design companies without collaterals. Venture funds still do not know about design entrepreneurship. So neither debt nor equity financing is available as easily as to a software company. Can the proposed design body facilitate dialog between the banks/VCs with deserving entrepreneurs.

3. Mentoring of design entrepreneurs Apart from incubation, there are a lot of start-up and growing-up troubles for design entrepreneurs. The proposed body can set up and facilitate regular mentoring camps (on the lines of TiE) for such people in collaboration with successful design people and/or in collaboration with professors of entrepreneurship of renowned institutes.

4. Consortia of design companies Many successful design companies abroad (from India too!) are a part of consortium of companies that work together for projects. Each company/consultant bring specific skills to the project for it to be successful. Also such consortium can do work with otherwise no single company can execute successfully. The proposed design body must be facilitator of such collaboration between design companies and allied professionals. The proposed design body can also facilitate foreign and Indian design companies together for collaboration.

Without a formal consortium, there are also opportunities for design companies to collaborate with each other for projects. The proposed design body may be able to facilitate such opportunities.

5. Collaboration between design companies and design institutes Apart from other challenges, the design industry in India does not find trained designers. Also, the collaboration between design companies and institutes seems informal. Many design companies like ours would like to collaborate with institutes for review and design of courses that benefit the industry, teach specialized courses, collaborate with institutes for research services, etc. The proposed design body can facilitate such interaction and collaboration.

6. Scholarships/ loans to deserving designers There are many options available to deserving design students, moreover the design body can offer scholarships or loans to deserving design students. This will ensure that students can find better training options, better job options; while design companies can find the right people who can be future employees. The proposed design body can facilitate the scholarships and loans.

7. Network of design vendors Many of us use vendors for design related services. Some vendors are good while others are not. The design body can facilitate a listing of such vendors which can be socially certified by design companies and consultants or certified by the body. This will immensely benefit design companies to be globally competitive.


rashmi said...

I think design is today at a stage where software companies were about a decade or so back, lack of awareness translating to a lack of opportunities.

Great to have someone take the initiative to set things rolling. Even organising a design exhibition/meet could be a good starting point.

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