Jun 11, 2015

Posted by in Field visit day 1 | 0 Comments

Brainstorming Session by Summer School Students

-By Siddharth Bhatia and Nirali Kansara

The students were given time till lunch to go on a field visit for the second time and prepare a report of their findings and the problems which they think they could work upon.


Prof M P Ranjan, from NID, took a session in which he gave insights to the students when they presented the projects. He told the students to reprocess what they had done on the field as a group, and to bring new ideas thinking about different stakeholders and their individual point of view .He explained that detailing is very important. He explained about ER map – Entities Relation map, and the attributes that are involved. He explained how entities (stakeholders etc) are linked together through different relationships, which have various attributes(strong, weak etc) – which change the problem of the nature instantly. Attributes apply to both entities and relations. We can group specific entities in categories. Each category gives us opportunities. What we understand is called structures. The final outcome that we see is product. The system designis meaningful when we include entities which can be associated to the real world. Strategy involves multiple things that can be rolled into the same action. He told the students to go into the intricate details, into the engineering, into the complexity of the problem or situation they identified. Modelling groups the data into meaningful clusters. He explained about the concept of GIGA MAPSsystems that take thousands of notes and hundreds and thousands of relation.


After the lecture, the groups who went to field visit gave their presentations, and Prof M P Ranjan and Mr Prakash Vani provided them insights on their observations and problems they shortlisted. They commented on how the students should concentrate on the imagines opportunities and focus on one composite goal; how they need to translate their insights into opportunities. They should focus on key opportunities rather than problems.


  • GROUP 1 Gaurav Kumar, Parth Patel, Pranjal Srivastava , and Priya SinghDSC_1102


o   LocationKalupur, Teen Darwaza , Jamalpur.

o   Area Of FocusVendors

o   Insights from the visit:

  • Use electric meter on rent
  • Shelter problem- no proper shelter available.
  • Load carrying problem- transport of goods by workers(on their back), who keep the goods at specified places destined for the vendors.
  • Most vendors had solved their problem of sitting (they use  baskets to sit).
  • Local bodies regularly conducted eviction drive so vendors had to relocate themselves.
  • Want to design cost effective multifunctional cart (which can even generate electricity).
  • Income of vendors was divided into following- household, storage of items, rent for electricity, parking of cart.

o   Feedback :

  • Asked for the list of opportunities they found there. Insights of journey they found there and try to show them in one composite bowl.
  • Try to focus on most promising opportunities.
  • Try to do mapping of vendors to understand the whole frame. Then try to get out of that frame to find new ways.
  • GROUP 2- Prajal Goyal

o   LocationFatehwadi

o   Area Of FocusPot making Process

o   Insights from the visit-

  • People satisfied with what they do , earn, lifestyle. They have electricity, decent educational facilities. Vast economic variations among people in that communities.
  • Excessive pollution caused due to burning of kiln.
  • They make red colour pots due to tradition.
  • They don’t use the broken pieces, rather sell to people who require them.
  • They don’t have problem with potter’s wheel as they are comfortable that way.
  • They experience injuries in purification of clay. They do it bare hands as it is like an exercise to them and they don’t have enough workforce for machine.
  • Pot makers told them that the government is planning to start pottery course in primary schools. So asked the participants if they can design a non-electric machine for pot making that can be used by the kids.

o   Feedback :

  • Asked, “how will the potters benefit from  the kids learning pottery?” It can used as an opportunities for strong community connect among them. In fact, potters can themselves teach pottery in these schools.
  • Can use co- creation method of designing i.e. sit with the potters and design to improve their efficiency. The experience of potters can help to refine their solutions.
  • GROUP 3 – Yash, Pranav, GunjitDSC_1134

o   Location- Jamalpur

o   Area Of Focus– Broom making

o   Insights from the field

  • 2 types of broom- form coconut stalks and grass from Assam.
  • Winding the brooms with aluminized wire causes cuts on their palms. They had unlevelled space for work. The people have expressed the need for a  safety equipment for wire cutting process.
  • Make 300 brooms per day and constant hours working affect their posture.

o   Feedback-

  • Try to focus on key opportunities.
  • Question by Nikhil Gehlot- “Plastic brooms are entering into market so what would be the market of these brooms after 5 years?”  Reply by the group- the plastic brooms are not durable, not able to clean minute dust particles, so not that efficient and the these brooms ( made from coconut stalks) are not affected by water.
  • Beauty of brooms is that they bio-degradable, however two components that are non-bio-degradable are the plastic and the metal. So we can think of a way to substitute of these 2 components that make the entire broom bio-degradable (as these components are used in small quantities so their recycling is difficult).
  • Challenges they can look into – better broom making technology for them, better life for the broom makers and create new networks for them.
  • GROUP 4-Nishant, Vaibhav, and AkhilDSC_1163

o   Location – Gyaspur and Pirana

o   Area Of Focus-Metal cap opener

o   Insights from the visit:

  • People, even kids use stones to break the cap from the spray bottles(collected from dumping yard) , which can cause injury in their hands. They sell these bottles to tin contractor.
  • Cases of injuries on hand have been there. Some gases from the spray bottles feel cold and some have burning and itching sensation.
  • Want to design something that helps them in cutting the cap of spray bottles and protect them from the gases.
  • One of the conversations with the community-

Participants-“ Aap ko aur koi dikkat hai jo aap hume batana chahte hai?

Maan Singh(from the community)- “Yaha marne ke halat hai aur aap puch rahe ho dikkat kya hai!!!

Deepak (from the community)- “Humari pagar badha do.”

o   Feedback:

  • Child labour is involved. Corrupt industries create these opportunities to affect the kids. But not always possible to solve the problem at larger aspect.
  • This problem has many issues- social, economic. So sometimes, something happening at one place can have a larger impact at other place .For example, Coca Cola was banned in New York because people in Kerala filed a complaint against the company that they were using water form their river.
  • Try to design something that the gases in the spray bottles are improved at the manufacturing levels so that their disposal is risk free.
  • GROUP 5 – Nikhil, Vishal , KrunalIMG_0416

o   Location-IET college, Chandkedha, Gift City (Construction sites).

o   Area Of Focus- Bricks carrying problem(on head)

o   Insights from the visit:

  • Interacted with contractors, engineers, safety engineers, and labourers.
  • Interaction with contractor- “Labourers come from outside the Gujarat and they are happy to carry bricks the way they have been doing. It the labour is satisfied with the product, we are ready to adopt it.”
  • Interaction with the safety engineers- “ We provide the labours with safety belt, helmet but they don’t wear it because they are comfortable without it.”.
  • Interaction with the labourers –“ We don’t have money to buy any apparatus. In fact, we have not seen any kind of apparatus and are satisfied with the existing situation”.
  • No proper housing or sanitation facilities for the labourers

o   Feedback:

  • Have identified only fraction of the problem; we lack imagination to solve smaller problems.
  • Redefine the problem- need a system to carry the load. But is it necessary to carry it on body?
  • Sensitize the labours to use safety equipments.
  • GROUP 6 – Aashish KumarDSC_1206

o   Location – Naroda Phatak

o   Area Of Focus– Broom making

o   Insights from the visit:

  • Health aspects-back pain (due to continuous working), rough hands, malaria (they often suffer from malaria).
  • They beat date leaves on nails to separate the leaves to make it finer. It causes cuts on their hands.
  • Education- No opportunities for education.
  • Existing solution for broom making process is electric driven but they don’t have electricity.

o   Feedback:

  • Don’t jump to solution directly. Make images that will help to get clarity.
  • Include all the issues and develop a concept.
  • GROUP 7- Bhargava Reddy, Rakesh, and Ravi

o   Location– Erwada (Surendranagar)

o   Area Of Focus– Cotton picking problem

Insights from the visit:

  • Back pain
  • Awkward hand posture and standing.
  • Existing machine – cost effective
  • Nathu Bhai-  invented a cotton picking machine only for V797 cotton. But it is expensive and has blower and sucker problem.
  • Farmer wants efficiency, ease of use and cost-effective.


  • Make a structure of all options: social, economic, all aspects of doing business, where it is used and why, ways to store the waste, whole supply chain.
  • Let your imagination run wild- drones for picking cotton.
  • GROUP 8- RohitIMG_0456

Location- Naroda Phatak

Area Of Focus- Shelter

Insights from the visit:

  • People use nails and rubber strips to build their shelter and take around 7-8 hours to build it.
  • Designed a bamboo joineries. Bamboo is prominent but dry, wooden tress can also be used.
  • Three main expectations of people: shade, cool area, and flowing area.


  • Exploration of concept is good.
  • No connection between the design and people’s need.
  • Try to make rigid structures from flexible materials.
  • Models are half way into reality. Keep reality check but keep on exploring.


The next lecture was taken by Prof Sanjay E.  Sharma, from MIT through Skype. The first question he posed – “How many of you have met with whom (user) they would be working?” He emphasized on the importance of placing yourself in the shoes of those people for whom you are designing; to fundamentally understand what the consumer wants. He elaborated this by giving an example of an interaction with a village girl who was reluctant to use a solar cooker even when they were given it for free by a NGO. What she explained was that she cooks very early or late at night, when the solar cooker doesn’t work. Also, they need the smoke to drive our mosquitoes. This example beautifully explains that while the design of solar cooker was made to reduce the problem of smoke that could cause respiratory problems, but these people needed the smoke to drive out mosquitoes which could cause malaria, a bigger problem for them. Hence, need sensing is necessary- to understand and anticipate the need. Also, giving another example of a product by the company Go Pro, who designed an action camera which is water proof and robust and can record anything and anywhere. It was developed by a surfer who wanted to record his surfing. Thus, Professor explained that when someone has a need, they can find all the means to satisfy it. But when you are solving someone else’s problems, you need to have extreme empathy to understand their needs. He told to find the intrinsic need, the hidden need. In order to find that, you need to ask “ Why and What” till you find the hidden need.
Another method he told was to create a persona, do not let anyone be anonymous. Write it like a story description, be extremely articulate.

One example is
There is a lady called Parvathy in the village. She has two children- Ram and Raju. Her husband works at the local collector’s office. Her children go to school every day, from 8 am -5 pm. “
The more precise the articulation of the person is, the more personal it is and the more successful it is in creating a persona. This will help in understanding the right problem. Using a name makes you interpersonally connect to the person. Now, suppose one has identified the need.
The next question he told important to ask was – “What do you do with the need?” You need to find a minimum viable frugal solution. But firstly, you have to break the assumptions which are there in your mind as well as theirs. And once you come up with a solution, you test them with minimal idea without any assumptions, which will either prove it or disprove it.
The next question is – “Is the solution culturally acceptable; or can the culture be changed to accept the solution?”  We have to decide what the simplest test you can design . We sometimes have to find ways to force the tests without being insensitive.
It is important to first identify the true need, then make a viable product and then test it. Once you do that, you will find another hidden need underneath it. Use the same iterative procedure until you reach the fundamental need. Go through the cycle of ethnography and tests; go smaller and smaller and then you will be able to go big. You need to come in line with the incentives and form a social solution.
He concluded his lecture by emphasizing on the fact that while making the product, you should let it go through at least one iterative cycle. Your focus should be on the cycle and it should go through as much iteration as possible before you can create a product which will meet the user needs to the maximum.



Chetan Patel presented some of the problems identified in tribal regions. He encouraged students to consider taking up any of these problems as their assignment for summer school. The problems include:

  • To smoothen bamboo surfaces efficiently and quickly, they need a cost-effective, fast and small machine.
  • Technique to make bamboo spoons (used in tribal areas).
  • People working in salt farming suffer from skin diseases (due to leg immersed in salty water the entire day). So if we can design any shoes or footwear which can protect their legs.
  • There is a Phindla fruit (prickly pear) which has medicinal values. But the plant having this fruit and the fruit itself has thorns , thus pricking the workers fingers. So if a machine can be designed which helped to reduce the drudgery of the workers, it would increase their efficiency.
  • Workers use hammer to extract Madhuckaindica seeds, which sometimes result in injury in their hands.
  •  Farmers can harvest soya bean plant only in early morning, but had to pay for labour cost of entire day. So a machine to increase efficiency of the labourers in soya bean harvesting, it would save the farmer’s labour cost.



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