I had an article due today for a UK design magazine on the product design industry in India. It allowed me to talk to some of the designers there and I thought I’d share some of the fascinating parts of what they shared with me:
From Manoj Kothari of Onio Design Pvt Ltd comes this succinct paragraph of the current environment in Indian industry,
“Indian consumers have become more sophisticated in their tastes – travel, the software boom and the internet educated them on changing tastes and their ‘consumer rights’. Did Indian manufacturers change accordingly? Well, the answer is yes, and no. We know of many tiny companies who are taking on the global giants or Chinese companies head-on. There is no fear in them. They have learnt to master the sea they recently entered.
The suffering still continues in the larger companies, driven by traditional thinking on product innovation. All they did was to hire a better sounding ad-agency, which charged them a bomb. They also hired the management gurus to advise them on corporate restructuring, but things didn’t quite happen the way they expected. Returns of the investment remained abysmally low and consumers frustrated. Now that all other readymade sources have been tried and no other option is left to survive in the liberalized market, companies have no choice but to turn to ‘design’. Here is the beginning of real design for India.”
Sounds like the Indian companies aren’t too far behind the rest of the world in realizing that design can offer competitive advantage. But the paragraph sounds so familiar doesn’t it? Seems that is a path, regardless of country, that so many companies get stuck going down on. Trying readymade options for innovation.