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Democratization of Design & Effective Deployment of Government Policies

By : Narendra Ghate

Design today is playing an increasingly important role globally, especially with increase in new technologies and availability of design tools. When it comes to India, there has been a significant increase in the awareness amongst organizations on how design can help in improving the top- line results, and how brands can connect emotionally with consumers. Companies today have started to invest in design.

“Democratization of Design is when design is practiced by everyone, not just designers. This has created a new awareness about design. You need to leverage the power of design and make it accessible to everyone. Be it policymakers or corporate/design houses everyone needs to spread the word that design is not just for designers, but it can be practiced by everybody.”

Since the percentage of people involved in design are relatively less compared to other disciplines in India, the active involvement of designers contributing significantly in public policy matters is also less. Democratization of design (design awareness by non-designers) from a policy level will be the key to give the required thrust for bringing about a change in the macro-level.

One example which gives an idea of how we could deploy design thinking at a policy level could be – incorporating design in government tenders. There are thousands of government tenders that go out every day. A significant portion of it could have the elements of design included as scope of work to allow stakeholders to give their project an edge over others. It could be as simple as incorporating design elements like branding, graphics, user interface design, service design and process design. Initially it might appear that the scope of work for design can be small in terms of costs, but its impact will be significant and easily seen in the long run.

Through incorporation of design requirements / elements in government tenders will lead to more involvement from a larger section of the society (involving both design agencies & non-designers). This will in turn help to build a large talent pool and more participation in public policy matters.

At Tata Elxsi we have already witnessed the positive impact of design in mass transit systems where 'signage design' is being insisted as a special delivery. As a practitioner of design, I think we should strive to add these design line items in government tenders to witness a positive change in the system.

Narendra Ghate

Chief Designer
Service Design, Tata Elxsi