The Rise of the Contemporary Indian Design Entrepreneur Here's how the role of a designer in the corporate and business arena continues to evolve and change

By Vijayant Bansal

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We are in the midst of a design revolution and increasingly design is gaining a lot of focus be it a product like a pencil to an innovative solution. The "design entrepreneur' of today wants complete ownership starting from the evolution of the idea to the finished goods. He or she no longer wishes to work for specifications of the company or its clients. Therefore people who love designing and are also equally passionate about the entire process around designing and taking it to the end product stage, are increasingly transforming from being a designer to becoming a design entrepreneur.

Contemporary Design Entrepreneurship in India

But it's not easy starting from ground zero and working yourself towards achieving credibility, recognition and last but not the least, generating demand. This involves having to create a balance between what we want to create with what the customer wants; what is possible technically and how much of a resource pull will it involve.

The contemporary design entrepreneur in India also thrives on new product development, restoring crafts, innovating existing products and providing design services based on new & emerging technologies. The growth is exponential and the learning curve is steep. Designers have to be abreast with the latest tools in technology with skills to match to ensure faster ideations and delivery. To be an entrepreneur, however, the designers additionally require knowledge of the business & management functions to help them set up businesses and ensure a return on investment.

The Revolution

Designing is undergoing a metamorphosis, aided by new technologies and digital transformation of today. New and disruptive technologies like Artificial intelligence, IoT, Machine learning etc., are the biggest enablers, disrupting traditional processes and systems, enabling out of the box thinking and new ideas, which in turn reshape the entire user experience.

What is needed today is the right mentoring for the next step. This is where Universities play the first major role. Guiding a student with the potential of becoming an entrepreneur in the field of design is important. The right resources, mentoring and exposure to the industry with hands-on training will go a long way in setting the expectations on the opportunities available and the challenges they are most likely to face once they are out in the field…

Virtual Products

Design entrepreneurs can embrace virtual products such as apps and games, and not just focus on physical design objects. Even if a designer does not wish to be a full-time entrepreneur and continue to do client work, the Internet and the app market provide another option for the designer if he or she wants a reason to experiment with new designs, challenge themselves as an artist, or just have a side project to work on in between client work. The concept of "design entrepreneurship" can transform the way a designer manages their career.

The entrepreneurial thought structure existed earlier as well but it could not be monetized so well without tangible outputs. Today the scenario has undergone a sea change, with almost every industry, be it apparel, automobiles, film making, animation, product design or gaming, with design playing an intrinsic role in the entire process from an idea to the end product.

It's worth the challenge if financial security and stability are not foremost on your mind and you have the patience and inclination to see through the entire process of making the design-centric idea into a successful venture.

Vijayant Bansal

Founder, World University of Design

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