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Design Strategy, Trends

At the intersection of technology and design lies a huge potential to create meaningful solutions. In last week’s article, we briefly explored some of the new technology that will soon find its way into our everyday lives. Today we examine a few industries where tech and design are already beginning to sit comfortably together and we explore what the future could bring.


For disciplines like architecture, interior design, process and factory layouts, and other space design fields, new technologies are opening up possibilities like never imagined before. mixed reality tools like Microsoft HoloLens allow all parties involved in decision making to view, edit and participate in the development of designs before execution, resulting in huge cost and time saving thanks to real time interaction, as well as improved customer and end user satisfaction!

With a VR headset, potential users of a space can take a virtual walkthrough in an unfinished project to see what the end result will look like.

Realtor apps like Street Peek already use augmented reality to have information like listing price and number of bedrooms pop up when potential home buyers/renters point their phone at a house.


Virtual and augmented reality improves the efficiency of collaborative efforts – a key element in developing sound and purposeful products.
According the the Microsoft website, “Microsoft HoloLens and Autodesk Fusion 360 are helping improve collaboration across the entire product development process, enabling engineers and designers to iterate together in real-time. Faster prototyping, more confident decisions, and more efficient cooperation are the future of product design.”


Google Glass, which didn’t do as well as its creators imagined it would in the mass consumer market, would appear to be finding a new lease of life in its new avatar – Google Glass Enterprise Edition, or Glass EE as it’s referred to by those in the know.

This version, which was adopted as pilot projects for testing in companies like GE, Boeing, DHL and Volkswagen, is beginning to garner large scale adoption, thanks to the improved quality and productivity observed by these early adopters, where Glass has helped workers improve their efficiency. For example, when workers at GE use Glass EE with a wi-fi enabled torque wrench, the device tells them if they are using the right amount of torque.

Further, research from Forrester indicates that by 2025, over 14 million US workers will be wearing smart glasses at their workplace.

Glass is a good example of innovative technology missing the mark, when its market potential is not properly explored and the product isn’t accordingly modified to suit a latent need. While Glass failed to garner mass B2C adoption, it appears to be redeeming itself in its 2.0 version in the B2B market.


Augmented and virtual reality have the ability to add tremendous value to the world of retail, and are poised to be used more frequently in the future.

We’ve already seen some examples of how virtual reality can offer a more immersive experience when it comes to advertising. For example, Lipton’s 360 VR ad campaign of 2016 allowed viewers to “go on a journey” inside a relaxing cup of tea. Similarly, Oreo’s campaign took their audience through a sweet-filled, tempting journey to promote their new cupcake filled cookie, while Johnnie Walker used VR to create a more realistic viewing experience while promoting awareness around the consequences of drinking and driving.

With augmented reality, retailers have the opportunity to put more information in the hands of their consumers, in a more fun and interactive way, simply by pointing their phone at an object. Imagine a future where you could walk through your supermarket and point your phone at a loaf of bread to have its ingredients, expiry date and such information pop up on your screen – the day when this will be commonplace is not that far away.

Besides educating or imparting information to potential consumers, AR could also offer them a more convenient, pleasurable and time saving shopping experience. Companies like Home Depot, Ikea, Lacoste and Sephora already have apps that do just this.

With Ikea Place for example, you can point your phone at any space and see what an Ikea product would look like in it. With the Lacoste LCST app, users just need to scan trigger images in a Lacoste store and can “try on” an entire product range, as well as interact with additional information. Timberland has even experimented with using AR technology for users to try on clothes, without physically trying them on.


Augmented reality puts information at the tips of travellers’ fingers, as they explore a new place. From historical information on monuments to nearby restaurants, lodging and other facilities, the improved experience for travellers results in more accurate information dissemination, time saving, better informed decision making and ultimately, happier holidays!

eTips is one company already offering AR enabled apps that turn your phone into you own personal your guide. Their apps are categorised into Landmarks, National Parks, Cities and Museums. So for example, if you were visiting the Louvre in Paris and wanted to know more about a particular painting, all you would have to do is point your phone at the painting and have the information pop up on your screen!
This article from CNN explores ten popular AR travel apps.


According to HackerNoon, by 2025 the healthcare revenue from augmented and virtual reality will be around $5 billion. Here are a few ways the medical world has already adopted the technology:

Using the Augmedix platform with Glass, a ‘scribe’ or real time assistant is able to remotely experience what a doctor sees and hears, thus freeing him up from the task of having to fill in information and leaving him more time to focus on his patient.
In one study, the total time spent on data entry went down from 33% of the day to just 10%, while patient interaction rose from 35% to 70%.

Another example is AccuVein. According to the company, 40% of IV injections miss locating the vein on the first attempt. Accuvein uses projection based augmented reality to make vein location in patients far more accurate it and has been found to improve the likelihood of first stick success by 3.5 times.

The AED4EU app used in conjunction with the Layar reality browser could potentially save people’s lives by helping them locate the nearest defibrillator.


Virtual and augmented reality in education allow one to experience something without actually having to be present at the place. For example, with Google Expeditions students can explore places from the Great Barrier Reef to Mount Everest, without having to ever leave the classroom!


We’ve only really covered just the tip of the iceberg in this article. While we’ve highlighted the major tech trends that are going to impact us, we’ve examined just some of the possibilities in just a few industries. That’s because the potential is enormous. We would have to write book-sized article to explore it all completely in depth.

The idea is to get us all, as designers, thinking about where we could find a place in this landscape that will soon be upon us.

As a designer where do you think you will fit in in the future?

Do share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to check out Part 1 of this article.


Design Strategy, Trends

Twenty years ago we sat on the cusp of the mobile phone revolution. The advancement in technology at the time opened up endless possibilities for designers from various fields. From new possibilities for existing design disciplines – product designers for example – to entirely new design job profiles, like application designers, the design world was headed towards a new era.

Today we sit on the cusp of another revolution. Advancements in technology today are paving the way for virtual, augmented and mixed reality to become a part of everyday life. Where does this leave designers? What is the current scenario and going forward, what are the new roles where designers will be able to add tremendous value? What are the skills that designers should begin to hone?

In this article, we take a look at the overall scenario, and in the following week, we will take a specific look at certain industries, to see what the future could hold. If you are a designer, perhaps the time is ripe to ask yourself – Am I ready?


In case you’re not absolutely familiar with the terminology, here’s a succinct explanation from Wikipedia that sums it up nicely:

Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in a fully artificial digital environment.
Augmented Reality (AR) overlays virtual objects on the real-world environment.
Mixed Reality (MR) doesn’t just overlay, but anchors virtual objects to the real world and allows the user to interact with the virtual objects.

Besides our smartphones and tablets, hardware such as Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens present us with a whole new range of possibilities. Coupled with this, is the soon-to-be-ubiquitous 5G and the yet-to-be-realised potential of IoT, which push the boundaries even further.


The obvious roles for designers are in the more areas of traditional design, like graphic design, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design.
But beyond this, more and more designers are finding a spot at the biggest decision making tables across organisations, and not just at those within the design sector. With design thinking as a process gaining more popularity, the huge value a designer can add in helping to arrive at truly impactful and viable solutions is being recognised.

Companies are putting designers at the head of the table…The user’s experience of technology these days is even more important than the tech itself. The UI is what distinguishes a product; a company. That’s one reason why designers are being employed across industries.

– Scott Belsky,
Chief Product Officer, Adobe
Co-founder, Behance

Venture design services that incorporate the design thinking framework, where problems are looked at from a macro level, and proposed design solutions are crafted from end user insights along with other factors in their environment, will come to play an important role.

An interdisciplinary approach that views the problem from various angles and seeks the inputs of experts from different disciplines will lead to the most comprehensively designed solutions. For example, when planning a commercial building, an architect would create a more effective design if he clearly understood the market segment he was designing for, the demographics of the area and the needs of each specific age group of the end users.

This would require intensive research and an in depth analysis by the architect, requiring him to go beyond his domain and should ideally be a collaborative effort with other experts, such as a social anthropologist or social psychologist.

Furthermore, venture design enabled through design thinking, allows the business to discover and tap into latent needs that the end user might not even realise he has, leading to a more comprehensive solution. With technology evolving at a speed that’s hard to keep up with, organisations will have to integrate new solutions rapidly. Venture design helps firms focus on the right thing at the right time, to take advantage of opportunities when they arise and to constantly deliver meaningful solutions. It also addresses the need for adaptability and answering the “what ifs”, by providing pivot strategies that enable the business to move or change the direction of their solutions to better fit the end user’s requirements, as they evolve.

Designers who wish to be at the forefront of pathbreaking designs, will have to engage in continuous learning and experimentation, to be able to understand, manipulate and employ new technology optimally.

The designers of the future need to look beyond just their field of speciality and also remind themselves to understand things from the point of view of a layman using that product or service. Design, be it of a product, space, user experience or of an organisation can no longer be looked at in isolation, if it is to be truly impactful.

As a designer, are you ready for the impending revolution that is upon us?

What are your thoughts – we’d love to know in the comments below.


Design Strategy, Space Design

“As human beings, we are vulnerable to confusing the unprecedented with the improbable.
In our everyday experience, if something has never happened before, we are generally safe in assuming it is not going to happen in the future, but the exceptions can kill you and climate change is one of those exceptions”

– Al Gore

Our landscapes are changing rapidly, and it is imperative, now more than ever, to inculcate a strong set of principles that define impactful and positive output.


Without collaboration, there is no progress. We can no longer rely on the conventional team structure (Client, Architect, Interior Designer, Structure, MEP, and Landscape Designer) when providing inputs towards holistic space design solutions to develop a thriving community.

Progressive teams today include professionals from a multitude of disciplines, from psychologists, social anthropologists and eco consultants to traffic consultants, geologists and disaster management consultants – a group of professionals you would have never imagined on a round table discussing space design. Breaking away from conventional ways of working, and inviting collaboration and encouraging participation from such diverse disciplines assures a more robust solution, one that is more structured, adaptive and more importantly, responsive to our current plight.


This sits at the forefront, for we as humans have the sole responsibility (and rightfully so!) of reversing our own doing. We are solely responsible for the depletion of our natural resources and our environment, and apart from us damaging our own future, we are responsible for affecting the survival of other species as well.

The key here is that we address this not to survive but to thrive, and our approach needs to go beyond “patch-fix” solutions to such problems, only to add a few more years to the inevitable; but instead must provide a holistic solution that actually stops if not reverses the damage. The fact is that in order for species to thrive (not survive) there is an interdependency between all living things and whether we are willing to accept it or not, that time has come! So how does this apply to design, specifically, within the realms of space?

The key areas that need addressing are urbanisation, waste generation – solid and water waste, and energy (generation, consumption and wastage). We also need to work with government authorities to redefine building bye-laws and urban development policies to at least protect the environment from any further negative impact.

Firstly, we need to move away from centralised civic support systems and treatment solutions to localised systems and solutions, thereby developing the motto, “at source”. Our communities, homes and buildings must be designed such that we produce what we consume. Those that practice this are referred to as prosumers, and this in itself will tremendously change our relationship with our environment. This further applies to construction material, i.e. sourcing localised materials and using local labour. In addition, looking at recyclable building materials and using fast growing trees for furniture such as acacia and bamboo, which are excellent substitutes to teak and rosewood.


Land is no longer an affordable commodity for the masses. Addressing the needs of the masses is key to the successful development of our ecosystem. And it’s not just servicing the need for shelter, but to providing solutions to uplift their lifestyle at an affordable cost.


Remember you’re as strong as your weakest link. Designing for the community is crucial to ensuring holistic development. This also helps bring affordability onto the table. Designs today need to incorporate a multitude of facets into the living ecosystem developing it laterally. A lot of futuristic designs incorporate co living, co working, parks, open spaces, sports centres, malls, libraries and any such activities that foster community development and engagement.


Today technology sits at the forefront of progressive design. Deep learning, IOT and systems design are driving companies into the future, creating efficacy and improvement to already existing business models. Newer business models are emerging with embedded technologies for a competitive advantage in global markets.


The final piece to the puzzle is government support, to allow design thought initiatives the liberty to execute and flourish, keeping in mind the predicament we have put ourselves in.

Furthermore, it requires you to go beyond your conventionally defined scope and not just think about the project at hand, but more importantly, the relationship and responsibility it shares in context to its immediate surroundings, community, city, and the world at large.

In essence, designing for the future means taking an inclusive approach, using a multitude of perspectives from various disciplines to achieve a holistic solution that keeps the user at the center – what we call the design thinking framework.

Raoul Parekh
Founder & Chief – Design Management


Business Tips & How To's

In large organisations one is likely to find a plethora of people dedicated to various marketing roles, such as a Market Research Director, Social Media Manager, Content Strategist, Marketing Analyst and so on.

In a small business however, as Marketing Manager, you might find yourself having to don several of these hats simultaneously, while also working in tandem with your Sales team.

The great part about this is that your job is NEVER ‘boring’; there’s always something new to learn and experiment with and you begin to see the marketing function from a more holistic angle, as well as understand the intricacies of each function – something that’s good for you, as well as for the business.

As interesting as the role is, it requires you to:

1. Be very good at planning ahead.

2. Focus not only on the marketing strategy, but the actual management, execution and measurement of it as well.

3. Continuously coordinate with a variety of people both internally, as well as outside the company.

4. Be on top of a lot of schedules, metrics and timelines ALL the time.


So what do you do when you have all these wheels spinning at the same time, each with their own momentum, while you are required to steer your marketing plan through the uncharted waters that are a startup’s market?

You employ the assistance of smart productivity tools and for me this tool is the G Suite by Google – one of the most user friendly productivity and collaboration products out there – perfect for any job that requires teamwork.

Now, many (or most) of you probably already use, or at least know about, G Suite; it is vastly popular. This article is intended for those of you who don’t use it yet.
I’d like to specifically share my experience with how it has helped me in my role as the marketing manager of a small sized startup.

I’m not here to tell you about the features and benefits of the G Suite – that’s been done many times over, which a simple Google search will reveal to you. I’m here to tell you about how it can help you, specifically, if you are the Marketing Manager, CMO or Marketing Director of a small startup. Maybe as the owner of the startup you are the CMO, Sales Executive and Social Media Manager all rolled into one! If so, you are just the kind of audience this article seeks.


G Suite consists of several tools such as Gmail, Calendar, Google+ and Hangouts for communication and Drive for cloud storage.

Docs is a word processor, Sheets is a spreadsheet, Slides is a presentation programme, Forms is for surveys and questionnaires and Sites is a wiki and web page creation tool.

Granted, you may not use all that the G Suite has to offer (and there are a few more tools that I haven’t even mentioned) but there are some tools that can really help simplify your everyday work life.


G Suite allows you to:

Collaborate Easily

Internally, I do a lot of work with our Graphic Designer and 3D Visualiser to create content, and to showcase our work. With our Sales team I need to create or edit marketing material like ppt sales presentations, vet emails etc. Externally, I work closely with our Web Developers to regularly update our dynamic website to showcase our latest work. This means a LOT of files need to go back and forth! I simply create a folder for a particular task on G Suite’s Drive and share it with all the people who are party to the project – they can upload their bit when it’s ready.

With the Comments function one can add a comment / suggestion and assign a person to resolve it. The person automatically receives an update that lets them know they have something pending.

Share And Locate Files Effortlessly

Like me, I’m sure you’ve often been stuck sifting through a bizillion emails to find a file someone sent you a month ago. With G Suite, files can easily be shared on the Drive, and the person creating the file or folder can also set editing rights – so you can allow others to either edit or just view the files.

It saves a LOT of time as everyone knows exactly where to find something when they need it. Your Sales Manager urgently needs to show a client he’s with a brochure or a cost benefit analysis? All he needs is the online link to the Drive where it’s stored!

The cloud storage allows you to also easily upload large sized files, without clogging up someone’s inbox – great for sending those high resolution print files!

Create, Monitor and Share Schedules

If you’re managing the marketing of more than one brand within your company it means you need to be on top of a lot of schedules – content calendars, advertising campaigns, sales targets etc. I find Sheets very useful for this. While some people prefer preset schedule management software, I like the flexibility Sheets offers to customise a schedule exactly the way you want it – so you can develop and modify a system to create one that works best for you and for the task at hand.

Again, with functions like different levels of authorisation, role assignment and all the other features a spreadsheet offers, down to the simple things like colour coding options, it helps you stay on track and know where you’re at, at a glance.

Work On-The-Go

I travel a lot and thus a fair bit of my work needs to get done when I’m on the move. I use the G Suite app, which means I can work on a lot of things from my phone. This saves me time and I don’t necessarily need to have my laptop in front of me all the time.

Make Reporting A Breeze

It’s easy for top management, such as my Board of Directors to always knows where we’re at on a particular project, without necessarily having to get in touch with me, as long as they have access to the reports via the Drive, which I can update at any time to let them know where we’re at.


In case you’re thinking – but I’m so used to working on Word, Excel and PowerPoint, how will I make the switch? – that was my thought exactly when I was first introduced to G Suite.

But guess what, you CAN upload compatible files like Word and Excel onto the Drive and then edit and share them from there! The operational features are also very similar to what you’re familiar with in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. So the transition really is a breeze – so let that not be factor that stops you from trying it out.


I haven’t managed to list out all the plus points I’ve come across while using G Suite and I know the functions that I use of G Suite are not even the tip of the iceberg! I’ve only scratched the surface – there’s so much more it has to offer; I learn something new everyday about how it can enhance my productivity at work.

But I’ve truly come to look at it as my online buddy that helps me get things done quickly and easily. Most importantly, it helps me keep those clubs (or knives, balls or fire torches – depending on how you view your work!) in the air all the time, and prevents them from coming crashing down around me.

If you’re finding managing more than one role at work overwhelming, try the Google Suite – it could be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Gitanjali Singh Cherian
Marketing Manager


Design Strategy, Trends

Technology has become cheaper and thus more accessible over the years. Low cost mobile phones, computers and the Internet, coupled with tools such as social media and data analytics have resulted in the following outcomes:

Shift in Power

The growth of platforms like Facebook, Google and Youtube, primarily enabled by low-cost Internet, has enhanced cyclical connectivity and feedback loops which enable transparency. The common individual’s access to information has played a major role in shifting where the power to influence lies.

Today’s potential customer is more likely to believe the reviews of an online community and less likely to be influenced by a company’s advertising efforts. Power now lies with social groups or communities. Customers are able to gain more knowledge about a particular product, as well as of its competitors’ and interact with each other quickly, giving them the power to demand customised products that better suit their needs. Today’s customer is motivated to play a key role in the innovation process. Ideas for innovation are also able to come from sources such as vendors, partners and other key players, and are no longer limited to the traditional internal source – the R & D department.

Global Collaboration and Enhanced Mobility

The World Wide Web has enabled a global civilization connected by an invisible force – the Internet. Information travels rapidly, and distances no longer feel intimidating. The world is literally at your fingertips.

Information Sharing and Analysis

Individuals can collaborate in an intangible environment enabled by high-speed Internet, social media platforms, inexpensive computers and mobile phones. People from different parts of the world, with different areas of expertise, can all sit at the same virtual ‘table’ and co-create.

Social media platforms allow for rapid two-way flow of information between creators of products/services and end users. Further, the information is no longer limited to just text, but also has visual aid. This means understanding problems or needs becomes much easier, potentially allowing for better solutions to be developed.

Because of technology, large amounts of information can be quickly shared and the same data set can be analysed by people with different areas of expertise. Big data and data analytics allow firms to better understand and segment the market, identify new trends and needs, and eventually help in developing mutually beneficial marketing strategies.

In short, technology today enables:

– Access to various problem solvers from different backgrounds and with diverse expertise

– Rapid communication and information sharing.

These features form the pillars of a successful co-creative endeavour.


With artificial intelligence predicted to take over large chunks of the workforce in the future, algorithms developed from repetitive human patterns will influence innovation.

Augmented collaboration will also enhance the experience and efficiency of co-creation.There are multiple innovators currently working on trying to directly connect our brain’s neurology to technology.The day we can share our thoughts and ideas just by thinking of a specific person may not be that far away.

Augmented collaboration will also enhance the experience and efficiency of co-creation.There are multiple innovators currently working on trying to directly connect our brain’s neurology to technology.The day we can share our thoughts and ideas just by thinking of a specific person may not be that far away.

Advancements in technology are setting up a platform that will allow for co-creation and innovation to take place at an unprecedented pace.

Will you be ready?

Perhaps our article next week – The Golden Principles of Co-creation – can help. Stay tuned.



With the rampant synergy in tech and business development, Zeitgeist takes a closer look at tech integrations that are going to become mainstream.

Artificial Intelligence

AI seems to be slowly but surely replacing jobs that require technical computation and data analysis to produce more human driven conclusions through apps, devices and platforms. AI cannot mimic the empathetic human brain just yet, but already has the capability to beat the human brain in playing a game. Libratus just beat top class human poker champions at their own game, just like Deepmind with chess. AI can now also mimic racial biases. On October 17th, 2017 Sophia was introduced – an AI bot that rose to fame by being introduced to the U.N. and acquiring citizenship in Saudi Arabia. She can imitate human expression, though she is still learning what these things mean. Research firm Gartner estimates that AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2020.

And then there is the eternal question – could AI ever replace humans altogether?


We all know that IoT (The Internet of Things) has been hugely disruptive. Connecting smart sensors to connected devices has created a huge way of convenience and control to the user. Today we are able to control a small light switch, or a large off site generator through virtual assistants like Google’s Alexa. But the real magic is just about to begin.

By combining Blockchain Technology with IoT, tech is going to see a new wave of security and services for businesses. API’s will very soon come in to connect different databases with different computer services. This will drive efficiency and competition. For example a BIoT innovation could be shipment tracking devices with sensors embedded in them for real time data. Imagine the impact of quality in our supply chains if we could track heat, time, and traffic to ensure that our vegetables got to us perfectly fresh!

BIoT will assure companies that their most valuable data will not be hacked – a huge upward move for security in businesses across the globe.

Li-Fi and AR

Augmented Reality will take centerstage this year. The rapid pace at which AR has taken off will allow people to shop for things that fit to size. Augmented mannequins will create a customised shopping experience where body types will be easily created to match your own, along with online inventory that will rival any online store.
In addition to this, Li-Fi, a new light-based data connection, will bring speeds up to 100 times faster than a 4G wi-fi connection.

The retail experience is rapidly changing for the consumer – online stores, watch out!


Fintech will soon take over traditional methods of paying for things. With social and mobile payments at your fingertips it only makes sense to focus on pushing these technologies further for more efficiency. Soon we will be able to scan our eyes through our smartphone to make a payment, eliminating the need for credit and debit cards altogether!

With Cryptocurrency and Blockchain creating further security in finance, it will be a matter of time before we make serious attempts to reduce the energy used in quantum computing and secure mining – investors get ready! This will in turn create financial incentives for all major retailers to move into Cryptocurrency and all their digital assets will begin to behave similarly to traditional methods of finance, payments, loans and credits, at a scalable cost.

The landscape for business today is fresh and exciting. Operational changes and business offerings are rapidly being driven to integrate progressive tech in order to stand apart from competition. Consumers – dabbling in some reading to equip you with what the future holds could stand to benefit you in more ways than one. Business owners – if you aren’t tech savvy yet, watch out, you have a hurricane coming your way!

Madhuri Rao
Founder and Chief
Design Strategy