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Innovation In India--Part Two. Design Thinking Is The Answer.

Shilajeet (Banny) Banerjee, who runs the Joint Program in Design at Stanford, gave a really insightful speech at the CII_NID conference. He talked about growth being a profound paradox in India. Some 250 million people have been brought into the middle class from poverty in recent years. But on a recent day when the stock market hit a new high, India was ranked behind Ethiopia in the Global Hunger Index. India has fast economic growth, but its population growth is even faster. It will have 1.4 billion people by 2025, up 400 million from today. And finally, India is expanding economically, but to do so, it needs to triple its energy supply in 15-20 years to make that happen.

This complexity requires a new way of thinking and, to Banerjee, design thinking is the answer. He then listed the elements of DT:

Collaborative Thinking

Process Mindedness

Holistic Multi-Disciplinary Approach


Tech/Business focus

Systems thinking


Rapid Concept Generation


Rapid Prototyping


Catalyzing decision-making




Managing transformation

Banerjee said that Design Thinking needs to be applied to much higher strategic levels to solve major economic and social problems. This is as true in the US and Europe as India. Amen to that. Banerjee

flew to Ahmedabad after the Bangalore Summit where he watched nearly 200 people graduate in 17 discipline at the National Institute of Design school there. He says "the scale and the

money involved makes a lot of the programs in the US look miniscule."

He also point to the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. "I was there evaluating an innovation contest where the winners get

awarded venture funding and also to speak about a government of India funded institute for creativity that they are involved in." Clearly a source of talent in India--and for the globe.

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