Posts Tagged ‘DYPDC Center for automotive research and studies’

This just proves what we have been telling you all along. Indian automotive industry is poised for bigger, better things in the near future.

In a bid to boost new business opportunities, Australia is aiming to enter into a formal tie-up with rapidly growing Indian auto companies. If such a thing happens, the Kangaroo country’s world class firms will be able to put up their show in world’s second fastest growing auto markets. And India, in turn will be benefitted with Australia’s innovative green technology.

Multi-billion-dollar Australian auto industry has already taken up the initiative by sending their Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Kim Carr, on a three day visit to India. Carr said that Australia was looking forward to make closer tie-ups between their innovative automotive corporations and the Indian companies.

He said, “With the help of the Australian Government’s ‘a New car plan for a Greener Future’, our auto industry has not only survived the global economic downturn but is transforming and becoming a world leader in new technology.”

Enthusiastic Carr further pointed out the benefits of Innovative technology that the country would get from this alliance. The Indian auto majors and related companies can take advantage of the newly introduced R&D Tax Credit Legislation for up scaling their product sales and manufacturing part, he added.

After discussing some crucial points with utility car leads Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors, the minister said, “This expertise makes our companies attractive partners for international companies including India.”

He continued to extoll on the profit that the Indian auto companies could get from the collaboration. The subcontinent’s auto firms can take the benefit of the opportunity as Indian auto industry desires new vehicle designs, building process and low emission technologies, and Australia is an ideal country to help them out with its innovative technology, he added.

SOURCE: (Car Trade India)


DYPDC Centre for Automotive Research and Studies and Goethe-Institut recently organized an evening with two unique lectures. One was titled Forms of E-Mobility by Wolfgang Jonas, who is a Professor for “Designwissenschaft” at Braunschweig University of Art, Institute for Transportation Design, and the other was titled The POVER Car, which was conducted by Elmer Van Grondelle, Head, Advanced Automotive Design, Delft University of Technology.













The lectures were held at Max Mueller Center, Pune, at their lovely, open air lawn. There were close to 30 participants who attended the lecture and included people from both academia and industry. The lecture began at around 7 in the evening and went on till 9 pm, followed by beverages and dinner.

It was quite interesting to listen to both gentlemen as they had different styles of approach to their presentation. While Jonas’s lecture was thought-provoking, to the point and highly technical, Elmer’s was light, lively and filled with anecdotes. The audience loved the contrasting styles and were equally involved in both the presentations. Jonas focused on strategy, design and innovation, while Elmer spoke about a concept called Poverty Car, hence the name Pover Car, which was built by his students for the developing countries, like India and such.

A little brief on the two gentlemen:

Wolfgang Jonas studied of naval architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. He has been a consulting engineer in the area of Computer Aided Design for companies of the automobile industry and the German standardization institute DIN. Since 1988 he has been teaching (CAD, industrial design, exhibitions) and research (system theory and design theory) at the University of the Arts Berlin and at the University of Wuppertal.

He is a visiting professor at the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA, Université de Montréal, Canada, Keimyung University, Daegu, Korea, Aalborg University, Denmark.

His areas of interest are: Design theory as meta theory, design theory and design methods in a systemic perspective, systems thinking, scenario planning, research through design.

His numerous publications on theoretical and practical aspects of designing include: “Design – System – Theorie: Überlegungen zu einem systemtheoretischen Modell von Designtheorie” (1994), “Mind the gap! – on knowing and not-knowing in Design” (2004), “Positionen zur Designwissenschaft” (2010), also publications on the history of naval architecture in Nordfriesland (1990) and on the aesthetics of modern ships (1991).

Elmer D. van Grondelle has close to thirty years of experience in automotive design and the design of automotive design processes. He holds a B.A. from the Dutch Royal College of Art and a Design Management MBA from the University of Westminster. He has worked for companies like Ford, BMW, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, Toyota, Kymco and Hyundai. Currently Elmer freelances as a strategic automotive designer, and spends half of his time at Delft University of Technology, where he is the program manager for Advanced Automotive Design. Elmer teaches automotive design, strategy and design processes. His research involves the design of management models that frame and facilitate tacit knowledge in automotive design.

Tell us a bit about your background. What you’ve been doing? What you intend to do in the future?

I am an Assistant Professor in Dept. of Design, IIT Guwahati. I teach Ergonomics and Human Factors to UG and PG students. I joined IIT Guwahati in March 2010. Before joining in IIT, I worked as a research fellow in Ergonomics Lab, DIPAS, DRDO, Delhi for five years. During my stay in DIPAS, I acquired research experience in the field of military ergonomics and gained expertise in ergonomic evaluation of products and workstations using digital human modeling softwares.

I received my Ph.D. in Physiology from the Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, T.N., India in Sept’ 2009 for the thesis entitled ‘Ergonomic Studies of Some Basic Human Performance Resources in the Design of Different Indian Military Workstation in Virtual Environment’. I earned M.Sc in Physiology with specialization in Environmental Physiology from University of Burdwan, West Bengal, India in the year 2003.  I was awarded with Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management by Pondicherry University in 2008.

Besides regular teaching activity, I am also continuing my research work. Ph.D student and PG students are enrolled under my guidance for their thesis work. In future, I want to strengthen my research in cognitive aspects of automobile design, particularly in information processing (visual, auditory, tactile etc.).

What does design mean to you?

Being a faculty and researcher in ergonomics/human factors, I feel that design is a co-ordinated approach towards better object/facility or service to satisfy human needs (physical and cognitive). There is more consideration of co-ordinate geometry and human perceptions in design.

What’s the scope of automobile design in India?

India is a country with a large population. There’s a big market out here. Indian people vary widely in their anthropometry and morphology due to mixture of various races in the population. There are also huge variations in their culture, religion, economic status, climate etc. All these factors influence the design of vehicle for them. Hence, I believe that there is enough scope of working in the field of automobile design in India.

Tell us a bit about your experience during conducting workshop at DYPDC College?

It was a nice experience to conduct the week long workshop on ‘Human Factors/ Ergonomics in Automobile Design’. I covered basic ergonomic principles in design to applied human factor issues in the automobile sector. Besides power point presentations, different assignments were given to the students for a hands-on experience in applying percentile anthropometric data, strength data, joint mobility values etc. in vehicle design, use of various reference points and standards for automotive packaging, analyzing view fields/visual obstruction, defining reach zone and subsequently positioning various controls, providing clearance spaces, assuring comforts in terms of single/multiple body joint angles etc. Demonstration on application of digital human modeling softwares in ergonomic evaluation of vehicle workspace was given for making the workshop more interesting and understandable.

All the participants were highly enthusiastic and some of them really performed well. I was extremely happy with the feedback from them. I am also thankful to all the faculty members and staff for their cooperation and help. It helped me conduct the workshop successfully. I want to convey my sincere thanks to Director, DYP-DC college for inviting me for conducting the workshop and providing me with all the facilities.

What are your thoughts about DYPDC College? About what it is trying to achieve?

DYP-DC Center for Automotive Research and Studies is a highly specialized and goal oriented institute for automobile design. They are developing sound infrastructure for laboratories/studios. Renowned faculties from premier institutes and experienced designers from industries in India and abroad are engaged here as fulltime or visiting faculty. So, it is becoming a global school. Moreover, partnership with the industry is extending job opportunities for students.

I hope in the near future, this institute will take the leading role in the automobile sector in India.
















(In the pic: Mr. Jagpreet, Mr. Chris Bangle, Mr.Abhishek & Mr.Chandra Prasad)


“Bangle is arguably the most influential auto designer of his generation.”

— Phil Patton, New York Times, February 20, 2006.

And one look at Bangle’s work is enough to conclude that Patton isn’t exaggerating. Bangle is and will continue to be one of the icons in the automotive industry, for no one else has had the kind of impact he has had in the field of automobile design. Bangle started his career at Opel after graduating from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. His next stop was Fiat, where he designed the Coupe Fiat. In 1992, BMW named him Chief of Design. He was the first American to be offered this position. It is his excellent, fearless work with BMW is what he is known for the most.

Some of the faculty members of DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies caught up with Chris Bangle when he was in India recently, and had the great fortune of indulging in chit-chat about design and his philosophy, amongst other things.

Mentioned below is the transcribed version of their interaction.

According to Chris there are quite a few elements that make a design stand apart, that make it distinct, unique in comparison to others. It has to have an element of brilliance. Jaws should drop. It should be the first one to solve an existing problem. So in that sense, it has to be futuristic. The design should be timeless and distinct. It should be so awe-inspiring that it shifts paradigms, in the bargain, inspiring others. It should have this quality that makes others want to be “it”.

Chris said to be a successful designer one needs to learn to challenge everyday doing; to respect convention but not be bound by it. He said culture does play an extremely important part in shaping a person. It plays a crucial role in design as well, he said. He advised designers to be aware of it; to be courageous most of all and not be afraid to do what you really want to do.

He also spoke about the things a designer should keep in mind while designing a car. He said he would like to discourage in designers the thought that there’s something called a “women’s” car, and that if you make one, no one will buy it. He advised designers to never fall in this mindset or be racist against small cars. Also designers should always follow proportions surface detail while designing, he added.

When it came to his design strategy, he said he followed 10 steps, which are as follows:

Step 1: Understanding the dogmas: i.e. what I am, what I am not

Step 2:  Finding the metaphor

Step 3: Re-thinking the metaphor

Step 4:

(a):  Just thinking…a lot

(b): Thinking what culture can do

(c): USP

Step 5: Making a bold Conclusion (here he talked about 7 series, Bangle Butt)

Step 6: Evolving Metaphor

Step 7: Defining in action

Step 8: Preparing to take heat (talked about the job of a design head)

Step 9: Leveraging my resources

Step 10: Empowering my team

The faculty of DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies are absolutely thrilled that they got to spend time with one of the greats of automobile design and are already looking forward to meeting Bangle the next time he’s in town.


Nicole Crea is a design manager and consultant for product development. He has worked as a car designer at Pininfarina Concept Institute, Fiat, Mercedes-Benz cars and Giannini. In 1992, he ventured into designing of boats and motorcycles. He started his consultancy, “Victory design”, an engineering studio devoted to yacht design based in Naples. Upon moving to Germany, he worked for “Daimler-Chrysler” at the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design studio in Sindelfingen (Stuttgart), from 1996 to 1998. From 2006 to 2008 he headed CISME (Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi sulla Mobilità Ecosostenibile), research center of studies on sustainable mobility. He is also the member of scientific committee as well as coordinator of all design activities for Tulton, a company that specializes in development of new products. He is a professor at the University of Chieti, and regularly collaborates with the Politecnico di Milano and University of Genoa.

He was gracious enough to answer some of our questions when he was at our campus.

Tell us a bit about your background. What you’ve been doing? What you intend to do in the future?

I was born in 1957, I am a car design manager, expert in industrial product development. I am also a university design teacher.

In 1982 I graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California (U.S.A.), in transportation design. The same year I moved to Turin, in Italy, where I started working as a designer for “Pininfarina Studi & Ricerche”.

From 1983 to 1986 I worked as a senior designer at “I.DE.A. Institute”.

In 1986 I was hired by Fiat Auto as design manager and studio chief in charge of exterior design of Fiat cars. Later and until 1992, I worked as manager of exterior design of Lancia cars at Centro Stile Lancia in Orbassano. One remarkable result of this engagement was the development of the Lancia Delta Integrale.

In 1992 I started my collaboration with “Giannini Automobili”. I was engaged as director of design and in charge of the development of new products. In only four years, I achieved the task to qualify Giannini as “carrozzeria” in ANFIA, Italian national association of coachbuilders.

In 1996, at the Turin International Auto Show, Giannini, in parallel with all the major Italian coachbuilders, has been invited by Fiat Auto to develop a show car based on the new Brava. Giannini presents Windsurf, a coupé with very advanced aerodynamic concept, which I entirely conceived and developed.

Meantime, since 1992, I widened my professional interest to the design of boats and motorcycles. I started consultancies with “Victory design”, engineering studio devoted to yacht design based in Naples, and “Majestic Auto”, Indian industry producer of motorcycle and mopeds. In both cases I had the opportunity to transfer my specific knowledge and the development technologies in use in the automotive field to these other product sectors.

From 1996 to 1998, I moved to Germany to work for “Daimler-Chrysler” at the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design studio in Sindelfingen (Stuttgart).

From 1999 on, my engagements are shared between consultancies and teaching. In fact in the following years I’ve been involved with the Universities of Pescara, Genoa and the Polytechnic of Milan as a teacher in their courses of studies.

During this period of time I developed projects with several companies such as Tecnema, Picchio, Bizzarrini and Tasso (now Italcar) in many cases creating a synergy between industry and the academic world. I organized my research activity by creating, with prof. Michele Platania, CISME (Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi sulla Mobilità Ecosostenibile), a center of studies on sustainable mobility. In 2006, I became director of the research center. Meanwhile, I became member of the scientific committee as well as coordinator of all design activities of Tulton, company specialized in new products development.

Since 2007, I’ve been with the Politecnico di Milano, where I teach and perform my research activity and tutorship of the master on Automobile Design organized with Alfa Romeo. I am now member of the research unit of Advanced design (UDR ADD). I am also member of the commission for evaluation of new patents of the Facoltà del Design of the Politecnico di Milano. I am also project leader of interdisciplinary projects for the Alta Scuola Politecnica (Politecnico di Milano and Politecnico di Torino).

I am in charge of Strategic Design course at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Genova.

Since 2009, I’ve been with the Scientific Committee of Milano car design, in the capacity of President. It’s a company devoted to research, design and production of prototypes and special vehicles and in charge of design development and consultant for D.EA. srl (Design and Architecture).

The ambition for the future is to do always better in my work and try to achieve something remarkable in terms of new products, as well as in my academic activity.

What does design mean to you?

Design is one of the most complex human activities. It is a mix of technology, art and social science. The core is innovation. Innovation has the peculiarity of being interdisciplinary. This requires the contribution of other competences. With the wide range of knowledge involved, coordination and organization of projects plays a fundamental role. Moreover, any project must be the development of a new idea, it cannot be the execution of some acquired know-how, as in case of some other disciplines. Design, also, is a way of expression, a communication mean. Design is the practice that allows dreams to come through. Man will always desire. This is why design practice will never stop.

How did you get interested in Automobile Design?

I started to read numbers on car plates, I recognized cars by looking at their wheels, I started to recognize sound hearing the noise of different cars, at school all my notebooks were full of car sketches. I started to play with cars, use them, take them apart, paint them, modify them. I could recognize cars anywhere. I could tell the date of first registration of a car by reading the number on the license plate. At 18 years old, I started to race cars and I had parts all over in my bedroom. I started buying, selling, exchanging and collecting cars. In my life I’ve owned about 90 cars, with a maximum of 15 at the same time. I used to believe that each one of them had a different spirit.

What’s the scope of automobile design in India?

Mobility allows a better life quality. Mostly saves you time, so you can have a more intense life. In developed countries people spends a lot of time inside their automobiles, which has become a sort of prosthesis of our ego. For this reason cars have a representative function which has to be coherent with the culture of the owner. The scope of automobile design is to conceive complex products to supply population with tools and services that people expects. The most interesting challenge it would be to understand exactly what an automobile means to Indian population and its culture and to do our best to design it.

Tell us a bit about your role as visiting faculty at DYPDC College

I am offering my experience as a teacher and car designer to the development of DYPDC

What are your thoughts about DYPDC College? About what it is trying to achieve?

I believe that DYPDC has set very ambitious goals for its institution. We are talking of the vision of a school that becomes a reference in car design in India and, why not, that spreads its reputation all over the world. This is a fascinating dream and I would be pleased to be part of it. I am putting my competence, my knowledge and my enthusiasm as contribution to this program.

What advice would you give to upcoming designers?

To be a designer is a very special job. It needs a lot of knowledge and a lot of competences. To become a designer takes time and patience, but when you got there, in my opinion, it is one of the most rewarding  professions (not necessarily from an economical point of view). So, if you have that special spark inside, it’s worth working hard for it.


DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies commenced session on 30 August, 2010. The weeks leading up to it were hectic, but at the same time exciting. The staff took great pains in planning and execution of the events.

Induction Week

The college started with the induction week, which was held from 30 August to 5 September 2010. The Induction week was filled with activities. It gave students a feel of how the college will function, what’s expected of them, their responsibilities etc.

  • Mr. Dilip Chhabria interacted with the students and answered all their queries, doubts and so forth
  • Students and faculty members had their formal introductions
  • Mr. Hrridaysh Deshpande gave a presentation on ‘What is design.’
  • Ms. Ratna Chatterjee, Senior Faculty, gave a presentation on ‘What is Automotive Design’
  • Faculty took the students through the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum
  • Mr. Jagpreet Singh took a session on Mind Mapping for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
  • Students participated in a group discussion on a topic related to design
  • Mr. Anthony Thomas, a senior English professor, conducted a workshop on Communication skill:  The students were introduced to “Elements of Effective Communication”, with the help of inputs from the trainer and practical interactive exercises. The students participated actively in the Workshop.
  • Mr. Mahendra Patel took a workshop on visual order. He covered topics like Harmony, Rhythm, Balance and Contrast :  Mr. Prof. Patel is one of the finest teachers of Design today. He has been a faculty with National institute of   Design, Ahmedabad for the past 39 years. He also conducts workshops and training programs at Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda; Srishti College of Arts and Design, Bangalore, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad, Industrial Design Center, IIT Mumbai, and Indian Institute of Crafts, Jaipur. He has also taught at Rhode Island School of Design, USA, Nova Scotia College of Arts, Canada, Christchurch College of Arts, New Zealand and Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture, Pakistan. Presently, he is serving as adjunct faculty member at the Symbiosis Institute of Design (SID) and MIT Institute of Design, both of which are in Pune. He recently won the Gutenberg International Award for his contribution in font designing for Indian scripts, and map design and signage design for Indian cities.

Chevrolet Design Contest:

General Motors conducted a session with our students. They wanted our students to take part in a design contest titled, Design the Next Chevrolet. Mr. Anil Saini, Director, Design Studio (India) – General Motors, Bangalore came to our school, interacted with our students, gave them a brief history of General Motors – its past, present and future, and took questions from students.

Guest Faculty

Post the induction week, it was time to turn to serious academics. DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies has an exemplary list of both Full-time and Visiting Faculty. So far we’ve have had two of the most respected designers as guest faculty at DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies.

Mr. Patrick Roupin:

Mr. Patrick Roupin is an award winning Belgium designer. He holds a Masters degree in product engineering design from the ISD – Supinfocom Group, Valenciennes / Pune. He won the Designer for Real World – Victor PAPANECK Prize in 2004. Patrick formerly worked as a usability specialist for one of the world’s leading usability companies in India. He has also worked as a product designer with companies such as Decathlon and Faurecia in France.

His Workshop:

  • Students were exposed to the importance of user research.
  • The interacted with customers to gather information, which they used to re-designing and create innovations from scratch.
  • They went through the complete user research process, whereby they could understand each and every step of design analysis to conceptualization through practical exercises.
  • Their design directions were presented with user observation, videos and interviews they captured in the city.

Mr. Nicola Crea:

Mr. Nicola Crea is a design manager and consultant for product development, who has worked with great automobile companies like Pininfarina Concept Institute, Fiat, Mercedes-Benz cars and Giannini. In 1992, he ventured into designing of boats and motorcycles and started his own consultancy, “Victory design”, which is an engineering studio devoted to yacht design. From 2006 to 2008, he headed CISME (Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi sulla Mobilità Ecosostenibile), research center of studies on sustainable mobility. He is also the coordinator for all design activities for Tulton, a company that specializes in development of new products. He is a professor at the University of Chieti, and regularly collaborates with the Politecnico di Milano and University of Genoa.

His Workshop:

  • He primarily spoke of the design process, i.e. how it all begins to how the vehicle (the finished product) finally comes on to the road.
  • He spoke about how a car functions, how it is manufactured,
  • He spoke about sustainable design, sustainable future and the scope of design in India.
  • He also spoke about how a design project is to be handled by automobile designers.

All these activities, workshops, seminars, events and so forth have only reiterated the fact that DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies is one of the foremost automobile design schools in Asia. We endeavor to have more such things in the near future, and make learning more vibrant and interesting for our students.

Mr. Patrick Roupin is an award winning Belgium designer. He holds a Masters degree in product engineering design from the ISD – Supinfocom Group, Valenciennes / Pune. He won the Designer for Real World – Victor PAPANECK Prize in 2004. Patrick formerly worked as a usability specialist for one of the world’s leading usability companies in India. He has also worked as a product designer with companies such as Decathlon and Faurecia in France. He did some very interesting workshops with our students, which were mainly focused on social experiments.

The following is an interview of Patrick Roupin conducted by the communications team at DYPDC College:

Tell us a bit about your background. What you’ve been doing? What you intend to do in the future?

I grew up in Belgium and studied at the Institut Superieur de Design – Supinfocom in France, where I did my Masters in Product Design Management. Like my colleagues I was ready to live and work the States, but for some reason, I decided a short trip to India first. Of course, I ended up staying here for good. I worked with HFI – India. The experience was very rich from a professional perspective. For more than 3 years I was working on international projects for the world’s leading usability company. This is when I thought I must do something for India and hence opened my own company, Kovent ( My objective is simple. Creating innovation that would possibly change the lives of millions of people. Today’s designers have the real chance of changing people’s lives, without compromising on profitability.

What does design mean to you?

At the time I was studying at the Institut Superieur de Design, all projects were ending up with an industrial product or transportation design solution.  Today’s user needs end up with hybrid needs that include industrial design solution but also a variety of other needs like communication, knowledge, social interaction. Industrial design has become a part of a whole business design process and is no more the central object.

As design focus shifts to user experience it becomes a truly multi-disciplinary field. The reason is simple: people’s life experience is not only about material satisfaction but emotional, political, social and cultural commitments as well. People are not machines to swallow industrial mass production. They are all different and aspire to different things.

Some would argue that people need value for money and we must answer their basic needs before thinking about emotional design and social commitment. That’s true, but you must also remember that we are in India. India is a country of social experiment where religion, family or social identity often sweeps the whole attention to the detriment of basic necessity. Value for money is good, but then we must redefine what values are more important and this is based on user research. This is what I am trying to do with More & More consumer trends reports ( To redefine design values for the Indian market. This approach has been widely explored in western countries and it would take a much larger way in India where social diversity in more important.

I no more believe in industrial design and take the pledge that business design is the future of design. Business design is the only way we have to reorganize businesses based on user experiences. Business design is about understanding people’s user experience and fulfill this experience simultaneously from multiple channels such as industrial design, information technology, social and cultural ventures, media, etc.  That looks conceptual but it has become an economical reality. For example: If Nokia doesn’t do well today in the market, it is not because they are not able to design value for money mobile phones. It is because they neglected the devices compatibility with the million of applications available on the market. They stuck to the mobile phone manufacturing when people were actually seeking software compatibility, networkability and social interaction. Industrial design helps differentiate one mobile phone from the other, but that’s all it does. Business design on the other hand works on the relationship that customers share with their devices. In the automobile industry too this is happening, and will soon happen on a larger scale.

What’s the scope of automobile design in India?

India is where the future of automobile design will be and for two reasons: Innovation comes from the younger generation — the average population in India is pretty young compared with the rest of the world. Second, the context of mega-cities and urban development in India is unique and would require very specific transportation systems.

The scope of automobile design in India lies in “system integration”.

Being in Bangalore I keep hearing, “I will login from home today”.  What does it mean? There’s so much traffic on the road that companies prefer to have their employees work from home. Now if we analyze this from a transportation perspective, you’ll find that the real competitor for a brand of car, bus or airline, is not another means of transportation, but the Internet.

System integration in transportation is not only about optimizing all transportation systems, but also optimizing the compatibility with non-transportation systems as such as the Internet, media, mobile phones, GPS, drive-in services, hardware and software etc. This means we don’t need to create cars that do everything but to create cars that are compatible with everything. That would be a wonderful challenge for Indian designers.

Tell us a bit about your role as visiting faculty at DYPDC College?

My role was to expose the students to the skills of user research. Basically interact with users to gather information for re-designing or creating innovations from scratch. They went through the complete user research process, whereby they could understand each and every step of design analysis to conceptualization through practical exercises. It is quiet frustrating for a young designer to think about research when creating a design. They often prefer to think they just need to be creative and that would help sell the product. However, industries don’t work that way today.

The students realized the benefits of user research when they applied it to their own projects at the end of the week. Few of the teams presented design concepts that were very much focused and refined from the user’s perspective. Their design directions were presented with user observation, videos and interviews they captured in the city. I believe that DYPDC College will make a difference to automobile user research in India.

What are your thoughts about DYPDC College? About what it is trying to achieve?

The success of DYPDC would depend on their ability to change the way we consider automobile design and create something new in the market. I have been working in France and in India under typical Indian and American management. I have seen what are the strengths and weakness of these different cultures.

Let me tell you what the biggest challenge in India is today. Indian designers can understand users better than anyone. The reason is simple: India is so diverse in terms of culture, behaviour and needs that most Indians have developed this natural ability of adapting to others and accepting their logic of functioning.

However, creativity and implementation is a constant issue. Firstly there is always this fear of creating something new or hydrid. Creating something new has the consequence of shadowing something less new. Indirectly innovation leads to the destruction of our tradition. It is an ethnical issue. Indians are rightly concerned about that, and need to be fixed with new design values. Secondly, Indians have the Sufism of life. They love to experience intellectual uncertainty, explore knowledge and possibilities. But design has to become a reality if we want to reach the excellence of innovation.

European designers have mastered this approach of opening all doors to the “unseen” and quickly coming back to a commercial reality with concrete design solutions. This approach of creativity has to mature and become routine in India too.

With respect to all cultures today, the world’s best design firms are multicultural and students of DYPDC College will naturally find their place to express the best of their Indian cultural identity, competencies and knowledge.

I wish them all the best.