Learning @ Unmet Social Needs as Drivers of Innovations

The idea to Product – Design Thinking Workshop Series, Workshop Phase – 1 entitled as “Unmet Social Needs as Drivers of Innovations” was organized by Open Design School and conducted at GTU, Chandkheda on Dt. 22/11/2016.

Below are some of the notes compiled on the day during various sessions. Mention of the below text is for the purpose of Documentation. Generally, such workshops make the brain run faster and pump the heart with a booster but, after some time it results in thoughts lost and targets vanished. The text is as is, not much edited though to retain the ideas.

 Session I (10.18 am to 12.15 pm)

  • Karmjit Bihola in initial address
    • It is the Phase-1 of converting an idea into products. In the future time, more phases will be initiated and need be percolated to the students of BE programs.
  • Lightening of the lamps by Sh. Anil Gupta, Dr. Rajul Gajjar, Dr. N M Bhatt, Sh. J C Lilani, Prof. Karmjit Bihola
  • J C Lilani during his welcome address
    • Fortunate to have Padmshri Dr. Gupta guiding all the participants
    • Life of each and every citizen shall be smooth, is the task ahead of the engineers
  • Gajjar felicitated Sh. Gupta with a flower bouquet and a memento
  • J C Lilani welcomed Dr. N M Bhatt with flower bouquet
  • N M Bhatt addressed purpose of the workshop
    • Revision of the syllabus of subjects is basically performed to take care of the ongoing trends and technology in all the branches of engineering
    • GTU framed initial outline based on existing guidelines of the GU and other universities in Gujarat
    • In February 2013, a meeting was conducted where a principal decision was made to improve the employability of the students by making them able to have problem-solving approach. At GTU, the system is result oriented where results are, more or less self-evaluated. GTU need to do something different and introduced OEPs for the first time. From Sem III onward, DE was presented. It was introduced as a subject through the code but intended to be learned as a philosophy/ approach. Experts from within the system and foreign helped in developing the curriculum of 4 courses of DE. The Shodh-Yatra is a part of DE. At present, the feedback is mixed, however, consecutive year by year.
  • Address by Hon’ble VC in-charge, Dr. Rajul Gajjar
    • It will be a start of a new process. Thinking is to brought into the engineering and process. We are GTU, you are the GTU. All people in the hall have championed the course of design engineering. We need to keep doing experimenting and keep speeding the unknown territory. A book on projects/process on a rural outfit is documented in the form of a book.
    • Follow the right process.
    • Quality is expected everywhere but, are we inculcating it in our students?
  • Anil Gupta (anilgb@gmail.com)
    • Presentation entitled “A teacher of thousand years.”
      • We are not to begin something new as GTU is already doing something.
      • Samvedana – sukhaay – saralta – sanrachna – samadhan – santushti stages of anything
      • What if all the 16000 projects remain prototypes because of BE final year work?
      • Demonstrated Rahul Rastogi/ Neha Rastogi’s product to record/share ECG – priced below 100$ “Sanket.”
      • “There exists no door which we cannot open.”
      • At least 10-15% project be products from prototypes created by the students
      • IITans are not driving the country – railways, defense, DRDO, ISRO are run by the engineer’s breed of colleges in nation
      • The potential is tremendous in our students, we give up.
      • Service provision is missing – the cobbler example
      • Needs are changed but not the tools nor the thinking
      • “Just a drop of water” – as per Indian tradition, we must not waste every single resource
      • 200 years’ education plan of Japan
      • Gujarat valley, not the Silicon Valley – develop a vision for a longer horizon but such dreams shortens the paths of actual realization of the vision
      • Getting satisfied is very much factor of growth to stop
      • We reduce our ambitions – it is a crime that we do. Our expectations will drive the march of excellence.
      • Every drop counts – every detail matters
      • Every student is extraordinary in some or the other quality. Ask students to build a team by identifying the loopholes that one are having. Friendship is at its place. College is for learning. Overcome by Compensating your lacking – the team should be such
      • No to mediocrity, no to inefficiency
      • Hand-pump design – identify problem in existing design
        • Need 2 persons – one for pumping, 1 for drinking
        • Flow of water is more than that is capacity of a hand to hold – wastage
        • No provision for storage of water within the pump
        • Filter is missing
        • Ergonomic posture for the user
        • Discontinued flow
        • Water splash may prompt user wet
        • If the water is overflowing, it should be utilized
        • Bucket filling will need more flow
        • Thinking paradox – compare and contrast – thinking the opposites
      • Concept of Autonomy (freedom to use) and agency (user of liberty)
      • “science that does not make a difference” – examples of application of simpler scientific principles – check the logic that is followed (example – slowing down the heating process between whistles during cooking)
      • Define the problem precisely so that the solutions are easy to chase for;
      • Inertia is the second side of the innovation coin; impatience need to be increased in ourselves
      • (Example of tea leave plucking) Feel the problem of a user by passing through the process; make students do the things so that difficulties are experienced by the students;
        • Make them go through the problem (transforming samvedana)
      • Without actual passing through the pain, feeling of pain cannot be generated;
      • No one likes to work inefficiently, we don’t pay attention to the problems faced;
      • No jugaad – science dies in jugaad;
      • My job as a teacher is to educate you properly – tell to students;
      • Pain of back for the farmers of paddy crop while paddy transplantation on a muddy ground;
      • Experience based observations – not completely possible at all times, however, a healthy mixture of observation and experience can be introduced in the design engineering;
      • Challenge Gandhiji issued in the year 1929;
Dr. Anil Gupta (Photo courtesy: GTU)

Session II (12.30 pm onward) Challenge


Mahatma Gandhi’s Announcement of a Design Competition, 24th July 1929 One Lakh Rupees or 7700 Pounds Prize!

Akhila Bharatiya Charkhaa Sangh Worker’s Samiti has decided to organize this contest for inventors and engineers all over the world that if they could come up with a Charkha or a Samyukta Yantra which – for making the thread and cloth that satisfies the following criterion – shall be awarded prize money of 1 Lakh Rupees or 7700 pounds.

The Criteria

  • Charkha must be light-weighted, easy to move, and it should be in such a way so as to be operated using either hand or one’s leg in a natural way in the rural cottages of India.
  • It must be in such a way that a lady shall be able to work with it for eight hours at a stretch without great effort put in.
  • Either Charkhas must have a build to accommodate the use of a puni (used to make handspun cloth) or along with the charkha there must be a way to handspun cloth.
  • On working with the charkha for eight hours at a continuous stretch – it should result in 12 to 20 numbers of 16000 feet yarn.
  • The machine should be so designed such that it costs no more than Rs. 150 in producing it in India only.
  • The machine should be strong and well-made and with time-to-time servicing it should be capable of running for at least 20 years without any stopping. Servicing of the machine should not cost much and every year not more than 5% of the cost of the machine that year shall be needed for servicing.
  • All those taking part in this contest may, with their own input costs and expenses, send their machines to Sabarmati Ashram before or not later than 30th October, 1930. In case the machines satisfy the criterion mentioned – then the inventor/designer can patent it on his name to protect their rights on them. But, if they wish to become eligible to win the prize money of the contest, then the designer shall have to transfer the rights of the patent to Indian Charkha Sangh Council.
  • The Judges for the Contest shall be Khadi Pratishtan’s Sri Satish Chandra Das Gupta, Bardoli Swarajya Ashram’s Technical Director Sri Lakshmidas Purushottam and Tiruchengonduu Gandhi Ashram’s Director Sri Chakravarthy Rajagopalachari. In case there is no consensus amongst the judges on the winner – Gandhiji’s decision shall be the final one. In case of Gandhiji’s absence Akhil Bharat Charkha Sangh Mantri Sri Shankar Laal Banker shall be the final decision-maker.

All questions and queries may be addressed to Mantri, Akhil Bharat Charkha Sangh, Mirzapur, and Ahmedabad.”

Defining boundary conditions/ constraints will enable better designs:

  • User context is the rural hutment area (designs not producing waste)
  • Lifecycle – 20 years – 8 hours/day working (durability)
  • Portability (within the form) & transportability (between the forms)
  • Displacement (shifting)
  • Easy to move yet strong (paradoxical thinking – introduces newer materials)
  • Ergonomics
  • Left or right-hand usability (operational flexibility)
  • It either produces bobbin (single function) of handspun yarn or produces wool rolls – flexible – simple to complex (multi-functional) design
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Maintenance (5% of the total cost)
  • Productivity benchmarked (12 to 20 numbers of 16000 feet of yarn)
  • Benchmark of the output quality along with quantity
  • Benchmark of the device quality along with quantity
  • Recognition (award) – vision for open source of the product

Engineering colleges are not available to support innovators through ample innovators are existing in Gujarat;

Bring breakthrough innovation in the matured industries like steel manufacturing, cement productions, etc. aged more than 30 years; putting boundary conditions correctly is a requirement to have a breakthrough innovation; complete isolation is not all the time possible, modification in the terms shall be allowed (being flexible);

Appreciate the work of the students/ options identified by them/ teaching a new aspect to a teacher- it motivates innovative thinking;

Discussion on Adjustable Walker

By Miss Shalini Kumar, Class 8, Patna (Bihar)

  • Form, feature, and function
  • Upgradability in the basic design (future scope for upgrade) possibility for adding new features
  • She only identified problem; (a need-identification ability is a skill)
  • Design audit points (becoming creative while criticizing) our kids can think of universal designs
    • Foldable
    • Easy transportation (car, mobile, cycle and so on)
    • Grip à friction shall be offered, anti-slip, flexible (not too much)
    • Allowing User height based adjustments
    • Shifting
    • Adjustment
    • Friction
    • Balancing issue – more legs/ extra support/ edge
    • Children walker – balancing cum safety
    • Hand pressure difference – unequal weight will disturb the equality

We are excellent in analysis, very weak in implementing

(Ms. Chhaya, youngest speaker of IIM-A -12 years) application of roots of inertia (inclined pipe for water delivery taps allowing usage by people with different heights)

Exercise of cycle (take obvious answers out of circle)

What you can do with a cycle? (apart from making people or goods move?)

  • Battery charging
  • Road cleaning, Swiping
  • Harvesting
  • Winding
  • Spindle
  • Juice extract from sugarcane

Working products in the campus, making ease for all the users within campus including cleaners.

Overcoming inertia is a key to generate ideas – begin by dropping the obvious out.

A project design discussion by the professor of B J Gardi college on an innovative approach for bank slip design. The solution included an introduction of a new language along with the use of colors for filling the details.

Whistleblower technique for filing anonymous complaints.

Mushroom case (wet biomass – waste from the kitchen)

Prior art search is essential

  • Patent record search
  • Internet search
  • Market benchmarking
  • Cluster search (where manufacturer exists – a mass of users)
  • Find an expert in a field

SESSION III (Post-lunch till day-end)

How the problem is defined?

A Consolidated list of projects is available with GTU. Circulated among all.

Problem definitions shall be standardized so as boundary conditions are well-defined. It will help in formulating better solutions/ alternatives.

Not all the problems to be identified at a stretch. Need to determine problems in steps.

  • Long tail of innovation (a chart – only a few achieve, scale, a large number sell a few pieces or in a few communities)
  • Long nose of innovation: take a long time to come into a market (ability to present results in a proper manner is equally important.
  • Our goal is not to create a monopoly but to build public good.
  • Private safe, community right and public good – non-rival, non-subtract-able
  • We need to be a producer of knowledge
  • Creation of market for merit
  • in or techpedia.srishti.in
  • Crowdsource problems and crowdsource solutions ß cultivate the culture

Problem definition content

  • Define a specific user (profile of the user)
  • Define the context (how many user potential users?)
  • Whether the solution has a multi-domain application? Check and enlist in the problem definition; potential unrelated domain shall be thought of;
  • Cluster presentations shall be made (community/ industry specific);
  • Incremental change in a non-domain use of a product
  • Prioritize the projects focused on quality so that overall quality is improved at entrepreneur level; publish properly and have a cluster level meeting;
  • China has made tremendous progress regarding quality improvement – documents, papers, projects, products
  • Every student shall make a flow diagram; if not, there lies confusion in thoughts.
  • Guide teams need to be multi-disciplinary
  • Be liberal in giving credits
  • Acknowledge the thoughts/ talks of others
I was taking notes creating a soft version of thoughts and ideas

Here is a formal report compilation of the above notes with photographs.

Below is the report by Open Design School of GTU

The task ahead is assigned as:

Creative Commons License

Unmet Social Needs as Drivers of Innovations by Bhasker Vijaykumar Bhatt, SCET, GTU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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