A View from the Rim


The Future of Design Education

By Uday Dandavate


Uday kicked off the discussion by drawing a visualization of nine niches for design researchers plotted on top of a framework called “the landscape of design practice,” which was developed by Dr. Liz Sanders.  This framework divides the design landscape into four quadrants: design-led with expert mindset, design-led with participatory mindset, research-led with expert mindset, and research-led with participatory mindset.

Participants began by marking all the niches they have explored in their professional work in the past five years. Next, everyone looked at the clustering of marks on the board and discussed what the patterns revealed about current opportunities for the design and design research communities.

The participants were then asked to write words representing the skills he/she would like to see developed in a design education program of the future that would help future design professionals serve each of the nine niches available in the marketplace. At the end of the exercise, the whiteboard was populated with over a hundred ideas.

The group stepped away from the board and commented on why some of the skills were beginning to define the future of design practice. This prompted a greater discussion on building a capacity for empathy, storytelling,  embracing ambiguity,  and participatory work practices.

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Future of Design

SonicRim CEO Uday Dandavate was published in the 24th issue of Pool Magazine. Click here to read his article about the future of design, and how the participatory model will challenge the traditional, top-down model.

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Cultivation for Innovation

 Uday discusses that in order to tap into opportunities for meaningful innovation, companies need to cultivate the minds of internal and external stakeholders. Read more about his model for cultivation here.

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Building Client Personas

On April 27th, SonicRim hosted our fifth Whiteboard event at our SOMA office. This time we did things a little differently.  Rather than continuing with the open format of previous Whiteboard events, the April attendees participated in a persona building exercise—with the objective of creating personas of the types of clients who seek out and employ design researchers. It was an offbeat assignment for sure, but one that quickly engaged our collective attention. Read More »

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Levels of Social Action

‘Social’ is a hot word in technology circles; new startups crop up everywhere promising social experiences, the term ‘social fabrics’ crops up in the strategy statements of Google and the like. ‘Collaboration’ shows up in business magazines, web technology conferences, activist manifestos. However, there is still a lot of confusion around what social action looks like.

The default word here – ‘collaboration’ – is used to describe a whole range of social or collective acts, leading to confusion on what social action is, and making technology seem more promising than it often turns out. Without more nuanced categories for describing social behavior, product & design teams will continue to struggle to understand what making their product more ‘social’ means, and how to understand the ways in which people do things together. Read More »

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The Death & Life of Great American Cities

Jacobs provocatively tackles the question of why some cities seem to thrive and some wither. Combining observation and analysis with a strong social conscience and sense of justice, Jacob's approach sets a high standard for the kind of holistic & humanistic approach design thinking needs to be. Read more »

Outside Lies Magic

Stilgoe's keen eye for observation and detail bring this exercise in psychogeography to life, making it a down-to-earth field manual for exploring spaces & their histories. The book illustrates the importance of historical analysis in research, and of seeking explanations in more than momentary trends. Read more »

100% India

Geel & Levy conduct an inspiring investigation into the practice of design by "everyday" people in India, with implications for sustainability & reuse. The book is noteworthy for its research method: trawling the bazaars of Jaipur & Delhi for objects and photographically investigating their materials, form & aesthetics. Read more »

The Interpretation of Cultures

Geertz presents anthropological essays on culture & its manifestations in everything from Moroccan civic life to Balinese cockfights. Explaining the process of unpacking observations and drawing cultural insights through interpretation, the works in this book essentially established the modern ethnographic method. Read more »

More reading »


Future of Autonomous Driving in India: A Co-Creation Workshop

Uday will conduct a co-creation workshop at the 10th Pune Design Festival on February 26th and 27th. The workshop will offer an opportunity to learn how to introduce  a disruptive technology into community imagination with sensitivity to cultural, psychological and social factors. For the workshop we have chosen a topic that is already drivers’ mental models and challenging the imagination... learn more »

Whiteboard @ SonicRim: Designing Design Education

Where should we draw the boundaries of design education? Design has been considered to encompass all kinds of things — from a safety pin to a highway.  It involves the development of hardware and software. Its scope involves tangible and intangible domains of human life. The practice of design has come a long way since... learn more »

October 16, 2015: A workshop on “Innovation Through Co-creation” at Wayne State University, Detroit.

A workshop on “Innovation Through Co-creation” at Wayne State University, Detroit. SonicRim Uday Dandavate and Kevin Schmidt facilitated a workshop on “Innovation through Cocreaton” at the Wayne State University in Detroit. 25 participants from both for profit and non-profit sector participated in this hands on workshop. A key point made was the need to introduce... learn more »