We are not curious as a race

Design guru Sudhir Sharma speaks to Paula Ray about how we can encash our intellectual property by documenting and disseminating our ideas as professionals

By Paula Ray

Posted On Sunday, October 04, 2009 at 02:57:57 AM

Pune Mirror

www.punemirror.com in Leisure section

Pune Mirror

Who is a creative person? How do you judge their creativity?

Any person can innovate. You only have to help open his third eye.

Do you think Indians lag behind when it comes to design ideas? Yes we need to improve on our industrial design ideas. As a race, we don’t question; we are not curious people. 

We also are not professional in packaging our ideas. The MNCs have realised this and they are taking advantage of it. 

Isn’t it amazing that we don’t have a single brand that’s of international standard — no products, no services?

If we are not productive, how does outsourced jobs from across the world come to us? Outsourcing is all about labour generation. What I am talking about is intellectual property (IP), which you cannot outsource. Our ancient IP was immense, but modern IP is totally bankrupt.

Why is that so? It’s because we lack ecological infrastructure, an eco-system to support our creative ideas.

But the same people go out of the country and make a name. Why does this happen? The infrastructural support is very big in the he West. So the same person is thrilled to create under such a support system.

How do you suggest we can improve our support structure? You need to invest in design. Our traditional design equity doesn’t work any more. The government has realised this and formed the Design Council, which involves in activities like tax structure, promotion of educational infrastructure for design, etc. 

And, this includes visual communication and industrial design. Besides, I’d like to put it this way, India is like an engine churning out ideas, but no battery to preserve the energy, as in archiving and documenting it. Most of the other Asian countries have good batteries, but they have mostly developed upon ancient Indian designs. 

To be successful, you need to create, articulate, document and disseminate your ideas. We don’t have this macro vision.

What are you doing in your a personal capacity? I teach design in 25 universities around the world. I am the first representative of World Economic Forum from the whole of south and south-east Asia. 

After being with Elephant Design for 20 years, now I have formed Design India in Pune in 2002 with support from NID, CII and other designers. Just wait and watch, we are going to be the national hub of design in the coming years. In a few years, I’ll talk about it.

We also did the strategic branding for the Third Commonwealth Youth Games in the city last year. I am also working on the design of 10 products that touch a normal person’s life, that’ll inspire a 100 others. Just see this ordinary glass tumbler (he raises his glass of water). 

Even this design has been exported from some other country as a mould and is being manufactured locally. Why can’t we ourselves design the mould?

Finally, does a good designer have to be a good artist? There is a fundamental difference between an artist and a designer. An artist paints for himself. He isn’t answerable to anybody. 

But in designing, study and research comprises a major part. You also need to have an aesthetic sense, for which designers need to get trained in art. 

Yes, there’s every chance that a designer might turn into an artist. Art is very good in India. So our designs do have the potential to stand out eventually


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