New Job and Fellowship Postings – Quicksand and IDE Cambodia

Designers seeking jobs and fellowships, here are a few new opportunities.  Take a look, apply and/or pass them on through your networks.

 

Quicksand Design – Delhi or Bangalore, India

Communication Designer: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18454027/Quicksand_Jobs_Communication-Designer.pdf

Design Researcher: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18454027/Quicksand_Jobs_Design-Researcher.pdf

Website: http://quicksand.co.in/

 

IDE Cambodia – HCD iLab - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

HCD Research Design Fellow
http://www.ide-cambodia.org/images/research_design_fellow_jd_vfinal.pdf

HCD Training Designer Fellow
http://www.ide-cambodia.org/images/hcd_training_designer_fellow_jd_vfinal.pdf

Website: http://ide-cambodia.org

 

Soap It Up! Hand Washing Design Challenge

WASH Unitedis launching a new open design challenge—”to design a handwashing station for a rural Indian household that is attractive, acceptable and marketable.”  5 winners will be chosen to have their designs prototyped and tested with users all over India as part of “The Great WASH Yatra—a traveling festival with a goal to educate and excite communities on how to improve the quality of their lives and tackle sanitation, both practically and meaningfully.”

The challenge is in partnership with Quicksand Design, IDEO, Hattery Labs, Südfeuer and the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).  Details follow (click to enlarge, and for better quality):

In-the-field prototyping with Jugaad, MacGyver & me

Another great view into real world design and prototyping by Catapult Design—this time from industrial designer Noel Wilson.  Reposted with permission from Catapult’s blog, originally published here.

The value of a prototype is in what it can test. It isn’t always necessary to make it pretty, nor to make it function, it totally depends on what you are trying to learn from it. On a frugal budget, be it of time or funds, one prototype can be made to test many things, and then adapted again to test even more…but really prototypes were made to be broken, and if they last too long it is a sign you’re either not testing them hard enough or you’ve become too attached.  I admit…after sweating over prototypes late into the night in my makeshift workshops (set  up in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms etc) and scrutinizing them for days or weeks, it is hard to let them go, let alone batter them until they fail. But tough love is justified in this case

Prep for the next days prototyping
– Preparing for the next day’s prototyping

On this trip I was headed to Rajasthan with Wello to visit a  mix of communities around Jodhpur & Udaipur to tune their device to better suit peoples needs and environment (see our Wello project page). I had to carry my kit on some challenging modes of transport to slice, melt, join, flatten, form, twist and repair our prototypes as we broke them.

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Project Sammaan Launches: Better Sanitation in Indian Slums

Project Samman is...

Quicksand Design and partners have begun work on Project Sammaan, redesigning public sanitation facilities in urban slums in India.  The new work began earlier this year, following their heavy design research phase in 2010–2011, funded by the Gates Foundation and nicknamed “The Potty Project” (previously covered on BoP Designer).  Partners include the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) and the city governments of two large cities in India, with continued support from the Gates Foundation.

The objective of this project is to rethink the current models of sanitation facilities and design a new programmatic infrastructure and physical structure that instills a sense of dignity while addressing issues affecting sanitation practices in India.

We feel that sharing our successes, and hurdles, is vital to the project to open channels of dialogue and instill a sense of collaboration in such a critical field.

Quicksand has launched a blog and twitter account (@ProjectSammaan) specific to the project, chronicling the progress and thoughts behind it along the way.  It looks like it’ll be a great resource and insightful window into the process that will be entertaining and informative to designers, design-thinkers and sanitation proponents alike.  Your ongoing input is invited.  Visit the Project Sammaan blog >>

In addition, Quicksand and partners have launched an “Open Innovation Challenge” to the public in three categories:

  • Architectural Design (of the facilities)
  • Hand-Washing Design (of the ideal soap-dispensing system)
  • Waste Management Design (within the facility)

See full details here, where you can download briefs to each of the three challenges.

(all images from Project Sammaan)

“Jugaad” – Design & Innovation Inspiration from India

I recently learned about the word “jugaad” from my friend Rikta Krishnaswamy at Quicksand Design. The way I understand it, it means to jury rig, or to create makeshift solutions however you need to in order to make something work. The word has a long history in India, where innovations often come about by necessity. The quality of said solutions may not be high, but they may be cheap and accessible, and sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed.

– A vehicle actually called a “jugaad”, it is made from accessible scrap parts and transports people short distances in India (source)

It’s a widely talked-about term online, especially catching the interests of non-Indian innovators, with a healthy back-and-forth about its pros and cons in different contexts by Indians and non-Indians alike. This article in HBR, “Use Jugaad to Innovate Faster, Cheaper, Better”, explores jugaad as a useful inspiration and state of mind for entrepreneurs in any situation. It’s a good read, sparking good thought and pointing to examples of innovations by Embrace with its low-cost baby incubating wrap, YES Bank and mobile payments, SELCO and its lighting offerings, and GE Health. From the post:

The jugaad mindset — and its associated principles and practices — is increasingly relevant for companies worldwide who are seeking to grow in an increasingly complex and resource-constrained business environment. Unlike traditional, structured innovation methods that rely on time-consuming and expensive R&D processes, the more fluid jugaad approach delivers speed, agility, and cost efficiencies. Jugaad is a “bottom up” innovation approach that provides organizations in both emerging and developed economies the key capabilities they need to succeed in a hypercompetitive and fast-moving world: frugality, inclusivity, collaboration, and adaptability.

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Anupam Mishra: The ancient ingenuity of water harvesting

“With wisdom and wit, Anupam Mishra talks about the amazing feats of engineering built centuries ago by the people of India’s Golden Desert to harvest water. These structures are still used today — and are often superior to modern water megaprojects.

“To promote smart water management, Anupam Mishra works to preserve rural India’s traditional rainwater harvesting techniques.”  (TED)

“Go to the people…”

Go to the people,
Live among them,
Learn from them,
Love them.
Start with what they know.
Build on what they have.
But of the best leaders,
When their task is accomplished,
Their work is done,
The people all remark,
“We have done it ourselves”.

—Chinese Proverb

Found on the home page of Chirag—the Central Himalayan Rural Action Group.  Chirag describes itself as “a rural development organisation based in the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand in India. Since 1987, we have worked closely with communities on issues relating to forestry, soil and water conservation, agriculture, animal husbandry, drinking water, health care, education and skill and knowledge development of young people. We work in nearly 200 villages in Nainital, Bageshwar and Almora districts.”

Next Stop: Auroville

UnBox Fellowships 2012 - banner graphic

I’m packing today to leave for India on an overnight flight tonight.  I’m lucky enough to be one of a handful of UnBox Fellows on the Sustainable Lifestyles fellowship put on by Quicksand Design Studio and anchored by Chintan Jani of Auroville.  The fellowship will last from Jan 24–Feb 1 and then we’ll take part in the UnBox Festival in Delhi, Feb 2-5 (registration is open to attend).

About the Festival:

“The UnBox Festival celebrates interdisciplinary processes and experiences that shape contemporary thought and action.”  More info + registration at unboxfestival.com >>

About the fellowship:

“Auroville, an international township in South India, is a hotbed for innovations in sustainable lifestyles and life practices. Fellows will interact with experts who would advise them and give them a hands-on experience in technologies around organic food and farming, sustainable building technologies, renewable energy and waste management. Besides building a broader understanding of sustainable technologies, they would, with the help of some long term Auroville residents, immerse themselves in a few of such sustainable communities discussing the advantages, challenges and pitfalls.”  More info on the fellowship’s home page >>

About Auroville:

I’m excited to visit, observe, participate and learn. Auroville looks like an amazing place, described as “a universal city in the making” on its website.  ”Auroville is a place in south India where, for 40 years now, an increasing number of people from all over the world have been quietly and painstakingly working on the construction of a new township, a new way of living, a new way of being. Something is being attempted here for the benefit of all. … Today, the Auroville project is quite well established, having found ways of collaborating with the villages in its bioregion, with the Indian authorities, with many non-governmental organisations and world bodies worldwide.”  There are some 2,000 people from 40 different countries living there today.

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Quicksand – The Potty Project

Understanding user experience of sanitation for the urban poor

The following is paraphrased from The Potty Project’s brief, April 1 2011, available for download (PDF, 1.1 MB).

The Potty Project is a design research initiative by Quicksand Design Studio, a design and innovation firm based in Delhi, India.  Commissioned by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “the Potty Project’s central aim is to create relevant information on sanitation and hygiene to enable appropriate innovations for design, development and delivery of sanitation infrastructure and services targeted at urban slums.”

The main purpose of the research was to study the behaviors of residents of urban slums in order to design better sanitation facilities.  Issues examined include:

  • daily sanitation routines
  • preferences for defecation in the open
    vs. inside a toilet facility
  • gender & age behaviors and
    special considerations
  • privacy
  • location
  • care-taking of toilet infrastructure
  • social and cultural taboos
  • shared ownership vs. private sanitation
  • community cohesion
  • transience
  • social benefits

The Potty Project was conducted over ten months – between May 2010 and March 2011 – in five cities to illustrate the diverse sanitation experiences in India. Those cities are Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Mumbai.  “Taking account of factors such as regional cultural differences, varied population demographics, diverse local community dynamics, and different types of sanitation facilities, the study investigates how a large number of variables influence user experiences of sanitation.”

Design and development efforts need to focus on toilet features that improve the user’s experience throughout the journey through the space, while recognizing that users may include women, children and the aged. Architects must also keep in mind a user’s perception of barriers of use of a toilet.

Quicksand has been commissioned for a follow-up by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to put these findings into practice, designing better sanitation solutions for urban slums in India.  Can’t wait to see what they start rolling out.

More information:

>>  Browse The Potty Project’s website for detailed findings – www.pottyproject.in
>>  Download the Project Brief here (PDF, 1.1 MB)
>>  Browse @thepottyproject’s twitter activity during its research period

Thanks to Babitha George of Quicksand for discussing the project and sharing the project brief.