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Brainstorming workshop on Open Design School + National Design Innovation Network

Main points of the discussion
21st August 2012, 0900-1100, Room 228, Planning Commission, New Delhi.

The National Innovation Council is working on a concept to create an Open Design School and a National Design Innovation Network. To get inputs from relevant stakeholders, the National Innovation Council conducted a brainstorming workshop, where participants were asked to present their feedback.

Key points of the discussion:

Open Design School (ODS)

1. The ODS should not be about creating students that just serve industry, equal weightage needs to be given to the social, cultural and environmental needs of the country.
2. The ODS and the NDIN should start by connecting with existing institutions and individuals who are already engaged in innovative pursuits, and build the network further from there.
3. Address the issue of how to institutionalize the sharing of resources – what exactly are these resources and what is the incentive for an organization to share?
4. The ODS should link with existing design schools like NID, NIFT, IITs and others to form a tangible NDIN, rather than having to wait for new organisations to be established. Subsequently, the network can be scaled up in an organic manner to include other organisations across the country and internationally.
5. Design education (courseware) should be kept free of IP-related issues and should be made freely available.
6. Due attention must be paid to address accreditation issues beforehand, to facilitate institutional collaborations.
7. The existing plan for the creation of 5 Design Innovation Centers is based on a hub and spoke model, with each of the 5 institutions further supporting 3 or more institutions. These new bodies will need to be linked with the ODS via the NDIN.

National Design Innovation Network (NDIN)

1. The full potential of the NDIN will come about when partner institutions develop specific applications as per their requirement, and this must be facilitated in the design plan of the network.
2. Just connecting institutions to the ODS and the NDIN (via the NKN) isn’t enough, there needs to be a fundamental change in pedagogy that requires even existing institutions to begin collaborating and sharing resources with one another.
3. Pedagogical models need to evolve to realize the potential of a networked and collaborative educational model, using the NDIN.
4. Until usage of the NDIN reaches a level of maturity where it is self-sustaining, specific programmes will need to be created to encourage partner institutions to realize the network’s full potential.
5. The NDIN will link the ODS with other design schools, academic institutions, research organisations, the government and the public. To effectively reach out in a non location-specific and truly open manner, NDIN will need to be a truly inclusive network.
6. The issue of Intellectual Property Rights would need to be addressed when talking about knowledge and resource sharing on the NDIN.
7. The NDIN should extend beyond central institutions and pervade all levels of academic organisations to be truly successful, and reach full potential.
8. The NDIN should connect with industry.
9. Accreditation is becoming less and less important in some sectors, with the focus shifting from a degree to the applicants’ portfolio and skillset. However, industry needs to reach a level of maturity across the board, in accepting this trend. The adoption of NDIN and open knowledge sharing of curriculum is expected to positively impact the wide reach of knowledge, and as a result, will create large numbers of skill-based job seekers, as opposed to the traditional degree-holders.
10. A pilot NDIN could be built at a smaller scale, perhaps with a small number of the major design schools and leading academic institutions, before scaling the model up.
11. The various stakeholders – from academia, design, government, NGOs and industry – should be involved in the creation of this network, right from its inception, to ensure that the value created is eventually translated down the line into actual implementable solutions.

Action points:

1. National Innovation Council (NInC) is working on a concept paper on Open Design School + National Design Innovation Network (ODS+NDIN) in consultation with Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
2. MHRD to conduct a broad based stakeholder consultation after the preparation of the concept paper, preparatory to the development of the implementation plan by the MHRD. NInC can support the MHRD in conducting the stakeholder consultation.
3. MHRD to create an implementation plan for ODS+NDIN. NInC will be available to support MHRD in creating this plan.
4. A small group of experts may be constituted within the Ministry to advise on the implementation plan and should include representatives from the design and academic community, Planning Commission, industry and other relevant stakeholders.

Participants in attendance



Amit Khare

Joint Secretary, Ministry of HRD

Aditya Dev Sood


Jatin Bhatt

Team Vision First

John Thackara (via Skype)

Doors of Perception

Pawan Agarwal

Advisor (Higher Education), Planning Commission

Prof. S.V. Raghavan

Scientific Secretary, Office of PSA to Government of India

Prof. P.V.M. Rao

IIT Delhi

Neeraj Gulati

Tod, Fod, Jod

R.K. Gupta

Planning Commission

Abhimanyu Nohwar

National Innovation Council

Feedback on the paper was received over e-mail from Kanu Agarwal and Anuj Sharma who were unable to attend in person. Attendees from the National Innovation Council included Rahul Nayar and Vikas Bagri. The meeting was ended with thanks to the chair.

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