India, Mexico, and Brazil Embrace “Design Thinking”

by Dave

For sure India needs more design thinking in products and services; with many engineers running the show, good design, sadly, is  thought of an expense.
Nussbaum: | Co.Design

If you’re a business or an NGO with an operation in Asia or Latin America, where do you go when you want some serious local design thinking? You might start by calling my colleague and friend Carlos Teixeira, a Brazilian-born assistant professor at the School of Design Strategies, in Parsons The New School for Design. Carlos is speeding the transfer of design thinking expertise by building his own network called NODES.NODES connects Parsons to Idiom Design and Consulting, a key design thinking-based consultancy in India. Idiom founder Sonia Manchanda is a close friend of Carlos and recently helped launch SPREAD to spread the word of design thinking in her country. Here’s what the Idiom Web site says about it:

“SPREAD was hence born as the design outreach program of Idiom. Since its induction three years ago SPREAD has successfully worked with various institutions and business houses conducting workshops, seminar programs and lectures to make design a weapon to transform and grow our economy and to better plan our lives and environment. SPREAD makes design thinking, tools and processes accessible to design and business students, practitioners and even school children.”

Today, along the NODES network, one can see the thinking between the Parsons design knowledge network lab and Idiom’s SPREAD project. As NODES expands to other consultancies and schools, Carlos expects increasing knowledge to flow South to South among consultancies in Asia, Latin America and Africa as well as between South to North.

Business is beginning to follow. European and U.S. corporations are increasingly using local innovation consultancies for their local business. And other emerging market countries are starting to hire consultancies schooled in design thinking. Idiom was recently hired by companies in Sri Lanka who have heard of its strategic design capabilities and Brazil-based Crama has new business in Angola for the same reason. Mexico-based Insitum has opened offices in the U.S., Brazil and Colombia, and works in Canada.

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