Auroville working at PraktiLiving and hanging out with Prakti-People is fun. So I though, before I will stay at home office all day very lonesome, I’d rather ask premising to check out the Prakti office. And yes! I am very welcome to work there and even to have lunch at their place.
I took my brand new rented BICYCLE !!! (yes, I am addicted to cycling and bicycles) and on the road just before Gaias Garden I turned left to Prakti office. Like a lot of the places in Auroville it is a a house with a massive garden. So very green, the house is open with a funny, cute architecture. It was a good decision: the is really nice to work there, people are great and the taste of music awesome! The international cocktail contains two French, one Moroccan, one Mexican, one Spanish and two Indian – and for the time being one German :)
Prakti develops smart affordable stoves for rural area in Africa and Asia. The newest one will be released in Congo. I will get involved and design a logo for it.
Welcome to AurovilleSo we are in Auroville and I am very happy about it. We have been welcome very warmly by Snehal at his Sapney Farm. He kinly invited us to lunch at the permaculture workshop and gave us a bed for the first night. It was a good starting point, to see international and indian working and living together and to get a first small glimpse at the farm life of auroville.
Early the next morning we packed your stuff to meet an awesome Mexican, who brought us to our home for the next week. THE greatest place! Thanks Eric and Daniel for this luxury family place!
You have already seen the photo of the rooftop? Yep, that’s is again were I am doing Yoga underneath blue sky or bright shining stars :)
Besides mosquitoes (I fucking hate them!) we have many nice animals in our place: geckos (eating moskitos) frogs (eating moskitos) big beautiful spiders (eating moskitos), even the cockroaches are pretty :) The house is in-between Auroville beach and Auroville bakery, not directly on main road: so a good spot to live :)
A night bus to AurovilleOur next stop will be Auroville. I am personally very curious about this village. Let’s see if every person in Auroville has an idea why they are there or if there still some normal confused people left :) I am sorry, it just seems like Auroville just exists to make ideas happen. But I will know better within the next week!
The idea of Dream:inAfter getting the awesome invite from Sonia to just design for my clients from the office of idiom, I was spending nice days working there. Including indian lunch at 13 h, free coffee and every inspiriting people. Thanks to Rahul and Shruti I got a good idea of the interesting research and empowerment that Dream:in is doing.
DREAM:IN is a startup that is located in the basement of idiom. I was lucky to sit together with them at their office.
They say about themselves: Dream:in is a big and bold attempt to dispel fears and unlock the imagination of people everywhere. A positive shift of focus from needs to dreams. New connections that mean something. New systems for adding sustained value and meaning to enterprise, society and life.
Their method is structured in three steps: Dream, Believe and Realise.
First they start with dream catching. Interviewing young people about their Dream, big Dream, Dream of their family to find the core of their desire. Then they sort out all the dreams and document a selecting in short videos. The most appalling dreams will be invited to a dream camp that provides the dreamer with professional consulting to verify the idea and to get to the next step: realise. The best dream will be turned into startups with the help of a network of experts, to guide the way and provide the young dreamers with all the knowledge they need.
Pyramid Valley with MeghaIt is a sunday and I decided to not work that much, but spending time with our couchsurfing host Megha and her friend.
First we meet up at his family house, witch was once in the outskirts of Bangalore. Since the city exploded after the IT boom in 1980ies, their house is now located in the south/west center of Bangalore. We meet a every proud father, who told us details about why the youngsters of the family are super smart and how the women secretly rule the family, especially granny. Than we were introduced to every family member that was available :)
And: “thanks again, really no food, we are not hungry, really … even if it not too spicy, thank you but … ok just a little spoon to try the taste … no that is enough, thanks so much. Yes it is really really good. Not too spicy … ”
Then our travels took us to the real outskirts of Bangalore, to Pyramid valley. First I want to point out: we truly believe in mediation and the great effects it has. Ok?
The valley is amazing! Especially after being in Bangalores noisy, polluted streets. It is calm and fresh and relaxed … you can really imagine to stop, sit down on the grass, close your eyes for a moment, breath the fresh air and mediate. And then we found the place where all the people are really mediatin: in the inside of the Pyramid, witch is basically the opposite of everything that makes the valley great. First thing you notice is the sound of the AC, than you get that old carpet smell in you nose, followed by a disturbing, artificial yellow light. The most spiritual part of the pyramid is its top, climbing up the stairs I only realised the biggest difference is the massive lack of oxidant.
After exploring the inside we escaped the pyramid, talking about how mediation is commercialised and how unnecessary this pyramid seems. Then we visited the mediation shop next to the pyramid. They had everything to buy which you can image in a pyramid shape. Glasses, heads, belts, … every item promises something different to the consumer: finding your soul amte for marriage, getting pregnant finally, …
We really had an awesome time together that day, we laughed a lot, tried on at lot of pyramid shape stuff and ended the sunday with a nice indian dinner: idli!
First day of work at Jagaa co-workingI guess I mentioned that I am working in India for my clients to finance my travels, experience and to live :) There some great places for this in Bangalore and today I tried out the Jaaga co-working space in the old part of the city. A note for anyone who has never been there: Jaaga is located on the 6th floor of the rich homes on Richmond Road! Next to the elevator there is a sign saying, that there are just 5 floors. Don’t trust the sign :)
I really enjoyed working at Jaaga. It was pretty quiet on a Saturday with fresh air, a nice view over the city and some very interesting entrepreneurs working there. One of the best things: Coffee is free!
Soon I will visit again, as I still have to finish my very first sketches for a logo for SUSE “Women against Violence”. And I am keen to meet up with the co-founder Archana to hear more about the idea and projects they are doing.
First hello! at IdiomWe are at Idiom – very nice design thinking creative full service office! I’m impressed by a very warm welcome and some very interesting insights of the firm works and lives.
I will come back and have a closer look at some of their work cases and I am keen to know more about Dream:in. That
Roof top Yoga in Bangalore14 days in Agonda Beach, Goa went by so quickly but the time had come to head to Bangalore. To say it was hard to leave our beautiful beach would be an understatement, but we booked our bus and packed our bags, had a final swim and then took the local bus to Chaudi.
As it turned out there were one or two confusions with the booking and though we were early for our bus it never did arrive. Midnight came and that was 3 hours of waiting before we gave up hope and headed back to our beach paradise. The next night was act 2 and though the bus was still two hours late we did mange to find it this time and the universe had finally decided it was time for us to leave Goa.
12 hours on a nice bus we slept well and arrived in the late morning to the busy city of Bangalore. It had all the usual flair of an typical indian city, but somehow this one was different. The air was marginally fresher :D the city was noticeably cleaner, there was less honking from the traffic, … but the most surprising thing was the amount of living nature and 20 rupees fruit salat on every corner!
We took the public busses to our lovely Couchsurfing hosts apartment and explored a little of the neighbourhood. Yoga on the rooftop and some nice conversation before turning in to get some sleep.
We will spend the next days with some nice people, great ideas and explore some great co-working spaces! We will keep you updated :)
Synergies with the Honeybee NetworkWe were in Ahmedabad and honoured to meet with Professor Angil K. Gupta at the old campus of IIM University. We wanted to talk about his project: the Honeybee Network and how I can get involved with it.
He greeted us at the door who gave us a warm welcome. Sitting on the sofa was a Marianne a German PHD student who also assists the professor with his ambitious work load. The coffee table had a small spread of Indian snack foods including a sweet black sesame dessert and ‘poor mans snack’.
The conversation was relaxed and humorous, discussing our travel experience. Mariana and Anil complimented each others personalities for a very enjoyable conversation.
Soon Anil gave us an overview about the core of the Honeybee Network, he says it is a gateway to knowledge and innovation. The Network creates an index of creativity in society and is a very ambitious project connecting thousands of ideas. There are many grass roots inventions available, born out of necessity. They have the potential to bring positive impact to many communities similar to the ones they were designed for. Some such inventions include a portable washing machine that runs on the power of a motorcycle, retrofitted equipment on bicycles to cross over rivers and lakes as well as farming machinery to lighten the work load and speed up productivity.
The Honeybee Network has a strong focus on helping rural areas to become self sufficient. The network promotes alternative methods of farming, irrigating, building and transportation through education and training.
However the development of such technologies is not designed by the network, but rather through extensive networking with thousands of communities. The knowledge is gathered and documented and then spread to other communities who are able to implement it in their own endeavours.
With a ‘fair’ set of values they ensure that all the knowledge and innovation discovered, returns credit to the ones responsible for its existence.
To find out were we can find synergies, Anil also gave us ideas on the Honeybee Network vision for the future.
One great idea collects stories from people who have been alive for a century or longer. The project aims to preserve the history, culture and language, that is under threat of being lost to time, in a colloquial syntax. These stories would be available for everyone and target children, who could rate and share stories and even request more stories from particular story tellers. This project ensures the survival of language, proverbs and metaphors.
In the end there were a lot more of ideas on the table and many different ways to get involved. But one thing clearly stand out: the Honeybee Network needs a good overall structure and a strong design that provides that. So I suggested to help Anil with that. First step will be to understand the core of the Honeybee Network in order to design a visual infrastructure for it and its various projects. The aim is to help the network to communicate in a simple way, in order so trigger awareness and share the awesome stories that it provides.
Our experience from the Design for Change India Challenge EventThe Design for Change challenge uses a design thinking method and is set once a year since 2009. The design thinking method uses a 4 step process that incorporates the ‘I can’ philosophy to empower the students.
We met with the DFC staff, teachers and students to learn about their experience with the DFC India challenge and to get an insight to their experience with design thinking. The following text is the information we gathered through interviews with the students and teachers.
The Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India, is home to Design for Change and they hold an event every year to celebrate the India branch of the DFC Challenge. The event was full of fun warm ups, inspiring ideas, good food and even some dancing in the park.
//Design thinking in Indian schools.
By sending thousands of emails and letters DFC reaches out to schools across the country, inviting them to participate in the challenge. The challenge encourages thinking processes that should start at a young age and the DFC challenge empowered 130,000 students in 2013. Through the challenge students get the opportunity to be the change they want to see in their local community, and adopt a positive mind set in their every day lives. Many schools recognise the merits of the programme and participate every year.
Students have so much energy and the DFC challenge is the perfect outlet for this energy to be transformed into something beautiful. Teachers across the country notice their students mellow out and focus more on their studies through the experience. It shakes them from within and they realise that they have a voice and the ability to influence their world.
// Feel for change
Through the means of brainstorming sessions coupled with interviewing friends and family as well as the wider community students identify issues in their lives and environment that are not getting enough attention. They hold a vote for the best idea to focus the project around and devise a plan to take action. This process is overseen by the teachers who are very careful not to impose their own ideas as it is important for the students to make their own experience. The teachers role is to mediate the sessions and assist the students when they really need it.
//Feel, Imagine, Do, Share.
The design thinking method works well because it is nice and simple.
Feel for the change you want to see, Imagine a solution to the problem, Do the tasks set in the plan and Share your story with everyone.
//The ‘I Can’ attitude
A belief in ones ability to influence society is a message heard loud and clear through the DFC challenge. The students realise the ‘I Can’ philosophy and become empowered through the process to live every aspect of their lives knowing that they have the ability to change the world.
The Design for Change challenge is taking the world by storm and has the potential to revolutionise education. Students are active in sharing their experience with friends and family through online media, while the people behind DFC and their partners continue to grow the project around the world.
“Things will proceed, by design … “Idiom is located in Bangalore and we plan to say hello to them in a few days. A design firm with a variety of design skills under one roof, Idiom incubates business ideas, ideas for societal transformation and ideas on life and living. Delivered as strategy, design output, transformational tools and processes and as robust, ready-to-run businesses.
They have done some very inspiring projects: Have a look.
We arrived in AgondaHey, we are finally back on the internet and have set up the official beach office once again! We travelled from Ahmedabad to Agonda Beach (South Goa) with a small stopover in Arambol. It took us 4 days but finally we found our ‘grandma’ beach: a nice quiet beach with few people and no party. Very nice and shanti shanti :)
So much has happened in 4 days so I will catch up with my work right now while Jamin updates our google travel map. We will bring you the next design thinking projects soon, now that our beach office is set up again! So the next days will be all about work and our daily yoga routine at the beach :)
Waiting for the Bus to take us to the next BeachWe are still in Ahmedabad waiting for your 26 hour bus trip to Goa. Yes, Goa – I NEVER wanted to go there. I always wanted to avoid that big bounce of western and Indian tourist having THE time of their live, just because they took some drugs at a party :) I can enjoy that at home in Berlin, every day … :) But rumour has it, that there are quite grandma-beaches too. Yippieh, finally I’m getting old and boring: perfect for me and my work!
Well … and in the meanwhile I’m spending my time waiting for the bus working in a supermarket :)
Meeting Anil GuptaWe had the great honor to meet with Anil Gupta and one of his nice students Marianne today. We talked about the Honeybee Network and the great plans there are for the future. This very diverse and complex network has a lot of stories to tell and great people to present; Like men and women living in the rural areas of the world and doing incredible art, creating technical innovations and telling beautiful stories. The Honeybee Network gives them the opportunity to have their voice heard and provides a platform for their inventions to be accessible to the whole world.
It was a very inspiring evening and I hope that my design skills will help to improve this project and trigger even more awareness.
Visit the Honey Bee Network.
Indian celebration of Design for Change 2014It was a privilege to meet the staff behind the Design for Change project at Riverside School and to hear first hand how Design Thinking is implemented in education, to give the “I Can” power to the kids.
Children and teachers from 32 schools across the country visited Ahmedabad for the Indian celebration of Design for Change 2014. We started the day bright and early with some cups of coffee and a quick warm up exercise to set the mood. Then we moved on to a team building activity involving balloons, tape and scissors, some quick thinking and a lot of fun!
We spoke with the students and teachers to learn about their experience with design thinking at school. The children used the model of ‘Feel, Imagine, Do, Share’ to tackle various problems in their lives and communities. They highlighted some great issues from infrastructure to health, the environment and personal relationships.
It was an inspiring experience to heard the stories of the young minds hard at work and actively achieving their goals with this simple yet effective design thinking process. After many great conversations with the students and teachers it was time for a big yummy lunch. Then another warm up to get the blood flowing again before the award ceremony.
In the end everybody drove to the public exhibition of the “I Can” stories of the schools in Parimal Garden. For the students it was a day to celebrate their accomplishments, for the teachers a very proud occasion, the Design for Change staff a 6th year of success.
For Esther and Jamin another super enjoyable day in India connecting with great people with brilliant minds :)
Anil Gupta – founder of the Honey Bee NetworkHoney Bee Network has been running for 20 years and aims at pollination and cross-pollination of ideas, creativity and grassroots genius. It is spread over 75 countries and has documented over 100,000 ideas, innovations and traditional practices.
Act as a medium for the documentation and dissemination of local and traditional knowledge.
Honey Bee Network is an international platform, where like-minded individuals, innovators, farmers, academicians, policy makers, entrepreneurs and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) come together to recognise grassroot innovations.
Visit the Honey Bee Network.
5 hours of work and the rest is committed to the sunshineOur office is working fine :) The Last two days I have enjoyed webdesigning for my clients, researching projects, sorting out my Skype number problem (sorry it’s still not working) and connecting to more great people in india.
Jamin is taking care of the travel plans, so we know when and where we are going and how to get there. Well as far as you can plan ahead in India :D
When we have time away from the laptop, we are enjoying the sunshine and exploring the island. Today we cycled to Vanakbara, a small town in the west of Diu. It is a busy fishing port, as you can see in the pictures. Noisy and smelly but interesting to see how the fishing industry works in India.
At night we are doing Yoga and other sports – People, who don’t know me might be surprised at this, you just have to know that … well, I’m a bit of a sports addict :)
Travel Office is set up
- we are in DiuYes! The office is finally set up: 3G on the iPhones. Mac Book Air and iPad are connected, work and travel officially starts now. We are staying at Vinayak Guest House in a relaxed neighbourhood on the island of Diu which is located in the south of Gujarat. Only a 5 minute walk to the water front and 10 minutes to the beach. Relaxing the Indian way, we can finally start to get our project started! To begin I will be doing some work for my German clients then start connecting to Indian projects!
My friends in India, my indian number is: 82 38 25 75 28
My friends in Germany, you can still call me on my German Skype number: 030 2241 4950
We are in Ahmedabad We landed in Ahmedabad three days ago without our luggage (that was some how left behind in Sharjah), unprepared for this city and with some horrible jet lag from our delayed flights out of Istanbul. We struggled to orientate ourselves in Ahmedabad and found it near impossible to connect to the internet.
Once we had dealt with the culture shock, sorted our dramas out and found a place to stay we were able to relax a little. A good night sleep in the company of Ansuhul founder of the Design for Change School and we were feeling fresh. We could pick up our lost baggage but first we headed to the Vodafone store to get our 3G internet organised. The above pictures are our makeshift photos for our sim card application, 3 days later and the sim cards are still not working but we have made headway with a second application on the island of Diu. With the help of a very friendly man at he local Vodafone dealer the internet is finally working and we have learnt some lessons along the way.
Lesson 1. Check all details and paperwork
Lesson 2. Remember to stay hydrated
Lesson 3. Double check all details and paperwork
Lesson 4. Remember to keep food in Jamin’s belly
Lesson 5. Triple check all details and paperwork
We are in IndiaYeah! We made it! We are in India, the only down side is that our bags are still in Sharjah (our stop over in the United Arab Emirates). We didn’t want to wait for 16 hours for the next flight to Bombay so we took an offer to fly directly to Ahmedabad instead.. That is awesome though, because in Ahmedabad we want to visit the Riverside School (Design for Change) anyway.. When will we see our bags again?…Nobody knows.
Stop over in a fancy hotelWe are still in Istanbul – it is about 2 pm. We just woke up in our 5 star complementary hotel, with 4 hours of sleep :) We still have no idea when we will be in India but we didn’t have to sleep in the airport, we’ve had hot showers and the freebies we got from the hotel are keeping us in good spirits. Let’s see what happens next …
Istanbul Airport – flight canceledIt’s 3 am and our 1 am flight has just been announced as canceled :) While I’m using the time doing some work for my German clients, Jamin is using the time to close his eyes. I have no idea, WHEN we will be on our way – but we will be on our way to India soon… hopefully!
This clip is well worth it to see how Vandana Shiva deftly and confidently sets the BBC host straight on everything. From the suicide epidemic of Indian farmers to the truth of Monsanto’s crimes, the reality of global food trade, and where the industry can be headed next if we wake up and change course. Shiva holds her own with poise and grace, armed with all the facts.
My India Travel – the city of Bangalore Bangalore is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka, located in the Deccan Plateau and at and elevation of more than 3000 feet it is renowned for its pleasant climate year round. The third most populace city in the country, with a population of more than 9.5 million and a huge range of educational and research facilities it has become a hub for a range of projects ranking in the top 10 most desirable entrepreneurial venture locations in the world.
This is one busy city where we will be surely spending some time during our Indian Travels. A vibrant city with a lot of creative potential, at a glance it appears to be a bit like Berlin in some ways. :) I am looking forwards to get to know Bangalore better as we connect to some great projects!
Look what is going on Bangalore.
Love for infographicsA great passion of mine is breaking down complex content into simple appealing pictures. Here are the best 13 most compelling info-graphics of 2013.
Numbers… they can be so hard to read and make sense of. Thank God intrepid designers are constantly turning those numbers into beautifully designed maps, charts, and graphics for us to feast our eyes on. We love info-graphics for their ability to take the complicated concepts we are often discussing and break them down so that they’re digestible. Not only do info-graphics communicate the point more easily, they also make statistics more interesting and dare I say it fun!
Jeevika“Poverty is the worst form of violence,” Mahatma Gandhi.
Mumbai is the wealthiest city in India as the commercial and entertainment capital. Nicknamed the ‘City of Dreams’ it is arguably the most westernised city in the country but despite this there are nearly half a million homes (493,000 to be precise) that live below the poverty line, this is families who do not earn Rs. 600 (€ 7.50) per family member per month.
As one of the major issues facing its ever growing population India has a struggle ahead of it in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. During a celebration of the 25 Greatest ‘living’ Legends, Indian activist Ela Bhatt, who is known for her social work since the early 70′s, spoke on the issue of poverty.
Co-working space Jaaga in BangaloreWe will visit this project while we are in India. Jaaga is a creative community space in Bangalore that supports and connects creative entrepreneurs and online learners. I really look forward to get to know the people involved with this project. :)
Learn more about them!
Barefoot CollegeBarefoot College is a non-governmental organization that has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities since the 1960′s. With the objective of making self-sufficient and sustainable communities, these ‘Barefoot solutions’ include the delivery of Solar Electricity, Clean Water, Education, Livelihood Development, and Activism. With a geographic focus on the Least Developed Countries, they believe strongly in Empowering Women as agents of sustainable change.
Check out more
My 3D Sculptris Monster For years I have been drawing monsters and despite my love for them as 2 dimensional creations I have always dreamed of bringing them to life. I meet Nicolai from Fab Lab on the Science Hack Day in Berlin 2 weeks ago. The Fab Lab an open digital fabrication studio. Thanks to the help of Nicolai, I have the chance to see my monsters in 3D: I sketched my first 3D Monster in Sculptris, that allows to create organic forms pretty intuitively. This is a personal project of mine, so in May 2014 watch this space for the fruits of this venture … 3D printer here I come!
Global Sustainability Jam in HamburgThe idea to take ideas out of our minds and bring them to the table and make them tangible. I met some awesome people with great ideas in a fun and social setting. We had a lot of fun discussing sustainable solutions for shared houses, to reconnect young and old people, to help parents with their kids and to learn from one another.
Secret Theme Video, Global Sustainability Jam 2013The Global Sustainability Jam is a worldwide non-profit creative event where groups of people in dozens of cities across the globe spend 48 hours building prototype services, products and initiatives around a shared secret theme simultaneously.
This video is used by local Jams to open the Jam and to reveal the secret theme.
Thanks to Mauro Rego, International Gentleman Jammer, who made this year’s film!
Science Hack Day BerlinThe first Science Hack Day in Berlin/Germany came to pass and it was a roaring success! 50 attendants, over 12 projects. We saw collaborations and dialogue between scientists in different fields. Scientists and people from the tech world is exactly what everyone hoped for… and we won the audience award!!
SDN – Embedding design thinking in business – and making money…Ask a designer what their toughest challenge is and many will say it is being asked by clients to justify a business case or return on financial investment in design before anything has been designed.
But through service design a quiet revolution may be at work; more businesses are beginning to invite designers in who can guarantee return on investment and some companies are embedding designers into their organisations, in some cases even at board level.
Read the articel.
Coding for freeMost people don’t learn to program and design for the web by reading a book. Real learning takes place when you start experimenting with code in the browser and using design concepts in a website.
As a designer, in my opinion the best way to learn is by doing. Code School opens the door to a new way of learning by combining video coding in the browser and ‘gamification’ to make learning a new technology fun!
Learn how to code
Fab Lab – a lot of FUNThose guys are an open digital fabrication studio where you can learn how to use 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC Routers, design software and electronics to make (almost) anything you want. They are part of the international Fab Lab network and offer access to a professional DIY studio and a great community of makers.
If you want to work here and you can drop by Monday – Friday between 10.00 and 20.00 and on the weekend they are open from 12.00 until 18.00! If you want to use the lab outside of these ours please contact Fab Lab for an appointment.