d.light looking for Hindi speaking design thinkers

June 5, 2009 — 11 Comments

d.light, the solar powered lighting company that came out of the Stanford D-school, is looking for design thinkers in New Delhi. One of the job titles “Human Torch” sounds faintly scary but illuminating. For those who are interested in making contact, the link is here.

Building design thinking capacity in the places where the needs are greatest has to be one of the most important things we get done over the next ten years.

Tim Brown


11 responses to d.light looking for Hindi speaking design thinkers

  1. what they should be doing is looking for innately creative problem solvers (aka design thinkers) at a few levels of socioeconomic status lower than those who can read english blogs, imho. there are guys who just ‘get’ these things and would be far more likely to understand the challenges of the target audience d.light means to serve with their product lines. sometimes I think the divide is far too vast in Delhi for someone who knows what design thinking means to truly understand the challenges faced by those living at the BoP. they should ask around for references to the truly inspired ‘hackers’ – could be an electrician, a mobile phone repairman, a general purpose peon, whatever, these guys usually have a reputation for inspired solutions or jugaad. Just my two rupees worth ;p as a Hindi speaking design thinker

  2. It would be great if you could do some posts on design thinking around the world, including some attention to how culture shapes design thinking. North America seems to me to lag behind Japan, Scandinavia, Germany Italy etc. in many aspects of design thinking and I have seen very interesting work lately from Brazil, India, Korea and China. I suspect there are things happening in Africa, the Arab World … many places that I am not aware of. It would also be interesting to get more insight into the ways in which culture (and economics) shapes design thinking. I just finished reading Mary Soderstrom’s The Walkable City, which is in many ways a design thinking book.

  3. niti bhan:” they should ask around for references to the truly inspired ‘hackers’ ”

    that position is to lead those local workers. They’ve already found those “general purpose peons,” D.Light needs someone to bring them all together. There’s a touch of bitterness in your tone that stinks of rejection; however I am not a Hindi speaking designer, so I can’t relate. But I can relate to the concept of providing light to 100 million people and the design challenges that presents. It takes a human torch to make it happen.

  4. hi tim, this is ayush from quicksand, india. my colleague, avinash, met you almost 2 years back at palo alto and we have since been working on some great projects with ideo in india. its interesting that you bring this up coz’ we’ve been in touch with d.light. its a fascinating company and infact we first got in touch with sam when they were setting up shop here in india.

    quicksand in the meantime has teamed up with codesign, a communication and interaction design studio in Delhi and formed a design reseach and innovation firm called Box (also in Delhi). the challenge for Box, as with most studios trying to push the envelope of design, is to create credible design thinkers within an organisation outside the usual “design” custodians. these would span employees, vendors, consultants and other stakeholders directly/indirectly engaged with the organisation.

    we’re on a very exciting journey here in india with Box. trying to form a multi-disciplinary team of designers, technologists, researchers while engaging with a diverse range of issues where design thinking can add value (education, healthcare, brands, technology). the most interesting projects remain those where we are sense-making within the large, under-explored universe of indian hinterland.

    traveling to SF in early august and would love an opportunity to reconnect.

  5. Hi Tim,

    I am Amogh, from neodes – a multidisciplinary design company based out of Pune-India.

    Talking about LED lighting for rural areas, we had conceptualized and designed LED street light & domestic Light for rural India for a small (read: not listed on google) company called “powercare systems” based out of India.

    We’re always looking for opportunities to get involved in BoP projects where we are compelled to rethink our cliche good-Design paradigms and have to come up with very practical solutions.

    We’d definitely be interested in getting involved with d.light as we believe that we are design thinkers and we speak fluent Hindi.

    Thanx for the opportunity,

    Director- Interaction Design,


  6. Jason, that’s entirely possible, the design thinker is often subsumed in India’s design circles to the award winning, portfolio possessing form giver.

  7. Yes Mr Jason, you are right. I am a trained designer and have opted out to be a design thinker, researcher, trend forecaster and innovator. But Most of the time when i go about in design circles, I am asked about my design portfolio.

    Though as a design researcher and Innovator I have wroked with brands like Colgate Palmolive, Sewa, Samsung and Lg electronics in the field of human centered research but that tacit knowlwdge i carry has to convert to a design and a form to be able to find foot in the design world here.

    Like i tell couple of my students in India- career of design thinker and design researcher is battle ground.

  8. Thanks for the post and comments!

    One quick but critical clarification: the Human Torch need NOT be a Hindi speaker. We are just looking for passionate, experienced designers.

    Good comments – Rest assured our Product Design team spends time in ‘places where needs are greatest’ and thoroughly tests product designs with many customers.

    D.light Design

  9. Dear Publisher
    We in S.Africa are embarking on seriuos roll-outs in partnership with India.
    Your suggestions and support to us to engage more aggressively not only
    in S.A but Africa as a continent would be welcomed.

    Our target is to start a assembly line and thereafter manufacture.

    Kind Rgds.

  10. I am more interested in learning about why d.Light is looking for design thinkers? I have interacted with some executives as well as tested the product. Its a good product with a strong proposition. Also I think there is no dearth of design thinkers, creative leaders in d.Light.

    Is there a problem they are trying to address? Such innovative models for distribution? Increasing awareness of the product? Making a sale at the grass root level?

  11. My only plea to anyone working in this field is “please illuminate yourself” before presuming the conditions of your end users and delivering conceited solutions.

    I know this reads like a dampener and you may be like a crow scouring a garbage heap but otherwise you will just invent another wheel unless you follow up what others have done and won or failed. Many ‘green enthusiasts’ and self-appointed champions of the solar cause seem to think that anointing a portable lamp makes it solar.

    I have seen solar lighting programmes consistently dying for an overlooked want of support over the past 30 years, be it in matching and connecting a solar panel, panel life, battery and lamp replacement or availability as well as simple help in maintaining and servicing – not so much from technology or product issues. Products have in fact improved from technology upgrades in light sources and batteries as well as panel reliability. This causes such bitterness that it prejudices all concerned agencies and users against photovoltaic as a whole.

    Has anyone wondered why –
    A) We don’t see at least half of Indian homes by today fitted with any solar device, despite them being around since the late 70s? And despite our Nodal Agencies and Govt department having theoretically installed the largest number of solar thermal as photovoltaic capacities in the world?
    B) Yet we see, in some places, solar equipment that has been working for the past 25 years and more?

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