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Design-Driven Innovation reveals how leaders such as Apple, Nintendo, Alessi and Whole Foods Market build an unbeatable and sustainable competitive advantage through innovations that do not come from the market but those which create new markets. Everyone in the modern world is now looking for “The Innovative Designer”.Keeping this as the underlining idea, MIT Media Labs recently organized a five-day Design and Innovation Workshop from 26th to 30th March in New Delhi. Sakshi Gupta, Shivani Poddar, Somay Jain, and Akshat Khandelwal (myself) — all from UG1 attended the Workshop. The selection process involved an elaborate application form which tested our basic hardware and software know-how. We were divided into different tracks based on the choices we filled in the form. My track was Sensor- Mediated Environments, which proposed new strategies in creating intuitive, customizable interfaces for human-computer interaction through inventing cutting-edge sensor technologies. Sakshi’s track was Design for Interaction which took a focused look at how the choices we make as designers influence the way people use products. Shivani’s track was imaging on Steroids. The students in this track were expected to create an entirely new class of imaging platforms that have an understanding far exceeding human ability to produce meaningful abstractions well within human comprehensibility.Somay’s track was Living Mobile, a track which was based on app-development and focused on designing interfaces and experiences for groups of people on the move.All the instructors were Ph.D students at the MIT Media Lab. They guided us right from brain-storming of the idea to the actual development of the prototype. I had never thought the way I did in those five days. The instructors gave us a totally new and unmatched insights in the way we looked at things around us, as if everything had some hidden meaning! It was an amazing experience and the institute even funded us for the workshop, along with 50% exemption from attendance. The Workshop takes place annually and I would urge the students of IIIT-H to attend these five days of designing and innovation!

On a side note– In our case, it was decided by the institute that if you are in first year, you won’t get full exemption from attendance for attending such workshops as it is assumed that first years don’t have adequate experience or projects to boast of and attend such workshops. But yes, after the workshop we now have a projectcount++ and hope that next time when we go for similar workshops, full exemption is granted!

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