EP 260 . 03 Jan 23

What can design do in India?

With Ayush Chauhan

In the episode

  1. As we say, “India has many Indias.” We also do not have a literal translation of the word “Design” in India. We have kala, Karigari, and many more. How and where do you see Design in India?
  2. Our education system is mainly inspired by the west which in the initial days (before personalization) was designed for profits and thereby had a lot of standardization. We have also recently seen that valley startups don’t find a PMF in India. What are your learnings/insights so far to reimagine India’s plural futures through UnBox Cultural Futures Society?
  3. Historically (half a millennium ago) we as Indians were huge on up-cycling, reusing, and good design systems to make this circular thing work – Can we find learn from some insights?
  4. What Design Can do has partnered with IKEA for this “make it circular challenge”. IKEA is one brand that has made genuine attempts to contextualize products and services as per markets, barring aesthetics. Can you talk a little bit about the fundamental aspects of circular design?
  5. How did “UnBox Cultural Futures Society” and “What Design Can do” connect? A little bit of the backstory? In which capacity do you guys collaborate
  6. What are other initiatives undertaken by UnBox Cultural Futures Society through the years? Collaborating with British Council, NID, Gothe Institute, and more..
  7. In India, what according to you are a few domains which need immediate design intervention? I am assuming it will be from MP Ranjan’s list but still, since you are a practicing professional, you might see things differently.
  8. Can you conclude by sharing any case study/winner or 2, which you loved the most in the last 5 years from “What Design Can do” competitions?

About Ayush Chauhan

Audiogyan is proud to partner with UnBox Cultural Futures Society and What Design Can do. What Design Can Do, is an international organization that seeks to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, fair, and just society using the power of design.


WhatDesignCanDo is launching the “Make it Circular Challenge” – a global design competition building a circular future in partnership with IKEA. This Challenge invites designers and creative entrepreneurs everywhere to submit design-driven climate innovations. The end goal? To show the world that a circular future is not only imaginable — but actionable. Winning projects will be propelled into 2023 with €10.000 in funding and a tailor-made development program. Submit your proposals online for free by 11 January 2023. Check out the design briefs and learn more about them at makeitcircular.whatdesigncando.com


Ayush Chauhan joins us on Audiogyan. Ayush is the Managing Partner & Co-Founder of Quicksand Design Studio. He is a strong advocate of transformative roles through design within public policy, international development, social enterprise, and innovation, for which he was also granted the prestigious Yale World Fellowship in 2012. Ayush is also an avid triathlete! Quicksand Studio also hosts the UnBox Cultural Futures Society. It’s a platform exploring new narratives and building action at the intersection of disciplines, to reimagine India’s plural futures. As part of its agenda, UnBox Cultural Futures Society partners with What Design Can Do regularly and this year they bring, the” Make it circular challenge”.