The Internet
4:00pm – 4:40pm GMT Thursday 10 Jun 2021

Forecasting design: a South Asian perspective

Ayush Chauhan

The dominance of digital economy, its spread and pace of adoption, and a prolific rise in first time internet consumers in the region, places Global South (Asia Pacific, SE Asia, South Asia, Africa) prominently as the next frontier for growth and innovation. Looking at Quicksand’s own journey of 16 years working in emerging markets — in particular the challenge of sustaining a design research practice in a “design-poor” context (in terms of design awareness, literacy & application) — perhaps holds cues to how we may think of the future evolution of design; one that beckons the practice to reinvent itself, be relevant to the realities of the next billion and move out of its “echo chambers”. Our decade and a half old practice has served witness to several “truths” — the need for design to infiltrate several domains and spaces to make itself heard, to mirror the pluralistic culture that it co-habits and to mutate in order to add value and create impact within complex socio-political systems. If we were to consider that the next economic and social upheaval in the 21st century will be centered in the Global South, my attempt will be to present these provocations as some form of futurecasting for the evolution of design practice.

About Ayush Chauhan
Managing Partner and Co-founder of Quicksand
A head and shoulders view of Ayush Chauhan

Ayush Chauhan is the Managing Partner and Co-founder of Quicksand, a design strategy and innovation consultancy working in emerging markets at the intersection of business, international development, arts and culture. At Quicksand, he promotes design for social impact by drawing upon the best practices of design, business and social entrepreneurship to address the pressing and complex issues of equity, public health, education, financial inclusion and other development issues. Ayush was selected as a Yale World Fellow from India in 2012, one of Yale University's flagship global leadership programs, for his work in designing products and services that promote sustainability and quality of life for low and middle-income communities. An entrepreneur, educator, and mentor, he is also the co-founder of UnBox, the first interdisciplinary festival in India bringing together leading voices from across the world for inspiration, debate and reflection. Ayush currently serves on the board of William J. Clinton Foundation in India.