Meaningful design and why I started yform.studio?
yform.studio is a strategy + design firm using design to bring clarity to complex problems, frame new opportunities and build meaningful and impactful products.
After having spent close to 18 years working along with design agencies, consulting and product companies, I decided to take the entrepreneur route and start on my own. This decision was many years in making and in hindsight something I should have taken a long time ago. This is the story and ethos behind how yform.studio came into being. I loved reflecting on this journey and hope you enjoy reading it.
The Wonder Years
I grew up in a small town, Shimla, neatly tucked in foothills of Himalayas, in northern India. My wonder years were fascinating amidst the backdrop of rich social, architectural and cultural environment.
This environment became my mentor in what would later become cornerstone of my personal and professional life. The exposure to a visceral world during these formative years helped me understand everything around me in a structural visual format.
Mid-1990s in India was a fascinating and during that period of socio-cultural and economical change, I was lucky enough to get amazing education in the fields of architecture and design. Two years at the D-school transformed my wonder years into inquiry moments.
I learned the nuances of design inquiry, that helped me recognize the value, power and responsibility of design. Little did I understood at that time that these constructs would become the backbone of a design studio I would start in a different part of the world, 18 years later.
Corporate Time Capsule
During the first 4 years of my professional life, I applied my design learnings to build brands at a design agency, create marketing tools at a product company and working alongside manufacturing companies in mid-west America with a global consulting firm. This was the time when design started getting recognized as an intrinsic part of software culture.
The last 14 years saw me working in US corporate world, with a software giant, healthcare and wellbeing companies and multiple startups (some I co-founded). I built design teams, shipped multiple products and witnessed design evolving from support to a ‘must have’ function.
Design is never done. We are at a stage where there is a dire need of design fraternity to evolve. Seat in a board room is no longer the goal. Building beautiful and/or functional is not the only outcome. Design has to leap-frog the traditional boundaries of think, build and deliver and has to go in the deep rooted questions like; Is this even required? Is this sustainable? What are the unintended consequences? etc.
Design has to be responsible!
“ The scale of design has shifted from building products, to businesses, to systems. Design has become more strategic partner than a tactical mindset. It is no longer about what and how we design but why we design”
yform.studio is more than just a design firm. It seeks answers on some of the most challenging and complex problems we have ever seen in our life time. These challenges also called as “wicked problems” are intertwined and impact many at various levels. Many organizations today see value in design but are afraid to go deeper in framing their problems in a right way and work towards meaningful outcomes.
“Strategic design is about applying the principles of traditional design to ‘big picture’ systemic challenges such as healthcare, education and the environment.”
We want to put strategic design at the heart of how we think about products, businesses and systems at scale and, more importantly, how we create lasting value for all stakeholders. We acknowledge the changing role of design in todays world and through it we seek positive solutions around questions like — Will higher education always lead to student debt?, I am not Ok, how can I be better?, What can I do about climate change? What does equality mean to me?and similar complex questions.
The kind of studio yform wants to be?
We will not have all the answers on the onset, but along the way we will learn, at times fail and it may take many iteration to find good answers. We also recognize that this is a huge challenge — a challenge that is necessary, and the one we are excited to take on. Here is what you can expect from yform.studio:
- Work on problems that matter
- Lead understanding through research and data
- Make “big ideals” an integral part of design
- Create narratives to change the mindset
- Pride on meaningful outcomes
- Be honest in our efforts
Finally, I am excited to take this journey and hope I will meet curious minds along the way. Let’s chat on how we can re-shape some of these challenges. You can reach me at vineet [at] yform.studio or browse our thoughts at www.yform.studio.