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00:00:09 Hi everyone I m Kadambari Sahu. I'm the head of design at Value Labs. Design Inspire is

00:00:14 the web series of passionate innovative and young inspiring designers. The web series

00:00:19 dive into their passion inspiration and what makes them go. It's an effort to understand

00:00:25 how they are navigating their career path and how they are investing their creative

00:00:29 energies. We believe hearing their bold moves and inspiring stories that will ignite interest

00:00:34 and inspired the next generation of budding designers across the globe. So let's go forward.

00:00:39 Hello everyone welcome to design inspire. Our today's guest is Deepak Mallaya. Deepak

00:00:43 is a full stack designer and a creative technologist with over seven years of experience designing

00:00:49 physical and digital products. While pursuing his master's. He co-founded the Tyre collective

00:00:55 where he invented the device that helps capture Tyre wear emissions. The second largest micro

00:01:00 plastic pollutant in our environment. Previously, he co-founded and led product design at Treemouse.

00:01:05 An award winning strategy and research consultancy in India. His work has won many international

00:01:10 recognition, including the fast company, the IxDA and many others. They've also been exhibited

00:01:15 in the institutions like the Saatchi gallery, Dutch design week, consumer electronics show

00:01:20 and Imperial College. So hello and welcome, Deepak, how are you doing today?

00:01:26 Hi, thanks for having me this is quite exciting.

00:01:28 All right, let's go forward. So let me introduce you to the show format. The first part would

00:01:34 be a presentation of your choice, where you would be sharing with us, your thoughts, your

00:01:38 passion, inspiration, anything. And the second part is a talk sort of between me and you

00:01:43 where we will converse about your design journey. So let's go forward. We're very excited to

00:01:48 hear your story, over to you, Deepak.

00:01:53 Cool. So I'll just quickly share my screen. Yeah. Hello everyone. My name is Deepak. I'm

00:01:58 an Interaction designer, and creative technologist, and I design the meaningful supporting roles,

00:02:05 but technology and our life s, and I'm really interested, in how the big innovation outside

00:02:12 the lab and into the real world. So my relationship with design started with finding something

00:02:19 better than my DOD in parts to engineering, being from Bangalore and I did my undergrad

00:02:24 in product and interface design. I worked in Berlin for a while, and then came back,

00:02:30 looking at various big tech companies, for a couple of years. And then co-founder Treemouse

00:02:36 with my far better half Nishita Gill. Treemouse is a research and strategy consultancy in

00:02:43 Delhi and we're basically working with, industry leading companies, to transform healthcare

00:02:49 FinTech in India. I then moved to London to do my masters, in innovation design engineering

00:02:56 at the Royal College of art and, Imperial College London and, in London, I co-founded,

00:03:04 the Tyre collective, which is a clean tech startup that designs circular solutions to

00:03:09 mitigate Tyre wear, which is the second largest micro plastic pollutant in the environment.

00:03:14 And the major threat to our oceans and healthy cities. I also co-founded AI yesterday, which

00:03:20 is, my youngest initiative. It's an experimental collaboration with the Oxford internet Institute

00:03:26 and it is an online publishing platform that aims to bring practitioners and theoreticians

00:03:31 together, to embrace. What, journalism and, academic writing excludes, on issues around

00:03:39 AI and he was sort of created, an AI code writer, which also started response to prompt.

00:03:45 And, but I just want editorials. So that's quite exciting. And I'll be sharing that soon.

00:03:51 So my talk today is called the ethical ideas for a better tomorrow. and it's a, it's a

00:03:56 thought, it's a, it's an idea that I've been sort of thinking about for a very long time

00:04:00 and it all starts with the idea of a better, so what is better and what does better mean?

00:04:06 Is it better to use it experience? Is it better products? Better systems, better life or a

00:04:13 better society. How do you, or how do, how does anybody, how do we as designers define

00:04:18 better? I'll give you the example of the plastic bag. It was invented by a Swedish engineer

00:04:24 in 1959. And it was his intent was to save the planet bags have developed as a better

00:04:31 alternative to plastic bags, which were considered bad for the environment because at that time,

00:04:37 they thought forest is being chopped down was a bad thing. Still is. However, now we

00:04:42 know that single use plastics is one of the biggest threats facing the world, sees with

00:04:47 Marine plastic set out with fish by 2050? So better is a very powerful word because

00:04:54 used to sell the agenda, any entity, whether it's good, bad, anything in between, from

00:05:00 companies to politics. So what is good today could be bad model because everybody wants

00:05:05 a better future. So as designers, we are responsible for what we create as better because, as Julian

00:05:12 Baker says, designers live in the future and through our work, we are pulling the present

00:05:17 up to us and so whether it's digital or physical products, services of fashion, we create what

00:05:24 society consumes and it is our responsibility to be as mindful and through as possible.

00:05:29 When we innovate. So how do we design better? So these are some of my reflections, some

00:05:36 of my projects, experiments, at designing better solutions for people, in different

00:05:40 ways. So, everything starts with a compelling story designers are visual storytellers, afterall

00:05:48 stories are the most compelling ways we connect with each other. So for example, I'll give

00:05:55 you an example of the project with British airways, to imagine the future of flight or

00:06:01 from the years from now. So, and we sort of took up the topic of sustainability because

00:06:07 airline space, a massive sustainability challenge, environmentally and economically. So we explored

00:06:13 how airline ecosystems could change by adopting new strategies and technologies recent developments

00:06:21 in synthetic biology have made the design and production of biologically based systems,

00:06:25 more precise than ever from algae powered homes, on the top, right to textile based,

00:06:32 dyes, from bacteria on the bottom left and even electronics and chandelier. So on the

00:06:37 bottom, on the bottom, right these developments show great promise for designing a sustainable

00:06:44 future and so working with experts from NASA jet propulsion lab. Imperial bio-engineering

00:06:52 and Airbus, we designed, we came up with a concept called Ethereum, which imagines a

00:06:57 future where synthetic biological systems are integrated seamlessly with electromechanical

00:07:01 ones, onboard the aircraft, giving it ice to a new industry called byway avionics, which

00:07:07 is a group of suppliers that builds onboard aviation systems that will change the way

00:07:12 we experience flight, offering sustainable solutions for air, energy and water on board

00:07:17 this seems fantastic, but. It was, we were amazed as designers at how crazy science can

00:07:24 actually be so we designed a multilayered cabin, a cabin structure that focuses on three

00:07:31 systems, hydration, energy generation, and oxygenation so the first of the biopolymer

00:07:36 coating, on the exterior structure of the cabin, this was inspired by a desert beetle

00:07:41 in, in, in Namibia, which sort of attracts water on its body and this responsibility

00:07:47 will harvest moisture and condensation from the clouds for, onboard gray water use, allowing

00:07:53 the plane to potentially start with less water and then, harvest water in the clouds. So

00:07:59 this helps it, reduce energy and fuel consumption. So this was presented at a section of the

00:08:07 fuel fuselage with hydrophobic coating you can see on the bottom, right and the moisture

00:08:11 on the surface sort of trickle down collective in the reservoir underneath. The second layer

00:08:16 is a computationally generated skeleton structure that minimizes we, while math, maximizing

00:08:21 strength, saving fuel for each flight so embedded in this generative structure is an energy

00:08:27 efficient, synthetic chloroplasts layer extracted and so it's like a solar cell, where. Like

00:08:35 plants, it converts sunlight in the CO2, expired by passengers. And this process also generates

00:08:41 energy. And actually, so, this, this clean air and electricity can be sort of generated

00:08:48 through photosynthesis so the oxygenation part represented as a life-size body panel

00:08:55 that you see on the left, to demonstrate the energy generation part of the thing. And then

00:09:01 we also, we also designed a three-cell cabin light module that is on the top, right. to

00:09:07 see how we could sort of show the concept of biology working with electronics and mechanics

00:09:14 on board. So this will be very good, exciting thing for us. so we wanted to visualize the

00:09:18 possible impact of, of these technologies working together across skills. And we wanted

00:09:23 to sort of. So we grew oxygen generating microalgae s. We actually did this on the, on the top

00:09:28 left. If you can see, and integrating them with the scale prototype of our arch, and

00:09:33 at the same time, we experiment with plastics and super hydrophobic coatings and all sorts

00:09:38 of crazy technology. Basically, you want to demonstrate that the present is just as fascinating

00:09:43 as the future and the cutting edge to be is, is, will be commonplace in the, in, in the

00:09:50 tomato. So, this project kind of taught me that, some y'all know that the school designing

00:09:57 futures and the way we think of the present and the preferred futures and things like

00:10:01 that. But they're kind of drawbacks this model where it sort of shows that you're situated

00:10:05 in the present with just one vantage point, and looking for the future. It doesn't allow

00:10:10 us to change the present. And that is where change is needed. So I find this model, by

00:10:17 the artist Alexander BZ Ginsburg to be very interesting. Reality is messy. It's Moodle.

00:10:22 It's that multiple realities, coexisting drawing from the stories of the past imagining stories

00:10:27 of the future and both influencing the state of the present. I think it example your Instagram

00:10:32 stories. You have really like unrest happening on one side and a very complete different

00:10:39 reality, just one swipe away. So I'm so against this messy backdrop, I want, my work is out

00:10:45 of 10 stories that are honest. I want to tell stories that capture the imagination and influence

00:10:50 the present. So, which leads me to the second sort of better that I'm interested in is,

00:10:56 is a love, hate relationship with technology. What does it mean to build better relationships

00:11:01 with them, especially with machine intelligences? What role the designers play when designing

00:11:06 with AI? Paula Anthony Lee says that designers stand between technological revolutions in

00:11:12 everyday life. We see. And here the spectacle around AI every single day. And so I wanted

00:11:18 to sort of cut through that spectacle and see what, how you can design more inclusive

00:11:23 applications for it because better can be more down. So I catch it as an intelligent

00:11:30 camera trap for conservationists that uses on-device machine learning to mitigate human

00:11:35 wildlife conflict. So this project kind of started in 2018 as a sort of Jerome in my

00:11:42 head when I volunteered for the tiger census. this was a manager that had to be killed because

00:11:47 it was injured by a trap and could not hunt and turn to humans, as easily, many animals

00:11:53 like this were electrocuted poison, forged the beaten to death because they just strayed

00:11:57 into human settlements, searching for food, and with kill biggest bop, Forest officials

00:12:02 hadn't been notified, people were panicking and, they just couldn't act on time. So working

00:12:08 with conservationists from Imperial College, from zoological society in London and the

00:12:13 wildlife trust of India, I tried to understand the challenges conservation is, and forest

00:12:18 officials faced in everyday and maintaining and safeguarding our relationship with the

00:12:24 wild. They have to mitigate relationship between locals some form monetarily incentivized by

00:12:28 poachers to track and tap animals. Agriculture and mining have sort of led to habitat loss,

00:12:36 especially in some areas of the South, and animals live often find themselves in villages

00:12:41 or living fairly fluxes. So, and forest officials have been monitored, these huge areas of land,

00:12:47 which is very time consuming and it's very hard, very complicated cat and mouse game.

00:12:53 And there's. Pretty much, no way of knowing where these animals might stray or when they

00:12:56 might come into the village. So, so I wanted to design a solution that extended the senses

00:13:01 in the wild. What if conservation has had eyes and the mind in the wild? So this is

00:13:07 a quick video that I've made off of, my project and maybe you can have a look. There you go.

00:14:05 Cool. So, so yeah, so I got a system that basically uses long range radio signals to

00:15:33 sort of send SMS s when it detects a tiger in the forest. And it's sort of taking this

00:15:38 forward now with the nature conservation foundation to design an early warning system, to prevent

00:15:43 human elephant conflict in, in Hassan, in Karnataka. And, and so this, this is not a

00:15:49 project. Give me a glimpse into the opportunities. We overlook very easily, to be really creative

00:15:55 and to find opportunities for tech, for technology to create a positive impact and in areas that

00:16:00 really need innovation. So finally I would like to talk briefly about my process, I am

00:16:08 a firm believer in interdisciplinary. I think the concept of the lone inventor in the shed

00:16:14 only goes so far, when coming up with ideas and the only way we can truly bring ideas

00:16:19 to life is to interdisciplinary collaboration. And secondly, I really believe in this concept

00:16:25 called the funnel, which is, which is where we sort of bring down and sort of generate.

00:16:32 Ideas in huge quantities and test and validate and find, and sort of work with these concepts

00:16:39 to find what, what could be the best way of presenting something. and I think as designers

00:16:45 would sort of give ourselves up to that, And, and so I'll, I'll, I'll tell you what the

00:16:51 funnel means a little more to our project Tyre collective. So just to sort of briefly

00:16:58 give you a, an idea of the, what the problem is that, that the Tyres wear down. Every time

00:17:02 we accelerate break and corner, and these particles are a stealthy source. And, and

00:17:07 micro plastic pollution that was previously never researched. Nobody really thought about

00:17:12 it. it had gone set up to 50% of particulate emissions, making the second largest micro

00:17:18 plastic environment, and 1.8 million tons of agendas across the us and half a million

00:17:23 across, across Europe and then, and now Tyre wear set the increase because EVs are heavier.

00:17:31 They're about 25% heavier and have more talk. So, which means the future of pollution will

00:17:36 not come from the pill pipe, but from tyres. so just to kind of give you an idea, here

00:17:41 are samples of, tire wear that we track that we sort of, calculated and collected by tracking

00:17:49 buses, and, and cars in real-time for 24 hours. So the box on the left, the X 26 is the longest

00:17:56 bus route in London, and that's the size of a coconut and that's just one day, and, And

00:18:03 DFL the public transport, none has 9,000 buses. So I'll just let that sink in for a second.

00:18:10 So, so now that we had a problem to kind of solve you bonded collaborators, and that's

00:18:14 how we use the funnel for the first time. So we emailed 55 people across three colleges

00:18:19 across mechanical engineering, material science and aerodynamics 32 people responded, But

00:18:25 then they ghosted us 25 people responded for the invite to the chat to give us, some of

00:18:30 them give us their 2 cents and said we were crazy. And then they said, look, you get lost,

00:18:35 15 people that then, still showed interest. And then finally ended up working with six

00:18:39 people. So once you have those collaborators, we had to get to making and prototyping. So

00:18:44 we built this rig to sort of mimic a road, and a tire skidding. And then we went to work.

00:18:50 We started. Made a lot of experiments, at these saves vacuums, HEPA filters, Vandergrift

00:18:57 generators. We even spend some time trying to make a,

00:19:00 a sustainable tire, which was the most ridiculous idea. But, but then until we discovered this,

00:19:06 this was a really, this was a kind of breakthrough. So you can see the tire particles that, of

00:19:11 sticking to this balloon that was. Jars by rubbing against the sweater. And this was

00:19:16 pure coincidence and it, and it would have wouldn't have happened unless we went through

00:19:20 a funnel, we sketched out 400 ideas, discarded the impossible, crazy stuff conducted 50 experiments,

00:19:26 42 of which the field, because experts had it's, it's clear that it's not viable. Seven

00:19:32 ideas are invalidated. Space and aerodynamics constraints and we

00:19:36 identified one final POC even in that we sort of made different typologies different form

00:19:42 factors, different mechanisms and then finally, we came up with a working prototype that sort

00:19:46 of shows how it works. So you can see how the charged particles stick to only a few

00:19:51 blades and not the others. So this will be fascinating for us to see. Also working with

00:19:56 collaborators and aerodynamics, we identified in the ideal position of our device in the

00:20:01 vicinity of the wheel because it's turbulence space. So how do you fit it with that destroying

00:20:05 the car or the, the device itself, I'm working in the scientists. We identified proper materials,

00:20:10 how the best use of, of electricity and, energy efficiency in the car and not in this sort

00:20:18 of a prototype for us. So we received the patent on our technology there's more efficient

00:20:25 than vacuuming, more active than, ordinary sort of hemophilia technologies and it has

00:20:31 a storage mechanism that you can, change. So when I'm working with, with, with the public

00:20:38 transport companies, sort of, develop that for the, well, we wanted a system to be circular

00:20:42 as well. So once you collect this were able to. Sort of separated out and put it back

00:20:48 into new tyres, to a new material process that we've, generally innovated as well and

00:20:53 since the launch of our project, we've sort of built more partnerships, built, more people

00:20:59 that we want to work with, in government, in industry and we're growing on network as

00:21:05 well. And this sort of work has generated a lot of. Attention, because interdisciplinary

00:21:11 is such an interesting. So just so in conclusion, I think the takeaways from my sort of presentation

00:21:19 is defined. What better means to you? Tell honest stories. Pick an ideas outside the

00:21:25 lab and desk. In fact, don't sit at your desk, and try to sit outside somewhere. It's it's

00:21:31 way more interesting, reach out to as many people outside your discipline, as possible

00:21:36 work with people you want, who who's skilled, you want and, and there's no such thing as

00:21:43 failure. And when in doubt, use the funnel. So thanks. And you can ask me anything now.

00:21:49 All right. Yeah, that was really nice. And, very inspirational to see your process and

00:21:54 how you go about funnel you know, funnel and how you go about your process. So the next

00:22:00 part, we'll start with question and answer in a chat in the conversation. The, most of

00:22:06 the questions that, today I'll ask you are actually collated by my team user experience

00:22:10 group. So let's go ahead. I usually start with simple question asking most of the people,

00:22:17 because it seems like design was, is something like a stream where people don't know from

00:22:23 there, kindergarten days that, okay. I want to be a designer. So how did it start for

00:22:30 you?

00:22:31 Oh, man. It was, it was extremely rebellious. It's kind of ironic for me. It's I wanted

00:22:40 to run away from engineering in my 12th grade, but now I've ended up coming back and like

00:22:47 falling in love with engineering, which is, which is interesting for me. I just, yeah,

00:22:52 yeah. For me personally, I wanted to do something where I was able to apply what I'm learning.

00:22:56 Even at school. I used to love physics. I used to love science, but I hated reading

00:23:01 them from textbooks. I used to love seeing. Things work, how they're applied. So that's,

00:23:07 it's pretty much started from there and then it sort of grew up and, and, and on the other

00:23:12 hand I was, I used to draw a lot. So I think that sort of came, that sort of, that's how

00:23:20 I was recommended. To design because a cousin of mine was an NID and she's like, okay, you

00:23:24 draw, well, why don't you try design? I was like, okay, let me try it. And yeah, it's,

00:23:29 it's you just sort of stumbling and then you fall in love with the discipline, you know.

00:23:34 So what was your discipline? How did it start? Like, which discipline you went to? What did

00:23:38 you do there?

00:23:40 So I, I kind of, I joined Srishti, and my program was called product and interface design.

00:23:49 Back at that time. I think it's completely changed now. And, for me it was, Srishti was

00:23:59 very flexible where they, it was very craft-based at that time. So I told him my, head of department

00:24:06 that I don't want to sit in like an coconuts because that's like, or bamboo or make things

00:24:12 out of like, whatever, because I want to do something else. And, and that's. And I had,

00:24:17 we had a lecture from David Cartelism, who was the founder of art being one. We had a

00:24:23 project with them where they just said, they just gave us our winos and they said, figure

00:24:26 it out. And I was like, what is this really shared? I'm like, I was trying to mess around

00:24:31 and stuff, and I totally fell in love with that. That thing. And I didn't know how to

00:24:36 code. And this is when I was coming from 12th grade where we weren't allowed to pass the

00:24:39 computer, even though I did computer science and yet to write, C programs in textbooks

00:24:43 in notebooks, a Fibonacci sequence. I don't know if you guys have that. Yeah, we had to

00:24:49 mock up, we had to mug up computer programming. So, so this was so that's when I fell in love

00:24:54 with like working hands-on with electronics, with, with, with rendering, with technology.

00:24:59 And so that's how I kind of. Create my own curriculum in Srishti, to sort of call myself

00:25:06 an interaction designer. So, yeah.

00:25:08 And after that, what did you do? Did you straight away, went to, start Treemouse or was there

00:25:14 like a thing a time before that as well?

00:25:19 Yeah, so I think, so I was, I was recommended to go to Berlin by another tutor who was a

00:25:28 visiting faculty, and who sort of introduced me to, this, this place called the dice telecom

00:25:33 innovation lab, which is run by a lot of people from the RC at that time. And, and that's

00:25:41 where I've really found, It sort of opened up my perspective on what a design can do

00:25:48 Design can be, in sort of services, digital, physical products and stuff. And so I was

00:25:54 there for about almost a year and then I came back, and I was working in different companies

00:26:00 in SAP and Honeywell. but I always wanted to, I think what was interesting from my undergrad

00:26:06 is I was exploring so many different things that by the time I was like, Do I have to

00:26:12 find my niche colleagues got over, and I was like, shit, I need to do something I need

00:26:17 to, there's no closer for me. And, and so I had the, I had the sort of, I had, some

00:26:22 financial difficulties and things. So I had to, I had to sort of work for a while and

00:26:27 then, have enough. A lot of money to go RCA is not cheap in any way. So, and yeah, I wanted

00:26:36 to sort of go to the RCA because a lot of my most inspiring who does, who came to Srishti,

00:26:40 who were in Berlin and suffer from the RC. And I really love the way they think and the

00:26:44 way they sort of approached the particular problem. So, so yeah, so I kind of worked

00:26:49 for like five, six years I, I spent some time in NID teaching, a new media design, and then

00:26:57 I started Treemouse with Nishitha who I met in SAP.

00:27:01 So, and how did you, like, so you co-founded the company, right Treemouse at that point

00:27:06 in time, what were your thoughts? Why did you even start like, you know, initiative

00:27:11 of this order?

00:27:13 Yeah. This, this also comes from this whole idea of better. Like I wanted to do something

00:27:18 better. I wanted to do something more. There was this. I'm always driven by this idea of

00:27:23 how do you make something better I guess it's an endless pursuit. There is no finality to

00:27:29 it but it's like, I wanted to see how you can work with people in better ways that aren't

00:27:37 constrained. How do you find ideas that aren't limited to within a particular industry? I

00:27:45 wanted to, I wanted to go wide, to a certain extent, and then go be, in a, in a particular

00:27:52 project. So, so yeah, so that's what kind of drove me into Treemouse, sort of established

00:27:58 that as a, as a practice.

00:27:59 And that also is like, you know, some of the projects and Treemouse also have a lot of,

00:28:07 you know, recognition. Do you want to talk about any particular projects that you've

00:28:12 worked in there and which was quite inspirational?

00:28:15 Ooh. Hmm. We, so I think one of my, the most interesting projects was working with, with

00:28:22 Baja finserv, which was, which is, I think now one of the most profitable sort of MBFC

00:28:31 is, after HDFC bank and working with them was really challenging interesting, like were,

00:28:39 so we were working with a marketing team. They might have a lead, do they even team

00:28:43 like they would, I really like working with people who challenge your ideas, like yeah.

00:28:49 It's like you come in and you sort of create this design. I know this idea. And they're

00:28:54 like, what is this? This doesn't make sense. Like our user is not like that. And then you

00:28:57 have to go and like convince them. And then they have different mental models. You have

00:29:01 different mental models and then you have to go and actually prove and convince what

00:29:05 you're doing. So I like, I kind of enjoy that fighting. And, and so I think it was, it was

00:29:12 really interesting to sort of work with these different teams with these different stakeholders

00:29:18 across different business verticals, and, and sort of create, so we designed that front-end

00:29:26 sort of portal and the customer experience and the design strategy. We were, we were

00:29:30 partly responsible for breaking up some of their products into a more digestible and

00:29:37 more strategic initiatives, to sort of Dutch customers at different segments. So this came

00:29:43 out from a lot of like, back and forth, a lot of, fighting. So to say, and, and in the

00:29:52 end, you're just. That satisfaction of working together with these people is, is, was I think

00:29:57 the most inspiring for me and then that, that sort of led to, Bajaj being like having huge

00:30:03 amounts of growth over the past, I think five, six years, at digital growth, not just physical,

00:30:08 not going to a store. So I think that was a big sort of thing for us.

00:30:13 So you've been now you're like a second or third, you have initiative that you have co-founded

00:30:19 right? Tired that this AI yesterday. Right? So isn't like something that is just, intentional

00:30:26 or is it just like you try to, how, how do you go about this?

00:30:32 Yeah, it's maybe. I don't know, maybe it's a, it's an addiction, I think is a problem.

00:30:40 I need to kind of think about it no, I think there's, there's, these sort of respond to

00:30:49 different, different intentions in, in the kind of thing it has. I want to explore as,

00:30:55 as an interaction designer and these are sort of opportunity areas or things that I've sort

00:31:02 of identified and I want to sort of work with different people on, on these areas. So for

00:31:08 example, yeah, yesterday was came from, came from a thought of, again, like there's AI,

00:31:14 as a way as a, as a technology in the, in the hype cycle, you can use it for whatever

00:31:20 you want it to be. You can call it bad, you can call it good. You can, you can do whatever

00:31:25 you want. So I don't want another start. Not just working hands-on with it. I spent two

00:31:30 years working hands-on with the technology, but I also wanted to work with the patients

00:31:36 on it because on the one hand, during my research phase, I would come across. Lot of theory

00:31:41 related to BI ethics, all that kind of stuff. And then on the one hand, you see practical

00:31:45 work, industrial latent work happening. So I was like, how can we get these people to

00:31:50 talk? And so the Oxford internet Institute, you know, most of Oxford is a very theoretical

00:31:55 place. And so I sort of, I met

00:32:15 like nobody reads them. And how do you sort of bring this back and into practice? So,

00:32:22 yeah

00:32:23 We just kind of lost you in between, you said that, Oxford is, yeah, I think there was some,

00:32:27 I don't know. It was it's okay. Well, that's it. I don't know if it was from my end or

00:32:33 yours, but can you repeat that? So my question was like, so yeah, you were talking about,

00:32:40 the AI yesterday

00:32:41 Yep. Yeah. Okay So yeah, so AI yesterday was basically, came from, my sort of thought of,

00:32:48 of, looking at AI as a technology and how people sort of use it for whatever purpose,

00:32:53 they wanted to, whether it's good or bad or anything in between. And so for me as a practitioner

00:32:59 like working, I've done a lot of projects hands-on with AI and I wanted to but during

00:33:06 my phase I'd read a lot of theory on it. So I wanted to sort of bring this to you and

00:33:11 practice like the practitioner practitioners together and see what, how you can engage

00:33:16 in discussion and debate on it. So that's why I sort of approached the, sorry, I met

00:33:22 this girl from call Maggie McGrath who's from the Oxford internet Institute and we sort

00:33:28 of started talking about it and, and she was like, yeah. As, as at the theorist they are

00:33:33 just. Publishing frameworks and theories around AI ethics, all that kind of stuff. And some

00:33:39 of these frameworks, again, they're in their own bubble of how do you implement these frameworks

00:33:44 in, in industry? And so, and so I was like, okay, there's a major gap here. How do you

00:33:50 sort of bridge this gap between theory and practice? And I, from a very personal point

00:33:55 of view also wanted to sort of write more on AI. So I came from a selfish and a more

00:34:00 collaborative sense, I guess.

00:34:04 So honest of you? I should say

00:34:08 I tell honest stories

00:34:10 So was this like part of your curriculum or was this just like overall collaboration that

00:34:17 you just wanted to have? And then you went ahead and you had it.

00:34:20 Oh, no, no. This was totally outside.

00:34:25 And was the Tyre collective of that sort too? No, no. Tyre collective came from, from college.

00:34:31 It was, it was so we have a group project sort of thing and, so I wanted to work with

00:34:39 these four people who I really, who were really, they had such interesting skills that I wanted

00:34:46 to sort of gain for myself. So, so I was like, okay, let's, let's get together and, and see

00:34:53 what we can do. And, and this sort of, project was, seemed very challenging for us. It was

00:35:03 super complicated, almost impossible. And the ridiculous as a, as a problem space and

00:35:09 so we were like, yeah, that sounds perfect for us designers. Let's see how it can go.

00:35:15 Yu do so many things are, how do you balance your, like, how is a day in your life? I would

00:35:20 really want to understand, because there's so much of things that you are doing. So how

00:35:24 do you go about doing this?

00:35:25 Yeah, it's a hyper efficiency. Hyper efficiency. If I show you my laptop right now, it's. It's

00:35:34 yeah. Its Hyper inefficiency in terms of time management, how do you like you really, budget

00:35:43 your time in different ways? How much, how much time can you budget for a particular

00:35:49 instance? What are your priorities? What is easy? What are, what are the dependencies

00:35:57 of whether it's a client project, whether it's, like, like Tyre collective work pitching.

00:36:02 Grant funding, all that kind of stuff. Yeah. Yesterday staff, which is like, what s going

00:36:07 to happen slowly. So you budget and you find the time in your day. I, yeah, I guess I'm

00:36:13 not a very, I think my, my, housemates here, let's say that I'm, I don't sleep. I like

00:36:18 they are worried about me. They say a manual light is on at like three in the morning.

00:36:27 And are you okay? I'm just like, eh, it's fine. I was just working there was like something

00:36:32 I got, I got carried away with something, but it just comes from. this sort of fascination

00:36:39 with, with what, what you kind of want to do, but yeah, it's, it's, it's, you have to

00:36:43 be really, good with your time. And I learned that the hard way I was, in fact, I think,

00:36:50 I think 2016 or something, there was literally nothing I was making or nothing I was producing.

00:36:56 So I kind of learned that. I'm not going to think about things happening later in the

00:37:01 future, but this make produce, put something out, see what happens, and then change.

00:37:07 So, yeah, that sounds interesting and said that like a lot of our other guests who came

00:37:11 to the show also had like a similar idea. He said that, he would go on thinking for

00:37:16 like a lot of time and then, you know, this sort of anxiety that builds up, right. If

00:37:20 you're not making. And also he said that the best thing that he could do is just start

00:37:24 building something that every week, every week he has a schedule of his own, but yeah,

00:37:30 he keeps building.

00:37:31 So yeah, like it's, it's, it's all said and done. I think that is more better satisfaction.

00:37:39 When you see something work and you see something that you have made that challenges your assumptions.

00:37:48 I think like it was. Just just doing the Tyre collective. Like we have, we all have, so

00:37:55 I was a designer. My friend is an architect. my other partner, and another guy is a mechanical

00:38:00 engineer and Hugo is mechanical Engineer being the model guys, Hanson is an architect, from

00:38:09 the U S Hugo is a mechanical engineer and Shavon is a biology and researcher. So, they,

00:38:18 like we had, Constant arguments because we, as designers have like all these other ideas.

00:38:27 And so we are trying to make like something and prove it to them and they will try and

00:38:32 make something, improve something to us. And you can argue when something works in front

00:38:36 of you when it shows and demonstrates, demonstrates your concept. So that's, our prototyping is

00:38:43 so important.

00:38:44 So, so, you know, working collaboratively on this has this kind of things like, whoever

00:38:49 has ever worked in team knows that there's a lot of viewpoints that happens today. And

00:38:54 then this is one of debates that happens. And there's a lot of discussions and this

00:38:58 point of time, you know, traversing and making sure that your voices are heard at the same

00:39:01 point of time, you're taking points is that like a framework or any points that you have

00:39:05 that you think that should be taken care of you know, working in groups and, collaboration.

00:39:11 I think one thing is, if he's working with, people from different disciplines, for me

00:39:23 personally, coming from a design background, it's really important for me to do my homework

00:39:29 before I go into these meetings. Who are these people? What are their, like, if they are,

00:39:35 if it's, like, okay, I'll give you an example of, of our project where we had to read that

00:39:42 academic people, because they won't take you seriously, if you don't like speak their language.

00:39:47 So to say, so, you always gain that trust by saying, oh, we read your paper. And we

00:39:53 found this very interesting, relevant to our project and then like, Oh yeah, okay. Yeah,

00:39:58 this is how we did it. And then, then they start giving you more interesting ideas. And

00:40:01 it's also, you speak as a designer, you speak those languages. I think it's very important

00:40:06 to like in all honesty, I kind of its, it's kind of, cringe-worthy when I see designers

00:40:14 who don't speak engineering languages, where they come up with like the, you, you need

00:40:20 to empathize with the guys that are building the stuff also. So, and I'm not saying that

00:40:26 you get tied down by engineering. That's not, that's not what I mean, but you need to speak

00:40:31 those languages to connect with people, to do the sort of. Build synergies with them.

00:40:36 So I think that is very important when, when you, sort of thinking about it. So, and that

00:40:41 doesn't mean that you don't teach them about design. I think that's very important. So

00:40:44 my best projects is, like I said, when they challenge your design and you challenge them,

00:40:52 engineering, and that's how sort of prototypes come about, you know? So, so yeah, that's

00:40:56 most fun.

00:40:57 So you started your, you know, as an undergrad with the product and interface design, right?

00:41:02 If I'm correct. So you know you might, might have like, people have typecast of most of

00:41:08 the designers as people come from Esthetics you know, coming from Esthetics so how do

00:41:13 you break that boundary and come off, you know, as somebody to be taken seriously in

00:41:18 terms of, you know, can add value to the collaboration.

00:41:23 This again, it's, this is a space that, you only show by making or you show by prototype

00:41:34 and you show by. How, how you can make an impact, how you can make a difference, whether

00:41:41 its UI design, like it, I think UI or UX or UI design. I think there's always a back and

00:41:50 forth like, oh, you can do this. You can do that. You can try this, but there's, there's

00:41:54 always like when you show that X is tested and people have responded this way, you build

00:42:01 a prototype, you show it. Then it's very, you have, you're building a case. You're like

00:42:07 a lawyer in a way. Like, how do you build your case? How do you sort of show that you

00:42:12 can't, you can't like go against it. This is so compelling. That's how you build your

00:42:18 story. and so I guess it's just to making, building, you're constantly making stuff.

00:42:22 Yep.

00:42:23 And, the other point that I want to ask you is like, you started with the, again, I'll

00:42:30 go back that product and interface design, but then you traverse as like a lot of boundaries,

00:42:34 right. And this sometimes take you know, lot of efforts not only efforts but something

00:42:40 because you always feel like, okay, this is a new field, might not be very comfortable.

00:42:46 So how do you get yourself to work on things that you don't fall?

00:42:50 Yeah. I think dealing with ambiguity is, is very it's challenging. It's you have, it takes,

00:43:01 it took me a lot of time and effort to break those preconceived notions. And it's very

00:43:08 high. It's always there. Like you always have those preconceived notions, of, of in any

00:43:15 project. So It takes, I mean, I think for me, it's firstly, you have to sort of fall

00:43:23 in love or at least be interested in the domain of the other topic that you are like exploring.

00:43:29 So for us, like, it, it, it always starts with an opportunity space, not with, with

00:43:36 a particular technology and not with a particular, output. So, so for example, eye catcher was

00:43:43 more about looking at wildlife conservation. So it came from a space of like, okay, how

00:43:47 do I intervene here? These guys are facing so many issues. How do you sort of, how, how

00:43:53 can you, how, how you sort of design these interventions that Tyre collective came from

00:44:00 a space of micro plastic pollution. You're seeing it everywhere. You're seeing all these

00:44:04 things happening. How can you start to build, build solutions for it? And, and, and for

00:44:12 me, it's, it's like we have, listen, you have this whole habit of like, as designers, Naming

00:44:19 our fires as final and then final, final, and the final, final hire file. There is no

00:44:24 finality in design. If you see an especially in UI, that's the best part. You re like you're

00:44:29 constantly changing UI because there's no one right answer. For me, it's just like,

00:44:35 okay, I'll make something I'll fail and then I'll move forward and find something else

00:44:39 better to do. So it's, it's always, so you're always learning from these things. When you

00:44:43 leave those inhibitions of like doing stupid stuff aside, then you have nothing to lose.

00:44:49 So you just jump in, ask those stupid questions, come across the little idiotic, But then you

00:44:56 find some investing, things that nobody has ever thought of. So that's, that's when you

00:45:01 like, say, okay, I'm actually intelligent, you know.

00:45:05 So people use like transdisciplinary, like multi-disciplinary and your, all those stumps.

00:45:10 Why did you chose to, you know, meaning yourself as full stack designer?

00:45:16 Oh man. So this again comes, this, this again comes from engineering full stack developer.

00:45:22 And I was like, Oh, I can be a full stack designer also because like, for me, it's it

00:45:27 is that idea of speaking different languages. Speaking Languages of, of, of the humanities

00:45:34 or of, of, of people or users of, sort of empathizing with them. So a human centered

00:45:40 approach, but also understanding how you can build those solutions. Working with engineers

00:45:46 actually getting your hands dirty with, with technology, with code with, well, I can't,

00:45:52 I can't, I can't do a hardcore, like backend kind of stuff, but I can do front-end prototyping,

00:46:00 not like industrial heavy stuff, but, yeah, I can build so, so it's for me personally,

00:46:06 I wanted to be a person who can work across the spectrum and, and, and it came from that

00:46:12 intent of taking ideas. Yeah, I was out of the lab. So you build these prototypes in

00:46:17 a place, but then how do you create impact? It needs, we used to go out and we used to

00:46:24 be in the real world, so, and real world has different constraints. So how do you adjust

00:46:27 for those constraints? So that's where, that's how it sort of came up.

00:46:32 Coming your journey with entrepreneurship, right? Like I've seen you have, as we talked

00:46:36 about that, you've already done, like, this is your third initiative that you're doing

00:46:40 and it's, it takes more than just being a good designer, a good any of those creative

00:46:46 persons, right. There's lot of things involved, planning and

00:46:47 execution. And also, as we were talking about public speaking, so do you want to talk about

00:46:51 like the importance of, you know, how to communicate in design of fit for people for just starting

00:46:59 out as an entrepreneurs? Maybe?

00:47:02 Yeah. Yeah. I think communication and confidence can sell you can. I mean, I think we've all

00:47:10 seen all the world footballs. You can sell it third to somebody. If, if, if you, if you

00:47:16 communicate and come across confident, and sell it the right way, you know, for, I think

00:47:24 for me, it's, it's about how do you communicate an idea as what is the core essence of your

00:47:31 idea? It takes a long time. It sounds very easy to sort of communicate, but it's very,

00:47:37 very hard too really. Got through all the stuff like, like you saw my project, we had

00:47:43 to do so much work, drill it down to one line. Like it's so hard, but if it only comes through

00:47:51 repeated iteration, repeated failures and sort of bringing, bringing that a lot and

00:47:58 so I think for me, it's communication as a designer, I think is, is more important sometimes

00:48:06 is as important as, as the design itself. Sometimes the work itself, may not be able

00:48:13 to speak for itself. So how do you communicate it? Or maybe you don't even have a work to

00:48:19 show to speak, to show somebody. So how do you sort of show it to them in like one minute,

00:48:24 two minutes? How do you capture someone's attention in, in? Five minutes. So it's so

00:48:31 you have developed that knack. And I think in, in the RCA for us, we had like all our,

00:48:36 all our presentations, every single presentation that we had was you're given five minutes,

00:48:42 whether it's a six month long project, whether it's a two week project, whether it's a one

00:48:46 week project, you're given five minutes, that's all you have. If you can finish in five minutes,

00:48:50 you feel like it's it. And you're constantly thinking about. What does it depend on what

00:48:58 is your project? What is the problem you're trying to solve? How we find this, all it,

00:49:03 how does it impact people's lives? So it's, it's very like you break it down into the

00:49:07 very bad, essential, cause that's, that's pretty much all you need to start with 10

00:49:13 people. So

00:49:14 When you're pitching these ideas, right, crazy new, all these ideas that, you know, generally,

00:49:20 designers come across. So, do you have like your compartments done? Like how would you

00:49:24 pitch your ideas as in 15 minutes, five minutes or something? Do you do it? Time-based how

00:49:29 do you go about you're looking at how to create those narratives?

00:49:33 Yeah. I think so these, so what's interesting is that we, this sort of, this sort of presentation

00:49:43 is very different from a designer. Yeah. There's a lot in terms of process, there's a lot in

00:49:52 terms of what you discovered, how you did things while the problem is solved, but when

00:49:57 you're presenting to an investor, when you're presenting to them client, they don't know

00:50:01 about design. They don't care about design. Are you solving my problem? What are you doing?

00:50:06 Like, are you giving me money? Where are you generating money? What are you doing? That

00:50:11 s pretty much all they ask for like, what are you doing? Like, how is this, how is this

00:50:15 going to make money? And so for us, I think, that's how we sort of came across. Like, we

00:50:23 start off with the problem, one like 30 seconds problem, 30 seconds solution, how we designed

00:50:32 it, what we did. 30 seconds of the system, the overall, how we fit into the system, 30

00:50:38 seconds for the team. They're not investing in your idea, investing in the people behind

00:50:43 the idea. That's, that's a very important, because you can have a brilliant idea, but

00:50:50 if you don't have the people behind it, then. It's not worth it. And then, and then you

00:50:54 have your business side of things like your money and the sort of generated, ecosystem,

00:50:58 your valuation, and things like that. So you go into the business model, so you have to

00:51:06 really break it down into those small, small chunks.

00:51:08 You remember, we were talking about that. We as designers, we have to speak a lot of

00:51:13 languages and specifically, if you're going to make any impact into the, into this world

00:51:17 that we all want to, as designers, then we have to speak a lot of languages. You want

00:51:23 to talk about the quality likeness that you have developed these days?

00:51:25 Oh, man. I mean, that's what makes us, I mean, that's why I really like as Indians we have

00:51:31 to speak so many languages, you know and, and that, I think that gives us a little bit

00:51:38 of an edge to adapt and you can see that there's, there's, I did another project, on, I made

00:51:45 a sort of voice assistant that, that is able to understand, mixed speech because in India

00:51:54 we speak, with like, Hindi and English mix and you have your English and you have your

00:51:58 Canada. And like, it's like back home in Bangalore. I will be switching between Canada and Hindi

00:52:04 and English and like all the bad words and all the good words and every day, and, and

00:52:10 I'm being very formal right now. But in formal situations, there's a, there's a whole mix

00:52:16 of things, a hard deal. So as, as, I think for us, it's a natural tendency to sort of,

00:52:23 learn those languages and, and I feel. I mean, everybody says mathematics, the language of

00:52:30 physics. So everything is a particular way of thinking. It's a way of communicating,

00:52:35 even engineering for that matter. Like when you show something and you develop something,

00:52:42 you sort of connect with that idea, that work that they're doing, and you empathize with

00:52:50 what they've done. And then you sort of, you use those use engineering and the, and the

00:52:55 work they've done the language too, to connect with them, and then you get stuff for what

00:53:01 you need and to serve your purposes, you to generate those relationships. So that's that's

00:53:07 and for me as a facilitator, as a designer, I think that's very important. I, because

00:53:12 design is inherently collaborative with this craft where you are working hands-on with

00:53:17 stuff, but. It cannot work on its own. So yeah, so I think it s equally important.

00:53:25 So we, we know that, you know, for inspirations it's, it's best not to be in, in the, you

00:53:30 know, just in the studio, go out, talk to people, you know, and I do got a thing, but

00:53:35 pandemic has actually been the opposite for us. You know, it has actually grabbed those

00:53:40 down into the studios and it has made us a lot more isolated. It's still at this there.

00:53:46 So how are you navigating this new normal?

00:53:49 Oh man. Yeah, it was, it was tough. It was really tough in the first month I think. So

00:53:57 I, I finished my masters. I finished I graduated during the pandemic. I'm a pandemic graduate,

00:54:06 which is, and I think, so it was really tough mentally on everybody here. Only half my batch

00:54:14 graduated. A lot of people took a leave of absence. It took a lot, it took a toll on

00:54:20 everybody because like for a few weeks I was like waking up and I was like, really.

00:54:27 I have nothing to, I'm not going anywhere. I have nothing to look forward to. What is

00:54:31 like, where do I go? I'm just sitting in my room here and trying to walk. And like, if

00:54:36 you get very like distracted, but then like you are resilient, you have to sort of adapt.

00:54:44 And I had to adapt very quickly. I'm still in my room and it's very messy right now.

00:54:50 So that's why you have this weird background, but. But you have to adapt. And, and I had

00:54:54 to finish my project and I wanted to, they said they, we had to, we could adapt, a project

00:55:02 or digital project or, or, sort of visually render project, but I want to sort of make

00:55:08 something physical. And so I went, I mean, we are so well connected that you're in a

00:55:16 way digitally you're, you're still present with people. Although I am like now, speaking

00:55:21 to you and, and, and, sometimes in some of the presentations, zoom is like speaking into

00:55:26 the void. What do you have to adapt to that? But yeah, you, you become resourceful as a

00:55:33 designer. You have to be resourceful. You have to sort of do that. Jugged you have to

00:55:39 try and, Adapt. So as a batch was working, we got together holding money, bought a 3d

00:55:46 printer. We all sort of built a schedule we'll do print all our work. We, I built a mic,

00:55:54 so I have a backyard, luckily. So I was able to sort of make a paint booth to like, get

00:55:58 people to come and like paint test stuff. You adapt, you, you we've been through. I

00:56:04 mean, I personally feel that, like we've, we've all been through lots of hardships.

00:56:12 Everybody has that issues, as a society and things, but we've adapted. We've been as resilient

00:56:21 as, as a society. So, we can make, but if you've not gone, but we have to look past

00:56:28 that and not use that as a, as a way of not moving forward.

00:56:32 So what makes you go? I want to understand that, like what really,

00:56:39 Oh man. If reading a lot, finding a lot of, like being really interested in, in, in the

00:56:51 multiple different, in multiple different topics, there s there's, there's the whole

00:56:58 argument of being a specialist or a generalist. And then what does it, like everybody expects

00:57:05 you to specialize in something. But I think the world needs generalists as well, because

00:57:13 you see, somebody has to connect the dots. You know, somebody has to see that all the

00:57:20 way. And I can take this from this thing that I saw in mechanical engineering and put this

00:57:24 together with like chemical engineering and then something can come out of that. And so

00:57:28 who puts those things together? Because these guy, like a lot of people sort of specialize

00:57:34 in one particular thing, but there has to be some way of connecting those dots together.

00:57:40 So, Yeah. Just being interested in, in reading all sorts of topics, from like, I think now

00:57:50 reading Phillip Pullman's, dark materials, to biotechnology, genetics to, machine learning.

00:58:00 These are all, it's not, and these are all things that have some sort of connection with

00:58:05 it. But the temporarily, like through a concept or, or to, to actual like physical, valance,

00:58:16 but there's some, you can interpret them in different ways and connect them. So, yeah.

00:58:22 Okay. Now, I want to ask like, Some advice that you would want to give to young and budding

00:58:28 designers , somebody who's, you know, either graduating this year or people who are thinking

00:58:34 of coming to design, I'm sure it's, it's very difficult. It's not this year specifically

00:58:40 is not really easy. So what would be your advice to them?

00:58:48 I think so far people graduating now, I would say, I mean, it's, it's, it's a very tough

00:58:57 situation. They re all going through. You're not alone when you're going through these

00:59:03 tough situations. The whole world is going through this tough situation. So reach out

00:59:06 to as many people as you can. I think for me personally, a big, big support was in the

00:59:15 first few weeks when I was so like, I didn't know what to do. I reached out to my friends.

00:59:21 I reached out to people I hadn't spoken to in a long time. And so you build those relationships

00:59:26 where you like very well, friends are always there to help you. And they're like I also

00:59:30 don't know what to do. And then you're like, okay, so you can build this thing. So, from

00:59:35 a personal point of view, if you're just graduating, don't worry about it. Reach out to your friends.

00:59:40 You're not alone. And. things will get better. You, I mean, once you, once you reach rock

00:59:49 bottom, there's no, there's no, the only way is up, you know? So, so think about it that

00:59:56 way. It can't get any worse and, and, and people getting into design, I would say, don't.

01:00:06 I think it's, it's, it's a very hard thing to do, but don't think about solutions first.

01:00:10 I feel I have a lot of people thinking about, sort of career s that they want to do before.

01:00:19 They've sort of explored things, which I, I kind of, which was one of the biggest deterrents

01:00:26 that for me back when I was trying to, before I joined design this whole, I was really deterred

01:00:32 by the idea of, of engineering in India, because there, there is only one, like the primary

01:00:40 on the majority was you have to get into tech, you have to get an IT. And I know friends

01:00:46 who are chemical engineers who got into it. And I was like, why you're a chemical engineer.

01:00:49 You have, you can do so many things about it. So as a designer, if you're, if it's very

01:00:54 hard, but, and of course it's not, it's not, it's not the easiest way, but, But explore

01:01:04 different areas of design. Think of it from a problem solution, point of view reach out

01:01:10 to people, if you're stuck, reach out, not just your tutors, but reach outside your school,

01:01:18 to sort of understand how people work what, like. When I was in an idea I always wanted

01:01:27 to like, see how like am the Ahmadabad is such an interesting city. There's an, IAM

01:01:34 there's an NID. There is IIT. There is SEP. There is NIFT. There's a Nirma. All these

01:01:38 guys work together. Like how, how do you get that to happen? So, yeah, so it's, it's as

01:01:45 a design, I think you need to sort of work out, work outside. So, no, I guess that's,

01:01:51 that's a little too.

01:01:53 So Deepak, thank you, for coming and sharing your thoughts today, for the amazing work

01:02:00 that you are doing and you continue to do, we want to confer upon you the title of inspiring

01:02:05 young designer. And this is, like a small token from our side. I love and appreciation

01:02:11 towards your work and you as a person. Thank you for coming and sharing your thoughts today.

01:02:16 Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy seeing my work as much as, I had fun building them.

01:02:23 So, thank you so much


Deepak talks about his initiative towards a green economy through his startup, the tyre collective. He talks about the challenges of Design entrepreneurship and how to communicate your innovative ideas to the broader masses.