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Startups & designing their products

, July 29, 2016, 0 Comments

pichkaari-startups-products-desiging-marketexpress-inConversation between  Pichkaari,  a communication boutique and Ezilarsan PKP,  Founder,  MarketExpress  – India’s First Global Insights & Analysis Sharing Platform.

Ezilarsan PKP: Pichkaari has grown quite well from 3 to +20, what are the four elements that contributed to this phenomenal growth.

Pichkaari: Human thinking is dominated by patterns. These patterns enable us to collaborate with the world and solve everyday problems with ease. However, these same patterns can obstruct the development of new strategies and problem-solving approaches. Design thinking offers us an approach – Thinking out of the box, that gives us the potential to break these existing patterns and allow us to develop new ways of tackling both long-established problems and those that we have never previously encountered.

Out of the box thinking requires Willingness to take new perspectives in everyday work. Openness to do different things and do things differently; instead of accepting the first answer that comes to mind, try to go beyond it; be open and to and create more ideas.

To create a lasting organization, you need to hire people who aren’t just looking for a higher salary or a better title. Your team should believe in the company as much as you do and be firmly committed to its mission.

Part of promoting engagement is clearly communicating your vision and drawing people to your purpose by demonstrating the values you want to see. When the company’s leadership is invested in the mission, it sets an example for the rest of the team.

Our team at Pichkaari are dedicated and share the same enthusiasm to think out of the box and come up with carefully thought about, invigorating creative be it in terms of copy, design or conceptualization and visualization. The leadership on board has also done an exceptional job of creating more and varied opportunities for us time and again. Project managers have converted assignments with poise and confidence.

Scalable leadership is just as important as a scalable business model. In the beginning, Me, Sebastian and Priyanka were usually at the centre of things. We had that infectious enthusiasm that drove the company during the start-up phase, but a company can’t rely on one person forever.

To be sustainable, your organization needs to be equipped to survive without you. If the founder can step away from the business for three or four weeks without everything falling apart, it’s a good sign that the business has a solid base of self-reliant team players who can solve problems and drive the day-to-day business.

The same has happened with Pichkaari as we have had a well-connected and a self-reliant team which works in symphony when it comes to a series of processes from entirely different domains always driving the team to perform better by setting examples themselves, we have had a reassuring experience with work and internal environment, always.

In the beginning, many companies focus only on building the best product or service possible. This often leads to early hype, rapid success, and a collapse from not having a sustainable foundation to support the subsequent growth. By focusing only on the end product or service (rather than the company itself), a leader is not setting the business up to scale.

Ezilarsan PKP:  What are the focus areas of the company and creative ways to build traction in those areas?

Pichkaari: When we work closely as a team, we often engage ourselves in learning experiences that we see the relevance of. Through experiential approach, we are confronted with unfamiliar situations and tasks in a user oriented context. To complete a project, we need to figure out what we know, what we do not know and how to learn it. This requires us to: reflect on our prior knowledge and deepen it through reflection; transfer our previous learning to new contexts; master new concepts, principles, and skills; and be able to articulate how we developed this mastery. Ultimately, these skills, create designers and thinkers who become self-directed, lifelong learners.

As a member of a team, we engage in hands-on experiments related to a research project, each situation providing a new experience. Designers reflect on their experience with copywriters, UI/UX designers, and creative directors. Jointly, they make sense of what happened and note inconsistencies between the experience and their previous understanding. Reflection may lead designers to develop a new idea or modify an existing concept; in addition, they may participate in a meeting with exposure to additional project-related concepts that may further clarify implications for action. Finally, designers return to their project to apply the new and/or refined knowledge in the research environment to see what happens. This immersive approach takes us to a desired plane, where the purpose becomes clear.

The design represents the fundamental part of the experience that we actually use and ultimately enjoy – it is the bit that touches us! Regardless of the proposed technology the ultimate goal is to make any design and the experience as meaningful as possible to the user. This is important because we can feel meaning when we are interacting with digital technology.  The greater our feeling, the more meaningful is our experience.

Let’s revisit the importance of translation because this is where all the hard work that was spent discovering the vital insights and knowledge about your audiences, how they actually behave and what they expect, comes to life.  However, this is also the point where things can go horribly wrong! This is why translation is such a critical skill in the user-experience design equation. Furthermore, people will have specific expectations about a website they are visiting.  Therefore, being new is no longer a defence for a bad experience. We have learnt that the importance and value of understanding their audience’s needs, their expectations and their motivations will help us to shape and deliver a better design experience.

Ezilarsan PKP:  How do you help startups in designing their products?

Pichkaari: Design is a method of problem solving. The design is so many things, executed in many different ways, but the function is always the same. Whether it’s blueprints, a clever UI, a brochure, or a chair – design can help solve a visual or physical problem.

How important is product design? Product design includes both digital and physical products. It represents not only the aesthetic qualities, but what it does, how well a user thinks it’s going to do it, and how easily & quickly they can complete a task. We engage in research that reveals users’ needs and preferences through user observations, one-on-one interviews, and creative activities that encourage users to express their emotions, motivations, and underlying concepts and beliefs about the steps involved in task procedures. By understanding the human emotions, motivations, and beliefs that surround a task, a user interface can be designed to accommodate and support user behaviours in a way that users will experience as natural and satisfying.

Now we’re getting somewhere. Great design is taking root in start-up culture, and it seems like many people are open to change. Not only do many entrepreneurs, developers, and engineers see substantial room to improve their own products, they overwhelmingly believe that designers belong to a founding team.

The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

The product should have keen aesthetics. It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory. Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects, nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.

Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer. As little design as possible, less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.