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Designgild is India’s first design focused accelerator set up by MIT Institute of Design

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“DesignGild is sector- agnostic, stage-agnostic ecosystem. Start-ups from any sector and stage are eligible to apply. The main target would be towards start-ups with any product or service idea. Designgild will not be supporting designers who plan to set up a design service based agency.” Harshit Desai, Chief
Operating Officer, DesignGild

Harshit Desai, Chief Operating Officer, DesignGild
ST: Please tell us more
about your organization?

Harshit Desai: Designgild
is India’s first design focused accelerator set up by MIT Institute of Design.
MITID has been making its mark in design education, research and industry for
the last decade. Setting up Designgild is the next logical step to create a
larger impact in the work community.

DesignGild is an ecosystem
that will provide high-quality design mentorship and resources to passionate individuals
and teams to create Design-led business. DesignGild will offer strategic design
consulting, design co-founders and hands-on design services to enable seamless
integration of Design in business. DesignGild will support the selected
start-ups to convert innovative ideas into valuable business propositions.
ST: What type of start-ups
are you targeting for the programme?

Harshit Desai: DesignGild
is sector- agnostic, stage-agnostic ecosystem. Start-ups from any sector and
stage are eligible to apply. The main target would be towards start-ups with
any product or service idea. Designgild will not be supporting designers who
plan to set up a design service based agency.

Apart from start-ups,
Designgild will also support passionate students who wish to convert a unique
idea born from academic projects into a viable business model. Designgild will
also hold events for the start-up community to understand the value of design
through lectures and workshops.
ST:  How would the start-ups get benefited from the
programme?

Harshit Desai: Across
the globe, design-led ventures are disrupting the markets and coming up with
innovative solutions and business models to address industry and societal
problems. We believe design as a driving force has a long term implication on
the success of a venture. Design has also been the focus of many corporations
worldwide. DesignGild leverages its high-quality network of experienced design
professionals, industry consultants, academicians, researchers and students to
ensure Design remains at the core of the business and primary driving force for
business success. Designgild will create a customised road map for every
selected startup depending upon the starting point and the goal to be achieved.
Every startup will have access to various mentors, field experts, academic
researchers, enthusiastic design students panning 10 design disciplines and all
prototyping resources along with access to investors.


ST:  How to apply for the programme?

Harshit Desai: Applications
are open for the 1st batch of start-ups. Start-ups can apply through
the website or by logging in on the F6S platform. The link to the application
form is https://www.f6s.com/designgildmitid/apply.
The
applications will be open till the end of January. These applications will be
shortlisted by a panel of experts and the shortlisted start-ups will be
required to present to a panel. Thereafter start-ups will be selected for the
programme. After this, DesignGild will draw a customized Design-
Deployment- Road map for each selected start-up and assign the required Design
and business resources to the start-ups. Each start-up will have access to
mentors and domain experts who will set the design and business strategy for
the start-up. Ventures will get an opportunity to choose a design co-founder /
resource person depending on the role of design in their
business. Founders who are already Designers will get to choose technology
and business partners to realize their Design ideas and convert them into
valuable business propositions
ST: How
do you see the present Indian start-up eco-system? Do you see any challenges?

Harshit Desai: The
good part about the present start-up ecosystem is that it is maturing. The
frenzy of past few years has subsided and rationalization and consolidation
taking place. Overall support from the government is improving and this augurs
well for the start-up ecosystem.

However,
the major challenge that the eco-system is facing is of relevance and
appropriateness. A lot of start-ups are venturing out and building products and
services that lack a very strong long term value proposition. Products are
built just because technology makes it possible to build and not because they
solve a problem for the user. Hence the most crucial challenge for the
start-ups is find the right problems to be solved and to identify the
opportunities to create value for the end users.

ST: Do
you have any message for Start-up community?

Harshit Desai: The
start-up community should learn to put the user of their product /service at
the core of their business. Developing empathy is the most important to better
understand the user needs. Empathy can lead to very useful and actionable
insights and serve as a source of innovation and give the start-up a
competitive edge.


Embracing
Design methods and process and applying them on business processes and systems
enables the start-ups to unlock value and find newer opportunities. Design also
helps in more creating more enriched and meaningful customer experiences which
has a direct impact on the growth and profitability of the business. 

Interviewed by Startup Terminal Bureau

TECHXLR8 Asia