Elevate 2019: Good design is good business, says UniKwan’s Prabhuddha Vyas

Karnataka continued to put the spotlight on entrepreneurship with Elevate, its startup initiative. The 2019 edition of the brainchild of the IT & BT department’s startup cell started in Bengaluru on Monday.

Speaking at a session on the relevance of design for entrepreneurs at Elevate 2019, Prabuddha Vyas, MD, UniKwan, spoke about the history of designing and its importance to startups.

Most startups and founders today focus only on building solutions and business models, and many of them end up turning a blind eye to the design aspect, he said. He added that in the early 20th century, England was at the peak of manufacturing consumables and devising new products, and Germans were eager to learn new things. So they went to England, and after many years of research, started an institute called Bauhaus in Germany. Founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar, the art school was operational from 1919 to 1933.

Unikwan - Vyas
Prabhuddha Vyas, MD of UniKwan.

Vyas said this moment had a profound and seminal influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, and design. He said it was a “radical moment that shaped the designing society”.

He also spoke about the importance of team building, and said one should focus on the background of people. He highlighted the fact that many successful companies like Airbnb, Tumblr, Youtube, Kickstarter, Pinterest, Etsy, Instagram, and Behance were all started by designers.

He said startups should empathise with people, know the context and audience, brainstorm potential solutions, and design a prototype. Quoting Thomas J Watson, Former Chariman of IBM, he added: “Good design is good business”.

Commenting on how technology giant Apple was also influenced by Bauhuas indirectly, Vyas said German industrial designer Dieter Rams, who had a great influence on Apple, took the Bauhuas movement and created great products.

He quoted Deiter Rams and said good design is innovative, makes a product useful, aesthetic, and understandable. The product is unobtrusive, honest, long lasting, environmentally friendly, and is as little design as possible.

Quoting Steve Jobs, Vyas said: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”.

On the culture of too many features, he said: “We tend to create more feature. When you have too many features, prioritise them. Do one thing well and that is enough.”