An Entrepreneur’s Ship: The Social Enterprise Boatcamp 2016

An Entrepreneur’s Ship: The Social Enterprise Boatcamp 2016

NEWSLETTER || JUNE 2016 An Entrepreneur’s Ship: The Social Enterprise Boatcamp 2016 Rishabh Sachdeva & Tom Foster Keywords: Design Thinking, Human-Centered Design, Ideation Workshop, Co-Creation The Social Enterprise Boat Camp 2016 was designed and promoted by  Fondazione ACRA and Gruppo Cooperativo CGM together with the organizational partner Fondazione OPES and the Strategic Partner Enel. Quicksand was invited to the event to join the workshop leaders team – responsible for facilitating concurrent discussions on eight selected business case studies from around the world. ACRA’s central aim for the event was to spark a collective conversation about social ventures, and to provide a platform for interested individuals and organisations to come together in a unique setting. Novel in concept, the camp brought together accomplished social entrepreneurs, funders, experienced experts, aspiring entrepreneurs, NGOs, designers, tech specialists, and experts in other disciplines. By the time the ship set sail, there were about 500 campers on board. Organised over three days, the Boatcamp set sail from the tiny but beautiful Civitavecchia (a port built in the 2nd century AD, and about an hour outside of Rome) to Barcelona where it anchored for a day, before heading back to Roman shores. Boatcamp Format and Themes The Boatcamp had two primary themes of activity over the three days. The first was based on plenary sessions and presentations by experts and established entrepreneurs. Their experiences and insights captured the audience through the three days, and enthused many a discussion. Some of the most memorable insights which emerged over the weekend included: – The need for social entrepreneurs to think about viability of their businesses, and not to place profits and purpose in different silos all...
Work Leading Life: An Opening Chapter

Work Leading Life: An Opening Chapter

EDITORIAL || JUNE 2016 Work Leading Life: An Opening Chapter Tom Foster Meeting People. Telling Stories. Crafting Experiences. These are the three fundamental tenets of Quicksand. These activities are our process. They are activities we believe in. They are what we’re all about. I understood this from afar – exactly one year ago, living in London – before I even registered my first enquiry for work with my esteemed now-colleague, Kevin. But a modest assurance from deducing something to be true, as set against a profound certainty arising from an experience are two quite different propositions. To explain this and relate it clearly, I thought my inaugural post on our blog could adopt the structure set out by our three tenets. In doing so, I hope that I can begin to illustrate the potential that our human-centred process has for the realisation of even the humblest of talents. But, as I was hired as a storyteller of sorts, I would like to begin with the area I consider as my domain. It also somehow feels more apt to begin with an opening chapter. Presenting during a visioning exercise at the Quicksand offsite to Coorg. Telling (my) Story I joined Quicksand in February this year. May marks my third month as a full member of the team. More than this, I hypothesise that my arrival in our Delhi office signifies an evolution of character in my life. Juxtaposition. It’s good for all of us. Remove yourself from your context, find an environment that challenges you and then exercise your human instincts. I’ve long known the benefits of this, but the formative challenges...
The Value of a Pause: Reflections on Quicksand’s 2016 Offsite

The Value of a Pause: Reflections on Quicksand’s 2016 Offsite

Editorial || May 2016 The Value of a Pause: Reflections on Quicksand’s 2016 Offsite Amey Bansod & Tom Foster Keywords: Design, Design Thinking, Off-Site, Team Building, Reflection Once a year, our studios in Delhi and Bangalore get together for a few days
 of fun, games and a short reflection on the year gone by. In many ways, our off-site – to Coorg this year – was a pause from the strenuous, at times overwhelming, pace of our work. Rarely in today’s culture do we take the time to simply pause from the frantic pace of our daily realities to spend time with each other in a way that is fun, relaxed, and reflective. The team enjoying some down time at the river Quicksand is committed to seeking out creative stimulus outside of work. The off-site served as a great way for the team to simply be, and hang out with each other in different contexts. As a group, we feel this is important to nurture our sense of unity and inspiration.

 Over the years, as Quicksand’s practice has expanded to new contexts; so has the team learnt to accommodate new team members – each with their own set of skills and perspectives. There is always a need to welcome the new hires into the culture of the studio, and the off-site provides a means for them to relate to each other beyond work. 

Apart from taking a macro view of the studio through the lens of financials and business development goals, another agenda for the off-site was to harness ideas and strategies from each team member. Brainstorming on future opportunities for...
Camera Things

Camera Things

Editorial || April 2016 Camera Things Sara Legg Keywords: UnBox, Context, Research, Culture   It is interesting how different environments of interpretation – the people, places and things that collide to make meaning – create for me an entirely new object, from an object I felt quite familiar with since childhood. The object I’m talking about is a disposable camera. It isn’t just that the ‘meaning’ of the camera that changes as I change environments, but the actual object that is a camera – it’s thingness – changes in relations to other things, if we take for granted that all things are such in relation. My team at Quicksand had ordered a box of ten disposable cameras at my insistence that we try to use them in an upcoming field research trip to South Sudan. Unfortunately the cameras arrived a few days after my team had departed, so I thought what better way to make use of these cameras than to take them to the UnBox Caravan. UnBox is a Quicksand incubated project aimed at bringing a variety of practitioners and disciplines together to collaborate through design thinking methods. The Caravan is a metaphor for the collective journey – a journey through which makers, artists, designers, developers, and technologists exchanged ideas and collaborated across disciplines and practices – and the 2016 Caravan took place at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, IN. My understanding of the disposable camera became complicated first when going through security at the airport while on my way to Ahmedabad. The box with the cameras was removed from the security conveyor belt and a security...
A Conversation on Human-Centered Design

A Conversation on Human-Centered Design

Editorial || March 2016 A Conversation on Human-Centered Design Babitha George & Ayush Chauhan Keywords: Human-Centered Design, Design Research, Design, Empathy   Ayush: Can you trace, through some examples perhaps, how studio’s understanding of human-centered design has changed over the years? Babitha: At some level, I think it was a basic curiosity and our love for stories and travel that spurred our foray into human-centered design, which is at its core about empathy and deep understanding of people’s needs and designing for those needs. A lot of our projects have taken us to interesting places where we have had the chance to delve into myriad contexts. Whether it was looking at designing a phone helpline system for education, where we went to rural West Bengal and spent time with government school teachers, or more recently, attempting to address the plastic bag challenge in Cambodia, most of our projects have taken us to spaces where we have had a chance to embed ourselves deeply within a context and listen & observe – with humility, openness and a learning attitude. In that sense, it feels like we worked through our own process of human-centered design and constantly adapted in order to make meaning for all our stakeholders. Probably it was liberating to not tie ourselves down in buzzwords and definitions. A lot of our projects have also thrown us into unfamiliar contexts, within India but also across Asia and Africa. However, our primary need to stay true to real people’s needs and aspirations, ensured that we went in with curiosity (while simultaneously building on the practice and learnings that we evolved over...