New Designers 2013, Business Design Centre – 4th July


I attended New Designers today which is currently being held at The Business Design Centre in Angel.

I attended some of the talks which were organised in collaboration with the Design Council today (4th July). Below are some of the notes which can be taken away from them.

12.00: 5 Designers. 5 Disciplines. A few notes from the speakers.  

Be exciting, passionate, appetite for learning
Energy, buzzing, love hanging out with that person
Plan, rehearse Time management, how well you can present
Show exciting breadth of work, build stuff Attention to detail
Social change
Success – Do what you’re interested in, know what you’re good at, develop hard and soft skills
Research is a springboard to ideas
Need people to understand what they want
Research and look at people.
Ethnographic research Opportunity, what can we do with it?
Be creative in research.
Looking at existing solutions is limiting.
Designers define the future
Have a broad idea of what’s happening and change.
Adapt, don’t be afraid of new things

14.00: The Design Trust and Clayground Collective
Patricia van den Akker from The Design Trust gave a short digest of 5 essential questions before you start your own design business. Questions are highlighted in bold below…

What is your niche?
Your specialism/skills + target market = your niche
What do you enjoy. What do you love, where is your passion? where do you want to make a change?

What do you do and for whom?
What do you do? Features and benefits of me and my business? What’s my skills, experience? Be specific
What are the benefits for your clients? – what are the financial, emotional benefits of what you offer? What makes your product, service better?

So you want to earn 21k how will you do that? (Approx for a junior designer)
What is the reality of making that money? Jobs are not safe,
A job, design projects, freelance

What kind of business do you want?
How big do you want to go?
> Sole trader/freelancer – big responsibility.
> Partnership/collective – like a marriage, share skills, resources
> Ltd company – looks more professional

How will you get your clients?
People only buy from people they know, like & trust
Focus on your niche, be specific on what you’re good at
Get work experience
Get referrals
Approach people directly in a professional and personal way
Get repeat business, lower your rates
Spend 40% of time on marketing

15.00: make:good
Process of Design thinking,
Engaging – what is the real problem? Reframe the needs. Define the problem.
Talk to people about change. How do we discover what they need
PROBLEM solving. Ideate make an idea. Understand, empathise with the situation first.
Test and visualise solutions. Prototype them. Storyboards ect. Make it real. Need to try it out.
Feedback. How do you know what you’re  doing will have an impact? Speak to end users. Can they test it?
‘Embrace uncertainty’
Try lots of different things and see what works


Onboard Emirates entertainment


I enjoy flying on planes. Every experience is different. Given the amount of time which can be spent on long haul flights, airline companies go to great lengths to ensure that they can provide a great experience.

It’s been a few years since I travelled long distance, but I was really impressed with the entertainment services offered by Emirates economy on my outgoing and incoming flights to Mumbai.


As soon as we get on a plane, its normal to scope out a few things. How big is the screen? What movies are available to watch?

On my Emirates flight, the screens in front of the seats were equivalent to the size of an iPad. A few observations I had on the service:

  • high resolution screen
  • ‘ICE’ service: information, communication and entertainment services
  • ‘App’ based interface
  • Entertainment including music, movies, tv shows, world radio, games
  • Ability to multitask between apps
  • Read short news items via BBC content whilst in the air
  • Simple, clearly designed icons

The interface is well designed. Simple, easy to use with subtle colours. Some might say that it looks slightly dated in comparison to Apple’s iPad interface or Windows 8.



Overall the experience of using the Emirates ‘ICE’ system was great and allowed me to use up some of my time effectively whilst listening to music and watching a couple of movies; not forgetting catching an episode of Friends. There was a huge range of entertainment available, on demand and the interface was quite intuitive, although at times it felt a little slow and clunky switching between apps and screens.

What Photo Buyers want from Photographers – London Bridge

I attended the first PhotoShelter session at the IdeasTap office near London Bridge last Thursday, 17th May.

The session was on ‘What Photo Buyers want from Photographers’. Speakers included Dagmar Seeland, UK Picture Editor for STERN Magazine, Russ O’Connell, Picture Director Q Magazine and James Mullinger, Photographic Director GQ Magazine. The event was hosted by Allen Murabayashi from PhotoShelter.

They all talked about what they looked for when commissioning photographers. Commissioning basically means identifying the style of a photographer for a particular job and getting them to take a photograph. This can depend on the style they want to achieve for a regular or feature section of a magazine.

It was quite interesting to learn about the process of commissioning and how they look for personality and character from their photographers.

Mullinger from GQ Magazine said that the style of their magazine has changed throughout its history. He said that the effective use of light can help to create an iconic image and how it is important to try something different. The iPad has has contributed massively to the way we digest and interact with content, as well as the way photographers take their photographs. Todays photographers can be challenges to think about sound and video to compliment their still photography.

Mullinger said that magazines often have an ‘opener’ or an opening image which is used to capture the reader. With ‘No opener, there is no story’. He said that photographers have to make the story happen through their images and sometimes photographers need to break the rules.

It was good to connect with various photographers and learn about the commissioning process for some leading consumer magazine.

‘The New Horizon Ball’ – fundraising for iPartner India & Hilton Foundation.

Saturday 12th May, I attended ‘The New Horizon Ball’ presented by Shiva Foundation. It took place at Hilton, London, Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. The ball was held to raise awareness about the fight against sex trafficking. It’s such a huge issue in many parts of the world, including India, but one which sees little publicity.

Guests were welcomed in the stunning reception area where there was a performance of classical Indian music by a group from Milapfest. Guests were later invited into function room upstairs. The opening address was given by Rishi Sachdev, Managing Director of Shiva Hotels. Following this, there was mix of Indian food and a wonderful music performance by Escalla. Later into the night, there was a unique ‘silent auction’ which involved guests placing bids on auction items via iPads. There was an array of auction items which included signed items from sports and entertainment personalities.

There was also a ‘traditional’ style auction which was conducted by Jonny Gould.

Anita Rani from the BBC gave the introduction of Sunitha Krishnan who was the main speaker of the evening. 

Krishnan gave a powerful talk on how she works with various organisations to tackle the issue of sex trafficking which is so prominent. Read about her on TED here.

The event finished with an energetic performance by the Jersey Boys.

It was a fantastic event raising over £200,000 for the charities iPartner India & Hilton Foundation.

Ekatva – Oneness. The UK tour

Well, OK this post has been a very long time coming! Finally getting a chance to write it…

Just over 2 years ago in January 2010, I went to Ahmedabad in India and spent some time with the NGO, Manav Sadhna. Manav Sadhna is based in the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad. Manav Sadhna is grounded in the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and has a very mission “Love all. Serve all.” Using this powerful message, they work towards the upliftment of underprivileged communities in the slums of Ahmedabad. It serves more than 8000 children and women through more than 35 projects based around health & hygiene, education and women’s empowerment to name a few. These initiatives to help the communities to help themselves.

It was amazing and insightful at Manav Sadhna. I connected with volunteers from all around the world, many of whom remain close friends. I was lucky to also meet Nimesh Patel (aka Nimo) who was inspired by a similar show, ‘Ekta’, which toured America ten years ago. I met some of the would be ‘Ekatva’ kids who were just starting their auditions and practices. 2 years on and professionally trained by the Darpana Dance Academy and Manav Sadhna the Ekatva kids are taking their message to the world. 

The UK Tour
Over the last 6 months in the UK, I’ve been involved with the UK team who have been inspired to bring the Ekatva tour to the UK. The team have navigated the visa process, learned how venues and ticketing works and now we’re onto the really exciting stuff. We’re busy finding ways to get the local community connected to Ekatva and developing activities and ideas to give the kids an unforgettable experience. The Ekatva kids and team are currently touring America and their progress can be followed through the facebook page –

The UK team has drawn together by the strength of this fantastic idea, making the UK tour possible. Ekatva will be special. The message of ‘oneness’ is so simple, yet amazingly powerful! I would encourage anyone to attend one of the Ekatva performances.

Visit the link to find out how you can book your tickets.

Ernst and Young Sikh Group, Turbanology exhibition launch event – London

I attended the Ernst and Young Sikh Group, Turbanology exhibition launch event at 1 More Place, London on Tuesday evening. ‘Turbanology’ is an exhibition all about the cultural and historical importance of the Sikh turban or “Dastaar”. Guest speakers included Peter Virdee (business tycoon) and Dr Surinder Hundal (business strategist). The keynote speech was given by Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable MP.

Dr Cable talked about his travels in India and his first job in Kenya. He talked about the struggle which Asians went through in the 1970’s in the UK. Looking back, he said a lot had changed and there has been much achievement by the Indian community in the UK. He talked about the great contribution to business which has been made by Sikhs, at the same time, maintaining their identities.

There was lots of discussion about building business and enterprise among the Sikh community in the tough economic climate.

During the discussion, it was mentioned that courage and conviction are ideals which are huge for Sikhs and these can be combined with business. The role of seva, or selfless service was touched on and was highlighted as an aspect which should be practiced alongside business.

The exhibition was made up of large banners explaining various aspects of the Sikh turban and its history. Examples of various ways of tying the turban were also on display helping to bring the exhibition to life. The exhibition ran for 4 days at 1 More Place, London, however there will be future exhibitions at other venues in the UK.

You can find out more about this great exhibition here –

The British Asian Trust, Coutts and The Funding Network (TFN) fundraiser in Central London

Last Thursday evening I attended the The British Asian Trust, Coutts and The Funding Network (TFN) “Dragon’s Den” fundraiser in Central London. The purpose of the evening was to raise funds for 5 different charities based on the Indian subcontinent. It was well attended, with well over 200 guests. Mainstream asian celebrities including Nitin Ganatra, Mishal Husain, Radio 1 DJ Nihal, Ritula Shah, Hari Dhillon and Laila Rouass attended. Many are ambassadors for The British Asian Trust. The fundraiser took place in the picturesque setting of the Coutts Bank foyer.

The venue - Coutts Bank, Foyer

Chetna Sinha, Mann Deshi Foundation

For this event, each of the celebrities were linked to and pitched on behalf of one of the charities. Emphasising work that the charities do. Guests then had the opportunity to ask questions to the charity representative. After all the pitches were complete, there was an opportunity for the guests to donate to the charities of their choice.

BBC Newsreader - Mishal Husain pitches on behalf of one of the charities

The highlight of the evening was a musical performance by Sonna Rele who sang a song based on the idea of ‘giving’ to change lives. The lyrics were co-written by Radio 1 DJ Nihal. Great performance!

Musician Sonna Rele and Radio 1 DJ Nihal

The event was very well organised and finish promptly at 9:30 PM.

Over £60,000 was raised for the different charities. 

To find out more about the The British Asian Trust, click here

More photographs from the evening can be viewed here: