The ever-expanding of crop residue burning practice. Image Source:

Design Mentorship to Energy Harvest as part of the Cisco CSR Initiative in partnership with The/Nudge Foundation

Sukhmeet Singh, Founder & CEO, Energy Harvest
Dr. Robert Berry, Director — Grants & Partnership, Energy Harvest
Rakesh Sharma: Sr. Design Strategist, Cisco
Bharath G — UI Designer, Cisco

As a part of the Cisco Design Community, we feel fortunate to get opportunities to apply our design skills to solve problems with a wider social impact. One such opportunity is mentoring social startups incubated through The/Nudge Foundation and Cisco CSR Initiative. Cisco CSR Initiative partners with the Nudge foundation on a cohort basis…

You cannot change your future. But you can change your habits. And surely your habits will change your future. — By Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Our habits are powerful. Bad ones can hold us back while good ones can propel us forward. But changing our daily actions to create better habits is a lot easier said than done. It doesn’t happen overnight, or with the flip of a mental switch. Rather, it takes time, patience, and repetition.

As a member of the Design Transformation team at Cisco, I partner with incredible engineers and product managers to create the best possible product experience. Part of my job is to help teams empathize with their users to ensure they’re solving the right problems. Luckily, many of my…

Image Source:;

Japanese tea ceremony is an excellent analogy to an approach to design which focuses on delight and ingenuity. The essence of the Japanese tea ceremony is being truly aware of our present, which is the key to cherish our unique experiences, even when we are doing the same ritual, repeatedly on a daily basis. This is similar to design where feeling is an important tool to connect with our users, which could lead us to discover some unique experiences.

I recently watched a Japanese movie named, ‘Every day a good day’. The movie shows the journey of a Japanese college…

Case Study: Early User Research can help identifying the product direction which is not aligned with the overall goal and save unnecessary cost while developing a product.

Design Strategy or for that matter any strategy at its core is choice of where not to play. It simply delivers focus. It helps the team/organization to concentrate on things which will have the most impact.

How was I involved ? — Contribution

  • Created wireframes and translated insights into concepts
  • Planned the user research and conducted it along with all 7 team members
  • Introduced the team to the method of User Centric/Design Thinking

How did it start? — Initiation

As a part of a regular 1:1 with one of my dotted line senior manager, I mentioned that it would be…

New solution targeted at Professional Services for managing the commercial side of the projects.


In the enterprise world most of the time we get to redefine the existing solutions. This project was a great opportunity to create a solution from scratch with a basic requirement….

How to give Project and Program Managers one-point solution so that they can keep all commercial aspects of their projects at their fingertips?

My Contribution

I was the UX person responsible for the design of this product. During the initial research and analysis part I partnered with another person. …

Design Thinking introductory workshop course in 3 Days

A class photograph from 11th Dec 2015

I think more than a profession, Design is a way of how we approach problems. Therefore I want to spread the awareness about Design in whatever little way possible for me.

I am part of a 3 member team which offers an elective workshop course to introduce the method of Design thinking to management students at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

This course is offered to regular management graduates who are part of

  • Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP)
  • Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP)
  • Post Graduate Programme in Public Policy…

Helping Sankara Eye Hospital(SEH) improve their patient experience. Read more details at Design Thinking in Eye Care

Objective of this activity

This was a voluntary effort as a part of CSR activity when I was with SAP Labs. We had to understand the problems faced by SEH as an organisation and solve them with realistic solution by the method of co-participation with SEH employees. Also we had to introduce SEH participants to Design Thinking

My Contribution and learning

  • Design Thinking Expert responsible for the outcome of 1 of the 3 teams.
  • Experienced usage of Design Thinking for improving a service space
  • Used frugal imagination…

Case Study: Discovery of problem space


How do we converge in a direction which is best for the users and makes most business sense in the least amount of time and effort?


  1. Planned the process of how best we can define and execute the new UX direction.
  2. Defined the format of the design workshop as described in this article
  3. Facilitated the workshop and made sure the participants are moving in the right direction throughout the workshop and also understand it so that they use to going forward.
Process as followed for a product’s problem space identification


This exercise was all about identifying the problem space. 14 people divided into 2 teams with representation from various…

A typical conversation at the start of a project, if the team has low design awareness.

3 things related to design that I learned retrospectively from a short conversation I had at the start of one of my projects.

Imagine that you had the following conversation at the start of a major UX project.

Person A: “We want to do complete UX Refresh of the product after ‘many’ years. When can we get the Wireframes?”
Person B: “Wireframes!!!? What do you mean by UX refresh?”
Person A: “We need new fresh look and feel.”
Person B: “But, why are we doing? What do we want to achieve?”
Person A: “New funding, we need to show ROI asap. This product needs…

2 Days | ~40 Students | 3 Challenges | Loads of Energy

I always look forward to this part of the year. It is a rare opportunity to meet 40 odd bright minds in one place, in action.

They come together to get a hands-on experience with the method of Design Thinking. In the process, they come up with innovative ways to solve common social problems with not-so-obvious solutions. It is an action packed 2 days affair where the energy is palpable and the excitement can be felt in the air.

They say teaching to another person is the best way to learn something and it multiplies if you doing it along side experts like Prof Rajeev and P S Lakshman.

Cannot wait to meet the new batch this year…

Rakesh Sharma

Spreading design one project at a time

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