Six years later as I walk through the Chennai Railway station, I see traces of our proposal being incorporated in the stations. That’s six years lost, and who knows how much in resources applied to the project meanwhile.
For organizations that are not used to design thinking, a high-level solution to the problem is generally top-of-mind, but they usually lack the capacity to find solutions from the people within the ecosystem. Instead, they default to outsourcing to large consultancies, losing the opportunity to identify customer-centric solutions, often minor details, which can lead to large scalable impact.
Today, large organizations like Indian Railways cannot afford to miss out on design thinking opportunities. If implemented correctly, Sensing and Prototyping helps organizations learn from the environment and users and implement solutions in a fraction of the time it would take compared to large-scale studies and slow solutions. In other words, if organizations embrace design thinking, they could implement solutions at a much faster rate and at a lower cost. Otherwise, they risk achieving the end result at a much slower – and expensive – rate.
In large organizations like Indian Railways, it’s also important to advocate for a top-down, collaborative approach; it has to start at the top and you have to have faith in the process.
Fortunately, the current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is initiating a shift in the country when it comes to the environment. Under his leadership, India has pledged to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022.