Did Arunachalam Muruganantham go to a design school?

Read two interesting articles on design today morning, surprisingly both from the famous magazine Fastcompany. For people who have not visited Fastcompany it’s a must visit site. The have two dedicated channels Co Design (Covers design in general) and Co.exist is a recent addition that covers social innovations.

Now to the interesting articles, the first article is about Facebook timeline since people have written a lot about it. I am going to write about this wonderful entrepreneur in India who designed a system to manufacture low cost sanitary napkins for Indian women.

Arunachalam Muruganantham :

Arunachalam and his team in Assam

Honestly Arunchalam reminds me of James Dyson who famously built more than 5000 prototypes of his designs before making the perfect vacuum cleaner. Arunchalam went a step ahead to validate his low cost sanitary napkin designs; he wore panties, used a sanitary napkin himself, divorced by his wife, abandoned by his own mother and was ridiculed continuously by the public. But thanks to the pain he went through now more than 88% of Indian women can now buy a low cost sanitary napkin, roughly $0.25 for 8 napkins. Arunchalam designed anew machine that can make these low cost sanitary napkins. According to a report by Neilson that more than 88% of women in India use rags, newspapers and dried leaves during their periods.

Unlike Dyson who is now a billionaire Arunachalam decided not to sell his product commercially.           At this point Arunchalam overtakes Dyson and becomes a hero.  Though Arunachalam was SSLC drop out If you look closely at this case study at Co.exist there are many interesting takeaways for a designer.

Empathize with your user:

Arunachalam took extreme steps to validate his designs with only one goal his mind “To make sure that women who eventually used it felt comfortable using it”. As designers its vital to have the same goal in our mind – will the end user be comfortable using our product.

Believe in your Design:

The most important quality that differentiates between a good designer and a great designer. Arunchalam believed in his design solution and worked hard to achieve the final design, at no point he doubted his decisions. As designers we need to convince our stakeholders of our vision every single day. We cannot convince others unless we believe in our own designs. This does not mean to that designers can act cocky and get away with it.

Vision Vs Ideas

Arunachalam had a vision in his own words “My vision is to make India a 100% napkin-using country. “ By this he thought of a whole new product system, starting from materials, production, socio – economic barriers, cultural differences, technology, logistics and finally the manpower to produce the napkins. He did not just design product but whole new product system. He had one complete vision and he innovated with exciting ideas throughout to achieve it. Designers have great ideas but what is missing converting an idea into a product vision. By spending little more time and hard work we can turn an idea into a successful product or a service that can have greater impact on the society. Apple did not want people to listen to music but Apple wanted people to enjoy music and Apple designed a product system that changed the way we consumed music.

That’s it for now, please send in your comments, see you soon :)

Read the  article at : http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679008/an-indian-inventor-disrupts-the-period-industry

Visit Arunchalam’ s website : http://newinventions.in/index.aspx

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