USID Foundation India is a non-profit forum which was initiated in 2006 to bring together Design and Technology community including professionals, students, and academician to engage, and spread the knowledge, research, and practice in these domains to help making the technology usable and accessible by the end user irrespective of their abilities, education, socio-economic conditions.
Even though USID foundation was initiated with a focus on Human Computer Interaction and User Experience, in last few years it has evolved as Universal, Sustainable, Inclusive Design focusing on Design as critical tool that can be leveraged to extend the reach of technology to the masses and effectively enable the socio-economic development of people and the society irrespective of geographical locations, Urban or Rural and individual’s socio-economic conditions and physical limitations.
USID Foundation is also engaged in research and education activities on creating awareness on design and how Design and Technology can help in socio-economic development especially among the rural and economically weaker population through research initiatives like Eco-system exploration of rural india. This forum has grown substantially to 1200+ members.
Along with an annual 3 day International conference, USID Foundation India has been organizing many other events/activities including Design Challenges, Call for paper, Startup Showcase, Academic Showcase, Gurukul, Design Appreciation workshops etc.
From 2009, USID Foundation has started including cultural performance with a intention to create some awareness about social issues as well as our traditional performing arts as part of the USID events. The closing ceremony of USID2009 conference as “Celebrating Abilities” and invited Ability Foundation a Delhi based NGO which is training people with disabilities on traditional and contemporary dance. Similarly Kathakali Dance performance was organized as part of the closing ceremony of the USID2010 conference. The performances were highly appreciated and created lots of awareness about the abilities and talent of the people with disabilities and also offered an opportunity for the young participants to get acquainted with our rich tradition and culture.
Representatives from variety of industries, organizations, research & educational institutions all across the design, technology, information technology, management and education & training, etc are attending USID events. USID events are being regularly supported by the industry and professional organizations including CA, Forum Nokia, Microsoft Research, Intuit, Microsoft, Yahoo India, Google India, SMI, UserLabAsia, and Design Programme IIT Kanpur.
In 2007 initiated India's first ever 3 day’s conference in the User Experience and Design domain in Hyderabad as USID2007. The conference was organized on the theme “Living in a Digital World: Challenges for the designers and engineers”
USID2008 conference was organized in Bangalore on a theme “Design Innovation & User Experience: Transforming Businesses in the New Economies…”.USID2009 conference, “Design for All: Usability, Accessibility & Creativity” was organized in Bangalore.
Since then USID conference has become India's leading annual conference that is being attended by 175+ participants representing 50+ organizations. More than 50 speakers representing international companies, academic institutions, and research organizations shared their experiences and thoughts during these conferences. The pre-conference events also included Call for paper, student design competitions etc.
USID2010 was concluded in November 2010 in Hyderabad on a theme “Designing Consumer Experience for the Emerging Markets and beyond…” Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher - Microsoft Research and Prof. M.P. Ranjan of NID presented as keynote along many more presented during the conference. USID2010 also included Innovation JAM, Academic Showcase and Startup showcase.
USID Gurukul an inspiration taken from “Gurukul”, a school concept from the ancient times. It aims to provide students from the varied fields of design, and technology, management and social sciences an experience of collaborative and immersive learning experience through working on existing social problems under the mentorship of accomplished practitioners, researchers, academicians and professionals which would then facilitate social-economic development and better quality of life.
USID Gurukul 2010 brought together 48 students (Shishyas) and 16 Mentors (Gurus) representing 16 Institutions and organizations including NID’s, IIT,s, IIM, Delhi School of Economics, Amity University etc., iDiscoveri, IMRB & Alto University, Finland.
The teams worked on problems areas related to Education, Health & Care, Environmental issues, Rural & Craft sector, Public policies and its impact on citizens, and aged population & generation gap.
Ecosystem Exploration of Rural India
The Ecosystem Exploration of Rural India was a research journey that we felt was essential to understand the rural ecosystem. It was focused on identifying the touch points, where design and technology can intervene to alleviate the quality of life of rural India.
The exploration was conducted in two phases covering 3900 kilometers travelling by roads covering parts (villages and small towns) of 7 states including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh, UP, Uttaranchal and Haryana by roads travelling approx. Total 100+ interviews (ethnographic research and contextual enquiry format) were conducted with various subjects covering across the age, gender, profession etc. to identify touch points in the eco-system where design and technology could intervene.
Design Challenges for student and professionals
- Student Design Competition 2007 (Total prizes worth Rs. 50,000)
Theme: Design eMail system for old people who has no internet experience
- Design Challenge 2008 (Total prizes worth Rs. 200,000)
Theme: Design an easy to use mobile application that can help in the agriculture productivity and socio economic development of the rural population.
- Design Challenge 2009 (Total prizes worth Rs. 200,000)
Theme: Design aids or support system for disabled population using information and communication technologies.
The design challenges received a very good response from students as well as professionals and the combined registration for the design challenge crossed 600+.
Some of the others events organized by USID include:
- Academic Showcase to bring out student academic projects to the community.
- Start-up showcase to demonstrate Design and UX innovation to the community and business
- Design & Technology Mixer - Knowledge sharing and Networking opportunity
- Design awareness and discovery workshop for schools kids
Creative Professionals for the Conservation of Nature & Wildlife
USID Foundation which with time has evolved as “Universal, Sustainable & Innovative Design” also believes strongly that the creative professionals who have always taken inspiration from nature and wildlife have to share lots of responsibility to make a positive change in the current situation of the nature and wildlife.
Carrying forward this belief, USID Foundation starting a new initiative “Designers & Artists for the Conservation of Nature and Wildlife” with a focus on how our design and creative skills can help spreading the awareness, can be leveraged to save endangered species and also to save the world from losing its green heritage.
Activities and events which are being considered to be organized under this initiative are listed but not limited to the following:
- Design Challenges for creating awareness about the conservation of nature and wildlife for creative professionals and students.
- Design and Art Camps for taking up wildlife and nature conservations
- Exhibitions and seminars on how design can be leveraged for the conservation of nature.
USID Foundation 5th Anniversary Celebrations
USID Foundation is celebrating its 5th anniversary from April 2011 to March 2012 and apart from continuing its existing events we are planning to initiate following new events:
- Design Conclave & JAMs focusing on “Tomorrow” where each of these events will focus on one area such as “Healthcare” “Education” “Villages”, ”Environment” and so on.
- “Women in Design” event to highlight contribution of women designers, as design leaders & entrepreneurs and design for women.
- Design Film Festival - screening of documentaries and short films focusing on design thinking, practice and social cause.