Life Lessons from Train Travel

I remember the days in India when we would travel long distances by trains. Train travel has had more profound impact on my sense of being than I can fathom.

I woke up this morning with a kaleidoscope of memories of train journeys in India. I was looking out of the window feeling the breeze and the smells that tingled my senses as the train passed through diverse terrains of India.

At its peak speed- I felt exhilarated at the thought of reaching my destination. …


The pandemic has forced many of us to ask ourselves difficult questions that were either forgotten or conveniently put on back burner. One central question that keeps coming up in my conversations with peers, and students of design is:

What is a designer’s evolving role in the society and how do I fulfill that role while paying attention to satisfying my client needs?

I look for every opportunity to discuss this question with my peers and clients. I particularly find the pandemic an opportune time to engage people in a dialogue on critical issues concerning designers’ responsibility to the society.


Healing with Beebo

This is an email sent by a reader to my wife. I have anonymised the names to respect the privacy of the writer.

Uday

Dear Rohini,

Thank you for inviting me to the book launch of Finding your beebo! It was lovely to listen to the author and all the others who helped him ! Congrats to Udayji and best wishes to bring out many more!! I downloaded the book with the link you sent me, although I personally believe it shouldn’t be taken for free. Thank you 😊

Regarding the book …here are my unfiltered thoughts…


Design as conversation builder

Jogi Panghal

In this article designer, researcher, teacher and thinker, Jogi Panghal reacts to a lecture, “Why Design Matters”, delivered by Uday Danadavate to the students of the Institute of Design, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, India

Uday Dandavate gave a rousing call for reimagining design to young joiners of NIRMA the other day. Design has suffered far too long to be constantly associated with new product making. As if every ‘solution’ to a problem has to be more material objects. Like a hammer searching for nails! ‘Innovation’ is the new name for this trail of our collective…


Finding Authenticity Through Design

The topic of my lecture to the senior class in design at the Ohio State university later this month is “Finding Authenticity”.

Dr. Peter Chan invited me to speak to his senior class for a second year because he recognizes that the students need clarity and purpose during these very difficult times of the pandemic.

The central theme of my conversation will be to provoke the students into considering the pandemic as an opportunity to become more authentic in our practice of design.

Regardless of who pays for our services, we are ultimately paid to serve…


After a gap of almost two years I am back in the field with real people (as opposed to their images on zoom). I am experiencing a difference between the past year and a half of technology enabled communication and the exchange of energy, feelings and authentic expressions I see happening. when I am in the presence of people in their environment.

The last few weeks have been a medicine for my soul- as well as for my clients. We have had several immersive experiences in the real world and face. to face (with masks on) and socially distanced workshops…


My two- book series on amazon is called Design Thinking for everyday people. The first book in this series , “a window for a home without walls: life imagination design” was released on June 14th 2020 and the second one, “Finding Your Beebo” was released on July 11th 2021.

While most designers have written prescriptive or descriptive books targeted at fellow professionals and clients, I decided to write a book that empowers imagination of everyday people with life lessons and design values. …


The first time I heard about my inner child was the first day of my foundation year at the National Institute of Design (NID). Prof. Mohan Bhandari welcomed us with, “During the foundation year in design you will unlearn what you learned in high school and reclaim your childlike freshness”. That sounded pretty cool though didn’t mean much then to the 16 year old high school graduates.

Of course, the foundation year of the design education was different. It involved learning to observe and sense our surroundings. We learned to ask “why?” a question that would have been seen as…


This blog traces my journey from designer of products to designer of imagination. It traces my work from design of form and functionalities to design of metaphors. With the publication of two books I have embarked into a new territory: Poetry and its relevance to giving design back to people.

During the Fall of 1993 I joined the graduate program at The Ohio State University after 13 year long experience in product design. Until that time my interest in design of products was centered around “psychology of everyday things” (Ref: Don Norman). I was frequently commissioned by my clients to…


Sir Ken Robinson once told a story during one of his TED talks,

“I heard a great story recently, I love telling it, of a little girl who was in a drawing lesson, she was 6 and she was at the back, drawing, and the teacher said this little girl hardly paid attention, and in this drawing lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated and she went over to her and she said, “What are you drawing?” and the girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” And the teacher said, “But nobody knows what God looks like.” …

Uday Dandavate

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