Finally, we have arrived – 75 years of independence! No doubt, it is Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav – what a happy Independence Day thought this is! From the midnight of August 15, 1947, to today, India has stood the test of time and is shining on the world map. Yes, we still have issues to tackle; yet nothing makes us feel more proud than the fact that India, today, is attracting the global eye. Amidst this, design thinking shows incredible promise in showcasing progressive India.

How Design Thinking Can Portray “Atmanirbhar” or Independent India

Just a few examples that are mentioned later on this page are enough to prove how design thinking has almost taken over the progressive Indian scene. And it’s not just for the corporate sector. This concept holds immense value in all sectors, even while you are teaching a child.

In fact, it is far easier to teach a child on an emotional and creative level than an adult. Adults often create “walls” between their real emotional selves and what they show the world. Many of us walk around wearing “masks,” no, not the face masks for Covid protection, but masks that conceal our true selves.

We feel vulnerable showing this self to the world. And that’s where design thinking comes into play, especially when we want to create a happy Independence Day thought. It touches this real self, which had for long been kept hidden in a deep closet of the heart. 

“Freedom of mind is real freedom. A person whose mind is not free though he may not be in chains, is a slave, not a free man” – Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar. 

Dig this: you are watching a television show when there comes a commercial break. You watch the commercials with little interest. But hey, there pops an ad that kind of “clicks” to your emotional self. Or you can say, it touches that vulnerable side, which you have been concealing from the world. And you are impressed! 

Examples of How Design Thinking Showcases An Ever Progressive India

Here are some shorter versions of the content without changing the meaning:

  1. Infusing experimentation and empathy in a module: Adding value and encouraging user participation.
  2. Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav: Celebrates 75 years of India’s independence through design thinking that touches hearts and encourages participation.
  3. Har Ghar Tiranga: Connects emotionally with Indians, urging them to hoist the national flag at home or work and use it in their social media profiles.
  4. Make In India: An initiative to create 100 million manufacturing jobs by 2022, symbolized by a lion logo representing strength, progress, and national pride.

 One Happy Independence Day Thought Can Change It All

Design thinking holds great promise for organizations, as it gives them scope to connect with people. You don’t simply create something and present it before the audience. You understand the audience first and design according to their current emotional state, needs, preferences, and behavior.

 Digitalization of India has been one crucial factor in strengthening the feeling of “independence” or “freedom.” Going digital is more like being free of those long lines in banks or the grocery store. Digital designing is not focused only on generating revenue, but more on making people’s lives easier.

 For example, payment apps and similar digital platforms first scrutinized the problems people faced during purchase or payment. They then designed the app or process to simplify money transactions and the entire shopping experience.

 Survival of the Fittest

The Pandemic has brought back centuries-old Darwin’s theory: “Survival of the Fittest.” People felt stranded with no jobs and dwindling businesses. Locked up in their homes, they had no choice but to create new ideas to survive and thrive. The digital world never saw such a boom time.

 The Covid era was the real test of design thinking. Organizations and individuals innovated their products and services based on people’s problems and preferences. The world is no longer the same. A huge energy shift happened during the pandemic and the shift continues.


Work From Home Design – Can It Contribute to Progressive India?

There was a time when no employee would dare utter the words “work from home” in front of their employer. Today, working from home is almost the norm. The post-pandemic era is a whole new one. Things that were unimaginable, such as working from home or practicing design thinking, are now the new normal.

Yet, as the world slowly and steadily heals from the “viral attack” and its aftermath, companies are welcoming their employees back to the office. Many companies are still offering the option of work-from-home, yet many others desperately want their staff to return to the office.

But all is not the same as before. People have changed. Their attitudes have changed. Their priorities have shifted.

They have struggled. They have been stressed, anxious, scared. They have seen death. They have gone through immense losses and emotional turmoil.

Amid this changed scenario, it is good that companies harness the power of design thinking to make their present employees comfortable and productive after the pandemic.

Does working from home sound like a happy Independence Day thought, eh? Oh well, it could be.


Working from home gives you the freedom from long commuting hours, traffic jams, office environment (which may not always be positive), hectic life, rush hour mornings, and perhaps those angry glares from the boss! (The boss can glare at you even from the Zoom meeting, mind you!)

The Secret to Successful Design Thinking

For a design thinking project to be successful, apart from technical expertise, you must be armed with open-mindedness, empathy, and creativity. You must not hesitate to jump out of the box to find a solution to your customer or employee’s problem. You need to embrace the innovation culture

A design thinking team is like a tree that can bend and swing to the tunes of the breeze rather than stay rigid and stiff. 

The latter case is dangerous, as the tree is more likely to be uprooted amidst a storm (read: problems). A swinging and flexible tree is more likely to withstand a storm and find newer ways to survive.

It’s not wrong to say that design thinking played a crucial role in helping many organizations survive during the pandemic lockdowns. Their creative and uncommon ways, which were targeted towards solving people’s problems, kept them connected with their customers. In the same way, Design Thinking is applicable to the nation as well, if the people of India start thinking empathetically and creatively, I am sure the design of an ever-progressive India will soon convert to an ever-thriving India.  


As India marks 75 years of independence, it’s time to break free from limiting beliefs, end irrelevant ideologies, embrace change, and adopt design thinking. This signifies progress, especially as more companies prioritize their workforce and end users. Creating a single, joyful Independence Day message is a challenge.

Happy Independence Day! 

There are so many happy thoughts! As India sets foot on yet another glorious year of freedom, what better moment than this to recall the beautiful poem by Rabindranath Tagore:

 “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action—

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

(Disclaimer: Thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are purely of the author. The blog in none of its statements intends to encourage or discourage any political or religious scenario.)

About the author, Ajay Aggarwal

A Haryanvi by origin, an entrepreneur at heart, and a consultant by choice, that’s how Ajay likes to introduce himself! Ajay is the Founding Partner at Humane Design and Innovation Consulting (HDI). Before starting HDI, Ajay founded the Design Thinking and Innovation practice at KPMG India. His 16+ years of professional career spans various roles in product and service design, conducting strategy workshops, storytelling, and enabling an innovation culture. He has coached 50+ organizations and 2000+ professionals in institutionalizing design and innovation practices. He loves to blog and speak on topics related to Design Thinking, Innovation, Creativity, Storytelling, Customer Experience, and Entrepreneurship. Ajay is passionate about learning, writing poems, and visualizing future trends!

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