Interview with Ashwini Deshpande

Davin Greenwell, March 30, 2021 at 11:12 PM
After graduating from NID, Ashwini became a founding partner of Elephant Strategy + Design, India’s largest independent design consultancy. Her current priority is professional consultancy to help products & services become relevant in the emerging markets. Ashwini shares her take on Design Currency 2010 in this interview.

DW: What are you looking forward to most about Design Currency 2010?

AD: The theme is very challenging. I am looking forward to seeing diverse interpretations of “Design Currency” from around the world. Am also looking forward to meeting some wonderful people from the world of design who have really made a difference by design. This will be my first visit to Vancouver & that makes it all the more exciting.

DW: What does the conference theme “Design Currency” mean to you?

AD: Indian spirituality (Bhagvadgita) guides us to believe that we should go on doing the right actions (karma) without worrying about materialistic returns. Journey itself has to be the destination. So it is greatly comforting when I see design itself becoming the currency rather than design being the means to some currency :-)  

DW: If design was currency, who would have the most? Who would have the least?

AD: In a world that has design as the currency, there probably would be no geographic or political borders. It will be the reverse of capitalism. Beneficiaries would really be the users of design. So they would have it the most. Isn’t design all about being user-friendly?

DW: What criteria do you use to evaluate design?

AD: In the developing economy where I belong, design must first remove the struggle from simple daily situations. Next, if feasible, it should satisfy all the needs. Beyond that, if it can delight the user by giving the unexpected, that would be the highest level achieved by design.


Ashwini Deshpande will be speaking at Design Currency 2010. To learn more about her, see Ashwini Deshpande's speaker page.

Posted In:Interviews


Mark Busse(6 days ago)
I'm really loving reading these interviews with the speakers and enjoyed this one a lot. I can't wait to meet Ashwini and hear her thoughts on our industry and design's value from the perspective of someone from India.

Davin Greenwell(6 days ago)
No kidding Mark. It's pretty amazing to see how this topic is interpreted - it's mind-opening and perspective-shifting. I would agree with Ashwini that it is a challenging topic - therefore a good one.