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 self 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 self.

 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 a few examples of how infusing experimentation and empathy in a module works wonders. It adds value to the users and encourages them to participate.

  1. Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav:

Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, which in English translates to “Elixir of Freedom,” is a fine example of design thinking incorporated by our Indian government. It is a series of events that commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence. It is intended to showcase India’s rich culture, glorious history, mind blowing diversity, and unmatched Indian talent. The way this Mahotsav is designed, it touches the heart of people and urges them to participate.

 Is there a doubt that this is a happy Independence Day thought that stirs people and urges them to act? How can you stay still when the entire country is under a “Mahotsav”! 

  1. Har Ghar Tiranga:

Har Ghar Tiranga campaign is a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and beautifully connects with the emotional side of Indians.

 Aren’t you proud to be an Indian? Then what stops you from hoisting the national flag at your home or office?

 The initiative of our honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi in urging citizens to use the tricolor as their social media profile images directly connects with the heart of each Indian.

 It makes them feel special, feel so Indian! At the same time, it adds value to our Indian attitude. We are, no longer, ashamed of our typical Indian English accent, of our cluttered streets, or of our Indian lifestyle. Har Ghar Tiranga exemplifies design thinking in the sense that it creates a happy Independence Day thought in an Indian mind. We actually feel the freedom when we hoist our national flag in our own space. It empathizes with every Indian’s feelings and gives it value.

 The very act of designing our social media profiles in tricolor entices excitement for the D-day August 15, which for many Indians had become just another holiday. But not anymore, for now you would be hoisting the flag at your home, making sure your social media is filled with tricolors, and more. Imagine how a simple campaign design can trigger action! 

  1. Make In India

This may not be a recent Happy Independence Day thought. Yet, the Make In India movement is, undoubtedly, an electrifying move to create 100 million extra employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector by 2022. The movement was initiated by the Government of India on September 25, 2014.

 Now, here comes the interesting design thinking part. The campaign’s logo is a silhouette of a lion. The silhouette features cogs, which symbolize the constant manufacturing process, the constant progress and churning of new ideas. Lion depicts strength and national pride.

 This is a design that almost every Indian can relate to. We are a nation of lions. The actual Asiatic lions are found in India. Simultaneously, there are the lion-hearted humans who fought for India’s independence and are still on guard to protect our country’s borders. 

And how can we forget all our lion-hearted men and women – the common mass – who toil hard every day to make a living and to create success in their lives!

 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 feel 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 ever.

 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.

Shopkeepers encouraging customers to practice social distancing

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, work from home is almost a 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 office. Many companies are still offering the option of work-from-home, yet many others desperately want their staff to return to 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.

Trendy and Happy Independence Day thought 

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 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. The same way Design Thinking is applicable to the nation as well, if people of India start thinking empathetically and creatively, I am sure the design of an ever progresive India will soon convert to an ever thriving India.  


As India tunes herself to celebrate 75 years of its independence, it’s time to set our minds free of limiting beliefs. Let’s put an end to irrelevant ideologies, resistance to change, and predictable mindsets. Let’s do some design thinking. This, in itself, connotes progression. With an increasing number of companies thinking more about their workforce and end users, creating just one happy Independence Day thought 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 towards 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 across 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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