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Design and IP are key to India’s success as product nation

Focus on design and creation of IP is crucial to India’s ambitions as a product nation, IT Secretary S Krishnan on Thursday said, exhorting electronics products designers in the country to prioritise aspects such as inclusivity, aesthetics, and user experience in designing products for wider audiences.

Design elements add substantial value to products, particularly in the electronics and digital space, Krishnan said while addressing the ’23rd India Design Summit and Awards’ organised by CII and World Design Organisation.

Citing an example of just how important design elements are in the digital era, he said in case of a USD 1,000 iPhone, about USD 250 is paid to vendors while a substantial amount is retained by the designers in Cupertino.

Referring to the Apple manufacturing ecosystem in India, he said, “Today, we are aiming that about 20-25 per cent at least of Apple iPhones are made in India at some point or the other, and if you look at the value addition which takes place in India, it is probably currently about 12-15 per cent and hopefully will go up to 30-35 per cent in due course as more and more components get made,” he said.

However, significance of design becomes clear when one looks at how the value addition is shared.

“Probably with all the people down the line… of that USD 1,000, about USD 250 gets paid to all the vendors up and down the line and bulk of it gets retained by those who actually designed it sitting at Cupertino. This is what design adds to the value of a product, especially in electronics space,” Krishnan said.

That said, manufacturing value chains in India is also playing an important role as large factories comes up here, adding thousands of jobs.

“But we also need to realise over time that we need to be a country which holds IP related to many of these, and that comes primarily from design… practically all the major fabless chip manufacturers get their products designed in India, probably in a radius of about 25 km in Bengaluru…” “There are possibly 20,000-30,000 chip designers who are based out of India… but in spite of having the designers we still don’t necessarily have IP related to that,” he said.

Design needs to be “Indian in thought” and driven in a way that the country derives the largest possible benefit from it. At the same time design elements need to focus on inclusivity and user experience to ensure that a product appeals to wider set of audiences, including those from older generation and those not digitally savvy.

The acceptance of products and their wide usage depend fundamentally on its design and quality of design, he said.

“It is important that we recognise that it is not just making a product for utility but to make it usable, aesthetically appealing, attractive… is something that electronics products in India currently have not yet addressed adequately.” “That is the space the design community can come in and help,” he said, this combination of design and manufacturing would ensure that India success as “product nation”. PTI

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