Design for the Taste-Makers. System oriented innovation for improving life of salt pan labourers

Kumar A., Wagle P., Bandakar P.

The Indian social construct is a complex structure comprising of various social, cultural, societal, regional and political elements that are interconnected to each other. The social construct which was primarily occupation based is still effective in certain areas and occupations of India. One of these occupations is of salt pan labourer. Food being one of the most important basic necessities for survival, there needs no second thought to understand the importance of Salt. Just like other food industries, salt manufacturing industry too is moving towards complete automation with minimal human intervention. But considering the population involved in manual salt manufacturing and the sole dependency of them on this job for livelihood, social innovation was necessary to improve their inhuman living condition. This paper gives and understanding of the grassroot reality in the salt manufacturing areas which was build using systemic design thinking. The approach enabled to look at the problem faced by the Salt Pan labourers from a micro and meta level using design tools like Co-creation workshops, Participatory activity, Shadowing, Day in life, and primary research methods like laddering method etc. The Insights received after the researches were mapped against their effect at micra and meta level. Systemic design thinking approach enabled in selecting the final ideas that could contribute significantly in the existing system. 5 different levels of solutions were proposed after the exercise to improve the living condition of the salt pan labourer. The final outcomes at micro level were new product interventions, activities for NGO’s working in the area for development of children and designing Co-creation workshops for NGO’s to bring about an inclusive design solution for solving the future problems. The solutions proposed at macro level were a new self-sustainable or an assistive social business model which would involve all the stakeholders to work together in uplifting the living condition of everyone involved in the business of manual salt manufacturing. A policy level intervention was also part of the final outcome, which was proposed understanding the magnitude of effect a small policy could make in the system.

Posted: Sep-2018

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