Awards galore for UPES design project
Mentored by experts from IBM and IKEA, a project by UPES design students has won several awards, including the ‘The CII Young Designer Award 2022’, the D’source DIC-BHU Award hosted by IIT Bombay, and an honourable mention at the Student Service Design Challenge 2022, announced at Barcelona Design Week. The project is essentially a hyper-local renting service, focussing on making college essentials accessible sustainably
A shift in thinking can move mountains. Ishaan Gupta, Kousik Dutta, Lakshya Agarwal, and Aditya Rajput, who have always been curious students, wanted to bring about a change in the world by changing people’s mindsets. Their passion to make a difference was not sparked by a single event, but a series of experiences.
So, when they were tasked with designing a new service that would revolutionise the industry, they knew exactly what they wanted to do. They designed ‘Renteco’ for Student Service Design Challenge, an international competition hosted by Philips Experience Design in collaboration with Service Design College. The global contest aims to celebrate, encourage, and inspire the next generation of designers.
“From the very beginning, we were determined to solve a problem that was both local and global,” says Ishaan, a B.Des. student at UPES with a specialisation in User Experience and Interaction Design (UI/UX).
Designed for students, Renteco is C2B2C (Consumer to Business to Consumer) used item hyper-local renting service focussing on making college essentials accessible while taking care of the planet by decreasing waste. They are fully circular, as they rent only used items. After their lifecycle is complete, they dispose of the items with the help of recycling plants and scrap dealers.
They all had their unique set of skills and expertise. The task was designing a new service that would push the boundaries of what was possible. And as a team of four highly skilled and motivated individuals, they were determined to make it happen.
Their team was assigned two industry mentors – one from IBM and one from IKEA, who constantly guided them throughout the process.
Talking about his role in the team, Kousik Dutta, a fourth-year UI/UX student says, “I was responsible for the overall documentation, storytelling and had an important role to play in designing the overall service blueprint of Renteco.”
Lakshya Agarwal, a fourth-year Graphic Design student says, “I was mostly responsible for the video documentation and graphic design part of the project.” While Ishaan was responsible for understanding the needs and wants of the target audience, gather data and insights, perform competitor analysis to identify the gaps in the market, and find opportunities for innovation.
Sharing his experience, Aditya Rajput says, “I had an exciting six-month experience working with industry leaders and mentors to design digital experiences, create a viable and profitable business model, and create system maps and mental models. It was a challenging opportunity to push our limits and showcase ourselves on an international stage.”
Given that the project required extensive groundwork, they had regular team meetings daily at 7 am. “We had to start together, discuss everything from the challenges that we faced while doing our tasks to the progress we had made so far. It took six-months of intense hard work to build the final product,” Ishaan recounts.
Their diligence paid off and how! Project Renteco received an honourable mention at the Student Service Design Challenge 2022, announced at Barcelona Design Week. About 90 teams from prestigious universities and schools around the world participated in the competition to create more ‘people-centric, planet-positive’ services.
The project also won India’s most prestigious design award ‘The CII Young Designer Award 2022’ and the ‘D’source DIC-BHU award’, hosted by IIT Bombay in the same year.
How did the team manage to make renting not buying ‘the new cool’ among college goers? Ishaan reveals, “Bringing a change in mindset is always a challenge. Hence, to encourage more renting, we incorporated a fun gamified system that rewards people who return the items in good condition. We made sure that our service appealed to the masses while still being practical.”