After an exciting career with some of India’s leading start-ups, Sunit Singh Sehgal has now slipped into an advisory role where his experience truly counts.
He had joined Cleartrip in 2010, where some of his most significant work has happened:
“It was a time when mobile was just emerging as a platform. I got the opportunity to lead the design of the mobile web, followed by the native mobile apps and a major redesign of all the desktop products. As a designer, it was a dream to work on Cleartrip as it was, and continues to remain, one of India’s most loved products.”
After five years, Sunit moved on to join Ola in 2015, where he has built and set up a design team from scratch. After about a year he decided to turn to consulting. Today he is a partner and co-founder at Design Capital, a design advisory firm in Bangalore, which mentors design and product teams at various digital product companies. Sunit continues to help the design and product teams at Ola and Cleartrip in an advisory capacity as well.
“As a designer, you need to be as close as possible to where the decision-making happens,” he believes. ” This puts you in a much better position to influence the culture of the company. You want to spend more of your time doing great design than in convincing people. I’ve thrived in environments where I can focus all my energy in making the product better, where I have the absolute control required to deliver a great product, and where the end-user experience is a critical success factor. To me a good place to work is where there’s a good mix of grounds-up design work as well as a healthy pipeline of continuous, iterative product development to be done. And an early stage company is the perfect place to find all this!”
In his opinion, design leaders should think of themselves as strategic partners:
“A design leader must possess long-term vision while having an eye on what’s getting shipped today; he must be the gatekeeper of quality. It really helps if a design leader is hands-on and willing to roll-up his sleeves because that experience helps in setting the right direction for the team. Be open-minded and humble, because design ideas can come from anywhere. Delivering a good experience is the job of everyone in the company – a design leader’s job is to sensitize everyone to this fact.”
According to Sunit,
“We are entering a world where technology is deeply interwoven into our daily lives. And as technology takes a more central part of our lives it has to get more and more human. You cannot imagine all of this happening unless you understand very deeply how humans behave in the physical world and then seamlessly weave the digital experiences into their lives. Interfaces are turning more natural and ambient. While these still require an explicit user input, we will be designing for more implicit experiences where products can predict with great accuracy what you might want to get done through deep machine learning and artificial intelligence. In this world, it would be the designers at the forefront, playing the most significant role in making technology friendlier and thus helping push the envelope for the tech community at large.”
Read this story in POOL 90.