The Apathetic Indian: Speculating for Change

Graduation Project
B.Des 2016
Exhibition Design

‘The Apathetic Indian’ is a deck of 20 cards for secondary school children to imagine future scenarios as per India Agenda’s 2030 vision. The project recognises the urgent need to transform the attitude of Indian citizens from apathy to action, alongside rural to urban. This participatory deck hopes that through brainstorming, sharing and discussing potential solutions, referencing and innovatively applying existing products and knowledge, and new perspectives to wicked problems will create classrooms that facilitate and encourage discussions about alternate ways of being.

In order to make progress towards the achievement of SDG goals, the involvement and active participation of children and youth in the country’s growth trajectory was imperative. Most young adults lose hope and their ability to envision themselves as ‘Agents of Change’ for the future. I asked: how can I create provocation points, or create a starting point for imaginative and creative conversations in classrooms that can help seed, and foster ideas of/for change in young minds? The main objective was to create simple, interactive and implement-able solutions that assists the process of implementing a bigger idea and a solution. The real challenge was to seed and nurture the process of creating or noting speculations: Learning and being taught the art of speculation. 

After creating a toolkit designed to prompt children to use their imagination to solve real life problems and speculate alternative future scenarios, I realised that creating provocation points was just the first step in the process. Initial testing showed that asking good questions does not always guarantee good answers, or a range of answers. The secret to high-quality education lay in the hands of the facilitator. It shifted my perception on learning, and highlighted the role of good faculty and teachers, which made me examine the pedagogies of education, work with teachers to understand the value they add, and implement solutions that include teacher training in the process.

This project could develop into more decks of cards that share information on how to take action, communicate tools of action, and present speculations created by experts of different fields. An online community can be created, where children’s responses and faculty reactions can be shared, and one can view and reflect on the range of responses from children of various demographics.

As a young designer, this project opened up different avenues of application of design education. It helped me realise that there is scope for exploration in different fields, where design-thinking as a process and a tool can aid in transforming existing and forthcoming situations into preferred futures.


  • Economist Educational Foundation
  • Curriculum design of the International Baccalaureate Programme,
  • Online workshop on ‘Experimental Food Design for Sustainable Futures’
  • TRIS School Faculty
  • Museum of Solutions (Mumbai) Children panel
  • Speculative Edu Project
  • People: Ms. Arundhati Mitter, Jonak Das, Tanishka Kachru
  • Reports on education in India.