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Surabh Garg Co-Founder Crossed Design

Great Companies- What exactly is 'Crossed Design' all about? What are the different services you offer?

Saurabh Garg : Crossed Design is a design thinking led innovation company. As a company we use the principals of Human Centered Design to understand complex systems from user's point of view and design solutions focused around the user’s experience throughout the lifecycle of the product. As an innovation company, we offer services like UX Research, New Product (or service) Design, Strategy & Innovation Management. Apart from that, we also help organisations like British Council & Mahindra to build a culture of innovation within their cross functional teams using Design Thinking.

Great Companies- Why did you choose being an entrepreneur rather than doing a job as it involves less risk?

Saurabh Garg : Right after completing Masters of Design from National Institute of Design I started working as a Concept Designer with TATA Motors - India’s largest car manufacturer. Like most newbies, I was very fascinated by the idea of working with large OEMs. Soon I realised that as a car designer, I was barely scratching the tip of the iceberg. Earlier during my design education, I understood that design as a discipline has immense potential to offer. Something I have always wanted to do was to experiment with design and explore its potential in bringing innovation across domains and sectors. I felt that the job, I was in, was very limiting in terms of exploring applications of design. With this curiosity, I resigned from my cushioned job and started hunting and scavenging. It was not an easy choice. I had to pay my bills, eat food and survive. For a good two years, I worked on multitudes of projects ranging from branding, UX/UI, custom motorcycle design, interiors and space design, retails experience design, design research etc. I grabbed onto any opportunity I could and learnt my way through it. During those two years, I got exposed to the term ‘Design Thinking’ through some folk from the business world. The tools and methods that were being used by designers for ages had been re-framed & repacked as ‘Design Thinking’. Design Thinking was selling like hot cakes across Businesses. This became an entry point into the business world. By then I realized that I was more of a hands-on person and needed someone with a lateral thought process. Someone who has the ability to understand complex systems and someone who could be comfortable with the disequilibrium. Sanchi, an old friend, studied Strategic Design Management at NID. She has always guided me throughout my journey until now. That time she was working at Shuttl as Product Manager leading their consumer product development team. I reached out to her and proposed the idea of working together. After multiple conversations over chai, together we envisioned Crossed Design, as you see it today. Since then it has been a roller coaster ride.

Great Companies- 'Crossed Design' seem to offer a lot of services, how you ensure efficiency and timely delivery?

Saurabh Garg : Oh! well, that’s something we are proud of! We try not to have multiple projects simultaneously; instead, we immerse ourself into one or two projects at max at one point of time. That also makes us a little selective in picking up projects. Fortunately, interesting projects keep falling into our laps. For instance, we got a chance to design a gamified learning platform for kids, we worked with Google on some of their India centric projects, we worked on formulating governance policies with a global NGOs etc. At crossed Design, instead of obsessing for quantity of projects, we focus on quality of project. All that said, creativity comes at a cost - you can’t fast forward through the process. Designers are infamous for their creative blocks and breakdowns. These blocks are necessary for creativity. There is always this period of chaos, when you feel that your brain is not working and you are not able to find the right answers. In reality, that is the time when the brain is working the most - it is thinking, reflecting and processing. As creative professionals, we acknowledge these ‘creative blocks’. With practice, we have learnt to accommodate these ‘periods of thinking’ within our project timelines.

Great Companies- What is the mission of 'Crossed Design' and how close are you in achieving it?

Saurabh Garg : Ahh! Not at all close. I think I dream bigger than I can handle. We see Crossed Design as becoming the whirlpool of Ideas and Innovation. A place where failing is encouraged and curiosity is bread. Crossed Design will be a place where pure design led innovation can happen in the true spirit of experimentation. We want to create a space which will offer a platform for young minds who are willing to experiment with design, art, culture and technology. We are sort of already on the path, I believe. We are associating with universities to carry out some interesting academic research and innovation projects through collaborations. We have already developed few published frameworks of our own, which are worth patenting. We are always on a lookout for organisations and individuals who are investing into the idea of bringing innovation through design.

Great Companies- Any advice you would like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Saurabh Garg : There will be lots of times in your life when you will feel dejected and rejected. You will find everyone standing against you, trying to pull you down - that is the time when you have to be strong. No matter what, just don’t give up. Just don’t!

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