DATA, INFORMATION and KNOWLEDGE -20 -Design Implementation Processes

Post 27 -by Gautam Shah


Data is raw collection of facts. Data is categorized into sets by the class of its contents, such as the character, text, words, numbers, images, etc., and by the interconnections of the substance. These two are the factors that colour the data, which otherwise is neat collection of facts. Data must be further organized, structured, interpreted, and presented to be meaningful as information. Same data can be had by many people or agencies, but the way it is used it begins to be proprietary information. Data gains context during processing. Raw data is useless, and has no value except the cost of identification, collection and storage. Data once collected is preserved, as the same data may offer new vision or information in future.

Espionage is a form of obtaining Information considered secret or confidential > Wikipedia image by Alphonse de Neuville

In nominal usage, data refers to facts, posed to our receptive faculties or sense organs. Data is perceived, when it is within the limited perceptive (sensory) capabilities, and if has some relevance to our needs. Data perception is affected by the mental and physical state. Our mind (and other organs) processes the data into Information. Data processing refers to acts like gathering, manipulating and transmitting for specific objectives.

Health Data collection Flickr image by Possible > Nyaya Health:Ridikot’s CHWL

Data is open knowledge, but when perceived in some context or for a probable purpose, it becomes information. Information, on the contrary is a personalized property. One person’s information becomes another person’s data. To work efficiently, and within the personal biological capacity, one retains only relevant sections of data.

Data can be processed manually, mechanically and electronically. And with each of the processing data gets structured differently providing new insights. A machine (mechanical, electronics) processes data according to set parameters, so is more objective then any manual processing.

Hollerith electric (but not electronic) tabulating machine 1890 USA census

Electronic or digital systems have better receptors and larger storage capacities (and improving day by day). Such systems, like their biological counterparts, invariably include barriers or filters to select only relevant things. A computer during the receiving and recording phase converts relevant things into a storable representation or a surrogate form.

The information stored in the mind thins out with time, so must be either communicated or recorded. Recording is formatting information over a medium. In-forming implies that a form is impressed onto -a medium. The formatted (recorded) expression on a medium is less likely to get lost with time. Recorded and communicated material is already processed, but as we re-communicate it, it gets further processed. During each process of expression, perception, recording or retrieving, information corruption occurs.

Methods and modes of ‘formatting’ the information are like: writing, printing, transmitting, receiving, storing, retrieving, etc. However, formatting, ‘conditions’ the data, and often ‘corrupts’ it. The forming mediums are physical, such as: paper, magnetic tape, etc. and formatting tools are: languages, images, graphics, metaphors, etc.

Jean Baptiste Falcon Loom with punched panels > Wikipedia image by Rama

The information expression and formation (on a medium), both are acts of communication. The originator, though, has less control on how the expression will be perceived or recorded (in-formed). The Information originator accessing own records at some other time-space level cannot revert to the original physical and mental state, and so re-experience or reestablish the original. The communicated information manifests slightly differently, yet it is a ‘knowledge transmission process’. For communication to occur the originator and the accessing user both must follow common modalities.

Documents are ‘lots of related knowledge’, which when referred to, provide the intended information. Once information is perceived from data set, it is placed or linked to a document. In other words like other storable units it is modulated according to what it is to contain, and stacked (stored) according to how it is placed, referred and retrieved.

Sinhala Palm-leaf medical manuscript 1700 > Wikipedia image

Traditional documents are like: letters, reports drawings, specifications, procedures, instructions, records, purchase orders, invoices, process control charts, graphs, pictures, etc. Such documents’ ‘pages’, chapters or sections are placed together to maintain order of placement. Sub units of documents also carry a positional identifier like page, chapter or section number. Documents are stored in their order of arrival, category, size, nature (paper, books, tapes, etc.), author etc. Traditional documents as sequential data storage system are also created in the form of index cards, punched data cards, magnetic tapes, etc. A digital document stores information in pre-sized lots of bytes and bits. These may offer random access, such as with floppy disks, CDs, HDs, etc. A file allocation table FAT as a dynamic index system manages the access to it.

Ledger room of Post office savings bank Blythe House West Kensington UK > Wikipedia image

Files are the most common units of information transfer. Filed information has: a title, a description of contents and the mass of content. Additionally it occupies a space, so size, and the birth context (date/ time/ location/ other circumstances of origin). Beyond these primary endowments, a file may be given different attachments (links and references). A file carries many identifiers such as:

  • time (of origin)
  • size (of storage, transmission time & effort)
  • author, contributors
  • content (index, key words, summary)
  • place of origin
  • place of destination, identity recipient
  • authority to create, read, write, alter and delete the contents of a file
  • affiliations, linked documents, preceding and following documents
  • references
  • embedded codes
  • signs, symbols
  • language
  • style
  • mode of communication
  • limits and conditions of relevance

It is through such identities that a file begins to be relevant or worthy of access. A simple file is nominally static, because its data entities are allocated specific physical space. A complex file may contain variable size space allocations. There are often filters that decide which of the data entities are to be allocated a free or variable space.

Prints and drawings access room British Museum > Wikipedia image by M.chohan

Data entities in a file remain permanent or are changeable. The conditions that cause a data to remain permanent or be variable could be external or internal. The internal conditioners are inseparable parts of information files. In a static file, the structure remains unaltered even while data entities are changed. The meaning deriving out of that file however, may change. Static files are easy to process, but are incapable of providing qualitative information. Static files usually contain data that is mathematical or substantially logical. In dynamic files the structure of a file gets altered along with the nature of data entities. Dynamic files are complex to process.

A dynamic file system -Cockpit voice recorder > Wikipedia image by Dtom

Hard copy vs Soft copy: Substantial quantity of information is generated as hard copy, i.e. written or printed. It is possible to copy these type of documents in parts or whole, through processes like carbon copying, scanning, lithography, screen printing, transfer printing, photo and Xerox copying. Some of these processes require specific media. Few processes are capable of enlarging or reducing the scale (micro films). But contents cannot be edited, revised or manipulated. A digital data file is often called a soft copy because its contents can be manipulated with much ease. It can also be linked as a whole or by its parts, to other files or their parts. It can be analyzed, dissected, reassembled, rearranged or restructured. Through such manipulations even ordinary looking data takes on different forms, and new meanings can be established.

Book scanner digitizes in form but its contents remain opaque > Wikipedia image by Dvortygirl

Most printed documents are opaque. It is very difficult to superimpose or merge two or more such documents. Digital documents, on the other hand can be treated as set of layers or even three dimensional matrices. Digital documents can be treated as transparent and miscible. Auto-CAD creates files as transparent layers. Digital files could be made interactive (such as with spreadsheets), i.e. a change in one file can be made pervasive in all other linked files.

Information Resources of Organizations: Data arrives in organizations, at periodic intervals or on a continuous basis, but it arrives in parts, that will:

  • – probably form a whole,
  • – automatically create a structure with definite boundaries (close ended)
  • – form an ever growing matrix (open ended).

Organizations receive and generate lot of data, which have two sets of relevance. Information with distant use is strategic, and will be used for planning and forecasting. Strategic information is more general than any tactical information. Information with immediate use is tactical, and is used for decision making and problem solving. Operational uses of information are very occasion or situation specific.


Prime Internal Information Resources, IIR for organizations are: experience and knowledge that comes with owners, employees, consultants, etc., and data generated from the routine activities. The External Information Resources, EIR are: input and feedback from consultants, suppliers, contractors and clients. These are media-based such as books, periodicals, internet, CDs, tapes, etc. External information once procured by the organization, if properly stored can be a great internal asset.

Internal Resources of Information in an Organization > Wikipedia image

Internal information is personal, departmental or organizational. Internal information resources are nearly free, require only processing at a negligible cost, but are ignored. Organizations thrive and proliferate on the quality and quantity of data within their reach. Organizations by continuously processing their data generate synergies that in turn sharpen their data processing capacity.

External information is inter-organizational, fraternity level, society, community, national, or of a universal domain. External information is acquired for a payment of compensation in proportion to its quality, quantity and acuteness of need. Organizations, as a result, end up paying a stiff price for sourcing external information.

Information procured at Cost > Wikipedia-Flickr Image by Rafael Matsunaga

Cost of information: Information as a commodity can have an ordinary cost, if it is universally available and not urgently needed. However, information of rare or proprietary nature and that requiring immediate access can have a high price. Information is also available without any obligations in many free domains. Cost of information is also formed by absolute factors like the cost of acquisition, processing, storing, retrieval and transmission.

Information systems and emerging forms of business organizations: Information systems affect the structure of organizations and design of the workplaces. Information networked organization are more dynamic because the workers communicate among themselves, and with other firms. These provide for greater coordination and collaboration in projects’ handling. These strategies have also ‘led many organizations to concentrate on their core competencies and to out-source other parts of work to specialized companies’. ‘The capacity to communicate information efficiently within an organization has also led to the deployment of flatter organizational structures with fewer hierarchical layers’.

Organizations with clustered information systems are built around portable computers, mobile telecommunications, and group-wares have enabled employees to work virtually anywhere. ‘Work is the thing you do, not the place you go to’. Employees who work in virtual workplaces outside their company’s premises are known as Tele-commuters.

Organization’s Information structures Wikipedia image

Two forms of virtual organizations have emerged: network organizations and cluster organizations. A network organization of individuals or geographically widely dispersed small companies working with internet and wide area networks, can join seamlessly through specific protocols to present a multi disciplinary appearance of a large organization. The subsets operating in all time zones seem to be operating 24 x 7. In a cluster organization, the principal work units are permanent, complimented by multiplicity of service providers or temporary teams of individuals. A job or project begins to percolate within the cluster and different sub units begin to react to it, providing their inputs. A solution begins to emerge from apparently fuzzy and often unrelated ideas or concepts. Team members, are connected by intranets and groupware.

‘Data is abundant, but mostly redundant. Information exists in data, if one is inclined to derive knowledge out of it. But for wisdom one may not need any knowledge’.

Knowledge is acquisition involving complex cognitive processes, such as perception, communication, and reasoning. Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills. These are acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning. Knowledge can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise), or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject).

Knowledge is learning from experience, observation and perception. The learning from information resources is an ever evolving process. Observation and perception are subjective, but information resources offer verifiable opportunity. The information resources offer simultaneously several points of views, strategies and solutions.

AI -artificial intelligence helps in image analysis > Shibuya (past) station on Tokyo line > Wikipedia image by Joi Ito

Application of Artificial Neural Networks : Most of the traditional processes, including the computer programmes are linear or sequential. Execution occurs in a step by step process and sometimes with circular commands that use iteration. A neural network processes information collectively, in parallel mode. It changes its internal structure based on the information flowing through it. It is a complex but adaptive system.

Simulation and Visualization -Siemens PLM Software > Tecnomatix > Flickr Image

Artificial neural networks are applied to speech recognition, image analysis and adaptive control, to construct software design tools and autonomous robots. Most of the currently employed artificial neural networks for artificial intelligence are based on statistical estimation, optimization and control theory. Application areas for Artificial Neural Networks also include system identification and control (vehicle control, process control), game-playing and decision making (backgammon, chess, racing), pattern recognition (radar systems, face identification, object recognition and more), sequences recognition (gesture, speech, handwritten text recognition), medical diagnosis, financial applications, data mining, visualization and e-mail spam filtering.

Image of Bone density structure -subtracted out and rendered as black which was changed to transparent layer > 3D display stacking up the slices in open space > Wikipedia image by Dale Mahalko

Artificial neural networks are applied to following categories of tasks:

  1. Function approximation, or regression analysis, including time series prediction and modelling;
  2. Classification including pattern and sequence recognition, novelty detection and sequential decision making;
  3. Data processing, including filtering, clustering, blind signal separation and compression.

Fuzzy Logic : Fuzzy logic is an organized and mathematical method of handling inherently imprecise concepts. It is specifically designed to deal with imprecision of facts (fuzzy logic statements). For example, the concept of coldness cannot be expressed through an equation, because it is not quantity like the temperature is. There is no precise cutoff between cold and not so cold. Whether a person is inside or outside the house is imprecise if one stands on the threshold. Is the person slightly inside or outside the house? While quantifying such partial states (xx % inside and yy % outside) yields a fuzzy set membership.

A react-able platform at Altman Centre 2007 >Wikipedia image by Daniel Williams NYC USA

Fuzzy logic is derived from fuzzy set theory dealing with reasoning that is approximate rather than precisely deduced from classical predicate logic. Fuzzy truth represents membership in vaguely defined sets and not randomness like the likelihood of some event or condition. Probability deals with chances of that happening. So fuzzy logic is different in character from probability, and is not a replacement for it. Fuzzy logic and Probability refer to different kinds of uncertainty.

Complex animated visualization of Wasp parasitized by the fungus Cordyceps (order Hypocreales) > Image Attribute. Erich G. Vallery USDA forest service -SRS-4552

Fuzzy logic is used in high-performance error correction systems to improve information reception (such as over a limited bandwidth communication link affected by data-corrupting noise). Fuzzy logic can be used to control household appliances such as washing machines (which sense load size and detergent concentration and adjust their wash cycles accordingly), refrigerators, rice cookers, cameras focussing, digital image processing (such as edge detection), elevators, Fuzzy logic is used for video game artificial intelligence, language filters on message boards and for filtering out offensive text in chat messages, remote sensing, etc.



JOBS or ASSIGNMENT HANDLING in Design Organizations -05

Post 13 -by Gautam Shah


Projects in Design Organizations : A project is a comprehensive work module, offered by a client. A project is accepted, if analogous to the policy goals of the organization. In Design organizations a project requires distinctive human skills. In Manufacturing organizations there is a heavy dependence on tools, equipment and plants, so the projects are identified for their efficient use. Service organizations are governed by time as key element, so thrive on projects that are time intensive. Projects are divided into smaller units or jobs that are mainly based on routine efforts. Jobs also arrive from internal users like departments.

Pieter bruegel il giovane Estate > Work by sailko > Wikipedia image

Job or Assignments in a Design Organization : A Project is first dealt by a single person, a core group of partner experts or by the entire team of owners. The project may then be handed over to a team leader for further definition. A Job is a trade, skill or schedule specific work modules. It allows individualized attention and effective use of the available resources. Its efficiency of execution or operation can be examined and upgraded independently of other jobs. Jobs are handled on continuous as well as batch bases.

Chocolate making > Wikipedia image by Oriel

 Job or Assignment Handling : Organizations that repeatedly handle very large and complex assignments develop specific departments. Such specific job handling capacities are universal across that class of organizations. So spare capacities are offered to others, and excess work is outsourced. Jobs of routine nature are handled productively within the organization, but novel needs are better outsourced.

Work Places > Wikipedia image

Elements of Jobs in Design Organizations : Design organizations operate with jobs, which have SIX basic elements:

1        Person/ s who assign the tasks, determine roles, perform the tasks, oversee or supervise the task performers.

2        A job consists of Non physical things like, concepts, ideas, themes, and physical things like parts, objects, raw materials.

3        A job requires Information or data as external inputs from clients, internal inputs from organization’s own search, archived data, evaluations, judgments, employees’ know-how, site reports, feedback, by manipulation of various inputs.

4        A job is based on ancillary facilities like Tools, plants, equipments, space, location facilities, methodology, formulations, processes, schedules, acquisition and disposal systems.

5        A job needs Services like conveyance, transport logistics, communication, storage, data management, welfare, resources management, public relations, goodwill.

6        Jobs are dependent on Time as Schedules of delivery, servicing, rate of operation, rate of returns.


Other activities of the organizations : Prime activity of any organization is to earn a gain, but simultaneously many Conventional activities also occur within the organization.

1        Activities for the Sustenance of the organization as a functional entity.

  • Determination and Evaluation of aims, policies, goals.
  • Planning and deployment of financial resources
  • Planning and Acquisition of other facilities
  • Procurement and Upkeep of assets
  • Personnel Management.

2    Peripheral Activities of the organization that add to the advantages for the organization.

  • Public relations
  • Client relations
  • Other relations such as the contractors, suppliers, co-professionals, associates, consultants, free lancers, etc.
  • Facilitating the execution of assignments like raw material procurement, materials handling, erection, execution, manufacturing processes, testing.
  • Tasks’ evaluations like quality controls, testing, certification.
  • Marketing of goods, services, billing, money collection.
  • Servicing like post execution or delivery, servicing, maintenance, guarantees.

 3        Activities for Efficiency and Productivity of the organization

  • Determination and definition of procedures
  • Standardization of inputs, outputs and procedures
  • Information collection, Inquisitions, investigations and surveys,
  • Installation and management of information storage, manipulation and retrieval devices
  • Publications and dissemination of organization’s output (data, concepts, ideas) material.


05 JOBS or ASSIGNMENT HANDLING in Design Organizations –part of the lecture series DESIGN IMPLEMENTATION PROCESSES


Post 12 -by Gautam Shah


Deliverables from Design Organization : A Design organization delivers a product, formulates a concept or renders a service. Commercially these Deliverables take the form of products, projects, reports, plan of actions, advisory, solution, job, assignment, order, commission, etc. Organizations prefer activities, which provide a Direct gain, followed by those accruing some Indirect advantage, and all other work must be avoided.


Deliverables for Whom? : Design organizations deliver an entity to a client, who is external and compensates for it. Design organizations serve an entity to an internal person, department, or an external agency, which was deliberately (planned) created, but for which no definite compensation may be available. Design organizations allow entities to proliferate within the organization (including the sites or at clients’ places) which when properly monitored and exploited improve the efficiency of the organization, its image in the market and core-competence in the field. Such entities could be in the form of products, procedures, styles, judgements, confirmation, rejections, or assurance that every thing operates at desired or predefined level.

Design office deliverables > Pexels image source:

Deliverables and Evaluation of Gains : Organizations audit their work periodically, to see if an activity is providing a gain or advantage, or is neutral. Organizations have a formal or informal setup to continuously evolve their domain of actions. Where for any reason this cannot be carried out impartially, external experts, advisors, evaluators, or auditors are called in. The evaluation results in recognition of deliverables, categories, types of clients or beneficiaries (paying now, rendering an indirect advantage, non paying, or neutral).

Trucks designed by Luigi Colani > Wikipedia image

Deliverables, Evaluation and Reorganization : Clients are forced or encouraged to move to other categories with assurance of linked advantages (e.g. legal ownership, guarantees or warrantees) and satisfaction (service and operational support). An audit of activities identifies departments with high public exposure (that offer too many freebies). These are reorganized by moving them to the internal zones or as separate entities. Client definition helps the organization to identify internal departments, their inter-dependency and external bearings.

Freebies offering for Temple of Ramesses II at Abydos > Wikipedia image by Olaf Tausch

Deliverables, Evaluation and Reorganization (contd.) : Departments when realize the true value, decide whether to source their needs from within the organization, or out-source them on the basis of a cost-benefit ratio. Internal users of organizations, show an irresponsible tendency to in-source their demands. An internal audit can help tag such transactions. This ultimately helps in determination and recovery of the realistic costs. In design organizations technical talents like drafts-persons, model makers, site supervisors, messengers, etc. form a common pool, which is sourced by different project teams, but at a cost to be accounted for. In manufacturing units the use of a plant, equipment, tool and human resources are accounted into the component or project.

Frequent evaluations of Deliverables are necessary for productivity > Wikipedia image by Klean Denmark

Examples of Reorganization of Deliverables : Designers charge payable-extra fees for drawing documents, site visits and other consultants’ costs, and not include in the basic design fee. Doctors charge consulting and surgical fees, but charges for an operation theatre and medicines are payable-extra. Manufacturers often charge extra for delivery, site installation, test-run and the warrantee. These all are attempts to classify the costs as the compulsorily payable and negotiable. A professional may provide a free counselling to a friend, but charges for the services rendered and goods delivered. TV and car manufacturers provide a cost-less guarantee or extended warrantee for their products to achieve brand faithfulness. Doctors and other estate developers etc. often provide free advice, ideas, consultancy etc. to know a client, but soon enough, the client becomes a recipient of charged product or service.

Design Deliverable > Renault twin turbo engine > Wikipedia image by Thesupermat

Examples of Reorganization of Deliverables (contd.) : Production organizations do not offer direct deliveries, but prefer independent sales agencies. Professionals offer their services through project consultants or such intermediaries. There are many architects and interior designers who work on exclusive basis with builders, estate developers, etc. Service agencies may not take individual jobs but prefer to work for clients as retained agents.

Moxie Sozo, Boulder, Colorado – based design agency > Wikipedia image by Moxie Sozo

Types of Clients for Designers : The client for a designer may be a person, business or governmental organizations or a group of users or beneficiaries. A client can have an assignment which is first time endeavour with a possibility of continuing as a venture, or a sure-footed enterprise. A client has Four types of advantages: Estate (space), Money (or other investable things), Idea, or Experience.


Who is a Client? : A client is one who needs services of an expert to solve a specific problem. A client, may or may not be aware of someone else’s extra ordinary proficiency, and so assign someone to search the ‘expert’. In few instances, it is the expert who makes the ‘client’ realize ‘what the problem is and how it can be solved’? Clients would like to deal with a person, who is competent and but shows a predictable and socially acceptable behaviour. Clients realize that to secure services of an expert one must pay out compensation or a consideration.

Clients’ Disabilities : Clients’ disabilities are on several counts. 1 Entities are not always simple, easily selectable, readily available or producible. 2 Do not have a personal capacity to judge the appropriateness of decisions. 3 Are not fully aware of the needs, problems. Clients are not aware of the type and degree of skills required. 4 Clients are not either resourceful or incapacitated for taking decisions and actions by any extraneous cause.


How-why do Clients retain or hire Designers? : Sometimes, a client, who wishes to hire services of a professional, has no competence of checking the suitability of a professional for a particular job. Therefore, he may hire an intermediary capable of finding and appointing a suitable professional for the job. The job of an intermediary agent in this case is like that of any other competent and socially acceptable person, the professional.

Professionals are hired by clients, who may themselves be professionals of different skills, both ultimately serving a real client. Primarily, there is the classic relationship of a client to a professional and secondarily the relationship is professional (now a client) to professional/s.

Professionals also serve the role of a client when  retained by other professionals >  Wikipedia image by Smallworldsocial > Permission for reusing this file >

Types of Clients : Individuals : At simplest level the client is representing own-self, or perhaps the family. A professional is generally in a position to define the identity of an individual client. Such a client is very real and visible in personality and is interactive, i.e. one can get certain amount of feedback during the job.

Walt Disney discussing Disneyland plans to Orange Country officials in 1954 > Flickr image by Orange Country Archives

Types of Clients : Specific Group of Persons : A specific group of persons, who have formed the group on their own initiative or have become members of a suitable existing group. Clients representing a specific group are partnership firms, private or limited companies, corporations, societies, associations, and in many instances government departments and semi-government organizations. When there is a specific group as a client, its leader or the representative behaves like a real and visible client. It is not very difficult for a professional to generalize and determine the characteristics of a specific group client.

Marjah elders schedule regular meetings, offer bridge to community
Afghan elders meet in Shura in Marjah > Flickr image by ResoluteSupportMedia

Types of Clients : General or Non-specific Group of People : General or non-specific groups of people are stakeholders or beneficiaries, classified per some norms and supposedly represented by public organizations or the government. These are set of people who may not be aware, of their being a party to a group. Person/s who represent such generalized or non-specific group, functions as a client with or without their mandate. For such groups, the real user is invisible and sometimes unreal, and direct design feedback is unavailable. The designer may need to overwork to identity the ‘client’.

Other ways of categorizing Clients : Assigning Client is person assigning the job (eg. government official) but not likely to use the entity created or derive any benefit. Often an active citizen may generate a debate in the society for an issue and ultimately provide sufficient leadership input, so to become defacto conceiver and executioner of the project. In complex projects, there may not be a single or identifiable personality acting the role of a client. Non clients or multi clients have little interest in the project, except marketability and adequate financial return. Marketing or other specialists as clients form a design brief.

Dealing with different types of Clients : Clients are easy to deal, if they are real, singular, grouped and well organized. They are not very difficult to handle even when are invisible or generalized, but are well defined. Design process moves very fast and efficiently, when clients’ feedback is certain and predictable. Design out-put for organized and well-defined clients, are likely to be very relevant, and survives or operates better. Variety of problems can occur with clients. In case of an individual as a client, only personal whims can cause a problem. In case of a specific client representing a formal or informally constituted group, the relations and position vis a vis, the group may not remain constant. With group clients or committees all decisions and actions are necessarily formal, and so there are inherent delays, but job commitment is not a major problem.




Post 9 -by Gautam Shah


Design Vocation : A designer professes a rare skill with sincerity and reliability, and so is appreciated by the society. Such an attitude is individual and professional. Professionals earn their livelihood through creativity and productivity. The professionalism is set by: Person own-self, Professionals themselves (professing similar skills) as a group, Society or by an Authority or Government through law.

Designers Table Image by Pexels

Design Practices : Pure design practices offer design solutions, as advise with or without documents, and as a result requires smaller setups with a very low capital outlay (investment). One can operate even without an office, often with a mobile phone and off a briefcase or a laptop.

Typical office of 1900 with speaking tubes hanging off the desk > Wikipedia image

Design Plus practices offer Design and other ‘services’ such as prototype making, design surveys and assessments, marketing, facilitating purchase-supply-installation of systems, billing and supervision. The capital outlay is higher due to the interim investments and higher engagement of human resource.

Typical Modern Office (SOHO=Small Office + Home Office) but could be for designers or other businesses > en.encyclopedia image by AlainV

Design Plus Build practices require production facilities at home, on-site, owned or hired. The Home production facility requires high investment, space, manpower and carriage of large overhead expenses. On-site facilities save rents, but are temporary, small in scale without heavy equipment owned or rented production setup as a workshop needs large inventory of raw materials and tools. It poses problems of logistics of transporting and installing components on the site.

Gae Aulenti began her career as freelance designer, at Milan 1954 with design work for products for Poltronova, Candle, Ideal Standard, Louis Vuitton and Artemide > Wikipedia image > Gorup de Beanez

Other Design Organizational Engagements : A designer can operate alone as a free lancer without being bothered with the nitty-gritty of an organization. One can get a restricted attachment as an associate designer. The restricted attachment can be for a project-based responsibility with or without liabilities, as a solution provider or as specific field-consultant. At a production level one can offer staff or workers on ‘body-shopping’ basis or equipment capacities as jobbers.

ART by Alexander Roslin (1718-1793) > Double portrait of Architect Jean-Radolphe Perronet with his wife > Wikipedia image

Scale of Design Organizations : Design organizations have inherent size limitations. Design organizations remain creative only if the chief or the partners intensively participate in the process of design. Where work is delegated to large number of subordinates, the conveners would compulsorily remain busy in managing them rather than overseeing a design creation. Some relief can be had by appointing senior persons capable of operating independently, as design associates, and by hiring managers to handle various categories of non design work. All these associates and managers, however, will ultimately report to the partners, off taking their design time. Design organizations, and must remain of a reasonable size.

Taliesin West Drafting Studio > Wikipedia image by Steven C. Price

 Methods of optimizing the scale of Design Organization : One way to optimize the size of a design organization is to specialize or create a core competence. Instead of handling too many projects at a lower (economic) fee, it is better to handle fewer projects with high fees, and deliver excellent professional results. Many organizations, to remain within a manageable size, pass on part of their work to outside agencies. These outsiders could be subsidiary organizations, consultants, or individuals like free lancers. Job components (tasks) that are independent in character are usually handed over to such agencies.

Tailor Shop > Public Domain Image

Layered structure of Simple Design Organizations : Simple organizations have single layer structure, wherein the designer-owner assigns and supervises the work. Such single layer organization work best with 8 to 10 people. Beyond these sizes there are two ways for an organization to grow: Job captains or people with specialized skills are assigned tasks, or Key personnel are recognized as leaders, and assigned whole jobs. Such two layered design organizations can have for 4 to 6 leaders or key persons, and 12 to 16 other personnel.

Water Gropius (in bow tie) (German architect, founder of the Bauhaus) during 2nd Biennial of Art of Sao Paulo in 1953 with Finish architect Alvar Aalto (left, looking at Gropius > Flickr image by Jean-Pierre Dalbera

Layered structure of Complex Design Organizations : Complex organizations have a multi layered structure. In such organizations, the masters or the partners each can handle 6 to 8 person reporting to them. Each of these reporting member can again attend to another 6 to 8 persons. With each layer, the masters or the partners get distanced from the key staff members, ultimately losing their control on creative and personalized aspects of design. The master or the owner may become an administrator when tries to handle too many persons. Organizations with more than 3 tiers become non homogeneous.

Casa Mauricio Cravotto Montevideo > Wikipedia image by Nicolas Barriola

Small Size Design Organizations : Small design organization are single person practices. These may have closely linked (in-house or on-site) production facility. The organizational setup is revamped for new projects, and older staff is fired (rather than being retrained) for fresh talent.

Architect’s office 1940s > Wikipedia Image

Medium Size Design Organizations : Medium size Design organizations have several designers of the same branch or from compatible fields as partners. The organization may additionally retain seniors and experts as associates. In medium organizations partners and associates all share a common pool of design and non design subordinates. In such organizations, characteristically, the hierarchies are formal. Subordinates though serve everyone on demand within the organization, are looked after for other matters (appointments, leave, salaries, promotions etc.) by a formally appointed manager or a designated partner. Such setup work efficiently when limited to 16 to 20 employees. Beyond this size one or many of the partners will have to attend more of management work than design duties.

Gates Iron works Drafting Room 1896 > Wikipedia image by Horace L. Arnold

Large Size Design Organizations : Large Size Design Organizations are never formed a fresh. Small organizations with prestige, goodwill, professionalism and expertise mature into a large setup, but over a period of time. The original team of convening or founding partners is not disturbed. Such a setup with more than 4 partners can have communication problems. Contracted Design associates, if more than 4 to 6 persons, cause problems of their frequent appointments and discharge.

Planning & Supervisory Departments used to maintain work assignment Bulletin boards

Large Size Design Organizations -inequalities : Some of the partners will seem to be contributing more towards, one or more of the following factors: developing new businesses, initializing new designs (ideas, concepts), negotiations, contracting, hiring, execution related matters like site supervision, detailing the jobs (technical input, specification writing), fees collection, client relations, coordination with external experts, presentations, public relations, employee matters, or office resources management (purchase). Such specific contributions may not be perceived equal to their share in the partnership. This is the major cause why partnership concerns reform or break apart.

Skilled machinists and tool makers capable of using precision equipments are inevitable part of very large Design Organizations > Wikipedia image

Corporate Design Organizations : Corporate Design organizations protect the founders from unwanted liabilities. Large design organizations, handle large projects, often at different locations. A parent firm can create a subsidiary organization (proprietary, partnership or franchise) to handle such projects. Subsidiary organization, utilizes the resources, facilities, goodwill, reputation, taxation registration, design, production, marketing, servicing, man power, etc. of the parent organization.





Post 8 -by Gautam Shah


Essentials of Business Organizations : Business organizations are constituted within a legal and taxation framework of the nation. This allows enforcement of work standards, labour regulations, registration and dispute redressal (arbitration).

Paying the Tax (The Tax Collector) ART by Pieter Brueghel the younger (1594-1638) > Wikipedia image

Business organizations, when wish to operate in other nations as branch, appoint franchise, or secure assignments, some degree of Local Government consent and registration are required. These requirements become all the more difficult, when partners, conveners or stack-holders, are of persons or business entities of different nationalities. Business conveners, organizers, investors, other beneficiaries and non-beneficiary participants, all need to understand that formation, registration, declaration, redressal mechanisms for disputes (arbitration etc.), reach of jurisprudence, etc. are nation bound.

Articles of incorporation of Standard Oil company signed by John D. Rockefeller, Henry M Flagler, Samuel Andrews, Stephen V. Harkness, and William Rockefeller > Wikipedia image

Activities of Organizations : Organizations can have one dominant activity and many other subordinate ones. Externally an organization may seem to function with only one activity, but its internal working may consist of many departments. Departmentalization and compartmentalization are two different things. The former one is hypothetical recognition that a specific combination of talent and equipments are better for some projects and jobs. The later one is a realistic identification that talent and equipments if physically placed together, lot of creative synergy occurs.

Nintendo Card Games Co. (1889-1956) turned into giant video games Company, Kyoto, Japan > Wikipedia image by User:Arcimboldo

 Start-ups or Enterprises : Designers more often than not, venture out as start-up or an enterprise. A start-up can offer a design, product, process or service with a very small capital and associated risks. Design being substantially an intellectual process, and its implementation faces fewer problems of funding, poor marketing and bad business strategies. Start ups are launched at comparatively younger age, when the risk taking and course correction capacities are high. Spirit of entrepreneurship can be seen in not only in business ventures but also in social service sectors.

Entrepreneurship > Homesteaders in Central Nebraska Family with their covered wagon during the great Western migration 1986 > Wikipedia image

Entrepreneurship : The exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities may include actions such as developing a business plan, hiring the human resources, acquiring financial and material resources, providing leadership, and being responsible for the venture’s success or failure. Entrepreneurship implies qualities of leadership, initiative, and innovation in new venture design. team-building, leadership, and management abilities.

Sarve sukh .jpg
Concept of Stewardship in Sanskrit Shloka of ancient period

Stewardship : This is an ethical concept that concerns with safety and security of others, their belongings and rights. Design stewardship becomes effective through planning and management of resources. It supports sustainable development of durable, reusable and recyclable products by way of conceptualization, formation and disposal. It is a responsibility to nurture all activities, institutions, organizations or governments in a better shape for the next generation. Stewardship was originally made up of tasks that took care of members of household, guests, their interests and properties.

Trusteeship Socio-Economic philosophy by Mahatma Gandhi > Wikipedia image of Sabarmati Ashram > Attribution:Rahulogy at En Wikipedia

Trusteeship : Trusteeship is a socio-economic philosophy by Mahatma Gandhi. It is based on the idea that one has right to retain wealth just enough for immediate personal needs. Rest of the wealth belongs to the community and must be used for the welfare of the community as a trustee or manager. In the larger context the concept is very similar to stewardship.




Post 7 -by Gautam Shah


An organization is an amalgam or aggregation of human and material resources as a distinct and integrated entity or an operative system. Organizations are setup to achieve certain objectives more effectively and economically, than individuals acting by themselves. Organizations are formalized entities for ongoing efforts, and are adaptive to many different purposes, whereas enterprises are for one time effort, or set of individualized activities.

Organizations are formed for:

1 Producing and Executing physical things like goods and commodities, structures like: manufacturing units, contracting, workshops etc.

Diamond polishing at Surat, Gujarat, India > Wikipedia image by Andere Andre

2 Managing and Servicing various types of systems, projects and setups like: security, insurance, internet, surgical, healthcare, etc.

Non Governmental Organizations NGOs > Public Domain Images > Image by Mary Jordan USAID

3 Designing and Distinguishing the means, procedures and objectives. Like architecture, interior design, legal, marriage counselling, project consultancy.

Technical consultancy > Wikipedia image by Tomwsulcer

Organizations serve different purposes. Business organizations are commercial activities for earning a profit. Governmental organizations are for administration, and formed through legal process and with specific policies. Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), are government aided or privately funded, but formed with specific intentions and must abide by certain rules.

Darbar of Bahadur Shah India – business of governance > Wikipedia image

NGOs work Image by J. Kefauver and A. Hagos > from Public Domain Images

Proprietorship types of Business Organizations : A single person business (with or without employees) is called a proprietorship. The proprietor gains directly in proportion to the efforts put in. It is a natural and ideal proposition for business activity. It has flexibility of operations, including firm formation and dissolution, but has few drawbacks. One gets no relief in crisis (sickness, accident), or any time for vacation. Clients get a highly satisfying personalized service. Proprietary firms are not capable of carrying out complex jobs, handling time-intensive (fast) jobs, or multi location sites. One may need legal registrations, for income tax, service tax, and other production and sales-based taxes.

Single Person Business > Pixabay image by Unsplash

Partnership types of Business Organizations : Partnership organizations come into being, with two or more partners. Partnerships can be of maximum 20 persons, But if more than 11 participants, may also opt for a setup, legally called a cooperative. Prime blues of single person practices become less severe in a practice with partners. Partnerships can be casually launched through an understanding among all participants. For legal reasons (income tax and sales tax registration, opening a bank account, etc.) a formal partnership deed (Memorandum of Understanding -MoU) must be executed, and registered with appropriate authorities. Partners, each must have individualistic, and yet compatible competence. Professionals with identical competence in a partnership face the problems of ‘cross or overlapping interests’.

Partnership Business > Pixabay image by geralt

Nature of Partnerships : Partnerships are not always equal or simple. Partnerships have many areas like, resource (assets, goodwill, prestige) input, capital investment, liabilities, goodwill, gain (profit) share, physical labour and expertise input, etc. that have differing values. A formal partnership deed is necessary to clearly state all the factors. Formally constituted partnerships can be altered or dissolved only through another deed (MoU), which may or may not recognize the earlier deed, but replace it. Partners bear full and unlimited liability, and all have to share the consequences of any action by a partner.

Partners always face a problem, how to share the liabilities. Partners with monetary resource are often interested in only a safe income for their investment, but without other responsibilities. A joint stock company is a business form where these problems are solved.

Business Management > a syndicate as a group of people or businesses that work as a team.

Joint Stock Company Type of Business Organizations : A joint stock company (public or private limited company) endows very limited liability on its initiators or shareholders. Such organizations have an elaborate and costly process of formation, and are closely regulated by the government. In both types of joint stock companies, control of management remains with the largest shareholder/s. Companies act defines a joint company as an artificial or virtual person. The virtual person manifests as a common seal, to be used by a designated officer of the company. There are Two forms of Joint stock companies.

Joint stock companies reduce personal liabilities > Image from source

Private Limited Company : A Private Limited companies can be formed, by at least two individuals with minimum paid-up capital of Rupees 100000. As per the Companies Act, 1956 the total membership of these companies cannot exceed 50. The shares allotted to its members are not freely transferable between them. These companies are not allowed to raise money from the public through open invitation.

Small businesses get better finance-investments through Joint stock company > Wikipedia image by George Armstrong

Public Limited Company : A Public limited company requires a minimum of seven initiating members, but without any restriction on maximum number of members. It must have minimum paid-up capital of Rs 500000. The shares allotted to the members are freely transferable. These companies can raise funds from general public through open invitations by selling its shares or accepting fixed deposits.

Cooperative Businesses are about building bridges > > Image by Frits Ahlefeldt

Co-operatives Types of Business Organizations : A cooperative is formed under a state law for cooperative societies. It is an amalgamation of 10 or more participants, who contribute the capital, and have equal voting rights. Profit of the cooperative society can be distributed to members in a limited amount, and the rest is ploughed back in asset creation. Cooperative model is for participating entrepreneurship to come together and help themselves. A cooperative set-up is too impersonal for a field like design, but may work for a self help production setup. It may be registered by filing application with the bye-laws for its operations. The advantages for Design production Cooperative are that there are certain Tax exemptions for manufacturing, sales and benign processes for supplying to Government departments.

Micro Credit Financing substantially depends on Cooperative model > Wikipedia image by Jaimoen87

Multi nationals’ Types of Business Organizations : A multinational corporation is a worldwide enterprise, where design, production and servicing occur through business entities, owned and operating in different national territories and economic regimes. It is in the form of conglomerate operating as a transnational company or often as or as a stateless entity. There always are territorial moral and legal constraints.

Multi National Businesses > Wikipedia image by Geogast

Consortium : A consortium is an association of two or more individuals, companies, organizations or governments (or any combination of these entities) with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal. An example of a consortium approach is World Bank participating with Banks and National Governments to finance and initiate a local government (municipal) project.

Consortium is a Latin word, meaning ‘partnership’, ‘association’ or ‘society’ and derives from consors ‘partner’, itself from con- ‘together’ and sors ‘fate’, meaning owner of means or comrade.

AIRBUS with production facilities in France, Germany, Spain, China, United Kingdom and the United States > Wikipedia image by Stahlkocher

Other Business forms : Coopetition is a word combined from cooperation and competition. When companies that are nominally competitors, collaborate to handle an extra ordinary project. This could be to share the risk, advantageously use the capacity and gain expertise, profit and prestige.

Conglomerates : A conglomerate is formed of number of diverse business organizations dealing in products or services, often across many countries owned or managed by one corporate group. Conglomerates are formed to diversify from geographical, seasonal or product range. Conglomerate are formed with ready-running organizations rather than planning ‘green-field’ units.

AIRASIA -a joint venture with AirAsia Berhad + Tata Sons + Arun Bhatia > Wikipedia image by Arjun Sarup

Joint Venture : A joint venture, is formed to take advantage of local conditions. It occurs between diverse partners such as investors and managerial agencies, production and marketing companies, technical know-how providers and producers. Compared to a conglomerate, the business entity is created by shared ownership, management, returns and risks.

Syndicate : Group of individuals or business organizations and Governments often form syndicates or act in cohorts to protect or further their commercial interests. These often transcend the legal definitions or customs prevalent in many regions and so borders on illegal activities.