WCRCINT+Leaders of the Year: Nealesh Dalal
Managing Trustee JD Institute of Fashion Technology
What are the breakthrough ideas you suggest for your industry?
Belonging to an industry pertaining to creative education, it is imperative to guide the youth towards the right direction. I think the art and design industry should embrace an idea we call “conscious consumerism.” Consumerism has created a market that is centered on the customer’s every whim. Conscious consumerism will reverse this trend by getting consumers and marketers to be more mindful of people and the planet, in addition to profit. This is not a product or process innovation. It is an ideological innovation. And it is urgently needed to create a society and a marketplace that is creative, thriving, sensitive and balanced.
What innovations are you getting in your industry for a better Indian economy?
In keeping with pressing global changes, we at JD have overhauled our entire curriculum and philosophy with a new process innovation. We have created a unique concept and a way of working that urges everyone to ask themselves three questions before undertaking a design task: 1) Is it truly innovative and does it fulfill a purpose? 2) Is it ethical? 3) Is it sustainable? Ideas that do not balance all three questions are re-engineered until they do. It is a call to action for students, faculty and the industry.
Define your leadership role and style?
I see my role as an enabler: someone who identifies the potential of an individual or group and enables them to succeed with whatever they need – ideologically, technically, financially. And my style tends to be collaborative. I am interested in creating a pool of diverse people and ideas as I believe the best work emerges not from an “echo chamber” where everyone is saying the same thing but from a “collage” where different, competing ideas create a fresher, more rigorous and sustainable end product.
Breakthrough ideas from you
Change is the only constant and our constant endeavour is to thrive and strive on building a sustainable design environment where students are exposed towards learning in-depth about ethical and innovative design.
Suggestions for a better India
I think India is blessed with a powerful demographic dividend – smart, ambitious, young people under the age of 35. These people are the future. I think we should empower these people with education, creativity and conscious consumerism so that they can lay the foundation for an even stronger and more diverse society and economy in the future. In design, there is no right or wrong answers. Students are encouraged to challenge received ideas and think afresh. There is individualism in design. But there is also a need to be of service to the community, and to the environment. These dual values of self-actualization and other-orientation can go a long way in sensitizing every young person in India’s demographic dividend do be original, curious, non-judgemental and conscious of others and the environment – even as they strive to realize their dreams!