Bhawna Vij is
A design strategist who helps organisations obtain value from creativity.
A teacher who helps students accelerate their design learning.
Born in an Army family, ironically, life was not quite about movement for me in the first 30 years of my life. We stayed in Delhi, the capital city of India, where I spent my childhood, interspersed with vacation breaks to cantonment towns.
My father is a self-made man who had traversed alone at the age of ten, the border to India, during the partition of India and Pakistan. My mother gained her medical education in the hilly town of Srinagar. Discipline and dedication was a part of our family culture.
By early 2000s, I was an associate professor in NIFT (Delhi), married to a doctor and my child had just been admitted to one of the most sought after schools in Delhi.
But the feeling of self-fulfilment was missing and I grappled with a feeling of emptiness till I eventually quit the prestigious job, Delhi, the fancy school, and began a new journey.
The circle was broken.
We first moved to Goa, then Bombay. I experimented with diverse profiles. As a crafts developer and consultant. A visiting professor in a fashion school.
Meanwhile I completed my post-graduation studies in Management, a subject I always admired.
I then joined a large ($2b) jewellery company in the product development profile but ended up involved in pan-india marketing & business development activities of their 20+ brands.
In 2010-2011, the Mooc concept surfaced, and after completing a series of interesting Moocs on coursera.org, I got the opportunity to be a community teaching assistant on three of their moocs. “Design of Artifacts” (Univ. of Pennsylvania), Planet Earth & you (Univ of Illinois.) and Creativity, Innovation & Change (Univ. of Virginia).
My interest in teaching was rekindled and in 2015, I joined a management college where I learned about Design Thinking & Innovation from the dean and my boss; a nearly eighty year old ex IIT B (IDC) professor. We explored applying design thinking on various social projects from affordable housing, smart transport to smart cities.
Then, it was time to move again, this time to Calcutta.
I had soaked up diverse experiences to such an extent that I had to start sharing them. I initially started teaching Product detailing at NIFT, Calcutta.
“You Can Sketch” was conceptualised in 2014. I took the opportunity to share creative and design knowledge in every state I lived in. Calcutta gave me yet another opportunity to share design knowledge and I started my drawing & design workshops in the winter of 2016.
Years teaching has taught me that everyone can learn how to draw or sketch. We mostly have never being taught correctly how to acquire this skill.
What future will be, one cannot say, one cannot plan, but the journey itself is so amazing and filled with new experiences that it is a pleasure to teach and keep learning. I look forward to sharing my learning & experiences and more to come.