Earlier this month I wrote about getting involved in the DREAM:IN initiative which is collecting India’s aspirations as a canvas for creative thinking. It intends to form a dynamic database of dreams gathered in cities, towns and villages across the country. These will be categorised, analysed and shared with business leaders, educators, social entrepreneurs, policymakers and designers to devise transformative and inclusive future scenarios. 101 student dreamcatchers were dispatched across India after training at the Bangalore headquarters. They were divided into 11 teams: Sindhoori (red), Hariyali (green), Asmani (blue), Chandni (silver), Sunheri (gold), Gulal (pink), Firozi (turquoise), Anguri (purple), Santili (orange), Kesar (saffron) and Sweth (white) who set out on colourful journeys by road and rail – capturing on video the dreams of a nation in transition.
The teams were provided with various tools to help them consider the search ahead, created by the good folk at Idiom Design. Encouragement was given to seek a range of respondents from migrants to merchants, learners to leaders, athletes to advertisers, drivers to domestic helpers. Within the teams, students were allocated with tasks of spotting, framing and writing to locate, film and record Indians reflecting on their dreams. Mitul Bhat (a usability specialist on Nokia’s MeeGo platform) and I had the task of briefing the Spotters on basic ethnographic techniques and some of the challenges of working in the field.
The journey itineraries were carefully planned to cover an expanse of rural and urban locations, covering 25, 000kms in just over a week. Army protection was sought for dreamcatchers travelling in less stable areas of the country. Accommodation was frequently in local guesthouses but also included places like a Jain ashram and sleep was often snatched on overnight train trips.
Images from the DREAM:IN blog
Alongside the footage of dreams pouring back into Bangalore, also came stories, photographs and sketches of life on the road. I was particularly excited to run into Team Gulal while they visited Ahmedabad during the Uttarayan Kite Festival. Just as they were enjoying a well deserved lunch break, I chanced upon them and dragged one team member off to the Old City to shoot photographs of her with festive kites. They spoke of capturing some great dreams during their trip – including those of a former silver smuggler who changed his ways and became a security guard. His dream: to protect and serve.
The editing team back in Bangalore now have the Herculean task of refining footage and categorising it ahead of the DREAM:IN Conclave next month. This will be supplemented by scenario building tools to assist professionals to translate the dream database into insights which can inform their future strategies. There’s much diversity which has been captured during the Dream Journey. Here’s a few of my favourites so far: