Cultural fests are part and parcel of Indian Universities and colleges. It provides a terrific platform for colleges to showcase their own facilities, capabilities and flex their metaphorical muscles when it comes to reach and influence. As far as participants are concerned they have an opportunity to compete with the best and hone and improve on their talents and hobbies while gaining recognition for the same. Cultural fests serve as hubs to gather talent across regions and an exchange of ideas, culture, and thoughts. And it is no doubt that the best among these is Mood Indigo.
Mood Indigo, IIT Bombay’s resident college cultural festival, and is often known as being Asia’s Largest. It has been around for 50 glorious years now, as a celebration of life, and people - the people who build it up, the artists and the stars who win all our hearts, the determined people who put everything into building it up, and most importantly, the lovely people who keep coming back, the connections they share, the experiences they have and the emotions that keep them connected forever to the best 4 days of their life.
It is a patchwork of ideologies, where varying ideas, different philosophies, and diverse people come together for this unique celebration of life and culture. The tapestry is forever accepting, ever-changing and ever-expanding, reaching more souls each year to make this metaphor even more vibrant and grand.
Mood Indigo since its inception is a complex framework tying stakeholders spanning all ages and backgrounds. Embedded within are complex systems weaved intricately to set up the festival in all its glory. The complexity is what makes the festival shine, but also is what poses our biggest challenge throughout the project.
A team of three, we compiled our entire process and final pitch in a single video. Check it out!
Followed is an in-depth look at the entire process and how we arrived at the final ideas and pitch.
As with any cultural event, there are certain stakeholders who are involved in the fest in different capacities. We began by categorising and isolating the different stakeholders. Some of these stakeholders were a subset of another, sharing multiple concerns and priorities. It was important to note that within the wide fest framework the stakeholders themselves serve as the units of the system.
The initial brainstorming was done as an exercise to root out the obvious problems, elements, and features. The different variables started to become clear and how they changed over the years was also a consideration to be done. Taking a forest approach for ideation, we tried to connect all the stakeholders with the problems identified/preliminary ideas generated, so as to get a better view of the entire system.
We tried to classify all the ideas according to the various departments of the managing body, which made the interconnections between departments more evident.
Using the stakeholders from the previous exercise, we created a journey map of embodying these stakeholders. We mapped their pain points, concerns, fears, interactions, and expectations. It also allowed us to ideate on possible design interventions within the existing framework to ease smaller pain points. After understanding what the causes behind these pain points were, we started to analyse and identify themes and areas where we can focus on.
The perspective of these stakeholders gave way to ideas on different facets of the festival and how to go about interviewing past stakeholders.
We reviewed multiple papers to give us an idea of what existing research has been done regarding cultural fests and festivals in general. Due to the specifics of college cultural festivals of the type being majorly unique to India, and largely undocumented in the public sector, we looked into research regarding music festivals in general and the different ways to research and understand them.
This research proved to be useful as it provided us with an idea about what metrics do we use when we measure the changes of our elements. Due to the subjective nature of festivals, it was challenging for us to come up with metrics that were quantitative in nature. Metrics like Fun and Satisfaction were harder to measure and quantify. They also required a data collection system to work alongside it. Some research papers gave glimpses into the existing cultural festivals on an international level and highlighted their own unique ecosystems which were built around them. The unique tie-ups and recurring sponsors, as well as innovative advertisement models, synthesised a contrast to the existing systems in India.
Furthermore, we studied the physical aspects of cultural festivals too. Extending how physical spaces tie into a cultural fest helped in visualising the placements of the physical elements into the bigger picture. We also studied crowd flow and crowd management to explore systems to manage idle times better with the help of these maps. Navigation and pathing were also informed through their use.
Grievance Communication System
Our first foray into understanding the faults and problems in the system led us to find a serious lack of a grievance communication and redressal system. There need to be systems in place to tackle and handle complex problems and complaints such as harassment and others included in the personal safety section later, during the fest or even after it.
The system should allow for comfortable and secure communication regarding their grievances and should allow for prompt redressal by an established committee with strict rules.
The metrics that can be used to understand the efficiency of the system would be quantitative metrics like the time taken for redressal and qualitative such as stakeholder satisfaction.
Reducing Idle time
Another idea we explored was reducing the different kinds of Idle times and wait times for different stakeholders. The biggest culprits were the different kinds of queues, especially for visitors. Queues for Registration passes, Pronights etc. served as bottlenecks where an uncomfortable amount of crowd density is mixed with long wait periods. It serves to make the visitors more unruly and impatient and severs the close-knitted bond the organising team works so hard to create.
A broad idea to tackle issues like this is an indicator that assures the waiting crowd that progress is being made. Projections of venues and live counters are some ways to begin tackling these issues. There is also a significant wait time before competitions begin and before the results are announced. We came up with a quick solution of Opening and Closing acts such as previous year winners to tackle the issue. We also identified smaller wait times due to a communication valley between coordinators, waiting for food preparation, Finding Venues, washrooms, and shops. The connected systems which we established were the scheduling system and the crowd management system. In order to measure the change of the elements in this theme, we identified the use of metrics like boredom as qualitative data and the time wasted on average as qualitative data.
Visitor Fest Experience
The other priority system that we wanted to look at was to try and improve the visitor fest experience at the festival. This would involve ideating on ways and methods to improve upon their take back value of the festival and improve the image of the brand in their eyes.
Improving relations with stakeholders would be the way to guarantee their revisits and their good faith and connection with the festival. For this, we would have to minimize all the pain points in their journey and take excellent care of all facets of their visit.
The Metrics here would be many, ranging from qualitative attributes like comfort, satisfaction, and fun to quantitative such as recurring footfalls, ratings and brand value of the festival.
Another lacking aspect that could be worked upon would be a system to document and collect useful data that can be used for further versions of the festival as reference points. Collecting various metrics help in proving the feasibility of their novel ideas and helps identify the points that need to be worked upon. It is a very useful tool in management and planning and helps preempt the effects of future updates.
For this to work, we would have to look into the data metrics already available and look into the ethical implications of the proposed systems to collect further data. The system would also require additional resources and would have to be transparent in its work to ensure trust from the stakeholders. Processing, Visualizing and analyzing the data would help immensely for further improvements in the system and to better handle aspects like Live crowd management, Personalised notifications, Ads etc for future generations.
While MI has a pre-defined four-tiered hierarchical system in place for the management of the festival, it has its flaws in its primitive technologies for Inter-Dept Communication. To reduce the time taken and allow for on-spot decision making, communication channels can be better designed to allow for such actions.
Another issue that would need to be tackled here would be the handling of department-specific sensitive data and ensuring its security and allowing for the filtering of important and unimportant data in a way that it could be documented for use in future editions.
The division of responsibility and employing various different collaboration mechanisms that allow enough flexibility and are easy to understand and use is paramount to ensure the smooth functioning of the festival and all its interactions with various different stakeholders.
Personal Safety and Security
Safety is a major concern for any festival and it's no different than a fact for Mood Indigo. In the past, overly excited and unruly crows have created fears of a stampede and the large crowd that MI draws to add to that fear. To mitigate some of these risks a heavy-handed approach is taken by the IITB security staff. The measures include kicking people out of the venues and even lathi charges.
Another concern that dominates the minds of at least half the visitors is the issues surrounding women's safety. There already exists a mechanism on behalf of the MI organising team and on behalf of the Institute as well. These mechanisms are yet to be integrated into a singular one and also account for a method to communicate grievances such as stalking and invasion of personal spaces, especially during concerts.
Fire Safety and medical emergency procedures can also be optimised given the size of the crowds. The inflow of contraband like Drugs and Alcohol have no redressal other than an immediate expulsion. Several elements and personnel have to be included in this process. Security personnel and Security Coordies are some roles that have to deal with on the spot and the role of other organisers and how they intertwine with IITB Rules and the infrastructure like CCTVs and Hotlines.
Security also matters to the artists who are a big part of the MI experience. They draw massive crowds of fans who go insane over them. Their transportation becomes a major hurdle and the delays caused prove to be either expensive or a waste of time. The roadblocks also cause issues for sponsors who wish to continue business during these hours. The gate pass system has proven to create some sense of order, however, there are cases of forging of tickets too. Certain systems have to be created or overhauled in order to accommodate this theme including a Grievance system, addressable system, drills and spot checks, and accountability. We can measure our success in implementing these rules using metrics like the feeling of safety, safety scales, and the number of reported incidents.
Exploring the Ethos of Cultural Festivals
A cultural festival, simply put, is a festival featuring arts and events specific to a particular culture/s, especially one celebrating and promoting that culture/s in a wider public context. It marks itself as a celebration of the richness and diversity of cultures.
Further research was studied to understand the salient features of the same.
- Effect on Tourism- Festivals draw massive crowds, both local and tourist to the venues. This has a positive economic impact on the local community as sales of food, accommodation and local goods shoot up to cater to this larger crowd. Thus it lies in the interest of the governments to promote such festivals bringing in this unique wave of tourism and related revenue. Active participation of diverse people has been proven to have positive cultural, social, economic impacts across communities.
- Tastemakers and Trend-Setters- These festivals share a causal relationship with the art and entertainment forms they choose to showcase, with the festivals factoring in trends to curate the event, but also being the changemakers and trendsetters by providing a huge platform to the newer experiments. This is evident in examples like the NH7 Weekender which became a major boost to the indie music culture in India, and another closer example would be the trend wave set by Mood Indigo by inviting a progressive rock band Porcupine Tree for the first time in India. Thus the organizers and curators of the festival have considerable influence in framing the performing arts fields and become hidden tastemakers for generations. This may also sometimes lead to creating imagined hierarchies among the arts/genres, and further, enhance upon the notion of privilege and elitism in the arts by becoming an integral part of the concept of social capital.
- Advisory Features- A few festivals also annually looked into providing training and support to all the artists and performers and thus managing to keep in touch with the community of artists throughout. So instead of just being a platform for them to showcase their talent, festivals also provide them with the opportunity to grow in their fields through advisory committees comprising of well-established artists.
A Broader View
We decided to research practices, systems and features employed by other festivals apart from Mood Indigo. We broadly divided the festivals into three tiers - International Festivals, National Festivals and festivals held at the university levels.
In International festivals, we particularly looked at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the New Orleans Jazz festival to understand their relationship with the city and the venues as a whole and their unique stance at curation across their rich history. We also briefly looked at a few heavily commercialized festivals such as Tomorrowland and Coachella.
In the second tier, we looked at various unique and niche local festivals like the Hornbill festival in Nagaland with its interesting blend of the traditional tribal culture of the Nagas and Rock Music. We also looked at a few others like the completely crowdsourced Ctrl Alt Delete and the state-sponsored Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
In the second tier, we looked at various unique and niche local festivals like the Hornbill festival in Nagaland with its interesting blend of the traditional tribal culture of the Nagas and Rock Music. We also looked at a few others like the completely crowdsourced Ctrl Alt Delete and the state-sponsored Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
We instantly noticed the scale and reach of global fests. They had tie-ups with local governments and tourism boards making the events so massive that the locals became a stakeholder as well. The New Orleans Jazz festival is primarily catered by the local restaurants and that became a drawing factor for the visitors to taste local delicacies.
The scale also leads to a higher quality of sponsors and prevents ads plastered everywhere. They just don't have to buy press because it becomes a reinforcement feedback loop. The barrier of entry is, therefore, very high. Tier 2 level Fests are smaller and therefore either focus on replicating larger fets or they focus on a niche like Hornbill fest. They still have freedoms that a college fest can't enjoy like sponsorships on alcohol.
In the third Tier, there were unique problems with regard to censorship and scope. The college administrations would want the festival organizers to implement their own cultural values and ethos of the university while at the same would not want to get involved much in its functionings. This led to constant battles between college administrations and organising committees. The annual tenure of the organising committees serves as a major roadblock for all these fests. They need a mechanism to retain the trained volunteers or effectively continue the cycle of training. The smaller scale and lack of funding would drain from the experience. Fests like Typoday had sponsors who were few in number and some partners were from the organisation itself, allowing more freedom.
After the explorations, we decided to focus on Inter-departmental communication as our focus for the course of this project. Earlier we had already identified what the related subsystems and related metrics would be for all the major subsystems in Mood Indigo. This was selected because it was one of the prerequisites to some of the other areas and would entail a domino effect on the other aspects of the festival. We identified that the current system was formed out of convenience and not optimization. The current system has not scaled well with MI and there has been no effort to revamp because they feel that a complete overhaul may be needed. Together with the scope and the multiple variations that can be looked at propelled this as our choice.
We conducted frequent meetings with the current team of the festival to keep our project aligned with the vision of Mood Indigo 2021, which would be decided by the current and the future team. We discussed all the possibilities of the project and points of interventions which highlighted new areas and reinforced our earlier ideas and problem areas.
Understanding the System
To further our understanding of the system as a whole, we built separate Macro-Network maps for the on-ground and pre-fest interactions, so as to get a macro-view of all the stakeholders of the fest and all the interactions that usually happen between them. This is an early-stage list and we are still expanding on the same with further discussions with the present and previous teams to create detailed feedback loops for each stakeholder. The concentric circles show different hierarchies and supporting individuals that constitute the workforce of Mood Indigo.
The external support structure consists of individuals who aren’t a direct part of the team but play an important role in supporting the fest. These include vendors, sponsors, partners, artists, their managers, security personnel and more. They are external collaborators who are crucial to the working of the festival at large.
Moving inwards, we come to the Organisers who are first-year students at IIT-B. They help out with low-level tasks such as artist pickups, in-fest publicity and anchoring. These students are attending their first Mood Indigo and thus are motivated by the seniors and the team to enjoy the fest to the fullest. They are expected to experience the wonder of what the fest offers and then later decide if they would want to continue working for the festival in the future. Therefore you will see on the map that they have very few responsibilities.
The Coordinators are second-year students at IIT-B who volunteer to take up operational responsibilities and are majorly responsible for the execution of the fest. There are extremely specialised roles that are undertaken by the “coordies”, ranging from handling transport services, execution of specific events and on-ground artist handling. They have been involved in the ideation and execution of the fest as early as the summer vacations and therefore have a decent idea about the entire thing.
This group suffers the most from a communication gap that demands to be addressed to increase the efficiency of the behind the scenes work of the festival. This group has to maintain a lot of cross-communication between different parties, and have to learn a lot on the job. Communication flow will branch both ways. Added to that was the problem that due to being the lowest in the ring in terms of authority, they would have to cross-check and confirm their decisions with the higher-level authorities within the team.
At the heart of the festival lies the Core Group team, consisting of third-year students as Core Group members and fourth/fifth-year students as the Overall Coordinators. Core group members, as the name suggests, is the central team of 22 responsible for the ideation and execution of the fest, from inception to execution, led by 2 Overall coordinators, who are usually ex-core group members of the previous year. Core group members are divided into departments, each heading a particular department and coordinating with other departments when required. This total of 24 coordinate and collaborate together to set up the building blocks of the festival from scratch.
The ten departments are as follows:
- Competitions and LYP: Responsible for ideating and executing competitions throughout the year, across different genres, and responsible for maintaining relations with LiveYourPassion brands and sponsors.
- Creatives: Constitutes of Design, Web and Tech and Ambience. Responsible for the visual identity and ambience of the fest, while also elevating the front-end and back-end technology of the fest.
- Food and Beverages: Responsible for managing Food and Beverages sponsors and related marketing deals and activities to bring Food Vendors to the festival
- Horizons: Responsible for the ideation and execution of pro-shows in a multitude of genres like stand-up comedy, music, fringe, theatre etc.
- Hospitality, Assistance and PR: Primarily responsible for maintaining public relations and inter-college relations. Spearheads the College Connect Program to onboard other colleges onto the Mood Indigo system.
- Informals and Workshops: Responsible for ideation and execution of hosting informal events and activities to foster interaction between visitors and ensure fun during the times when no event is active.
- Marketing: Responsible for onboarding sponsors and maintaining sponsor relations. They are the department that brings in the money for the fest.
- Media, Publicity and Alumni Relations: Responsible for handling all of the social media pages of MI, managing the festival coverage and press; and publicising MI all over the country.
- Pronites: Responsible for ideation and execution of the night concerts - the biggest spectacle at MI to mark the end of each night. They also orchestrate Livewire, MI’s flagship semi-professional band competition to foster new talent across the country.
- Operations and Logistics: Responsible for the on-ground operations and logistics of the festival and negotiating and maintaining relations with various service vendors.
We identified a few variables
- Core Focus Variables: Transparency, Inclusivity, Trustworthiness
- Measurements: Time wasted (Quantitative), Understanding (Qualitative)
- Additional Variables: Channels, Frequency, Quality and communication
Understanding the users and their stories was the way by which we felt that a more personalised communication can be achieved. We began by interviewing a few previous members of the organization. These interviews were conducted in response to the feedback from last week where a need for MI to be more accommodating to personal significance was identified and intangibles like emotions and connection need to be measured too.
The subjects were asked about their introduction to MI and their onboarding process. They were asked about their most memorable stories. The idea behind these questions was to bring out any form of reminiscing regarding the fest and draw on what emotions they felt as they went through those memories. They were subconsciously guided through what elements made their journey unforgettable and uncomfortable.
The subjects had majorly positive feedback to give. Many had a positive outlook towards IIT Bombay because of MI. They looped around the elements of companionship and once in a lifetime experiences. The idea of sharing the experiences was also what attracted them. MI is an experience that one experiences at the crossroads of adulthood. Discovering people with common interests and then having the perfect setting to socialise with them is an immeasurable opportunity. The introverts did have initial teething issues with these activities but the role of their CGs was identified to be the one to push them out of their comfort zones.
The subjects’ experience was intensified with the addition of access to a wider palette of culture. Access to concerts and artists, especially backstage, implied a sense of accomplishment to the subjects and the insights gained at the job was a learning takeaway according to them.
The ties also led to a sense of accomplishment in the conclusion of an event. This was relevant for the workforce and the student population however the campus community at large still felt disconnected. The lack of involvement of the wider campus community is a double-edged sword. Student-run is both impressive and liberating. Broadly MI main events are for college students.
We categorized their statements to identify design insights and breakdowns while the user statements helped us grasp the more intangible features of the relationship.
Another interesting insight we found was that often departments tended to work in solace and disconnected from one another which hampered the possibilities of growth as a holistic system
Our secondary research also backed these ideas. After analysing the existing research into brand relationship theories, and digital and physical community engagements, we discovered the shift towards festival brands being correspondingly co-created amongst consumers and stakeholders rather than managed by their owners, This is influenced by greater consumer choice; accessibility, growing ease of digital communications; and social networking, as society becomes increasingly interconnected. Increased customization and co-creation would be the way forward and focus on community building would be a must for any such brand.
Diagrams and Inferences
Pre-fest communication is not as time-bound as the on-ground, therefore the failures and breakdowns are not felt as much. The pressures and disorientation on-ground are much more costly. The outer ring only has one point of contact and they are majorly contacted only once. Therefore, we noticed that their impact and failure frequency was low. Organisers follow the same patterns and their contact is minimal. Any form of contact is given to them in a structured manner by the coordies and the CGs. For example when artist pickup needs to be done the Orgies are given all the details and the money by the CGs and the Coordies.
A breakdown in the Coordie communication has a domino effect. Their responsibilities outweigh their takeaways. Hence, the motivation to perform better is lacklustre. This matched with overworking and lack of time management creates stress and dissatisfaction for the coordies. A lack of structure is most evident here as each coordie is focused on delivering upon their own responsibilities. This creates unnecessary competition.
The division of roles can create a specialisation gap and this leads to several parallel lines of communication running simultaneously. The specialisation of jobs also is detrimental to the learning takeaways of the volunteers who benefit more from a holistic learning rather than a focused approach.
Although the CGs have similar issues plaguing their workload, they enjoy the benefits of offloading work to Orgies and Coordies. The fewer people involved within the circle aids their communication. A tighter group is more fluent and knows the responsibility of each other very well. They also had the benefit of resources like mobility and walkie talkies. OCs offset these challenges with their experience and the lack of intensive workload affords an easier experience compared to a CG.
External + Emotions
The Next step was to map the relationship of MI with the people, the spaces, the events and activities and map the communication over time too.
- People: We listed all the stakeholders, especially on campus, and then listed the nature of their relationship, associated issues as well as any possible preliminary solutions. Each stakeholder had an opinion of MI and had something to contribute to MI as well as some takeaways. It was evident that there is an imbalance between the stakeholder’s expectations and reality. Students stand to gain the most from MI since the events are catered for them. This also lends a better feeling of connection since they are the ones volunteering. Their takeaways are also resume driven. Non-student residents have a different perspective. Working staff have to face hindrances during the event and hospitality staff has to work overtime. The noise and crowd is an unwelcome intervention for the non-student residents. Campus wildlife is also strained at the time of the fest. Abuse and loud sounds irritate them and hoards of unknown people who don't respect their boundaries can be at the root of a conflict.
- Events: The events provide an insight into who is being catered to and at what time. We noticed that each event had a purpose to win over a certain group of people and drew participation accordingly. While All team Meets are catered towards attracting junior volunteers, institute nights are engineered to win over good faith from the campus community at large. These events still draw a younger crowd. For the adults and seniors, the options are limited to classical nights and screenings which are unpredictable in their reception. The need to increase such activities was instantly felt and participation in organising and competing is also necessary on the wider campus community’s behalf. Some suggestions which have surfaced from this discussion included workshops (especially by folk artists for the older crowd), donation drives to cultivate goodwill, and MI themed Holi and Diwali parties. These events cater to the wider campus residents and draw in bigger participation. It is important to note that the rollout will have to be gradual to measure the response of these interventions and make dynamic changes accordingly.
- Spaces: MI’s effect on spaces in and around IITB is most evident while the fest is ongoing. Overcrowding is a recurring theme and alongside it comes serious hazards like stampedes. Additionally, they cause a breakdown in movement and inefficiencies in the crowd management system start to creep up. Some spaces like the residential area and the academic area are still under use by the residents and they feel discomfort when outsiders use these spaces to practice or hang out. Loud music and noises are very distracting. Spaces like lakeside and Sameer hill have strict institute rules, which are broken and security hazards get created as a result. The spaces need to be respected and thus have to be kept clean. The fest has to communicate the importance and gravity of IIT Bombay to not only instill awe but also this respect.
We drew inferences from our research and started ideation to address these issues. Solutions ranging from communication channels, on-ground crowd activation, to targeted content creation and inclusion in the overall structure of the festival. We are keeping a realistic outlook with the implementation of the ideas, considering both the physical and technical limitations of the idea.
Implicit - interdepartmental network and hierarchy
Explicit - for the wider campus residents, their participation is not as important as their approval. These hide in plain sight and communicate the values of MI subliminally.
- A social media system to collect and document people’s stories with MI could be implemented in various parts of the festival using QR codes and NFCs.
- Integration with the virtual campus set up for MI 2020 could easily work out as a platform for people to tell their personal stories as well as an MI museum across time for achievements.
- Installation of a permanent physical artefact for MI for all year round visibility. We really don’t have a permanent presence in the institute right now, and a monument to celebrate Mood Indigo can do wonders for the brand and community engagement.
We identified major dips in activity during summer breaks and exam periods, which can be utilised for conducting events catering to the non-student stakeholders. Furthermore, the scale of these events can also be altered to create a build-up until MI arrives.
It was also identified that different stakeholders were being catered to different points of time, and the frequency of communications was identified. We noticed that during the fest buildup, the last 4 months had a lot of work to be done. This sudden workload proved to be a challenge for the organising team. They had to simultaneously organise vents for the student community to keep them interested too. Thus the non-student community of IITB felt neglected and the organising team did not have the resources to address this and even if they did the lack of time prevented them from creating the required amount of engagement. The major milestones were evenly distributed for the organising committee however their overlap with internal events made some more difficult than others. For example, around the All Team Meet students have mid sem exams, competitions date releases, social cause releases etc to execute and the workload is unhealthy.
We tried to map the emotions of stakeholders over the year with respect to Mood Indigo, examining their reflective, behavioural and visceral levels of excitement and/or involvement with the fest throughout the year. This was done to understand their feelings and outlook regarding Mood Indigo, and how it dynamically changes throughout the year, depending on the organising team’s activity and actions.
This helped us map the activity of the involved parties, and helped us figure out dead zones in our timeline where we can intervene with our solutions. We identified a major dry spell during the months of February and March due to the election period for the new team., which can be leveraged to interact with the campus community. We also identified a period of negative emotions against Mood Indigo from a lot of non-student campus community and non-organising member students during the month of January, as the organising team wraps up the festival.
Variables v. Stakeholders
To measure the fluctuations of different variables against the different stakeholders, we mapped them against each other. Different stakeholders were being catered to at different intensities with more effort and thought behind it. There are subgroups planning these events in and out however the required
This investment has a greater ROI which suggests that with proper communication other stakeholders can give meaningful contributions. Variables like frequency, trustworthiness, transparency, and quality were found to have room for improvement, especially for the residents.
We divided these intervention stages into 6 steps.
The first step will be the initial onboarding where anyone who is excited enough can join right away. After joining right away, they can become a part of the team. For those who require slightly more of a push and more engagement we first start with visibility. This visibility can be in the form of MI wall or digital platforms or even something with a very simple like a park bench which is giving something to the community as well as making MI visible in their everyday life.
From there we move on to quick impact projects. These projects require very little planning and they create a sense of bonding. These projects are short-lived, however, their intention is to make MI visible in the form of activity and as a platform where people can come to have fun.
Once this association of MI with fun is created we move to fast gratification and bonding. Here, we will use the quick impact projects to create teams and sentiment within the volunteers. A form of creators fulfilment is also created by inviting them into creative activities like wall painting. This can also lead to a sense of ownership and low effort high reward scenarios. We analysed what the driving factors for these quick impact projects will be and we discovered that even the MI name draws a lot of people but we can also throw in a sense of discovery and curiosity by adding elements of novelty which draws a wider range of crowds.
From there on, through these earlier activities, we will identify the deeper desires of the particular volunteer section. What this will lead to is customised communication for each year of volunteers. We will analyse what their needs and desires are and then from here on we will make more complex and well planned out activities such as mood indigo picnic or campus cleanup drives especially for the non-student community. These more well-planned activities will cement MIs name in the minds of the people as an avenue where people express themselves and it's a cultural get-together.
Afterwards, we start enlistment where we will acknowledge the volunteers and their inputs, we will include them in our digital platform, for example, the elderly are not included on social media campus residents can now be included and we will also allot them smaller tasks first and then move on to bigger task as we see their response
We identified 3 major constituents to implement in a custom digital platform - Community engagement, Workforce Coordination and Communication, and an onboarding system and listed down ideas pertaining to each.
To have finer control over the variables mentioned earlier (such as inclusivity and trustworthiness), a customized new digital platform would be ideal, and could easily be distributed through the Mood Indigo Channels. We do have data to support this statement as back in 2019, when the MI app was released for a simple interactive schedule and notifications, it had become trending on the google play store, attracting a lot of traffic.
A custom digital platform would also allow us maximum customization and would not restrict us in any way, allowing us to create new affordances for our context. We plan on handing over our plans to the current MI team, whose in-house design and development team would be able to take the plans forward towards execution. It could also be integrated with the current Mood Indigo app with the virtual campus designed for the online edition that took place in 2020. This digital platform can thus be used to leverage the wider community, ease the burden on the MI team and become the framework for subsequent system design interventions like data collection, grievance redressal systems, and a visitor digital portal as well.
Starting with our inter-departmental communication ideas - we ideated on digitizing a few tasks to improve upon efficiency and reduce double contacting. As far as internet issues are concerned, since this would be for the workforce only, everything could happen over the IIT-B Intranet over IIT-B wireless. Things like food coupons, bills, receipts, gate passes could be easily digitized and documented and a centralized department wise platform could be set up to keep track of work.
We made a few low fidelity visualizations of a few ideas for eg. Departments can make their own personal boards to push for updates and assign and allot tasks. A few during fest ideas included the ability to automatically form groups based on whoever was available at a venue to push communication to all members at the same time, and also possibly track the number of people at a location, though ensuring privacy concerns are dealt with as well.
Coming to the community engagement section, which would not be restricted on the intranet, an onboarding system can be implemented to convey the key points and advantages of Mood Indigo, personalized through Ldap input or other ID card-based inputs to identify what part of the campus community the user belongs to. A social media-esque system can be set up to enable people to interact with each other and share their experiences with MI. It would also serve as a publicity platform for the festival and a few informal activities could be held over the platform.
Learning communities can also be set up around the workshops in Mood Indigo, and Mood indigo could use its connections with the professional cultural industries and alumni network (such as Frontrow, a new startup for online masterclasses by professionals) to bring artists for sessions of masterclasses, and learning programs and subsequently a platform for the campus community to showcase their talents could also be set up with rewards and prizes. These communities will be formed based on the intervention stages outlined earlier.
After this, we moved on to make a high fidelity prototype for our web application - My Mood Indigo, that would be the base for our digital solutions. It was imagined as a web application, both for PC and mobile, that would help the workforce manage the behind the scenes workings of the festival, and would also act as a social system for the other members of the IIT-B fraternity to connect with the festival.
Here's our final pitch for the service. We have compiled some user journeys to convey the use cases and edge cases of the platform.
We conducted our evaluation through an initial feedback session from some stakeholders. Their inputs were considered as well in our final prototype. This initial feedback session was conducted in the form of an online meet. The users were selected as the Overall Coordinators of Mood Indigo 2021. They were selected due to their in-depth knowledge and their maximum experience in the subject matter. Identified as one of the major stakeholders they had an incentive to be transparent with the group and gave inputs that were insightful. Their knowledge of the overall structure and problems made them the best candidate and the underlying fact that they had the most power to address the problems made us aware of what was implementable and what was not.
The OCs were briefed on the project and were shown the pitch presentation. Their feedback was as follows :
- They find the idea interesting
- They felt that the approach is possible to take up
- After the 50 year milestone, the relation between MI and the wider community need to be strengthened.
- The requirements need to be assessed by the design and technical team.
- It seems executable but given the constraints, we will have to prioritise some events over others.
- These solutions can be beneficial for an online MI as well however we need to see how the integration of on-ground events will be effective once we get back to campus.
Backed by our research and Initial discussions with the current team we expect these solutions to bring about a positive impact by documenting a centralised streamlined internal communication, saving time and decreasing the scope for error.
It would also increase trust for MI in the eyes of all stakeholders perceiving the execution of MI as a well-oiled machine. Another thing it could serve as would be a publicity platform, a platform for sponsor integrations and would create avenues for MI to approach and stay connected with the campus community and with the alumni. In their eyes, we would want to see the transition of MI as a perceived annual burden to a social festival that each member of the community would look forward to.
This project has been a learning opportunity for the group. From the beginning, it was obvious that we had to approach the project with a birds-eye view. With so many stakeholders and moving parts, any change will have to be weighed against each subpart. Therefore, we focused on categorising each part of the information we got. It helped us focus on what was important and trim the unnecessary information. Thanks to the data collection the MI team has already done, it enabled us to analyse the overarching problem points and thus create a system of solutions that together addressed these issues. Our hope is that the learnings of this project will be carried forward by the MI team and the implementation will create a positive perception of MI for the next 50 years.
''हम अकेले ही चले थे जानिब-ए-मंजिल मगर, लोग साथ आते गए और कारवां बनता गया।"