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Gauri Bhatt, Design Researcher, Round Feather

By Andrew Wyder

June 21, 2022

2022 Graduate Gauri Bhatt
Trained as an engineer, now dedicated to user testing and design methods

It was through a book written by Institute of Design Professor Emeritus Vijay Kumar that Gauri Bhatt first learned about design methods, a turning point that led her to a passion for, and a career in, design research.

During her graduate design studies in India Gauri Bhatt (MDes 2022) discovered 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization.

The book proved essential for Bhatt then, as she was beginning her formal education in design after completing a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering. It remains as important now as it was when she first picked it up.

“I’m sitting with the book right here on my table,” Bhatt says, while picking up a copy during a Zoom call in April 2022.

[101 Design Methods] is always with me; I’m literally using it in most of my projects. What I really appreciate is that [Vijay Kumar] provides so many different methodologies and tools that can be used for different circumstances.
—Gauri Bhatt (MDes 2022)

With a solid foundation in design from a graduate program in India, Bhatt decided to pursue the Master of Design program at ID. She knew of the program, in part, because of Kumar. She also knew she wanted to focus on design research and that ID’s MDes program provided the flexibility to choose the courses that she was most interested in.

Her education at ID has also included opportunities to conduct research on real-world projects, including an internship working on ID Clinical Professor Tomoko Ichikawa’s Caregiver Decision Support Tool project with UChicago Medicine. Bhatt came into the project after its initial development, utilizing feedback that UChicago Medicine got from its users to tweak the toolkit to better meet the users’ needs.

Every project starts with research. Whether it’s a new product that’s coming out into the market or something that needs to be evaluated after it’s been out in the market for a few years, research is the first step. That’s been a great thing for me personally at ID, because every class starts with research, irrespective of whether it’s a product, service or, even a communication design toolkit.
—Gauri Bhatt (MDes 2022)
Gauri Bhatt with work

Gauri Bhatt (MDes 2022) is surrounded by the ideas generated by her Institute of Design peers in a sustainable solutions workshop that she served as a teaching assistant for in spring 2022.

In June, as a design researcher at Round Feather in San Diego, she joined a design and innovation consultancy that is focused on making people’s happiness the focus of its work.

“That’s really cool, working at a company that looks into that so strongly,” Bhatt says. “In general, pursuing a career in design research as a consultant is something that really excites me because it gives me the opportunity to put my hands into a variety of industries.”