It is just as well that a Fortune 500 company should have taken the plunge
towards such a potentially massive exercise in comprehensive and proprietary
designing and set the pace for the others to follow. What holds a measure
of promise through this particular design endeavour, are the clues that
are embedded in the corporation's initiative towards indigenous designing.
Compared to the usual tendency in the industrial design history of the
Indian industry to plump in for already available designs, even if such
designs have been worked out to suit the needs of companies located elsewhere,
and quite usually of those located abroad.
It has to be said in a measure of fairness to IOC, that it was the top
echelon of its management that had opened up the doors for indigenous
designing. The strategic positioning that it had created for the designer
right from the point in time at which he was commissioned into the launch
of the Vision 2000 programme, could have a strong message for other corporations
in India especially the ones that could be in an urgent need for a corporate
image-building exercise. The fact that such strategic positioning had
enabled the designer access to the topmost levels of the management, compares
well with the way companies like IBM or Mobil had gone about their own
such exercise in the sixties. The relative face of coherence displayed
amongst IOC's top management, especially with respect to the critical
matter of freezing their design concept in order to move on with its implementation,
had all the hallmarks of a company getting ready for marketisation.
If IOC were to conform to a strict implementation-regime of its Vision
2000 programme, in accordance with the guidelines laid out in its manual
by the designer for its pan-India application (across an estimated 7000
retail outlets to be redesigned by the year 2000). And, if there were
to be strict adherence to material and process control, then IOC's post-Modernist
'rainbow band' could yet turn out to be her lucky mascot.
5 Page 7