DK partners with the most open-minded 1%  to create a space for remarkable experiences..



A shift of phase

Since moving to Asia in 2014, DK are innovation consultants and experiential learning program designers. That’s because ‘branding’ became so common and misunderstood that the general public’s interperation of ‘a designer’s’ work’s value’ got thinned out. In fact, it became so diluted in a sea of over-saturation and me-too and ‘I’ll just do it myself’ people that we just stopped saying we did design work for hire. Then we actually stopped.

In order to try new things. A 16-way big blind date in multiple cities, for example. A ton of conversation salons and performance arts-y installations by DK going solo, see dipikakohli.com, that invited new and different others to connect in remarkable ways. Then there was the invitation to play with us, to make with us. Through Atelier S P A C E and our weekly e-mag. And more.

Through it all, we found a common thread.

DK’s work didn’t change in substance, only format.

In fact, DK’s core process was always getting to ‘interestingest’ and ‘most unique’ and ‘exactly that’s it!, that’s who I am’, authentically, and that has not changed. Lately we continue to run into people who are looking for something fresh, a new way to think about ‘it all’ as they reflect, regroup, and maybe repackage. That’s really exactly what we’re good at helping people do.

Engineering, journalism, design, architecture: this is Dipika Kohli‘s background. Akira Morita is good at thinking.

Together, DK does as DK does; we keep finding new people who are ready for diving in, and seeing, what that kind of exploration looks and feels like. Rather than pose theories, we invite people to play with us, in the DK sandbox of trying new things, which is our favorite-ever way to learn.

Such exploration and experiential approach is, philosophically, quite aligned with a thing that is ‘out there’. It’s called experiential learning.

(If you’re not familiar with the term ‘experiential learning,’ according to Wikipedia, experiential learning is distinct from rote learning, in which the learner plays a comparatively passive role…

[In contrast], experiential learning entails a hands-on approach to learning that moves away from just the teacher at the front of the room imparting and transferring their knowledge to students.

It makes learning an experience that moves beyond the classroom and strives to bring a more involved way of learning.’)

There’s also ‘social constructivism’ and ‘relational aesthetics,’ and of course ‘improvisation’ in general is how we pick up new skills and practice them. But those are for other long pages, someday. Maybe.

Here’s what you need to know about today’s DK, and what we did before, that informed this current presentation..


Design, applied


Building relationships and discovering opportunities for us to work with new people in and near Southeast Asia has been a curious and important time of transition for DK. Many more partnerships, now. With people from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and visions.

This is where our experiential learning programs come into play. 

New alliances with those who also share our philosophy about the importance of introducing fresh thinking into a daily routine have become very important. Teaming with others makes it possible for us to continue to develop and evolve our unique. home-made but practice-informed style of sharing.

Researching and developing by continuing to practice has been how we got to the places where we are now, and we are sharing with less clunky and clumsy training wheels now that we have grown into our new roles here at DK. Thanks to all the trial and error from ‘discovering by doing,’ which is the way we kick it around here, DK can continue to custom design sets of experiences for our partners and their guests to try something… a little bit different, and very, very new. Together.

Change starts with wanting to. 

IV.
Design + Discovery
2015-2020

British Council of Vietnam, ‘Expanding Windows,’ Đà Lạt. Workshops designed and delivered by Dipika Kohli included an outdoor element during which time small groups could explore a lovely garden and ‘go on a journey’ to reflect on what the idea of ‘expansiveness’ could mean, to each. Đà Lạt, Vietnam 2020

The Factory, ‘Design Thinking,’ DK’s Innovation Designer Akira Morita hosts. Phnom Penh 2019

NIPTICT, ‘Design Thinking’, DK’s Innovation Designer Akira Morita hosts. Phnom Penh 2018

Oulu Arts Festival, ‘Hei Kesä,’ (‘Hi Summer’) at Kahvila Tuokio Oulu Finland. DK Director Dipika Kohli designed and led this workshop. ‘Zines. Conversation. Real life. In an age where the internet can confuse and lie to us, ‘zines’ (xeroxed short publications we make ourselves and give our friends) give us a tangible grip on the *here and now*, and remind us that at the end of the day, *we* get to create and write our own stories: the stories of our lives, the stories that remind us who we are. Inspired by summer in Finland, DK and friends are gathering our summer memories at this once-off popup art installation and zinemaking atelier. Reminisce. Make. Eat. Drink, and relax with us to put together your own 8-page zine. We’ll show you how. Content may be images, text or pieces of a small story. No prior experience necessary, ages 16+. €15 (price includes materials, plus coffee). You can also bring your own seasonal periodicals, newspapers and craft supplies like scissors. Limited seats.’ Oulu, Finland 2018

Designing for Social Innovation and Leadership, ‘Listening’, DK’s Innovation Designer Akira Morita hosts. Phnom Penh 2015.

Foo Cafe, ‘Flow: How to effortlessly reach your peak productivity in 90 minutes’, Malmoe. Initiating a conversation with the co-working space Foo began online. Then, DK Director Dipika Kohli visited the space and got to know a few of the people who used it. She proposed the workshop idea after brainstorming with a mixed set of guests she had met in the city after staying put for five weeks to see what it was like to be there. It was only with observation, and rapport-building, that she could host such a workshop for an audience in Sweden, which is very different from anywhere else. Malmoe, Sweden 2015

 

III.
Practicing the Unknown, Uncertain & Different
2010-2015

Inno-tech Festival, ‘Flow’ Phnom Penh. Here, DK took the same workshop from Malmoe and gave it an international spin. Comfortable, inclusive and discovery-oriented. Again, as in most of DK Director Dipika Kohli‘s workshops, here too, there was an outside element, as the breeze was perfect for encouraging participating guests to think about ‘flow.’ Phnom Penh 2015

Designing for Social Innovation and Leadership, ‘Human-Centered Design in Cambodia,’ DK’s Innovation Designer Akira Morita hosts. Phnom Penh 2014

VIA Programs at Stanford University, ‘SELF,’ Palo Alto. A conversation that extended to a learning and living environment, over nine weeks at a dorm on campus at Stanford. This was for twentysometings, largely, who were studying business and lived in Asia, and were in the US to explore a different, new thinking. DK’s project was to give them a component whereby they could gain new skills and learn tools for reflection, for choosing a career with intention and designing a life path which they could each felt great about. A fantastic summer. 2014

The 1961 Co-working & Art space, ‘Choices’ Siem Reap Cambodia. Creating a public event for people who might like to try a new way to think about what options they have in an era where option overwhelm can interfere with focused selection.  Siem Reap 2014

ArcHub, ‘MOD’, A series of short talks and events curated by Akira Morita, Phnom Penh 2014

EchoStream Design‘Modern Sikkim’, Gangtok. Partnering with Sonam Tashi Gyaltsen of EchoStream, both DK founders Dipika Kohli and Akira Morita together hosted six roundtables in which different groups of people could dialogue, share, and connect. Sometimes the venue owners would approach DK, to ask about what they could bring to the conversations. Such moments were process. A beautiful series. 2014

Tama Sky Bar. Dipika Kohli invited friends in the US to co-host on the same day a conversation salon on ‘Beauty.’ We teamed up with Catherine J. Howard  along with John Boylan in Seattle who had sketched out his idea for that plan to make a roundtable on that topic on that day, which DK thought was great, and designed the fringe ‘shows’ by inviting and including others, too. Phnom Penh (DK’s segment), 2014

Neilson Hays Library, ‘SELF,’ Bangkok. One of the best workshops DK Director Dipika Kohli was able to host in real life was this one, adapted from SELF whihc was created for VIA Programs the same year. Going on tour with it got people together at an established and beautiful library in Bangkok to talk, to together, about their own concepts of ‘self’ in order to properly approach the project that they each had in mind: to write a memoir. A garden conversation followed the indoor series, for leisurely conversation based on the experiences inside the library, during which time guests had been able to think quietly at first about their ideas, then talk in rotating pairs to articulate their singular idea further, refining in the process, until in the end each person was able to put their core idea onto the space of a single heart-shaped post-it note. This small collection of hearts, on a whiteboard, was our artifact. Bangkok,  2014

 


II.
Explorations in ‘N+1’
2010-2015


SparkCON Festival, ‘Float’ Raleigh. DK Director Dipika Kohli, along with Catherine J. Howard, together took a booth with a curator who wanted to create an experience for passersby at this arts festival about not-selling something, rather, just showing a process. Dipika Kohli took a giant roll of paper, pulled some of it out onto a large foldout table, and got some markers out. Then, she asked people to simply put objects onto the paper, and drew them, live, into a composition that unrolled and unrolled, and… well, you get the picture. Raleigh NC, 2012

Duke University, DK Director Dipika Kohli leads a workshop, and designs, a ‘Girls in Science’ t-shirt brainstorming, conversation, concept development, and collaborative ‘comic book’ style design, Durham NC, 2012

‘Design Thinking’ lecture at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: ‘Design Thinking:’ Chapel Hill NC, 2012

TEDx Raleigh
, ‘There’s Not That Much Time Left‘. An 18-minute talk on death, by DK Director Dipika Kohli, at Lincoln Theater in the speaker’s home state’s capitol, Raleigh NC, 2012

 


I.
Say Hello to DK
1995-2010

CORA Northwest, ‘Just Be You’. Dipika Kohli was invited by a client in architecture to present the process of going through a focused, simple, step-by-step process by which to uncover a ‘core brand concept.’ Seattle, 2009

Skibbereen De La Salle middle school, ‘Design + Computing’ West Cork Ireland. Dipika Kohli was tasked with creating and delivering a semester-long curriculum for 20 students too learn how to use tools to create websites, including Photoshop and, at that time, Dreamweaver. Skibbereen, Ireland, 2002

Edogawa University, ‘Everyday Conversation,’ Tokyo. Dipika Kohli took a ho-hum curriculum for a summer program to teach English as a Second Language and turned it into an experiential workshop series, which included ‘smalltalk’ cards and ‘mingling’ mock parties, along with a finale outdoors, a talent show. Gymnastics, a mini-concert, and a set of ongoing mini-parties followed (okonomiyake, fireworks in the park, and, of course, karaoke). Tokyo,  2002

Skibbereen Eldercare Centre
, ‘Introduction to Internet,’ West Cork Ireland. DK Director Dipika Kohli was invited to create and host a series of seminars about how to make the best use of the internet (and before that, what it is, and how it works) for ‘The Thursday Gang,’ a group of seniors who were of varying levels of concern about jumping on board the digital revolution, to say the least. We had a lovely, grand old time together, and the sendoff was exquisite, too, in the way the version of the Irish goodbye that comes with snacks, sharing, and singing can really be. Skibbereen, Ireland, 2001

N. C. State University‘s International Student Committee, ‘Erase-ism’ campaign and the ‘International Literacy’ national award-nominated design and direction. Created by the Chair and Vice-Chair of that year’s ISC, Akira Morita and Dipika Kohli. This was the beginning of DK. Raleigh, NC, 1995

 

Art: ‘Let’s converse?’ by Dipika Kohli / Phnom Penh 2014