Daljit Singh has joined Accenture Interactive’s design consultancy Fjord as regional design strategy lead for Europe & Latin America.
Singh’s started his career as an interaction designer at IBM before founding pioneering digital consultancy Digit. After leaving Digit he was a founding partner at Conran Singh and in 2012 set up creative business consultancy Happiness.
Singh’s move to Accenture comes as the company is says it is embarking on a huge design recruitment drive, with the aim of becoming “a world-class design and innovation powerhouse”. Accenture bought digital consultancy Fjord in 2013 and says it has subsequently doubled the size of the design team.
We talk to Singh about his new role at Accenture, his favourite projects and his biggest mistakes in his career so far.
Design Week: When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
Daljit Singh: My mother trained as a doll designer and was given the opportunity in her early 20s to leave India and go to Tokyo for training. Her parents said no, so instead she was sent to London to marry my father. Lucky for me – both biologically and inspirationally – because, as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a designer.
DW: What was your first job?
DS: Assistant fishmonger in Presto supermarket at the age of 15 in Bethnal Green. I have a very funny story about some live eels, just ask when you see me!
DW: How would you describe what you currently do?
DS: In my first few weeks at Fjord, I’ve been listening and learning how things work here. Fjord is now 600 people globally and my task – together with the other design strategists – is to enable our clients to transform themselves through the power of design. Big, bold thinking that brings innovation to life in tangible and meaningful ways so we can make people’s lives better. For our designers around the world, it’s also about inspiring and pushing them to be brilliant so they can continue to do outstanding work.
DW: What has been the biggest change in design since you started?
DS: Technology in the connected world has fundamentally changed the way we as designers create and conceive of ideas – it’s revolutionised every facet of design.
DW: What is your favourite project that you’ve worked on?
DW: The Digital Aquarium at the Design Museum for Motorola. We suspended 150 Motorola mobile phones in a “digital aquarium”. Visitors were able to call a number and set off cascading phone calls creating a spectacular audio-visual experience.
DW: What is your favourite project that you haven’t worked on?
DS: Art of Packing by Louis Vuitton – a brilliant marriage of utility and entertainment.
DW: What was your biggest mistake?
DS: Working on the launch of boo.com without a contract and then watching them go under without getting paid. It added a dimension of irony to their name…
DW: What is your greatest ambition?
DS: To open an Indian restaurant in my own vineyard.
DW: Who is the most inspirational person you have worked with?
DS: I’ve been lucky enough to work with graphic designer and brand genius, Michael Wolff, for the last three years. He sweats inspiration and I’ve been with him on many hot days. Long may they continue.
DW: What piece of advice would you give to people starting out in design?
Be original and surprising. Don’t do what’s expected of you and you’ll go far.