Poonam Bir Kasturi

Founder, Daily dump

Poonam is an Industrial designer, facilitator, entrepreneur and mentor. She graduated from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad India in 1986, specializing in Product Design.

Product Design - 1986 - 1991
She began her career designing and prototyping a variety of products that include a Centralised Lubrication System, an Industrial Water Purifier, and a Public Telephone Booth. In this period of her career, she also managed Sur Engineering – a family firm manufacturing machine tools.

Workshops, teaching, education - 1991 - 2000
Poonam has conducted several workshops on Creativity and Innovation for a variety of audiences – from school children to corporate executives. Organisations that engaged Poonam in this area include Mallya Aditi International School (Bangalore), Newspapers in Education, Verifone, Wipro, Sun Microsystems and ITC.

1993 - 2007
Poonam is passionate about design education. Poonam is one of the founding faculty at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology Bangalore. Apart from designing and delivering cutting-edge programmes for Srishti’s design students (Foundation programme, Design Lab, Design for Community and Self, Unlearning), Poonam has also facilitated and managed student interactions with craftspeople, NGOs, industry/ corporates, academics from national and international design schools, government and other stakeholders. Her last position at Srishti was as Visionary in Residence. She stopped teaching at Srishti in May 2007.

As an entrepreneur she founded IndusTree Crafts in the early 90’s, and another company – Playnspeak – in 2000. IndusTree Crafts works with craftspeople to design, manufacture and retail/ export Indian crafts for contemporary customers. Playnspeak offers craft-based products for the home and office, products that poke fun at the values and ways of human beings, and also products that provoke reflection.

Design and Development
Since 2000, Poonam has spent a lot of time (amongst other things) writing papers on Design and how it impacts Development. MIT Journal Design Issues has published her paper. Volume 21 | Issue 4 | Autumn 2005 p.68-77. Her continuing interest in the field has enabled her to speak at, design and conduct workshops and seminars for people from varied backgrounds – students, designers, NGOs and the government.

2006 Daily Dump
Her latest project – Daily Dump – involves the design, manufacture, distribution and servicing products related to home composting. This is a product – service system which is based on an open-source platform and is meant to encourage micro-enterprise formation and collaborative product development. It uses craft skills to address a primarily urban issue. Daily Dump’s purpose is to reduce the waste generated by households, and thus reduce the pressure on the already-far-from-perfect public waste management systems. Daily Dump has been selected as one of the “Top Nominees” for the INDEX Design award 2007.

It has also received other awards – The Green Dot, Green Innovation etc. Daily Dump has received a lot of attention from the community and the press. Poonam was chosen to be a TED fellow at TED India in 2009 Nov. She was conferred the Amazing Indian award in 2013. She received the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Schwab Foundation of the World Economic Forum in 2016. The Smart Cities India Awards 2016 - for Decentralised Waste Management - May 2016. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research - for Decentralised Waste Management - Sept 2016.

Poonam lives in Bangalore, with her husband Anand. Now she works out of the first “Waste Shop of the World” the only retail outlet that informs consumers how to and why to buy and shows them the end of cycle effects of their choices.