5 biggest takeaways from my time at Fun/ctionaL
Exactly one week before the country stopped in its tracks, in complete lockdown, I had received the confirmation from Keep It Functional. Therefore, when the lockdown continued well into April, I was worried if the offer still stood, and thankfully it did. My experience as a Product Development Intern at Keep It Functional has been nothing less than rewarding.
Introduction to the real world
An internship is the only time in an academic curriculum when a student gets to explore design in the real world, something very different from what we learn in the four walls of a classroom. During my time as an intern, I was involved in developing new products and researching different materials, vendors, and products. I got the opportunity to design products with manufacturing processes in mind, work with vendors (although in a limited capacity, given the pandemic) and gather know-how about the various manufacturing processes.
When I joined I had exactly two expectations. I wanted to learn how designs are conceived and carried out to its final form amidst manufacturing and other constraints. I wanted an opportunity to be involved in every aspect of the workings of a design firm. This made Keep It Functional the perfect place for me. I was constantly pushed to innovate new ways of doing things, keeping in spirit with the ethos of the firm. Within a few weeks, I was entrusted with major decisions about upcoming big projects and design lines, an opportunity I am honoured to have received.
More than just product design
To my delight, my role was not limited to just the products. I got to ideate social media marketing strategies, product placement strategies, and the nuances involved in maintaining a digital store. I discovered the inner workings of a creative business, something I never imagined I will get to do on this internship.
Grow personally and professionally
Interning at Keep It Functional has allowed me to grow as a designer and I am taking away huge lessons about the various shoes a designer must fill, the soft skills essential for communicating with clients and vendors and designing for a sustainable tomorrow. Additionally, this period has also been one of incredible personal growth. I have become more confident in pitching my ideas, identified my strengths and weaknesses from the monthly feedback sessions, and become more professional in my outlook.
Sometimes the right mentor is all one needs for a push in the right direction and it is my biggest takeaway from the internship. Although my time as an intern has been limited, I have formed strong bonds with the team. It is a place I can go back to for the right guidance, something that I will cherish forever.
I consider myself lucky to be a part of Keep It Functional, a firm that took interest in my inputs and has always been open to giving me opportunities to learn different things and experiment with new ideas. This wholesome experience has evolved and equipped the designer in me to follow my dreams fearlessly.