Up close and personal with Hardik Parmar: one of DPDK’s project consultants
It’s a busy summer at DPDK. We’ve got some exciting new projects in the works, and we’re enjoying every minute of having our hands full.
Despite the hustle and bustle, I managed to sit down with Hardik, one of our project consultants. We spoke about the start of his career at DPDK, the unpredictability and excitement of project consultancy, the potential of design in humanitarian aid, and more.
Hailing from India, Hardik moved to the Netherlands in 2017 to study Strategic Product Design at the Delft University of Technology. After graduating, he landed a project consultant traineeship at DPDK, and has been an integral member of our team ever since. Read on to get to know him better!
First of all, have you always wanted to work in project consultancy?
Yes. I’ve always been curious about what goes on behind the scenes of design and innovation projects. I’ve seen projects with great potential never see the light of day because they weren’t feasible from a strategic point of view. This challenge has always intrigued me. As a project consultant, I get to tackle that very challenge by ensuring projects are feasible, desirable, and viable.
You’ve been with DPDK for over a year now. What led you to DPDK?
I came to the Netherlands to pursue a Master’s degree in Strategic Product Design. During my studies, I learned how to address design challenges using the Delft design approach, which enables you to create human-centered products and services.
When I came across DPDK, the agency immediately piqued my interest. We use a design thinking methodology similar to what I learned at Delft to create exceptional digital products. I knew that I could apply my university knowledge to contribute to DPDK’s success. I guess you can say it was love at first sight!
I’m curious, what part of your job do you like the most?
I thoroughly enjoy finding a strategic balance between a project’s short-term and long-term goals. It’s challenging to keep the different priorities and limitations in mind at all times. But that’s what makes it exciting.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
Project consultants always have a lot going on. When it comes to decisions, there’s a lot you need to take into account. You have to consider the perspectives and priorities of different teams and stakeholders. That can be challenging. But it’s also one of the best parts of the job, so not complaining here.
Speaking of having a full plate, how do you manage to stay on top of all your responsibilities?
I take a holistic approach towards my responsibilities. I start by identifying the bigger picture and creating an overview to connect the dots. I dump my ideas on a whiteboard, sometimes a piece of paper, or even an Excel sheet, depending on my mood. Once I have enough to work with, I map out a plan. This is especially helpful when I’m managing multiple projects at the same time.
If you had to describe your job in one word, what would it be?
Unpredictable. As a project consultant, you never know what hurdles will get in your way. It’s a dance between chaos and order. Luckily, I love to dance!
I’ve heard that you’ve spent quite some time volunteering. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
Sure. Before becoming a full-time DPDKer, I worked as a strategic design volunteer at 510, which is a Dutch Red Cross initiative that uses data to support humanitarian aid efforts. I built digital tools that could predict disasters and offer support to people affected by them.
I believe design has a lot of potential in humanitarian aid. Human-centered design and technologies, like AI and Blockchain for example, have transformed the way we help people. More people and organizations should take advantage of this. I’m grateful for the chance to be part of a team that is determined to make a difference, both at 510 and at DPDK.
What’s exciting you about the digital industry right now?
Since the pandemic, the role of digital tools and platforms in our everyday lives has grown like never before. Despite being in lockdown for months on end, we’ve been able to stay connected online. If there’s one thing COVID-19 has shown us, it’s the true power of digital.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the digital industry grows in the post-COVID world. We’ve learnt a lot in the past year and a half, and things are only going to get better. I believe the digital industry will soon be able to solve more complex challenges than ever before.
Can you tell me about a project you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of?
Since joining DPDK, I’ve worked on more than 17 different projects, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. That said, I’m wrapping up a project with Oxfam Novib, which I really enjoyed. Oxfam Novib is a non-governmental organization tackling global poverty. They’re currently working with the European Commission on an initiative that tackles climate change and gender inequality.
We built a brand strategy and narrative that aims to mobilize the younger generation to raise their voice about climate change and gender injustice. To ensure our efforts resonate with our target audience, we spoke to focus groups from across the European Union. I really enjoyed talking to these groups. It was a truly eye-opening experience.
Last, but not least, what do you enjoy most when you’re not working?
I recently started cycling. I’d say cycling around the Dutch countryside and taking photos of the beautiful scenery is what I enjoy most. That and cooking. I love to cook!