Team Jumbo

Location: India | |

Building rickshaws in Varanasi

For the past six months (Sep 13’ – Jan 14’) a team of 5 design students now formally known as Team Jumbo Jugaad travelled to India for a semester project to develop a rickshaw prototype under the supervision of Naveen Singh, entrepreneur at SMV Wheels located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Rickshaw 2.0

Rickshaw 2.0 aimed to redefine the current possibilities and assumptions put in place regarding India’s cycle rickshaw culture within society, through adjusting people’s perceptions of the current rickshaws, specifically in Varanasi, India. The team executed the project both on location based in Varanasi, India, and off-site in Delft, the Netherlands with the guidance of Annemiek van Boeijen and Vikram Parmar. Rickshaw 2.0 is a collaboration with a cycle-rickshaw company SMV wheels, and commissioned by Enviu India.The initial aim of the project was to create a new and improved rickshaw for the drivers of Varanasi, India. The team wanted to improve the technology and ease of use of the rickshaw, and company’s current business model by the completion of the project.


Therefore, during the first stage of the project the team performed an on-site evaluation of the company and surrounding environment that would later determine the outcome of the project. The aim of these initial findings was to gain an understanding of necessary criteria and limitations that needed to be put in place to create a new rickshaw that would be accepted by the local people of Varanasi.

Throughout the second stage the team evaluated the design considerations, and created a more functional and ergonomic rickshaw that focused on ease-of-use for both users (rickshaw drivers) and sub users (passengers). Furthermore a business plan was developed that simplified manufacturing methods, as well as developing a business model for improving the company’s performance, targeting specifically supply chain and payment system related issues.

The last stage of the project shows the outcomes of the project; an improved product and business model with an emphasis on user-centred design. The team also proposes potential future options for the cycle-rickshaw company and opportunities for how the project could proceed in the future.

More information about the project can be found at Brian, Kathryn and Daniel’s websites, as well as the team blog  

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