To celebrate women's month, we are sharing some of our inspirational community members here at SODA.
Meet Niharika Hariharan. Niharika is the co-founder of Design3, which is the first global network and ed-tech platform for designers, innovators and creatives in web3. Prior to this, she founded Melloh Wellness a well-tech platform and was an associate partner and leader in the digital and design practice for McKinsey Digital, working with some of the most innovative and ambitious companies in the world. She has over 15 years of expertise in building digital-first businesses, products and services. Niharika speaks and lectures on the role of Design in building human-centred businesses at conferences globally and is a guest lecturer at Imperial Business School, UK.
Where did you study and what got you into your profession?
I studied at Central Saint Martins, London. I have always been curious, observant, and preferred to express myself visually. I learnt about Design in my early teenage years, fell in love with the profession and decided that is what I wanted to do. After school, I did my undergrad and master's in design and have been practising since. There was never a plan B.
What have been your biggest career and personal achievements?
This is a tough question to answer…I have had a fantastic career, worked with amazing people, travelled the globe, and learnt a lot from my colleagues so it’s hard to pick a few but starting my own venture is something I shall consider as a career-high.
Also, being named a ‘Tata Scholar’ to working at Nokia Research Centre to invent new products, winning the best female-led business for Melloh Wellness in 2022, and teaching at Royal College of Arts, and then at Imperial Business School, are all significant achievements for me. Exhibiting my painting was a surreal moment which was also something that I will cherish forever.
My biggest personal achievement is that I have an incredible network of friends, family and colleagues. After being in the industry for close to two decades, I remain curious, humble, I still love designing, making things and I get opportunities to learn new things every day.
What is your current place of work and role?
I am the co-founder of the first global design network and ed-tech platform for design and web3 for innovators, creatives and entrepreneurs - called Design3. My role is to build the most innovative venture with the purpose of creating a decentralised world and giving design a strong voice in shaping products, services and businesses of the future through what web3 has to offer.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
When I reflect back, I feel pretty content with my younger self, who she was and the decisions she made. But I would advise her to place bets on her ideas early on and build her business much sooner than she did.
What does an equitable space look like for you? How can this create impact?
An equitable space is one where people have an opportunity to thrive, grow and learn; it also represents cognitive diversity, not just D&I. It doesn’t mean that people have to do things the same way, but that they have equal access based on their merit. This space can be just, unbiased and authentic only if it represents different types of people, backgrounds, thinking and opportunities. An equitable space can create a significant impact because it enables us to progress, expand our horizons, build tolerance and appreciation for virtually and culturally connected communities. For businesses of all sizes, it is fundamental to enable teams to invent, innovate and solve problems in unique ways.