Summary of Day 1 at The Icsid Design Congress 2009

As promised here are some of the highlights of Day 1 of the Icsid Design Congress 2009. I’ve summarized all the best points and significant comments. Unfortunately, I won’t cover all the content as it will just be too much. Also, I’ve kept the comments short and in point form, as I don’t have too much time to beautify it, hopefully it is enough to get the job done. I’ll go back to fix it in the future, and that is the power of the internet: being in Beta!
We got off to a flying start with Bruce Nussbaum interviewing Singapore’s Minister of Finance, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam. They discussed the biggest design project there can be, the designing of a country. Some of the key points were as follows:
1) Singapore knew from the start that there was no such thing as a free lunch. The leaders of the county recognized to survive they needed to overcome their weaknesses (like no natural resources) and leverage on their strengths.
2) Singapore also knew that they did not want to be followers and carved their own path or future.
3) Singapore used technology to overcome her weaknesses, such as water purification. But recognize that it’s now time to transition into center of creativity.
4) One of the challenges was also managing the country’s diverse cultures and population. Fortunately this diverse melting pot of cultures is seen as a strength for that move into a creative economy. The country is very good at welcoming people and encourages them to call Singapore home.
5) Bruce asks what about the entrepreneurial culture. The Minister acknowledges that Singapore is not known as an entrepreneurial society, but holds a social system that large companies will find comfort in. Minister agrees we can do better and we will, as it is very important for indigenous local companies and brands for our nation building.
6) Minister Tharman sees a vision of Singapore being the central meeting point as the East moves to the West moves to the East.
Next up is Arnold Wasserman and he asks a few key questions to set the scene for the Design 2050 studios studio masters presentation below.
1) Design 2050 was a call to action to designers, for their role of being responsible for the world’s material culture.
2) How do we move from more is better to better is better?
Chris Bangle: Personal Emotional Mobility 2050.
1) So what is personal emotional mobility? It is a personal freedom you enjoy and power.
2) What we related on a car and what we rely on a car is different.
3) How can we reinvent the car? It has to be, personal, able to set your own pace in traffic, part and be adaptable to your needs.
4) Can cars be modular like a PC? Could you share your car parts but keep personal?
5) Can cars be manufactured locally? Cars will be different for the communication generation as cars will now be Avatar. Can cars do more in the future than just sit outside? So now cars are not about sculpture but gesture.
6) We need a disruptive period before we can think and imagine a better place.
Ravi Naidoo, Protofarm 2050.
1) How to bring people closer to the creation/harvestion process of the food they eat?
2) Do we change our world to suit ourselves, or change ourselves to suit the world?
3) Self-sufficiency can be achieved. If it works you don’t need to leave your home for food!
4) Privatizing natural resources to protect them and keeping them from being destroyed.
Panel Discussions:
1) Richard Hassell’s new concept: “wenergy.” Energy + weather. On a Sunny day we get more solar energy, and on Windy days more wind energy production. This gives us an energy surplus or deficit situation depending on the weather conditions.
2) Bruce Nussbaum: Design born out of necessity is the best design.
3) Chris Bangle: Car design has not faced up to a need for massive change.
4) Chris Bangle: Car design should not get away from how other kinds of designs are evolving. It is now not just about forms.
5) Richard Hassell: Lots of excited government officials joining the conversation and understanding how design can even impact policy.
6) Paola Antonelli: how do you design for the bio-diverse world?
7) Ravi Naidoo: Co-creation is the key. Designing with the communities.
8) Chris Bangle: Not happy with car industry’s view on customization. It is not just about changing a little to make it personal.
9) DT (that’s me!): What about the concept of Fabbing, co-creation, and in-home manufacturing?
10) Arnold Wasserman: Asks the jury, what is happiness and what is a good life? Should we not consider this higher purpose as it is linked to out objectives of this Studios?
11) Bruce Nussbaum: Design is getting away from a reputation of feeding consumerism, to designing experiences.
12) Final question with no answer but for us to ponder: Shall we design a new culture?
Ok friends, hope you enjoyed these highlights of Day 1. Do stay tuned for Day 2.

1 Comment
  • Daniel Christadoss

    November 26, 2009 at 10:26 am Reply

    Thanks for a very informative and up to date coverage on the congress. Your comments on Chris Bangle: Personal Emotional Mobility 2050 had a lateral thinking effect triggering a blog from my side which talks about a pemmPOD embracing the thoughts emanating from Chris Bangle and as perceived by me.
    It talks about clubbing LapTops, iPOD Nano’s, personal mobility and office desks.

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