Summary of Day 2 at The Icsid World Design Congress 2009

Day 2 was really the meat of the congress. There were a number of powerful presentations that really set the scene and provided a wake-up call for everyone participating. Emily Pilloton, the 2nd keynote, gave a powerful account of design doing what it does best: solving problems. A nice reminder of the problems we are having now while we look towards 2050.
Chris Luebkeman in his Studio: Life @ 1 Planet 2050…or Naught, painted 4 scenarios of how our world may evolve to. Design Blind Spots by Toshiko Mori was unexpectedly shocking as she showed a wasteland in the middle of Canada that was being used to mine oil sands and shipping the oil product to the US. Finally Healthcare 2050 by Stefano Marzano was the most powerful of all. Stefano hypothesized when the DNA gene mapping is complete, our concept of healthcare will be revolutionized. Called Cupio Curo, this health system tracks a person’s DNA map, predicts the type of healthcare required over a person’s lifespan, and creates a relevant and sustainable individualized care system for that person.
After these presentations, the 9 studios ran their content again, and the day closed with a panel discussion. The following notes are the Day 2 highlights of the keynote speeches and presentations by the Design Studios 2050 masters. Enjoy!
Emily Pilloton: The industrial design revolution.
1) Founded Project H out of frustration of a design industry focusing on commodities and an unjustified luxury market.
2) She then shares Project H’s 6 design rules and values that she thinks all designers should adopt:
i. There is no design without (critical) action. Stop talking about it and get on with it.
ii. We work with, not for (clients). (This I love!)
iii. We start locally, and scale globally. How can you design for someone when you are not there?
iv. We create systems not stuff. Take design out of products and focus design into systems or the experience.
v. We document, share, and measure the outcomes. It’s not about whitepapers, but sharing the methodology with other designers so that it can be replicated in many countries.
vi. We build. In the most basic sense. This is something forgotten by many designers and we should bring it back as a very important part of the design process.
3) Project H has no offices; we operate in the places where the design will be used, like at homeless shelters etc.
4) Project H uses design to create sustainable revenue streams. (Wow! This really touched me. Getting design to help someone earn a living. Teach a man to fish!)
5) Without the opportunity to learn through the hands the world remains distant and engaged – Emily quotes Shopcraft as Soulcraft.
6) Designers should throw your laptops out of the window and go back to building things by hand.
7) Finally: design can change the world – www.projecthdesign.com
Chris Luebkeman : Life @ 1 Planet 2050 or Naught.
1) Accept that: Change is constant!
2) Big problem: A selfish bubble. Humans are living in denial of the problems of the world.
3) We learnt 2 things: i) Comfort zone constipation, ii) the future is always oversold.
4) To find out what the world in 2050 will be, the studio asked for people to role play characters where the first premise is characters will survive to 2050!
5) Check out the awesome profiling and character creation and full story at www.thedesign2050challenge.com
6) When will we replace ourselves? Where in the next 20 years we can grow body parts, what will we do?
7) What do we do when there is no job security? Where are my neighbors? What happens to transport and logistics when we flip our hemispheres?
8) What does your garden grow? Will there be a black market of trees? (WOW!) Sun-forests to rain forests?
9) What happens when your home sinks? What happen when nations die? Are you a part time citizen?
10) There are 4 plausible futures.
i. Selfish bubble: Where Humans live in denial.
ii. Life is cheap [the vortex of despair]
iii. Carbon is crime. We decide to repair the planet at even human detriment. Waste becomes a resource.
iv. The ecological age: we accept and look at how the world is working and we mimic nature.
11) The future is fiction: What will normal be? What do we hope will be normal?
12) We have to get to the ecological age! We must!
13) There are consequences in everything we do. Designers must understand this.
Toshiko Mori: Design Blind Spots
1) By 2050 the North Pole was devoid of all summer sea ice. Therefore expect the decline of fishes and sea coral. (This is a bleak look at the future, which is a similar story to others.)
2) This is heavy on the sustainable content, and I think the message is clear. Take care of our home, or we will pay for it.
3) The Design Blind Spots discussion is about areas between solutions as we currently solve problems in a silo platform, i.e. as designers, or as architects or as politicians etc.
4) The Canadian oil sand mining is a huge problem. The activity is stripping the earth, and producing oil as much as Middle East.
5) Using this as a scenario as a basis, Toshiko uses awesome Design thinking, to bring together policy, mining commission, and people to find a solution to this oil sands mining problem.
6) Design thinking involves both low-level execution and high-level strategic thinking.
Stefano Marzano: Healthcare 2050
1) In 2050 we will have a global population of 9 billion with 90% living in cities. 2 billion of which are over 60.
2) Health insurance in US would be 41% of household income in 7 years, by 2040 cost of care will rise 270%.
3) Huge burden for the young and those in the active workforce.
4) I’m not going to talk about smart products or future hospitals. I will talk about holistic healthcare.
5) We are in a global community as epidemic and infections do not respect borders.
6) Inclusiveness and global accessibility of healthcare solutions. The current hospitals are like factories.
7) We come in with complaints, treated based on complaints, and moved out for the next patient. No real holistic monitoring or aftercare.
8) Here are some possible future scenarios:
i. A future mother because of hereditary diseases she is able to get help from healthy DNA for her baby
ii. With advances in DNA we can track a person’s life cycle and predict the possible healthcare requirements he/she needs.
iii. Mary was 85 and before she died she asked to be reborn. As she loved nature, her DNA was combined with an orchid and replanted.
iv. Pete wanted to extend his life and transplanted the lung of his faithful pet dog.
9) Healthcare will naturally lead to ethical issues. But we need to go beyond our understanding of what healthcare is today.
10) We need to look at the total picture. Genetics, family structure, diet, education, environment, before we can look for better healthcare. This is Cupio Curo.
11) Cupio Curo will require a lifetime of data monitoring that will allow for prevention, treatment and aftercare.
12) Death is a discussion in healthcare 2050. In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes
13) Thus the question is to ask what will we leave behind? Do we want to be part of the continual cycle of life?
14) Care based on the genetic blueprint and our understanding of DNA mapping will be a reality in 2050
15) Because the future does not fall out of the sky…so we need to be active participants in accurately predicting 2050
Overheard in the Design 2050 studios:
1) Bangle: the world is user generated or created. Nothing in an automobile is user generated.
2) Bangle: Designers under brands have major constraints to work with.
3) Bangle: You can only change a car once in 7 yrs. That slow renewal is a problem for the industry.
4) Bangle: Together with brand constraints the auto industry will be diff to change.
5) Bangle: The competitive nature of the car design selection process means designers will disassociate yourself from your car/design.
6) Bangle: Remain as passionate about design as possible in victory and in failure.
7) Bangle: Modernism killed the influence of culture in design. There seem to be only a few ways to design stuff.
8) Bangle: What is your cultural contribution to design? Forget about the euro centric modernism form etc.
9) Bangle: I want all of you to be courageous. Don’t worry too much about what people think about you when you are doing the right thing.
10) Feng Zhu: Want to bankrupt a film studio, design a film set with fur and water. (Like that Wookie home world!)
11) Feng Zhu: Concept art is not about showing a design but to actually showing how it feels.
12) Feng Zhu: Colors are vital. Many elements add to feeling. (Concept designers have a strong awareness to detail, which are elements that can build a scene.)
13) Feng Zhu: Printed folios only! Best way to communicate. USB folios are a big virus risk and not for collaborative sharing.
14) Feng Zhu: Entrepreneurial designers know that your sketch/work is worth money.
15) Feng Zhu: People hire concept designers for their ideas not sketching ability. Sketching is a means to an end.
Overhead during the panel discussion moderated by Paola Antonelli:
1) Paola asks: What is the social role of the designer today?
2) Toshiko: Design should be more like art? Should designers be like artist? Emily: It’s a slippery slope.
3) Stefano: Designers should be a little more modest. *applause*
4) How do we (designers) benevolently manipulate people to do and live better?
5) Toshiko: Living sustainability is not that difficult! We used to do it before but we just lack desire now!
6) Stefano: Design thinking is not special; it is more about thinking for the good of people.
7) Emily: There is a certain level of trust required before you can really co-design with others.
8) Paola: How can design influence politicians? Stefano: designers should join politics.
9) Emily: Sustainability has failed because it hasn’t provided a better alternative.
10) Emily: Design as an act of citizenship. Designer should work in areas that matter like public schools, poor homes etc.
11) Feng Zhu in the audience: Asks the panel how much of design is influenced by money?
12) Stefano: Designers still struggle with the ability to demonstrate the economical value of design. Suggests that Icsid adopt this as part of its charter.
13) Design and education has to go hand in hand. Emily: the best way to sell design is to get the public involved.
14) Stefano: Design needs to resolve our own internal issues before we can go to world.
That’s all for the highlights from Day 2, do stay tuned for Day 3 which will likely be up tomorrow!

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