Summary of the Final Day 3 at The Icsid World Design Congress 2009

Day 3 continues with a number of equally interesting presentations. Unfortunately I did not get an opportunity to sit through all the presentations as I had to take a break from the congress for some work related activities. However I will share what I manage to note down.
William Halal presented his methodology from his tech forecasting activities and shares a number of interesting predictions. At first I was concerned that Thomas Heatherwick was just going do a typical boring portfolio presentation, he instead inspired all with us with his wonderful design philosophy and inspiring design work. Feng Zhu ran an Hollywood inspired, fast paced presentation that show cased not only Entertainment 2050 but his design thinking as well. Again, like the previous summary articles, here are the highlights:
William Halal: Understanding the Technology Revolution
1) No forecasting method is 100% accurate.
2) Knowledge is a key ingredient of innovation, where innovation impacts I.T.
3) The cost of solar power will match the cost of oil in 3-5 years. It will finally then take off in popularity!
4) A.I. replaces routine mental work in about 2021. Humans will recognize what is unique to be human, like the ability to be spiritual etc.
5) Therefore one of the greatest discoveries of our time will be that humans discover that there things that machines cannot do.
6) E-commerce will move to 30% adoption levels about 2015
7) 30% of medical care will be via tele-medicine by 2014.
8) 2020: Sustainability problem will be solved. We will have mastery over life, intelligence and beyond. This will result in a crisis of maturity and a evolution of global consciousness.
Thomas Heatherwick: Now. In general there were not too many quotable quotes but instead a refreshing show of beautiful buildings and structures that made it look like 2050 has arrived.
1) Let’s talk about aesthetics…
2) Shares a project at the Shanghai World Expo next year: A seed cathedral made from the seeds from the millennium seed bank. (Google it as my words will do it no justice.)
3) The creative step is in the brief that we get, or the brief we set ourselves. Not the designing bit.
4) Great presentation by Thomas Heatherwick : he concluded with a toilet with a living hinge door! (It is a reflection that a great design has details that are also inspired by the overall concept.)
Feng Zhu: Entertainment 2050
1) I don’t really work in 2050, I work 1000 years in the future!
2) Goes back to his product design roots for look at Entertainment 2050.
3) No matter what, people’s basic needs will not change. Showing off, love, shelter etc. It is likely that many things won’t change.
4) Micro payment will be big. Ad posters will be made of digital paper, and will reward consumers for looking at it.
5) Movies will run on a subscription model and accessible from all your devices, PC/TV/Phone etc.
6) Gaming will be much of the same. Graphics will be cooler but the enjoyment factor will be similar.
7) Gaming will have eye tracking features, so the game can throw challenges in areas that you are not looking at.
8) Your friends on social networks will continue to be your main gaming partners, but it will expand into many platforms not just Facebook.
9) Computer screens will not get much bigger as there is only so much real-estate we can visually handle. But resolution will be super high.
10) Despite touch screens, computer mice will still be a big input device.
11) Desktop manufacturing will be big. For example a racing game will allow you to buy a 3D model of your winning car and make your own real world model to keep.
12) Me: I like how Feng Zhu draws over photos. Its brings in a realistic elements to a sketch. Product designers can learn this to represent sketches in real world environments.
13) Personal Storage system (USB sticks): very evolve and become isolated protected silos of data. It will contain all the OS and information you require and is able to access the data via sliding it into a shell PC.
14) All devices will be interconnected and have similar processing power despite its physical size. (In other words, physical size of a product will be a result of consumer focused needs rather than a reflection of processing power)
15) We will be able to play many games in one go, switching from windows to windows. (Processing power will be strong enough for this.)
16) Portable gaming will be big and self-aware. It will be location-aware so that it can times your games in context to match your location/destination.
17) Portable gaming will have focused sound cone technology so only the player can hear the sound and not his neightbours.
18) Expect a customer created environment that consists 100% always on live feeds. Advances in mini cameras and fast/cheap broadband will allow people to watch your dog or your baby any time, all the time.
19) Stores advertising will be customized. It will take a 3D photo of you and offer you new clothes mapped over your body shape.
20) E-magazines instead of Paper. With a subscription based model.
21) Wikipedia will have augmented reality interface, where it automatically loads up location information through a HUD.
22) Products will be about consumers wanting it than marketers pushing it. (Anyone can say iPhone?)
Unfortunately I missed out Bill Mitchell: Reinventing the Automobile 2050, and Foster and Partners: Sustainable Cities 2050. However I did manage to come back in time for the panel discussion.
1) Feng Zhu: Computers have not made us smarter, they have, perhaps, made us dumber.
2) The future will be how do we manage (digital) knowledge movement rather than (physical) people movement?
3) Feng Zhu: At the end of the day people want something in return. Nobody does things for free. If this is the case how can we hope to create a utopian society for the common good together?
4) We already know what we need to do. It is now about the how? Design should always be part of something bigger.
5) There is evidence that people are willing to give things for free. Feng Zhu: However it is proven that user creation is pure chaos. How do we then exercise control?
6) How do we build thought leadership? Design brought into education at an early age. Feng Zhu: design should be made into a viable career.
7) So are we capable of policing ourselves? Is it possible to change ourselves and create a better way?
8) If we can’t get control of ourselves what future do we have?
9) Design awards are a useful education tool for the public on what is good design. But what about the judges? How do we judge the judges?
10) Feng zhu: Why not let public decide on what is a good design. Otherwise it is designers just voting on their own designs.
11) Thomas: Design awards have no public profile. Awards are only good for making the organizers a lot of money, and motivating designers and clients.
12) Can we get the public to do design?
13) Thomas: I don’t think so. Clients want us (designers) to do our best work not pander to their needs. (Otherwise what use are we?)
The following comments are an audience response to question open to the floor and on twitter: “What are your thoughts of the world in 2050”?
1) Consumerism is dead.
2) Keep information open sourced for all of us to share and learn.
3) Humans are very good at solving problems.
4) Where do we come from and where do we go?
5) I’m afraid I might miss this exciting time! (in 2050)
6) Brucenussbaum: Icsid is ending now split between practical Singaporeans and Utopian designers.
7) Designers are problem solvers. Want a good 2050? Let’s start in 2 months, in 2010.
8) This (2050) is not going to happen unless we consider the people that earn $2 a day or where life is cheap.
9) @brucenussbaum: Emily Polliton and Stefano Marzano held as best presenters by Israeli audience looking for design relevance at Icsid.
That’s all for the congress content, however going forward Design 2050 studios will live on. Firstly it will be turned into a documentary in 2010 and then eventually into a system and opportunity for everyone to be involved in the conversation.
Do u want to wait for the future to happen, or go out to happen to the future? Come all to join the conversation at www.design-2050.groupsite.com. See you there and thanks for following!

1 Comment
  • sharon goh

    December 9, 2009 at 3:36 am Reply

    thanks for summarising all these..Brian.it really brings back fond memories. Now that I’m back in Holland and reading this, I find it very memorable.
    I thought that Day 3’s panel discussion is interesting because the people up for discussion are from different backgrounds… young and older guys, architects and designers, sci-fi vs simplicity ….

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