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| The true truth about design in China.
December 04, 2005
China Design Conference Paid Off Big.
Patrick Whitney's Illinois Institute of Technology conference--Design for the new China Markets--that ran in Beijing on Dec. 1 and 2 was simply stunning. In my talk that concluded the conference, I guessed that the nearly 200 people, half from inside China, half from the outside, who attended came away with up to $1 million worth of IP from the amazing presentations. The level of detail offered up in those presentations totally surprised me. And the networking that went on stunned me. I brought a 100 business cards and they were gone by the beginning of the second day. Where else could you talk to Ying-Jia Yao, the head of design for Lenovo, China's biggest PC maker and now owner of the IBM ThinkPad, and then turn around and talk to Tom MacTavish, the head of Motorola's human interaction labs, including the one in Shanghai. Their presentations in particular were extremely valuable. Yao heads up some of the best ethnographic work done in China by a Chinese company. And Motorola is doing the most incredible cellphone work on animation delivering messages. I'll blog on the conference all week. Whitney plans to do another conference in China soon. Go.
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Thank you Bruce for your presentation as well, you really summed up the excitement of the conference for me. I wanted to ask as well, given the huge amount of activity and aggressive efforts of all parties to participate in transforming design in China, what do you think is the way that Western companies should engage going forward? From the conference it seems that we are approaching a level playing field for design in the next few years; how should the Western companies calibrate their approach?
Posted by: Ben Clemens at December 4, 2005 12:09 PM
It sounds obvious that Chineses are interested by design. It is the way the Japaneses have followed to take near 100% of the market shares in the photographic industry, in the motorbike industry and in the hifi-video one. The most interesting point is not industrial design by itself, but the economical model which uses aesthetical design and other factors to build a prosperous economy. Capitalism, socialism, communism are ideologies from the past.
The emerging system can be called: "Dynamism" in which the main element is the energy ressource.
I simply hope, it doesn't become an ideology!..
Best Regards to all,
Georges de Wailly
Posted by: Georges de Wailly at December 5, 2005 02:53 AM
I attended the event as well and greatly enjoyed it. While considering the conferences events on the long journey home, I too was struck by the amazing amount of open discussion. Only in retrospect had I believed I would be met by my Chinese counter parts with reserve and distance. The exchange of ideas was exhilarating and profound. My preconceived notions of China were smashed and I was left with questions that I didn't even know existed. The people of China are grappling with the same problems we are only at a speed we can’t imagine. Consumerism is marching squarely through their culture at a pace that has never been experienced by any other country. We spoke about Design and Industry and a little about government, but at the end of the day we really spoke about the people of China and how they might adapt to designing, manufacturing and consuming a future that is being created as you read this posting.
Posted by: Joseph O'Sullivan at December 5, 2005 08:04 AM
Great reporting on the China Conference. Patrick Whitney and team are providing important insights into the China Design world.
By the way Pat is the director of The Institute of Design -IIT. and we are proud of his efforts.
Bob Blaich, ID Board of overseers
Posted by: Dr. Robert blaich at December 12, 2005 12:55 AM