The highlight of AU day one was Tom Kelley's keynote, of course. Or rather, it should have been.
In a slight disappointment, the IDEO general manager gave a curt summary of the same topics he's been speaking on for a decade or more: innovation is important, innovation requires good design, learning how people use things is crucial. Designers and researchers in the audience were probably bored to tears as he walked through the Commodity >> Product >> Service >> Experience progression again...but of course, designers weren't his primary audience, and that's heartening.
Given that Industrial Design and related disciplines--the sort for whom Kelley is an old cognitive buddy--still make up less than 5% of the AU crowd, the fact that he was the only non-Autodesk employee on the stage today speaks volumes about Autodesk's trajectory. And given that phrases like Experience Architecture and Hierarchy of Meaning are probably foreign to most of the managers and engineers hearing his pitch, the Design Thinking 101 angle made perfect sense.
Other related manifestations we're looking forward to: a presentation by Scott Robertson that's not listed under ID (it's under Design Leadership, after a conscious decision to broaden the audience, according to Autodesk's Chris Cheung).; and a class for Mechanical Engineers called Industrial Design 101: What Designers Do and How to Work with Them.
Also, more presentations on the push toward digital prototyping: CEO Carl Bass (above left) in his portion of the keynote explained that they "allow us to understand the design far more completely than physical models ever could." Bold words to the ears of designers raised on Sculpie and Bluefoam, but they're pulling out all the stops to try and make it true.Conversely, we're looking forward to more on rapid 3D printing, though it'll be hard to top this morning's concept chopper, designed in Inventor and printed full size on a Stratasys FDM.
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