Ingo Rauth sends in this great overview of the recent VOLVO Design Forum:
The Main topic of this year's forum was "Personal Design" in the area of sports. The event was held for the 6th time now, and there was a great set of speeches and workshops offered during the whole day--culminating with the Volvo Design Award.
After a "Bavarian breakfast," the day started with an introduction by Andrej Kupetz (Manager of the German Design Council) and Frank Piller (TIM Business School) who spoke about the background, history, potential, and challenges of Personal Design. They were followed up by Stefano Natoli (Head of NIKEiD EMEA) who talked about NIKEiD and their experience and understanding of "personal design." He addressed marketing and production issues, emphasizing the huge value of the direct customer feedback. Stefan Jansson (VOLVO car cooperation) got a nice laugh from the crowd when he commented that "VOLVO is thinking man's BMW." (Munich is basically BMW's hometown.)
After a very nice lunch break, we entered one of the parallel workshops. In addition to workshops by NIKE and Adidas on mass customizatio,n there where other appealing topics--one was "voice design," where the attendant's voice was used to personalize a head, or the "Stick it up!" workshop by aesthetiker, where you could design a personalized snowboard model in both shape and style.
The following series of speeches where very interesting, with highlights like "Build the best product; cause no unnecessary harm" by Rick Ridgeway (Patagonia), and an inside view from David Coulthart on personalization within the Formula 1. He talked about his tailor-made fireproof and breathable suit, and the racing shoes (which he can hardly walk in): "that's not what they're made for." He also talked about the driver's importance to engineers in terms of car analysis. (A driver's opinion can be revealing as a month of costly data analysis.) Every speech was followed by a 5-10 minute session, where the audience had the chance to ask some questions.
A second workshop session offered more speeches, begun by Garry Wall (Quicksilver) who described Quicksilver's decision to adopt the Personal Design philosophy with: "Personal Design is a way for our customers to achieve fulfilment, to express their attitudes." The speech was followed up by Timm Fenton (Tumi's Vice President of Design), who spoke abou the extension to the human body, and Steve Wozniak (Apple Co-Founder) about the past and the future of the personal computer. He concluded his presentation by encouraging those present to come up with and follow up their own visions--a nice final statement for such an inspiring day.
And then it was on to the award ceremony for the VOLVO Design Award. Surprisingly, there was a huge range of small companies honored, showing their initiative to the new approach of personal design within the segment of sports. Within the eight categories, the jury had to judge between 328 products--the largest number of participations in the history of the event. The winners where honored with a beautiful glass sculpture by Ingegerd Råman
The winners within the eight areas where:
Allan Chochinov is a partner of Core77, a New York-based design network serving a global community of designers and design enthusiasts, and Chair of the new MFA in Products of Design graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Allan lectures around the world and at professional conferences including IDSA, AIGA and IxDA, has been a guest critic at various design schools in including Yale University, IIT, Carnegie Mellon, Ravensbourne, RMIT, University of Minnesota, Emily Carr, and RISD. He has moderated and led workshops and symposia at the Aspen Design Conference, the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, Compost Modern, and Winterhouse, and is a frequent design competition juror. Prior to Core77, his work in product design focused on the medical, surgical, and diagnostic fields, as well as on consumer products and workplace systems. He has been named on numerous design and utility patents and has received awards from The Art Directors Club, I.D. Magazine, Communication Arts, and The One Club.