Report on Knowledge of Design Week 2012

2013.07.29 Updated


Photo: Keynote Speech Mr.Kawahara(Executive Director,IAUD)

The Knowledge of Design Week (KODW2012), hosted by Hong Kong Design Center, was held between the 25th to-29th of June at the Hotel ICON in Hong Kong. Mr.Keiji Kawahara (Executive Director of the International Association for Universal Design) delivered a keynote speech and participated in two workshops. This report was prepared by Mr.Kawahara.

What is KODW?

Photo: The Registration Counter at the Lobby of Hotel ICON

KODW is an annual event hosted by Honk Kong Design center and it is an opportunity to familiarize with the latest design trends with the help of globally renowned design experts. KODW2012 was successfully held with many invited speakers from all around the world.

Please use this link below to visit KODW2012 website for more information:

Appearance on radio program in Hong Kong

Photo: The disc jockey and Mr.Kawahara

I arrived in Hong Kong on 26th of June, 2 days before my speech.

The same day, I appeared on radio program called “Morning Brew” (RTHK Radio Station) arrangement by Hong Kong Design Center.

Photo: Mr.Kawahara and Ms.Kawahara(Secretary-General,IAUD) at RTHK Radio Station

I talked about the KODW and summarize my keynotes speech. It was the first time I had the chance to appear on a broadcasting station in another country.  It was very valuable experience for me.

Click the link below to listen to the Podcast Radio program “Morning Brew”:

The luxury hotel's owner is University

Photo: Hotel ICON

The Welcome Dinner was held at 7 PM in the Café Lounge at the Hotel ICON. The Hotel opened in autumn 2011. It is a luxurious and modern design Hotel with a very unique style. It represents the combined efforts of Hong Kong's most creative architectures, including Sir Terence Conran.

Photo: Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The owner of the hotel is the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, located next to the hotel. All employees are trainees and instructors of the Department of Management of Hotels and Tourism. This hotel has an excellent service and hospitality. We always assume that Japanese hotels have the best service. But I can see we also have to learn and improve from others.

Keynote Speech: From 0 to 80-Why Japanese Products Benefit All

Photo: The main conference of KODW2012

From 25th to 27th of June eleven workshops were held as KODW2012 preconference. Then from 28th and 29th three conferences and two workshops were held as main activities of KODW2012. All conferences were in English and Cantonese.

I gave the keynote speech: "From 0 to 80: Why Japanese Products Benefit All" at the first morning session on the 28th, Ageing and Design Conference: Ageing and Design-Global Business Perspectives.
First, I talked about that Japan has the most super-aged society in the world. It seems that Hong Kong and China will follow the same path. So we need to create a social environment according with universal design values.
In addition, I presented new products and services based on universal design from Japan. Following my speech I gave an interview to a reporter from the Indesignlive Singapore.
The interview was published in the following URL:


Photo: Keynote Speech Mr.Rama (Deputy Director, Helen Hamlyn Centre, Royal College of Art)

Later in the same day, together with Mr.Rama Gheerawo (Deputy Director, Helen Hamlyn Centre, Royal College of Art, UK), Ms.Onny Eikhaug (Programme Leader, Norwegian Design Council, Norway), Mr.Sean Donahue (Principal of Research, and Director of Research, the Art Center College of Design, USA) we hosted a Panel Discussion and two workshops.

Workshop: Business and Design-A People-centered Approach

Photo: Workshop “Business and Design”

On the afternoon session of the 28th we hosted a workshop called: "Business and Design: A People-centered Approach" which lasted three and half hours. There were approximately between 30-40 participants from various fields: students, designers, welfare coordinator, occupational therapists and nurses.

Coverage of Hong Kong Economic Times

Photo: Mr.Kawahara and the journalist

In the morning of the 29th, while the Forum “Global Design Strategy” was being held, I gave an interview to the journalist from Hong Kong Economic Times in a separate room.

Photo: The article of Hong Kong Economic Times

The journalist ask me about the point of designing products for older people and I answered that products development for older people like “silver market” had failed to sell in Japan. However, the journalist couldn't believe me.

That's why I explained the importance of UD which focus on everybody rather than older people only. After the interview I am still hesitating if the journalist understood my point.

Workshop: Mission Impossible

Photo: Workshop “Mission Impossible”

In the afternoon session on 29th, we held the last workshop called: “Mission Impossible: Can you use everyday designs?” This workshop offered the opportunity to understand the difficulties most people have with everyday designs and showed how it leads to innovation. We could learn how to do 'empathic research' and how to work with 'extreme users'. It was the first kind experience for most of the participants. However, it was very successful among all of them.

UD in Hong Kong

Finally on 30th, after all the conferences and workshop, I went sightseeing to Hong Kong city center which I had last visited 15 years ago. There are many new tall buildings but the atmosphere of the city remains as it used to be in the old days.
The accessibility to public transports such as MTR and buses has improved a lot. I would say it has high levels of accessibility compared with global standards.

The Nathan Road

The map of Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon is in English and Cantonese

The underpass of Tsim Sha Tsui station is accessible

The door is completely sealed in the platform of MTR station.

Photo: Victory Bay

On 1st of July 2012 Hong Kong will celebrate its 15th anniversary of the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China. However, in 2047, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will come to an end and will pass from a capitalist to a socialist. Looking at the Victory Bay from my room: I am wondering what Chinese people think about their future. Furthermore, by that time, China will be a super-aged society like Japan today. How will Chinese people handle this social phenomenon?


Please make your inquiry here (you will be automatically transferred to the Inquiries page).

to top of this page