Organized by the Hong Kong Design Center, and jointly sponsored by the Royal College of Art's Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Include Asia 2013 was held on July 2(Tue)-3(Wed) 2013, at Hong Kong's Hotel Icon. Executive Director Keiji Kawahara and Director Makoto Oshima, who is in charge of International Cooperation at the Information Exchange Center, were invited and gave lectures and workshops.
Hong Kong Design Center's yearly Knowledge of Design Week was held over a total of 5 days under the main theme of "Design for All: Game Changing in Business & Society," with Include Asia 2013 (jointly sponsored by the Royal College of Art's Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and Hong Kong Polytechnic University) on the first two days, the KODW Forum on the middle day, and the Asian Culture Forum on the final 2 days.
Around 30 well-known speakers from around the world were invited and held lectures, panel discussions and workshops on a variety of themes. Masayuki Kurokawa, Masaki Nakamura and Katsumi Asaba were invited as speakers from Japan for the Asian Culture Forum.
I gave a lecture and ran a workshop for Include Asia 2013, and also participated in a number of program items in the KODW Forum.
*Please refer to the below link for an overview of KODW.
The venue was the same as it was last year, Hotel Icon in downtown Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon peninsula, which opened 2 years ago. Sir Terence Conran and other well-known architects and interior designers were involved in its planning, and it is a designer hotel well worth a look for anyone involved in the creative industry, so I highly recommend a visit to anyone with the opportunity for a Hong Kong business trip.
*Please refer to the below link for articles on participation in last year's KODW, in the IAUD August 2012 Newsletter.
The first day was July 2(Tue), and after the opening welcome the keynote address was given by Kathryn Firth, who is chief designer at the public corporation to redevelop the venues used for the London Olympic Games. Her address explored how the venues used for the Olympic Games held in London in 2012 will be redeveloped to be useful for the citizens from the viewpoint of inclusive design. Next, Paul Thompson, who is the Rector of the Royal College of Art, gave a talk entitled "Design for the Other 90%: Global Problems and Local Solutions." There is interest gathering in advanced industrialized nations such as America, Europe and Japan in design aimed at elderly and handicapped persons, but in developing nations, which comprise the other 90% of the world, the big problems are poverty, hunger and access to safe water, and Mr. Thompson talked about how design to solve these problems is in demand, intermingling a variety of design examples.
Following that, I gave a lecture called "Inclusive Design in Japan after 311," which discussed things such as how there has been a big change in the consciousness of the Japanese people since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and how there is even more interest than before in safety and security, and demand for daily products that take times of emergency into consideration, and how residential building projects based on a new, resident-participation-type way of thinking can be seen in the areas affected by the disaster.
The third speaker, Dan Formosa, gave a lecture with typical American humor entitled "How Design can Save the World," which included the current state of design in America and future prospects intermingled with criticisms of an industrial world unable to break free from fixed ideas.
After that, Professor Cees De Bont, Design Dean at the local Hong Kong Polytechnic University, closed the morning session with a recap of and impressions on the keynote address and following 3 lectures.
A paper presentation session was held in the afternoon, but I was unable to attend due to a meeting I had scheduled with a representative from a Hong Kong organization for handicapped persons.
The organization concerned has a strong desire for cooperation with IAUD, and wants to use UD concepts to outfit the showroom and library of a center for handicapped persons that is to be built nearby. They were so motivated that they even attended my workshop.
The day's program closed with participation in an evening poolside welcome reception.
A paper presentation session was held in the morning of the second day (3rd July (Wed)), with the closing session held from 2pm. Stephen Wilcox, founder and head of the American company Design Science and Chair of the Scientific Committee, gave a recap of the two days, followed by a panel discussion with Dr Patricia Moore from America, who has been guest speaker a number of times at international IAUD conferences, Professor Cees De Bont, Design Dean at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Alvin Yip, a director of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Professor Yasuyuki Hirai of Kyushu University to close the conference.
Workshops were held from 4pm until 7:30pm. 3 workshops were held in parallel over the same time period, and one of them was our "Inclusive Design in Japan" workshop, which had around 60 participants. There were apparently a great many members from the Shenzen Industrial Design Association in neighboring Shenzen participating, so I was worried about how the workshops would be received (both ours and those run by the people from the Hong Kong Design Center), but from what I heard in the following days, at least as far as our workshop was concerned, it seemed that many of the participants were satisfied with the content of the workshop, so that was a relief.
*For details on the workshop, please refer to the report by Director Oshima.
After the workshops had finished, there was a Speakers Welcome Dinner from 8:30pm, held at the recently opened and popular restaurant "Duddell's."
Designed by English interior designer Ilse Crawford, the effect is that of a mansion where persons of art and culture gather. The sense of openness leading to the outdoor terrace is rather stylish, and I was able to get a perfect sense of the hospitality offered by the sponsors to thank the speakers for their efforts.
The third day (4th July (Thurs)) was the Hong Kong Design Center's KODW Forum, with a lecture/panel discussion entitled "Design for Social Innovation" in the morning and one entitled "Design Innovation Management" in the afternoon.
I was impressed by the timely nature of the themes, but more than anything I felt an energy and spirit of the kind you hardly see anymore at similar forums in Japan recently, which gave me a real sense of the economic growth in Asia. Of the lectures, the talk by Professor Kun-Pyo Lee of KAIST's Department of Industrial Design, who was the former Executive Vice President and Corporate Design Center Head of LG Electronics, was about how business predictions in the mobile telephone markets of Japan, China and Korea are derived from cultural differences in taste in mobile telephone users in those respective countries, and was truly dynamic and persuasive. I could understand perfectly how it would be no easy task to beat a corporation with a design expert such as himself in the ranks of top management.
A dinner party called "InnoDesign Leadership Forum" was held that evening, aimed at interaction between local Hong Kong business managers and invited speakers. Before dinner there was a witty talk/discussion by Shaun Rein, who is the founder of China Market Research Group and also well-known as an economic commentator on CNN and Bloomberg, Hideshi Hamaguchi, Director of Strategy for America's Ziba Design, and Jan Chipchase, Executive Creative Director of Frog Design. The party progressed American-style, stimulating the intellectual curiosity of the participants, and the way that topics were provided for the people gathered at each of the tables was something that we in Japan would probably do well to emulate.
On the 5th of July (Fri) I had an interview with a newspaper called the Apple Daily. The interviewer is teaching herself Japanese, and had written the questions she wanted to ask me in Japanese in her notebook, and tried to ask her questions as much as possible in Japanese, which gave me a sense of her extraordinary enthusiasm.
I felt the same way last year too, but journalists in Hong Kong have a keen interest in design and a desire to approach things with sincerity, and I am irritated by our dull reaction in Japan, where it is as if it is not even recognized as an issue.
After the entire program had finished, I left Hong Kong on an afternoon flight. As I watched Hong Kong island and Kowloon peninsula gradually get smaller from the window of the plane, my mind was filled with many thoughts as I wondered whether recent Japan-China relations, made quite difficult from the reverberations from the Senkaku islands and anti-Japanese demonstrations, might not find some relief from deeper interaction between people at the civilian level through the promotion of the idea of UD respecting humanity, as exemplified by "sympathy" and "hospitality," as well as how Hong Kong, with its democratic legacy left behind from its days governed by Great Britain, could become a partner siding with Japan more easily than continental cities like Beijing or Shanghai.
INCLUDE ASIA 2013 was held during the first two days of Hong Kong’s yearly KODW this time.
At the panel discussion, held on the second day, opinions were given that opening inclusive design conference except London is significant to discuss global problems such as aging societies on increase, urbanization. As well, strong opinions were shared toward the practicality of inclusive design in Asia and the developmental expectations in individual Asian countries.
Furthermore, Professor Jeremy Myerson of the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre commented on Executive Director Kawahara’s lecture “Inclusive Design in Japan after 311” and praised the revitalization situation as well as the rise in consciousness towards safety and security in Japan.
On Wednesday, July 3rd, the second day of INCLUDE ASIA 2013 Executive Director Kawahara and Oshima participated in the first workshop held overseas on the subject of IAUD, titled “Inclusive Design in Japan”.
The theme this time was “KID’S GOODIES (Tools for Children)”. Among the 60 participants (including administrative staff) most were Chinese nationals; others included two participants from Europe and one participant from Japan. Among the Chinese nationals there were those who were born and still reside in Hong Kong in addition to others from Shenzhen.
With our improvements to the venue layout this year, we were able to accommodate five groups. As well, to stay within our limited four-hour time frame we gave consideration to the schedule and prepared teaching materials beforehand.
During the first part of the lecture, we were able to explain workshop knowhow through introduction of the circumstances surrounding Japan’s 48-hour Design Marathon and by highlighting some of its exemplary examples.
Furthermore, among the Kid’s Design Award winning works we introduced products centered on those created by IAUD member firms. As well, we brought in small products that could fit into the venue and had participants make use of them in an effort to gain understanding.
After observation of the UD product samples and hands-on experience each team began work on discussion and idea creation. Amidst the diverse atmospheres present among the groups, participants proceeded to brainstorming and visualization of ideas.
Certain teams, using mainly English as a means to communicate among various international people, proceeded slowly through the discussion of ideas and the narrowing down of the theme. Various forms of cooperation are necessary to overcome the language barrier.
With each team’s members having different cultures and values participants gained wisdom through the differences in language and ways of expression and had soon passed the four-hour mark.
As well, we saw one team writing down ideas according to different words from their concept on a piece of vellum spread across their entire table.
It was thought that many of this team’s members had experience in workshops.
We thank the people of the Hong Kong Design Center in helping to supply the workshop areas with various sizes of paper, writing utensils, and magic markers for illustration.
As the ideas were being narrowed down, those members who were skilled at sketching and illustration began work on giving shape to the ideas. Even here, participants were seen overcoming the language barrier and communicating ideas to one another.
During the idea visualization phase those with experience in design were able to facilitate smooth communication.
Lastly teams prepared for their summary presentations. Each team was allotted ten minutes, including time for questions.
This idea originated from a member whose child couldn’t properly use a spoon. In order to teach children how to properly use a spoon they developed a spoon with a glove-shaped case attached to it. If the child uses the spoon properly, an enjoyable music is emitted. With a fresh idea that heartwarmingly captures the feeling of raising children, this team was awarded the PARENTING prize.
This team discussed various proposals for goods using IT, such as the I-Drink (a proposed container, based on IT technology, whose contents can’t spill), the I-Tag (a concept for a tag which prevents misplacing items), and Fair Talk (a household good which allows children to converse from an adult’s perspective). However due to time restrictions they were not able to present all of their ideas.
Though they had trouble narrowing down and defining their ideas, their members, including some from Europe, focused on global discussion. They were awarded the DIVERSITY prize.
This team drew their theme from a member speaking about their child’s dislike of shampoo. As a result of brainstorming and developing various ideas, this team presented a children’s companion that could do things such as change colors when held and be used to calm a child during nursing. Their idea was praised for having character as a toy as well as a tool. Their sketch did well at giving a general idea of the image of the concept. This team was awarded the REALISTIC IDEA prize.
Though they focused their idea on a child’s needs when having their nails cut, due to time restraints they were not able to present their ideas on the concept and safety considerations. This team was awarded the SAFETY & WELL BEING prize.
This team was made up of members from Shenzhen. With a focus on pediatric care, this team aimed at an injection that doesn’t cause pain. From brainstorming and conception on post-it notes, to proceeding through idea creation, this group seemed to have workshop experience as they gave consideration to the process.
The scope of their final proposal ranged widely from refinement of injectors to the improvement of medical facilities. Invigorated by the enthusiastic questions from other teams, this team was awarded the THEORY prize.
Within the allotted four-hour time limit, with examples taken from lectures and firsthand experience with UD products, members worked passionately on the theme.
As well, members took initiative and took it upon themselves to fill roles such as leader and sketch volunteer. The positivity towards learning UD in this region could truly be felt as the teams received a large number of questions and suggestions from other teams during the joint review phase.
Though there were no person in charge of field survey and users to participate in the workshop this time, members drew on their experiences to imagine the lives of children and propose ideas, gaining necessary experience for tool and toy creation.
Among the teams there were those who had difficulties with not only time management and language barriers, but also with the organization of ideas. It goes without saying that for workshops in Japan ideas and concepts are shared equally among members. However this is far from easy in a team comprised of members from various countries. It is possible to arrive at intriguing proposals through narrowing our focus.
Furthermore, for overseas workshops, it’s necessary to consider the labor and time needed for interpretation. Simply explaining things in English will not suffice. As well, future improvements, such as having the contents of lectures disclosed to the interpreter in advance, could be beneficial.
This time, in accordance with the requests of participants, each team was given a prize devised to suit their ideas, serving as a means to improve motivation.
In the future, there will be a need for the use of CAD and strength in design. These will be required for further improvement and continuous action to take place.
At Include Asia 2013, we held workshop 3 on the subject of IAUD. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to manage and experience this workshop.
The local enthusiasm for UD could certainly be felt. Such that we were able to imagine practical workshop activities with greater partnership taking place in the future.
We would like to sincerely thank Mr. Edmund Lee of the Hong Kong Design Center. Our initial connection with him was invaluable. In closing this report, we would like to request that we maintain a close working relationship with IAUD in the future. (End)
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