International Design Conference 2018 pursues ‘dangerous ideas’ in design leadership
Published · Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:02 AM
At a time when hyper-change challenges the status quo, and technological, environmental, and societal changes are occurring simultaneously and at unprecedented rates, there is a demand for a new kind of leadership. These leaders and future leaders are bold enough to see new patterns and think in paradoxes to create new norms.
The International Design Conference (IDC), an annual thought leadership event organized by the DTI-Design Center of the Philippines, serves as an incubator for the so-called ‘dangerous ideas’—ideas rabid enough to propel the leadership needed to respond to the world’s rapid transformation. Slated on 21 September 2018 at the Samsung Hall, SM Aura, Taguig, IDC 2018 brings together international and local leaders at the intersection of business and design to discuss how a ‘dangerous’ kind of creative thinking propelled their businesses to the top ranks.
“We say ‘dangerous’ not to pertain to hazard or peril, but to describe the kind of thinking that forces us out of our comfort zones,“ Rhea O. Matute, executive director of Design Center of the Philippines, explains. “Creativity can be a safe default, which puts us at risk of complacency and can harm our potential for growth. But turn creative thinking around in a different direction, you end up with a provocative thinking that creates tension and challenges at the precipice of our ‘creative’ default,” Matute further clarifies.
IDC 2018 posits that such creative thinking process is central to design leadership in order to develop transformative leaders and decision makers who can come up with innovative solutions to real-world challenges. This means growing businesses, improving products and services, and making society better for everyone.
Matute further points out that a dangerous kind of thinking demands for leaders that are childlike, fearless and hungry for new ideas.
Local and Global Design Leaders
Headlining the keynote discussions in this year’s IDC is Arch. Abelardo “Jojo” Tolentino, a homegrown leader in the architectural design industry, to share the different approach he used in driving his company towards success. Arch. Tolentino is the founder, CEO and President of Aidea, Inc., which ranked 47th in the Building Design UK’s World Architecture 100 list, a survey of the top 100 design firms in the world. The company grew from a 20-man team to a powerhouse firm of 200 brilliant designers in the last two decades. Tolentino leads his design firm through strategic ventures and alliances, and eyes expansion in government, science and technology, infrastructure and transportation sectors.
Michael Barry, founder of Quotient Design Research and Innovation and a Design Thinking professor in Stanford d.school, will explore the dichotomy between crafts and digitized fabrication in order to address the craft innovation gap, and how it can contribute to a potential economic growth in the Philippine context. As an accomplished engineer and product designer, Barry combines his practical business acumen and experimental curiosity to produce innovative ideas. Some of his clients are Google, Sony, IBM, Kimberly-Clark, HP, Merck, Wells Fargo Bank, Nestle, Intel, Chrysler, and Unilever.
DOOR TO ASIA (DTA) designer coordinator Mikiharu Yabe will share how collaborative programs like DTA transform the perception on design as a tool for change and designers as change agents. Joining Yabe in the discussion are four Filipino designers who participated in the design residency program from 2015 to 2018 to share how their residency helped them rethink the roles and responsibilities of designers in contributing to local disaster risk reduction and to Southeast regional revitalization, and ultimately in the Philippine context.
In a panel discussion on design education/learning and design leadership, SoFA Design Institute Dean Arch. Tobias Guggenheimer, Makerspace Manila founder Gino Cariño and Curiosity Co-founder Design Anthropologist, & Executive Research Director Pamela Cajilig delineate learning from education in academic programs. The panel aims to underline the significance of continuous learning beyond the university walls as learning is critical in developing a new surge of agile learners and skilled global talents. Further, it wants to emphasize how creativity and complex problem solving combined with entrepreneurship skills can prepare students for the future of work.
Four Creative Forces of Design Leadership
In any organization, four fundamental creative forces drive innovation through their dynamic relationships—create, collaborate, compete, and control. Despite the contrast and opposition among these forces, they produce constructive conflict that can end in innovative outcomes. The afternoon sessions of IDC 2018 feature four leaders who manifest the four archetypes that banner these creative forces.
Driven by the passion to create and be original, Paco Guerrero, the founder and executive editor of GRID, represents the Artist archetype. Guerrero sees GRID not as a travel magazine, but a love letter to the Philippines, distinguishing it from usual magazines that often depict Philippine destinations only for the visuals. For him, every travel story is an experience of Philippines’ culture, its secrets, hopes, dreams, and even struggles and difficulties.
Characterized by empathy and skillful communication, the Sage archetype is a collaborator and community manager that develops strong, positive relationships for a long-term community development. Lenise Logan, president of Kalpa Art Advisory in USA, exemplifies the traits of the Sage archetype, with her extensive experience in the art world, the business side of design, and in coaching others.
Carrying the Athlete archetype, Christian San Jose has always exhibited pure competitiveness in his career that spanned art and creative direction, user interface development, and digital campaigns execution. As the managing director of Make by Ace Saatchi & Saatchi Philippines, San Jose proactively seeks bigger goals to accomplish as he builds design-led innovation and technology companies.
Improving efficiency through redesigning and the implementation of reliable technology, I AM Cardboard envisioned making Google-certified products and high quality 360o content for everyone. Manifesting the Engineer archetype, CEO Ibba Bernardo brought the vision to the Philippine shores and has given the same equal access to virtual reality to local businesses. One of I AM Cardboard PH’s notable partners is the Ayala Foundation for the recreation of the Ayala Museum dioramas in 360o videos.
45 Years of Design Leadership
This year’s International Design Conference also celebrates Design Center’s 45 years of service in enriching and elevating the Philippine design industry. The agency takes pride in its remarkable list of key milestones spanning over four decades, with its most recent achievements including spurring various multi-sectoral initiatives on the Philippine creative economy; development of a New Design Graduates Training Program that hones new breed of young design professionals in the country; and international recognition for product development using newly-developed indigenous materials.
IDC 2018 also demonstrates Design Center’s commitment to design excellence for being the first platform for international design information exchange in the country.