International Design Conference (IDC) 2018, an annual thought leadership event organized by the DTI-Design Center of the Philippines, brings together international and local leaders in business and design in discussing how a “dangerous” kind of creative thinking propelled their businesses to the top.Participants discuss how new and bold leadership can respond to a rapidly changing world through revolutionary ideas.
IDC 2018 aims to be an incubator for so-called “dangerous ideas” a time when hyper-change challenges the status quo and technological, environmental and social changes are occurring simultaneously and at unprecedented rates.
“When we say ‘dangerous’, we do not mean hazard or peril. It is a description of 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 and you end up with a provocative thinking that creates tension and challenges at the precipice of our ‘creative’ default.”
IDC 2018 begins with the premise that such a creative thinking process is central to design leadership to develop transformative leaders and decision makers who find innovative solutions to real-world challenges. This means growing businesses, improving products and services and making society better for everyone.
Matute says a dangerous kind of thinking demands leaders that are childlike, fearless and hungry for new ideas.
Local and Global Design Leaders
Headlining the keynote discussions this year is architect Abelardo “Jojo” Tolentino, a home-grown leader in the architectural design industry. He will share the different approach he used to make his company a success. Tolentino is the founder, chief executive officer 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 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 discuss the dichotomy between crafts and digitized fabrication to address the craft innovation gap, and how it can contribute to economic growth in the Philippines. As an accomplished engineer and product designer, Barry combines 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 show how collaborative programs like DTA transform the perception of 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. They will talk about how their residency helped them rethink the roles and responsibilities of designers in contributing to local disaster risk reduction and to Southeast regional and, ultimately, Philippine revitalization.
In a panel discussion on design education/learning and design leadership, SoFA Design Institute Dean Tobias Guggenheimer, Makerspace Manila founder Gino Cariño and Curiosity Co-founder design anthropologist and executive research director Pamela Cajilig discuss learning from education in academic programs. The panel aims to underline the need for continuous learning beyond the university walls, as learning is critical in developing new agile learners and skilled global talents. It emphasizes how creativity and complex problem solving, combined with entrepreneurship skills, can prepare students for work.
Four Creative Forces of Design Leadership
The afternoon sessions feature four leaders who represent archetypes of fundamental creative forces that drive innovation through their dynamic relationships—create, collaborate, compete and control.
Driven by the passion to create and be original, Paco Guerrero, 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 in visuals. For Guerrero, every travel story is an experience of Philippine culture, its secrets, hopes, dreams, even struggles and difficulties.
Lenise Logan, president of Kalpa Art Advisory in USA, exemplifies the traits of the Sage archetype 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. Logan has extensive experience in the art world, the business side of design and in coaching others.
As the Athlete archetype, Christian San Jose has always exhibited pure competitiveness in a career that spanned art and creative direction, user interface development and digital campaigns execution. As managing director of Make by Ace Saatchi & Saatchi Philippines, San Jose 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. CEO Ibba Bernardo, the Engineer archetype, brought the vision to the Philippines and has given equal access to virtual reality to local businesses. I AM Cardboard partnered with the Ayala Foundation for the recreation of the Ayala Museum dioramas in 360o videos.
45 Years of Design Leadership
This year’s IDC also celebrates Design Center’s 45 years of service in enriching and elevating the Philippine design industry. The agency has compiled a remarkable list of key milestones in over four decades. Its most recent achievements include spurring various multi-sectoral initiatives for the Philippine creative economy, development of a New Design Graduates Training Program for a new breed of young design professionals and international recognition for product development using newly-developed indigenous materials.
IDC 2018 demonstrates Design Center’s commitment to excellence as the first platform for international design information exchange in the country.