Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Juror, German Design Award 2017, Frankfurt

I was invited to sit on the Jury of the 2017 German Design Award and spent a very stimulating two days judging last week in Frankfurt with the German Design Council.  The German Design Council was established as a Foundation in 1953 as a far-sighted initiative of the German Bundestag (the lower house of German Parliament).

Forty-four judges worked in small specialist teams to scrutinise 4,058 entries across 49 categories ranging from Household and Retail through Baby and Child Care to Audio Visual, Interactive User Experience and Apps.  I was judging in a team with fellow jurors Michael Richter, (Founding Partner Iconmobile Group and Professor at the Hochschüle Darmstadt), and Deutsche Telekom's Philipp Thesen, (Senior Vice President, Lead Design).

The Awards Ceremony for the winners will be held in February 2017 during Ambiente.

The German Design Council (Rat für Formgebung) also publishes Design Report.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Coffee time in Trieste


An excellent visit to Illy HQ in Trieste this morning with Francesca Marchi of the AREA Science Park and Nils Duelfer of A.T. Kearney who is an associate involved with the Improve Academy which works to improve the management of the sustainable innovation performance.

Photo: Francesca Marchi
We were very fortunate in that Francesca had arranged for us to meet with the Corporate Director for R&D, Mr Furio Suggi Liverani. Mr Liverani spent a good deal of time with us relating the fascinating story of the development and growth of Illy over the past eight decades.

Established in 1933 by Francesco Illy, the company is a testament to the power of continuous and pioneering innovation underpinned by a passion for science, research and knowledge. Illy achieves the highest possible product and service quality through an enduring commitment to user-centred design. The end customers' experience of the coffee they produce lies at the heart of everything they do.

In 1935, Francesco invented the Illeta - the precursor to the modern espresso machine. Its submarine-like aesthetic derives from the fact that the piping and valves was indeed developed with the support of submarine engineers who worked in Trieste's shipyards.

Due to his revolutionary method for preserving coffee, taste and aroma through 'pressurisation' packaging, for the first time, it became possible to guarantee a balanced flavour rather than a burnt and bitter one.  And significantly for business growth, it also meant that it became possible to export.

Created by the pop artist James Rosenquist in 1996, the current version of the logomark is distinctive and instantly recognisable.

Its more mechanical and straight-laced predecessor is shown below on the 1974 packaging of the innovative vacuum packed ESE coffee system (Easy Serving Espresso).

This too was revolutionary as it suddenly allowed delightful espresso to became available to customers everywhere - whether at home, in the office or at their favourite restaurant or café.

My thanks to Francesca and Mr Liverani for a fascinating and compelling visit.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Responsibility taken. Having gambled with all our futures and lost, David Cameron steps down. He now walks away (secure of course in his own personal future).

As British citizens we have lost our citizenship of Europe and that is probably unrecoverable. Having taken it away he cannot give it back to us. We are diminished.

In my heart I will always be European.

To all my European friends and colleagues across Europe and even further afield, I can only hang my head in shame. I am truly bereft.

Responsibility denied

I have considered myself European since I was a boy.

David Cameron's utter political incompetence and narrow self interest has taken that away.

He should be 'fired on the spot' for his disastrous personal incompetence. He very nearly lost us Scotland and still he stayed. And then he willfully created the political possibility and climate in which this ridiculous and unnecessary referendum could take place. He made that happen.

This result will lead to Europe-wide and global consequences that weaken the European ideal of peaceful democracies - even though obviously flawed and in need of reform. I am surprised at how angry I am at his petty, selfish manipulation of such a fundamental aspect of the world order for his own tiny, party-political ends. And at a time of such global complexity.

I hope history records this as such. I hope the world remembers that David Cameron started this.

I am no longer allowed to be a European. The conversation space in which this country can exist has been greatly diminished. I live on an island with a limited, territorial view of itself.

I am gutted more than I can say.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Milan Expo, Design for Europe Seminar

This is the view from the meeting room in the EU Pavillion at Milan EXPO 2015 where this afternoon I will be chairing the event, 'Design-driven innovation for food industry'. This is co-organised under the umbrella of Design for Europe, by DG Grow of the European Commission with the Politechnico Milano and the Danish Design Centre. The programme can be found here.

We have great speakers lined up from both the food industries and design. The afternoon will be opened with a speech from Mark Niklas, Deputy head of Unit, Innovation Policy and Investment for Growth in the European Commission's DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

Also presenting will be Beate Kettlitz, FoodDrinkEurope; Emily Boniface from the Nestle Product Technology Centre in the UK; Victoria Spadaro Grant, Chief R&D and Quality Officer of the Barilla Group and finally, Lotte Lyngsted Jepsen, Innovation Director and Partner of Hatch and Bloom, service designers in Copenhagen.

I am looking forward to seeing more pavillions after the event.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Design for Europe Conference, Brussels

Professor Lou from Tongji. No room for his Shanghai dot on the map provided! (Spot the orange dot on the right). We last met when he was a speaker with Ezio Manzini (as he will today) at the World Design Capital 2014 Cape Town conference on policy last October. Lou is closely involved in design policy developments currently building momentum in China.