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Start arrow Agenda arrow 22@Breakfast arrow Past Events arrow 22@Update Breakfast July 2009
22@Update Breakfast July 2009
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Innovation through design

The current economic situation and the move from an industrial to a service economy are forcing us to contemplate new types of innovation. One of the most important is innovation through design, a field where Barcelona excels and aims to become an international benchmark.



July’s 22@Update Breakfast took place on one of the sets at Barcelona Television, where Joan Vinyets and Vicent Guallart offered some key ideas for understanding design’s importance for innovation.

The first presentation was given by Joan Vinyets, founding partner of A Piece of Pie, which belongs to the Barcelona Design Innovation Cluster. Vinyets originally trained as a designer, however he went on to take a degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Barcelona and a PhD in Social Communication from the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. His company, A Piece of Pie, is a innovation consultancy that specializes in all types of innovation services.

Why is design necessary?

Joan Vinyets started his presentation by explaining the concept of mentality, a trait that is created by our cultural context and marks our behavior.
The move from an industrial economy to one that is service-based has created new necessities and forced companies and their services to adapt. This is where design comes in, giving us a way to grow, innovate, stay on top, and provide added value for clients in a more sustainable way.

“Design is a way to grow, innovate, stay on top and provide added value for clients in a more sustainable way.” 

We must establish a culture of innovation using our creative abilities in cross-functional teams –open innovation–, in order to change our mentality, which is marked by our culture.

Like most changes, this isn’t easy and there are many barriers to break through in order to reach our goal. These barriers include:
1.    Internally focused process. Companies rely on internal, often not entirely optimal, logic that is difficult to change.
2.    Inadequate understanding of clients. We all too often know where the client has been but not where they want to go.
3.    We tend to focus on past success and therefore become too comfortable.
4.    Analytical thinking is a priority, which makes companies unable to see beyond the data and realize that there may be other things that are more important.

What is Design thinking? How is it possible?

Vinyets finished up explaining the concept of Design Thinking. Design Thinking or design culture is a line of creative, empathetic thinking that allows us to go beyond the day-to-day and focus on people and their needs.

“Design Thinking is a line of creative, empathetic thinking that allows us to focus on people and their needs.”

Design Thinking can be divided in two branches: thinking and acting. Likewise, each of these branches are made up of different concepts that can be expressed in two acronyms: 

Thinking: HEI

H – Heuristic. This way of thinking tries to understand the global context, establishing links and taking all participants into account.
E – Experimental. Allows for not only thinking, but also hands-on action.
I – Interactive. This is not a linear process. Movement can be forward or backward, creating multiple connections.

Acting: PESA

P – Participation. Implies collaboration and, therefore, integration of all participants.
E – Empathy. It is empathetic and starts by analyzing people in their real context.  Each technological reality is different and we must be able to distinguish between the technologically possible and the cultural acceptable.
S – Seduction. Seduction is possible through a visual process, because our culture is increasingly visual.
A – Action. Makes concepts tangible.


Vicente Guallart, director of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, was the 22@ Innovator of the month. The institution he represents is an international education, research and development center that focuses on architecture as a discipline involving different scales from territorial analysis, urban developments and architectural projects to digital fabrications and informational environments.


Guallart explained that we are currently living in a time of change and, in order to understand it, we must look to our past. In the 20th century, the idea of the worker as consumer was born. Production was driven by worker consumption, leading to mass production in order to meet increased demand. With the appearance of the Internet this concept changed, leading to the producer/sharer figure, users that create contents and share them with the rest of the world. Where before we had a discontinuous model, now new structures are being created.

Design must be seen as a vehicle for improving processes, because the current concept is being undone. Guallart proposes that design is no longer necessary because it is the result of industry, which is disappearing.

“Design must be seen as a vehicle for improving processes, because the current concept is being undone”


To support the theory he discussed, Guallart also presented a case study of innovation in the design process: digital manufacturing. This technology allows each of us to become a designer and manufacture our own products, in line with the producer/sharer profile mentioned before.

The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia is currently studying this process using cutting-edge digital printing technology. In order to raise awareness on this subject, they also hold digital manufacturing workshops for children and adults.



KEY IDEAS


•    Design must be seen as a way to grow, innovate, stay on top and provide added value for clients in a more sustainable way.

•    Design Thinking or design culture is a creative way of thinking, for people by people, that allows us to approach problems from a personal point of view.

•    We are living in a time of change and we must understand that we have to reflect on our origins. We have moved away from a worker/consumer paradigm towards one based on the producer/sharer and the industry must adapt to this.

•    Digital manufacturing allows each of us to design and manufacture our own products, following the producer/sharer paradigm.


ATTENDEES SPEAK


“The 22@Update Breakfasts are a very interesting initiative because they attract a wide range of people. I have attended a couple of them and I have seen that there are people from very different sectors.”

“Vicente Guallart’s presentation was very interesting and surprising. It might be difficult for his ideas to come to fruition, but he definitely knows how to innovate in the sector.”

“Design is key to innovation, even more so in times of crisis because it gives us an added advantage without much added cost.”

“The 22@Update Breakfasts are always a good source of ideas to apply in different areas.”


Documents linked:
- Presentation of Joan Vinyets, founding partner of A Piece of Pie
- Presentation of Vicente Guallart, director of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (Iaac)






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