A weak economy, even the anticipation of one, almost surely slows down business – even for those in design fields. So, how can you change how you operate when your associates and collaborators wish to avoid the kinds of risks they would take in better times? That’s one of the questions explored by the four creative thinkers who will step up to the IIDEX stage on Friday, September 27 for Transcending Fear to Drive Innovation (seminar code F05), moderated by Azure editor Catherine Osborne.
Each has faced the challenge of turning uncertainties into motivational tools. Paddy Harrington, formerly executive creative director at Bruce Mau Design, recently joined Indigo, where he commands the dual role of SVP design innovation and digital creative director. In the era of ebooks, with many invoking “the death of print,” the national bookstore has been smartly morphing into a lifestyle retailer, selling ultra-modern kitchen essentials and design products alongside books and magazines.
Industrial designer Alison Phillips has also met challenges in creative ways; as part of the team at BlackBerry, she constantly seeks the cutting edge in gadget design, no small feat for a brand that has had its share of ups and downs and ups.
Originally from Toronto, architect Andrei Zerebecky of Four O Nine staked out a bold strategy early on, by tapping a foreign market. He and partner Lukasz Kos sought out commissions in Shanghai, and completed their first project there – a storefront for a furniture retailer – to much fanfare in 2011. They have since launched a number of daring product designs, including the Urban Fabric rugs in the shapes of aerial perspectives of such cities as Shanghai, Paris and Manhattan; and the new Pleat furniture collection, which Klaus by Nienkämper will debut at IIDEX.
Finally, Jonathan Loudon, co-founder of Toronto product design firm and consultancy Swave Studio, is often in the position of either having to convince clients to think big, or having clients put challenges before him. The latter is true of the process that led to the Dubstein, a beverage holder that also plays music from any mobile device.
Join us at IIDEX Canada for Transcending Fear to Drive Innovation on September 27 at 9 a.m. at Exhibition Place, 100 Princes’ Blvd.