September 15, 2022 – The Frontier Design Prize announced the winners of its inaugural edition during the opening ceremony of the World Design Cities Conference (WDCC). Along with leading designers, scholars and industry leaders, Mr. QU Xing, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. GONG Zheng, Mayor of Shanghai and Ms. XU Xiaolan, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology (China) attended the award ceremony.

The Frontier Design Prize (FDP) is a visionary, innovative, world-class design award established with the aims of encouraging design innovation, enhancing the impact of design in driving industrial transformation, and promoting the role of design in shaping a better world. A central program of WDCC, it is undertaken by WDO Member Design Innovation Institute Shanghai (DIIS) with guidance from the Shanghai Municipal Government. 

Three prize categories are set up to reward and recognize outstanding personalities and works of design that have made a pioneering contribution to the design field with far-reaching international influence: Distinguished Contribution, Innovation of the Year, and Innovation of the Year (K-12). FDP is the first international design prize to recognize the work of K-12 students.  In 2022, the Distinguished Contribution Prize and Innovation of the Year Prize have a monetary award of 1 million RMB respectively, and the Innovation of the Year (K-12) winners will share an award of 100,000 RMB. 

This year’s winners are:

Distinguished Contribution
Donald Arthur Norman

Professor Don Norman is the leading advocate of human-centered design and a pioneer in user experience design. Combining design with social science and engineering, he has made pioneering contributions to the fields of cognitive science, human factors engineering and interaction design. His books, such as The Design of Everyday Things and Emotional Design, became classics well read by most design students and professionals around the world. His latest book, Design for a Better World argues for a more powerful use of designers as champions of human behavior in this time of ecological crises.

Innovation of the Year
Mi Ecosystem (by De Liu & Mi Ecosystem Team)

The Mi Ecosystem presents a truly systematic approach to design and manufacturing that empowers designers and design entrepreneurs through technical and supply chain support. To date, it has supported more than 330 design-driven startups, enabling an annual production value of close to 100 billion RMB, and has infused world-class design and the concept of smart living into the everyday lives of 63-million Chinese middle-class families.

Innovation of the Year (K-12)
Modular Garbage Front-end Processor Combination (by Zekai Ren, Shanghai, China)

This project tackled the unpleasant and yet often neglected process of garbage collection and storage in residential communities with a bold and integrated proposal. The proposed distributed waste processor combines composting with other forms of biological treatment, localizing waste treatment to reduce pollution and noise from collection, and turning the waste station from an eyesore to a potential community center.

Reducing Gender Based Violence in Sierra Leone (by students at Rising Academy, Sierra Leone)

The 30 boys and girls with an average age of 15 who took part in this design project had no previous exposure to design but demonstrated an ability to quickly adopt a designer mindset, to tap into their lived experience to gain insights, and to take on a very challenging social problem and propose innovative solutions with potential for wide adoption.

This year’s evaluation committee, chaired by Professor Rosanne Somerson, President Emerita of Rhode Island School of Design, includes 19 design leaders from international institutions including Royal College of Art, MIT, Parsons, Politecnico di Milano, Aalto University, Tongji University, Tsinghua University.

As noted by Professor LOU Yongqi, Chair of the FDP committee, “Frontier Design Prize is a very unique international design award that recognizes individuals and works that had paradigm-shifting contributions to design in a large scale.” Professor Don Norman, winner of the Distinguished Contribution Prize, stated that he is “glad to see that Shanghai is now using design to shape higher quality sustainable development.”

The nomination-only award collected expert recommendations from around the world, and employed a unique evaluation process that supplements jury voting with AI analysis.

As reference for the jury, a proprietary AI-powered assessment system was developed by Tezign that utilizes knowledge graph and impact factors to evaluate the quantitative performance of the nominees in various dimensions.  

About Design Innovation Institute Shanghai (DIIS)
Design Innovation Institute Shanghai (DIIS) is a non-profit advanced research institution dedicated to creating world-leading design innovation with real-world impact. Located in the North Bund CBD area of Shanghai, DIIS was founded in 2020 in cooperation with Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, and Shanghai Hongkou District Government. With a global design ecosystem and advanced technological research, DIIS is driving industrial transformation through design innovation.