In February 2014, Icsid Community Engagement Programme Officer, Ms. Sarah Brown, travelled to Munich and Hamburg (Germany) to participate in the Munich Creative Business Week, the iF Design Awards 2014 and the iF Design Exhibition opening in Hamburg, which provided her the opportunity to connect with Icsid Members in the region.

Sarah also managed to attend TEDxMunich and ‘Design Connects’ – two events within the Munich Creative Business Week programme and speak with influential industrial designers Stefan Diez, Edward Barber, Jay Osgerby, Benoit Jacob (Head of Design BMWi) and Claus Potthoff (Head of Design Strategy Audi AG).

In between sessions, Sarah also sat down with longstanding members Verband Deutscher Industrie Designer e.V /Association of German Industrial Designers(VDID)bayern design GmbH and iF International Forum Design GmbH, all of whom were actively involved in the creation and/or promotion of Munich Creative Business Week.


When speaking with Stefan Eckstein, President of VDID, he revealed that they had participated in MCBW since its inception three years ago. He shed some light on a particular session of interest VDID hosted this year, “…the ‘Designers’ Breakfast – Creativity Made on the Internet’, where designers and design-orientated people discussed questions around the changing profession such as whether or not the Internet makes designers redundant.”

Taking the temperature of the industrial design community in Germany, Stefan pointed out that VDID members have been voicing concerns around issues of accreditation as of late, “In Germany we have a lot of really good industrial designers but we see a lot designers who have no formal education calling themselves ‘industrial designers’. There is a professional difference and we need to clarify this. VDID is thinking of implementing a certification process for professional designers, along with accreditation we are also working on providing professional development opportunities so that we can ensure the quality of the profession.”


Speaking to changes within the profession, Dr. Silke Claus, Managing Director, bayern design GmbH said, “The customer situation has radically changed today. Customers are more and more involved in the process of designing a product.” She also added that MCBW gives the customer (designer or not) an opportunity to know more about the value of a product or a service.” bayern design GmbH is an organising partner of MCBW and speaks to the importance of collaboration within the entire design community and beyond, “We call it Munich Creative Business Week because we want to understand both the corporate community as well as the design community.”

Ralph Wiegmann, CEO of iF International Forum Design GmbH and 2013-2015 Icsid Executive Board Member shared his thoughts on design awards and trends he saw in this years iF nominees, “The time of just being noisy is over,” he stated. “What users, consumers and target groups expect is solid information and reliability. This can still be done in an entertaining way but crucially keeps the target in mind. It seems that the time right now is about solid development. You need a solid, reliable, lasting design that includes an emotional impact and attraction. The most exciting things coming out of industrial design right now are products that solve a basic problem like water cleaning and energy.”

As a newly elected Icsid Board Member, Ralph elaborated on deciding to run for the board. “As a long term member of Icsid”, Ralph said, “I felt iF needed to show a little bit more involvement within the organisation. We have knowledge, background and experience that we can bring and share with the international design community.”

He also highlighted what he sees as the fundamental changes required from Icsid to meet the needs of the profession, “Icsid has to face the same problems or challenges, however you see it, as every other organisation. It’s an organisation of organisations, which makes it very difficult because you have contact with a limited number of members and that makes it difficult to understand what these members really want. Regardless, we have to figure out ways to improve and make the membership work.”

As Icsid strives to provide the most value to our membership, our German members had to following to say about how they envision Icsid providing this value. “Icsid should be the overview- a platform for worldwide discussion,” Stefan commented. “There is a real value in Icsid translating or defining the profession so that people understand that industrial design is not just making pictures. I know my members would also be interested in accessing interesting content that is specific to industrial design.”

Dr. Claus concluded with comments about the theme of this years’ MCBW Design Connect. “Our claim of ‘Design Connects’ has a double meaning for me. The first is the perspective of networks, and how to activate a growing network and the second is bridging the design of products and the people who use these products. More and more cities and regions are trying to collaborate and exchange ideas and seek to be a part of a global community. In my opinion, designers are really cultural ambassadors and are important links to improve intercultural understanding.”

Thanks to iF International Forum Design GmbH and bayern design GmbH for the invitation to participate in these design activities.

About bayern design GmbH

bayern design is the governmental founded service provider for all matters dealing with design in the State of Bavaria. The company is responsible for the state’s seven government districts. As the central contact for Bavarian companies – particularly for the middle market – bayern design GmbH compiles, coordinates and supports all design activities in Bavaria and promotes the knowledge of design as an important factor for success.

About iF International Design Forum GmbH

The motivation to create a separate business enterprise lay in the iF’s evolution from a classic design-promoting institution into a contemporary service enterprise – one with a critical function as a mediator between design and industry. This special status allows iF to make a significant contribution to the success of design services in an economic context as well as to enhance public awareness of the role of design.

About Verband Deutscher Industrie Designer e.V

The Verband Deutscher Industrie Designer e.V /Assocaition of German Industrial Designers (VDID) represents the work of its members in politics and society, and in doing so supports their professional activities. Contact and cooperation with the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Culture provide important support to the association. The membership in the VDID indicates the professional status of the designer. The VDID acts as an ambassador for standards which are necessary in the staging of competitions. The association monitors the national design scene and protects its members from exploitation and misuse.

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