A workshop-based exploration of our post-pandemic world through four themes: community, habitat, interface, and mobility. This World Design Talks took place with participants both in-person in Shanghai and online in 16 countries.

WDT 2020: Design@ A Post-Pandemic World

23 November 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic struck the world in such an unexpected way in 2020. It proved to not only threaten our health but also impacted global wellness and the economy on a scale we had never seen. The world changed in almost every way since we first heard the words ‘COVID-19’ and its impact will remain for a long time, potentially forever changing the way we work and live. As an organization dedicated to making the world a better place with through the power and positive impact of industrial design, WDO, its Board of Directors and Members have contributed insightful thoughts and valuable practices in this World Design Talks: Design @ Post-Pandemic World demonstrating the emerging roles of design in the face of such change and challenge.

2020 also marks the 10th anniversary of Shanghai’s designation by UNESCO’s as a City of Design. Tongji University and WDO, hosted this year World Design Talks in Shanghai on 23 November 2020 in a hybrid format, welcoming individuals in person and online to participate in a series of keynote presentations and workshops.

It was the first time in WDT history that an international forum took place online and onsite, blending the participant experiences. We counted 129 online and onsite participants from 17 countries, and 49 online and onsite participants for the workshops. Thanks to six WDO Board Members for joining us online, and thanks to the representatives from six Chinese WDO Members who attended onsite.

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Agenda of the day

WDT Shanghai 2020 at a glance

Welcome Remarks

Srini Srinivasan
WDO President
CEO, Lumium Inc.

Yongqi LOU
WDO Board Member
Dean, College Design and Innovation Tongji University


Zhenyuan LIU
Associate Professor, College Design and Innovation Tongji University


David Kusuma
WDO President-Elect and Board Member
Vice President Research and Product Innovation
Tupperware Brands Corporation

The opportunity and challenge of design

Design has never been more important than today, including using the power of design to help people, to help organizations and the global society at large, navigate through this crisis and prepare for the future. Most designers know that times of great crisis can also lead to great innovation and incredible opportunity. And because of this, I know that designers and the creative community will rise to meet the challenge of this current crisis with great passion.

Aldo Cibic
College Design and Innovation Tongji University

The importance of public spaces

One of the lessons we have learned in this period is that only if we have organized and structured systems our actions can be truly effective.

The isolation we experienced, when our life was restricted to our homes and our social relationships were limited to our family, made us aware of the suffering caused by the lack of social relationships and community.

Social relationships and community find their representation in the street, and in the life that can generate. The importance of public spaces that foster the meeting of different people to create a new energy: This is the need that was at the origin of the Nice Commune project, and which now takes on a new, deeper meaning.

Anne Asensio
WDO Board Member
Vice president, Dassault System

The New Challenges for Designers

In this post-pandemic world, the challenges we face are complexity, imbalance and sustainability. At this stage, we need to pay more attention to the relationship between people, experience and technology, and put our focus on the inner energy of people by enhancing the value and significance of experience. This also fully shows that we still need passion, imagination, wisdom and hard work, and more importantly need an optimistic attitude.

Yichao LI
Executive Vice President
Shenzhen Industrial Design Profession Association

Innovation Digitally in the post-pandemic world

In the era of digital intelligence, the design will serve as a kind of creativity to empower individuals and industries. LKK is exploring advanced creative industrial models, as a leading organization in China’s service design industry. Products such as smart beehives and smart logo design will be debuted at the 2020 WDO conference for the first time. These practical cases will discuss with colleagues in the industry sectors on occasion.

School of Art and Design, Shanghai University of Engineering Science

Responsibility for design education in the post-pandemic era.

In 2020, a sudden new crown virus epidemic swept the world and brought disasters to people around the world. It also caused a large number of political, economic, and social problems. People expect a better change towards lifestyle, physical and mental health, education models, sustainable products, etc. With higher expectations, it poses new challenges to the development of science and technology in the world today. Meanwhile, it brings lots of thinking about design education in the post-pandemic era. Let’s take up the social responsibilities in design behaviors and other aspects.

Jianxin CHENG
Specially invited vice president, China Industrial Design Association

The new issue of design innovation in the post-pandemic era

The world is undergoing a dramatic change in the past hundred years. The pandemic of the COVID-19 has accelerated the altering and has undergone rapid changes in accuracy, scientific response, and initiative.

  1. Response to the post-pandemic era: changes in lifestyle and redefinition of value orientation;
  2. Grasp of experience economy: new demand upgrading and new interactive experience;
  3. The birth of scientific and technological innovation: network economy and business innovation;
  4. Promotion of domestic demand market: cultural and tourism integration and urban-rural interaction.

Cheng LUO 
Co-founder, Chairman and President,

Design @ A Post-Pandemic World: the design practices of ARTOP

Industrial design is one of the core driving forces leading the development of the manufacturing industry. Artop helps the enterprises to improve their competitiveness by taking product innovation as the core, and integrating industry with enterprise development as the core. Promote the development of the city or region as the core, so as to help the development of the city, let the design create value and make the society better.

Shijun PANG
Senior design manager
Secretary of International Conference on Industrial Design of Rail Vehicles, CRRC Qingdao Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co., Ltd.

A brief introduction of air purification system of train

The design of air conditioning purification system for rail trains and some thoughts on the new direction of train design to respond to the pandemic.

Briefly introduce the design scheme and practical application of the air-conditioning air purification system for rail trains. It also looks forward to the impact of the epidemic on the future train design direction, which may increase the demand for the formation of small enclosed space for trains. For example, the development of multifunctional enclosed private rooms and the development of miniaturized and modularized capsule trains will satisfy people’s needs in the future.

Pradyumna Vyas 
WDO Board Member
Senior adviser, Confederation of Indian industry (CII)

Reimagining a safer and better response to pandemic through design – moving towards hybrid reality in daily life.

COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the lifestyle on the planet. Demand for products and services in every sector have changed drastically. Design becomes imperative for companies to reimagine their business and strategize and discover their sense of purpose to survive in the market.

Similarly, the education sector, which is facing a major digital divide, is discovering every day to resolve the divide in offering education online.

The world is not going to be the same post-pandemic, and there are going to be many opportunities in developing hybrid models in social, economic, and environmental sectors. The presentation will discuss reimagining the world post-pandemic.

Photos from the event