For two years, Prof. Dr. Peter Zec held the highest office in the industrial design world as president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid). At the Council’s general assembly in San Francisco, he handed over the presidency to his new successor Prof. Carlos Hinrichsen from Chile. Looking back on eight years of dedicated work on the Icsid Executive Board, including the two years as president, Zec drew positive conclusions: “It was both a very work-intensive and interesting time filled with many challenges. On a more personal note, I also learned quite a bit such as what it means to manage different cultures. The job of Icsid president also requires reticence and diplomacy in many situations, compared to the role of board members, who are more free to express their opinions. The president always has to have an eye on the overall picture and try to consider and respect all opinions and positions.”
Responding to the question of what he achieved during his term, Zec mentioned the securing of the Council’s financial situation and the strengthening of the network in design education and in the Arab world. Among the biggest challenges was the development of the International Design Alliance (IDA), which constitutes the project-oriented venture between Icsid and Icograda, Icsid’s corollary from the communication design sector. He noted, “All of us, industrial as well as graphic designers, had to learn how to deal with one another. The opportunity for learning how to do that was given to us by the projects we developed together, such as the World Design Report, implemented by Icograda, and the World Design Capital project. With Torino as pilot project city, we found an excellent partner to give the project a real boost and to ensure that World Design Capital will venture into its next round.”
As a former Icsid president, Zec enters the ranks of Icsid Senators comprised of past presidents. The title “Icsid Senator” was created to ensure that the wealth of experience and knowledge of Icsid presidents remains available to the organisation. Senators form a type of “Council of the Wise”, meaning that they must be consulted and give consent in all important matters. In this way they retain a major influence on the Council and the design world.
Prof. Dr. Zec was also elected, by the Icsid Executive Board, for a six-year term as Founding Chair of the World Design Capital, thereby ensuring his continuous participation as a former president in this project.
Though emotional about leaving the office of Icsid president, Prof. Dr. Zec looks forward to being able to devote more time to red dot and the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen: “red dot is facing numerous new challenges. New locations are being set up and the association wants to become active in new sectors and go beyond organising the mere competition as such. These tasks will surely keep me busy.”
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