Welcome to designBytes, the electronic newsletter of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). Here's the latest design news, sneak peeks of features on the IDSA Web site, links to interesting articles elsewhere and upcoming articles in Design Perspectives (DP), the IDSA newsletter.
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- Can Design Change the World?: More and more, the media is saturated with resources aiming to educate the masses on the dire state of the environment and various international societal and political crises, and how they can make a difference. The three-year-old web site Worldchanging.com (www.Worldchanging.com) is one such source, reporting on green technology and humanitarian tools and organizational models, among other topics. In an interview with BusinessWeek.com, the site's editor, Alex Steffen, shares his insights, including why he thinks innovation and design are as potent as diplomacy or political or legal reform. To read more, visit http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/oct2006/id20061026_194598.htm.
- The Votes Are In: The ballots have been counted, and there's no need for the Supreme Court to intervene. IDSA's 2007-2009 board election is now complete, and the winners are:
- President: Michelle Berryman, IDSA
- Executive VP: Eric Anderson, IDSA
- Secretary-Treasurer: Paul Magee, IDSA
- Board Chair: Ron Kemnitzer, FIDSA
- Chapter VP: Jonathon Kemnitzer, IDSA
- Education VP: Ed Dorsa, IDSA
- Section VP: Brian Roderman, IDSA
- Mideast District VP: Sarah Thielman, IDSA
- Midwest District VP: Jonathan Dien, IDSA
- Northeast District VP: Angela Yeh, IDSA
- Southern District VP: Heather Bailey, IDSA
- Western District VP: Kenneth Sprick, IDSA
- Education Practitioners: Brian Ebbinghaus, IDSA; Lisa Hood, IDSA and Matthew Marzynski, IDSA
Additionally, IDSA members overwhelmingly approved the proposed amendments to the Society's bylaws.
- This Cell Phone Costs $1,275. Really.: Looking for a phone that conveys a feeling of beauty, elegance and instantaneous mastery? Enter the Serene, from Bang & Olufsen and Samsung. The Serene is the world’s first flip phone with—no joke—a power-assist clamshell. And that's just the first of many enticing features. The downside? A $1,275 price tag, for one thing. For more information, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/26/technology/26pogue.html.
- This PC Wants to Save the World: Skeptics abounded when, in early 2005, Nicholas Negroponte left MIT's Media Lab, aiming to build a supercheap portable computer for the world's poor children. But in early November, his dream machine will be launched—5,000 test units are slated to start rolling off Quanta Computer's production lines. Muammar Qadaffi plans to give one to every schoolchild in Libya. Shimon Peres hopes to do something similar for Palestinian kids in the West Bank, and leaders in Argentina, Brazil and Nigeria are already on board. FORTUNE magazine reports on the machine's metamorphosis into what is now called the XO, and shares views from its detractors as well. To read more, visit http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391805/index.htm.
- Is Your Organization Part of the Innovation Equation?: On December 7-8 at the Museum of the City of New York, IDSA, Symbol Technologies and BusinessWeek will demonstrate the impact of innovation meeting investment. Key executives behind Motorola's RAZR, Whirlpool's line of innovative home appliances, Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, Symbol Technologies' enterprise mobility solutions, and BMW's MINI brand will demonstrate the impact of sustaining innovation and the tangible success that comes from integrating innovative design with fundamental corporate business strategies and investment goals. Registration is now open; visit /?q=node/2664 for details.
- On the Cutting Edge in Conejo: When many hear the name "BMW Group DesignworksUSA," thoughts immediately run to luxury cars. But to the contrary, the 30-year-old Designworks, purchased outright by BMW in 1995, is a profit-center for BMW that has helped dozens of big name corporations improve the aesthetics and accessibility of their products. A recent profile in the Pacific Coast Business Times highlights this company at the cutting edge of worldwide industrial design—it's the only studio in the Southern California area that is a profit center for its corporate parent. To read more, visit http://www.pacbiztimes.com/index.cfm?go2=articles/wk_102706a.
- Tupperware—Art through the Ages: Tupperware, which turned 60 this year, is a fixture in kitchens and American popular culture. The now-familiar containers were held up as artwork in their early days, and several pieces are enshrined in major museums. But Tupperware isn't content to rest on its tight-sealing laurels: the company recently announced winners of a design contest that challenged participants to get creative with the iconic containers. And the winners—which included an evening bag, a kaleidoscope and a model race car—aren't anything you can store a salad in. To read more, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/25/AR2006102501566.html.
- What Do Women Want?: For years, many have known the power and influence of the female consumer. Yet as The New York Times reports, more companies, in the United States and elsewhere, have just caught on, realizing they overlook women at their own financial peril. Retailers, financial services companies, home builders, hotel chains and many other entities are realigning their marketing and design practices, learning to court an increasingly female-centric consumer base that boasts more financial muscle and purchasing independence than ever before. What took them so long? To read more, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/29/business/yourmoney/29women.html?pagewanted=1&adxnnl=0&adxnnlx=1162227964-n9qSb1axQ56SlxbwckeWjQ.
- Pondering Your Next China Move?: Keen to source from China, but don't know where to start? Want to form a Chinese joint venture or partnership, but worried about stepping into a quagmire? Already active there, but struggling with communication and employee motivation? Where do you turn for help? Try the Plastics News China Forum 2006. This November 14-15 conference at the Wyndham O'Hare in Rosemont, IL, will feature 13 experts who will discuss recent developments in everything from China's ever-changing legal and regulatory conditions, labor challenges, due diligence issues, intellectual property rights, global supply chain management, and plastics market prospects. For more information, visit http://www.plasticsnews.com/chinaforum, or contact conference director Robert Grace at 330.865.6151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Pink Plastic Flamingo Faces Extinction: After inspiring countless pranks—and being alternately celebrated as a tribute to one of nature's most graceful creatures and derided as the epitome of American pop culture kitsch, the original version of the plastic flamingo may be on its last legs. Union Products Inc. stopped producing flamingos and other lawn ornaments and is going out of business November 1, a victim of rising expenses for plastic resin and electricity, as well financing problems. Only time—and negotiations with rival lawn ornament makers—will determine whether the flamingo will live to see its 50th birthday next year. To read more, visit http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/10/29/financial/f090824S99.DTL&hw=design&sn=043&sc=342.
- Take A Look—An American Look: Here's another blast from the past. The Sedgwick Virtual Theater is showing An American Look, a 1958 film highlighting the importance in America of design and aesthetics in everyday items. Billed as a "tribute to the men and women who design," the film demonstrates the aesthetic of 1958 is returning to our modern lives. (A special thanks to Katherine Bennett, IDSA for sharing the link.) Check it out at http://www.filmsatthesedgwick.com/2006/09/american-look-1958.html.
- POLL: Visit the buzz at /buzz.htm and answer today's question: "Pink plastic flamingo: iconic tribute or American kitsch?"
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The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) is committed to advancing the profession of industrial design through education, information, community and advocacy.