Central District Conference Recap

Oct 16 2014 - 2:02am

On April 4th & 5th IDSA held its’ Central District Conference in Grand Rapids, MI. The weekend was full of inspiring lectures, conversations, and spaces. The conference commenced on April 4th with a design marathon that included tours at Herman Miller, Haworth, and Steelcase and followed by a studio crawl at Start-Garden, Grid70 and the Factory. Day two consisted of mostly lectures from a variety of speakers, all from different industries, and then a period for students and future design stars to shine with a portfolio review and student merit award competition.


Lots of open space at Herman Miller’s design studio.Lots of open space at Herman Miller’s design studio.

 

The tours began with Herman miller, where Gary Smith, V.P. of Product Design, lead an interesting discussion around “a differential spirit, to the provocation of design.” (Insider Tip: there is a discount Herman Miller store in Zeeland, MI that sells HM display units and custom orders that are cancelled). Following that was a studio tour at Hayworth and Steelcase. All the studios showed how the office space is evolving and how important and beneficial it is to accommodate various styles of work. In the evening there were tours of three co creation incubators, Start-Garden, Grid70 and the Factory. These spaces allow creative people of all different disciplines to can come together and collaborate on their ideas and help nurture entrepreneurship.

The entry way into Steelcase’s cafeteria.The entry way into Steelcase’s cafeteria. 

 

The following day the three main speakers were Ian Cunningham (Director at Newell Rubbermaid), Alex Liebert (Director at Atlas Copco), and Kentucky IDSA member David Calvert (Industrial Designer at GE Appliance). Ian spoke about “The New Old School”, He walked us through many of the tools he used through his career as a designer and how those tools have evolved over time. He also spoke about “greatness” and how too many people good is great but challenged designers to show people what greatness truly  is. Alex spoke about “D2B – Design to Business” and showed how considering all the stakeholders involved with their product (Operators, Engineers, Managers, etc.…) Atlas Copco’s designers and engineering were able to create some innovative mining equipment. Finally David spoke about “Quenching the Thirst to Innovate” and showed how GE Appliance is working to create an environment of open innovation, creativity and idea sharing. He also showed how GE is collaborating with Local Motors to start FirstBuild, a community where people can design, build, and sell, together. After the Main Speakers were several breakoff mini speakers. Followed by the student portfolio review and the student merit award winner (Spoiler alert: this year the prize went to OSU).

 

All in all it was a great weekend in design and would invite any who didn’t attend this year to consider doing so next year. For more info on the conference click here and for more photos check out Instagram #IDSA.

Great Place for a coffee break at Herman Miller.Great Place for a coffee break at Herman Miller.

 

Or take a break and get some exercise on these “spun chairs” at Herman MillerOr take a break and get some exercise on these “spun chairs” at Herman Miller

 

 

Just one example of a collaborative space at Steelcase.Just one example of a collaborative space at Steelcase.

 

Take your notes and doodles with you on this rotating sketch pad table at SteelCase.Take your notes and doodles with you on this rotating sketch pad table at SteelCase.

 

Speaker panel featuring our very own Kentucky member David Calvert!Speaker panel featuring our very own Kentucky member David Calvert!