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Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the Product Design + Innovation (PD+I) conference will once again be bringing product designers and innovation professionals together to participate in a two-day event specifically dedicated to industrial design.

Dan Black (left), director and co-founder, Black + Blum

The theme of this year’s event will be specifically focussed on exploring how product designers can drive economic growth. “As the West faces an era of stagnation, the mantra ‘doing more with less’ is likely to define the challenge for innovators in the years to come.

At the same time new developments, such as the fusion of manufacturing and services, the consumerisation of healthcare, and the emergence of smart systems and infrastructure present fresh opportunities for designers,” says conference chair and director of product consultancy Plan, Kevin McCullagh.

Speaking out

Over the two days more than 40 design and innovation leaders will be presenting.

Alessandro Finetto, senior director of global consumer design at Whirlpool, will deliver a keynote presentation on the opening day of the conference entitled ‘The Role of Design in Reindustrialisation – The Design Ecosystem’. Sean Carney, chief design officer at Royal Philips Electronics, will deliver the opening keynote on the second day entitled ‘Moving the Needle: Designing People-focused, Market Relevant Brand Experiences’.


Day two also features a keynote from SungHan Kim, head of design at Samsung Europe, entitled ‘Leading Competitive Advantage’.

Other notable speakers include Benoit Jacob of BMWi, BMW’s green sub brand, who will be speaking on ‘Designing for Sustainability’, while Christian Buetner, industrial design manager at Bosch, will be presenting a case study entitled ‘Managing the Power Balance in Converging Industries’.

Packed programme

The conference programme also includes talks from a number of representatives from product design consultancies including Dick Powell, co-founder of Seymourpowell, Morten Warren, founder of Native Design, Dan Black, co-founder of Black+Blum and David Mills, founder of Stafford-based consultancy Haughton Design.

There will also be talks from representatives from leading brand companies who will be sharing their experiences of successful brand strategy including, amongst others, McLaren Automotive, Cisco, Marks & Spencer, Bang & Olufsen, Jaguar Land Rover, 3M, Orange and Boots.

Listen and share

Supported by British Design Innovation (BDI), the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) and the Innovation Leadership Forum, this two day event will be focussed on shared learning with the sessions developed specifically to address the barriers that exist between consultancies and in-house design teams as well as other functions such as engineering and marketing.

In addition to the speaker programme there will be an opportunity for delegates to participate in debates and ask questions during the panel discussions. A number of break-out sessions will also allow the opportunity to network with speakers and peers.

“What I value about the PD+I conference is that it’s a forum for people who make things happen, rather than for design’s chattering classes,” says McCullagh. “It will deal with the big picture of economic growth and reindustrialisation, as well as the detail of manufacturing technology and consumer behaviour.”

To find out more about the event and to register visit the dedicated website below, which also includes product design news and blogs as well as updates on the conference speaker programme.

Plastics design & moulding

Delegates attending PD+I will also have free access to the co-located Plastics Design & Moulding (PDM12) conference and exhibition.

It will feature representatives from every part of the UK plastics community from injection moulding machinery makers Engel, Sumitomo Demag and Billion to 3D printer specialists like Hewlett Packard, ZSolutions and Bits from Bytes, as well as rapid prototyping companies like Midas and Ogle.

The Box Appetit lunchbox designed by design consultancy Black + Blum.

Polymer producers Bayer MaterialScience, polymer distributors Distrupol, Plastribution and Ultrapolymers and masterbatch as well as additive suppliers Gabriel-Chemie and Pantone will also have stands in the exhibition hall.

The PDM12 Summit, running across both days of the show, will tackle a host of in-depth topics focusing on the core subject of Best Practice in Plastics Design.

The keynote speaker on the opening day is Dennis Turner, formerly chief economist for HSBC, who is expected to review the current state of manufacturing in the UK economy, the country’s close relationship with the Eurozone and outline what needs to be done in order to get back to economic growth.

The free ‘Plastics Surgery – Ask the Consultant’ will also be back this year offering practical advice on manufacturing a product in plastic.

Experts from the Plastics Consultancy Network, specialists in plastics design, manufacturing and materials issues, will be on hand to assist visitors.

Product Design & Innovation Conference 2012 preview

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