Elisabeth Edvardsen
Tsukasa Tanimoto
Sherry Dong

Fjord London x CSM: Exploring trends and challenges in design and innovation

Recently, Fjord London welcomed soon-to-be MA Innovation Management graduates from Central Saint Martins (CSM), the renowned arts and design school also based in the British capital, to the studio to share their graduation projects.

The evening brought a sea of opinions, visions and ideas on a wide range of topics such as Artificial Intelligence in the Creative Industries, Circular Economy and how design and innovation will be shaping itself, short- and long-term.

1. Profit & Preservation

The first session touched on collaborative business models and circular economy – no doubt of interest to our Business Designers – presented by Miguel Esparza and Ance Rusova. Coincidentally, Circular Economy was also the topic for the Fjord Madrid Kitchen taking place at the same time! Miguel had developed what he called a “co-working business model”, a proposition for an innovation framework taking into account additional actors and spaces, on top of traditional ones, such as freelancers, co-working spaces and incubators. Ance, on the other hand, shared insights from her work on circular economy and how we all need to consider the consequences of the products we create.

2. Order & Chaos

The next session challenged how the birth of innovation was set up today – Order – and how new framings and perspectives less familiar to us are key in order to come up with innovative solutions. Amanda L. M. Mitchell, self-proclaimed Problem Finder, gave a fascinating talk where she argued that dedicating our efforts to identify the right problem is as important – or potentially far more important – than rushing to find a solution that might not be the relevant one.

3. Digital & Physical

Our work has to consider both digital and physical environments, so this section really resonated with the group, and one talk in particular. Rowan Wallace gave an amazing presentation on “Artificial Intelligence in the Creative Industries.” Instead of being antagonistic towards the emergence of AI within our everyday life – both personal and professional – Rowan reflected on how best-practices shall be developed for AI-human interaction to propel the creative industries into the future. With a positive outlook that respects technological advances, Rowan ended his presentation with a design opportunity he has identified: “Encoding AI with positive meaning for adoption in mainstream culture.”

4. Now & Future

The last session questioned how design and innovation will be shaping itself in the short- and long-term future. Arana Anantachina, for instance, challenged whether methods such as design thinking and prototyping were truly effective for generating radical ideas. Instead, Arana shared her attachment for another methodology, speculative and critical design, which might involve more uncertainty and conflicting viewpoints yet she believes it expands more opportunities.

In this Pecha Kucha-style session, Fjordians caught a glimpse of the fresh thinking coming from this year’s CSM students. And they were keen on following up on a lot of projects in depth afterwards. It was an inspiring evening for both Fjordians and CSM students to share how we understand some hottest trends and challenges in design nowadays.

A recording of the event is available here. Photos taken by Naoki Hayashi.

Elisabeth Edvardsen
Tsukasa Tanimoto
Sherry Dong

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