What’s new what’s next: In world leadership and design

New York ruminated on technology in September, appreciating it in the New York Design Center's annual market day as well as during the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.  As AD writes “We've passed the point of forgiveness for designers who are un-savvy about technology.” A few days later, all member states of the UN were encouraged to be savvy as well.

The UN High-Level Event on Innovation and Technology gathered Heads of State, CEOs and technology thought-leaders. The President of Estonia, H.E. Kersti Kaljulaid related why her small country already has 5G LTE - the government kept out of the way.  (She also noted that the washing machine changed more lives than putting a man on the moon.)  The event  was convened by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General's Global Pulse and the SDG Action Campaign and we were pleased to participate. SDG stands for the Sustainable Development Goals, the “to-do list for humanity,” a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

The 17 Goals include Sustainable Cities and Communities and Responsible Consumption and Production - two goals designers and architects can embrace.  Kristin Gutekunst, an Executive Producer for the UN SDG Action Campaign, moderated a panel on “The future we want in virtual reality.” On the panel was Monique Marian, architect, BIM Coordinator and VR Specialist  at Grimshaw Architects, who spoke about VR use in her field.  

H.E. Miroslav Lajčák, the President of the United Nations General Assembly urged, “Let us unleash innovation to unlock the potential of every person everywhere, especially young people.”  Likewise Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Chair of LinkedIn, stressed the importance of Artificial Intelligence in shaping societies, saying how all people will be needed to solve the problems ahead.

Marc Benioff, the CEO and Founder of Salesforce, reminded us that the UN was born in San Francisco, and we all need to allow innovation to happen. He explored AI as a basic human right as it touches on education, farming, commerce, health.  

At the NY Design Center’s What's New What's Next, designers Jon Call, Philip Gorrivan, Katie Lydon and Philip Gorrivan talked with Viyet CEO Lix Brown about issues Panafold helps designers with, such as having a digital presence (important at any point of your career), and using tech-enabled Moodboards to create design boards (stay tuned.) Dering Hall Executive Editor Dennis Sarlo led a discussion on tools the panel knew about and used. On the panel were Kati Curtis, Joe Human, Paloma Contreras, Patrick Dragonette. The group sourced ideas from attending a lot of markets and often stored them in Dropbox folders.  They were cautious with sharing Pinterest boards with clients,  finding it can lead to misinformation (an interesting user experience design problem).  Instagram was good for connecting with people so long as designers kept a good ratio of personal and work content.  Online design services hurt more than helped their work. More helpful services were Matterport, which will document and model a space, and Trello-like applications such as Dapulse and Asana.

In the foreground an example of design innovation: The Aplat + Chef Melissa King Shibori Tote makes its debut at the UN. On the monitors, President Kersti Kaljulaid (Estonia).  

In the foreground an example of design innovation: The Aplat + Chef Melissa King Shibori Tote makes its debut at the UN. On the monitors, President Kersti Kaljulaid (Estonia).  

Along with the SDG goals that directly relate to design and architecture, we at Panafold want to underscore the spirit of Goals 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and 10 (reduced inequality). Just because many in the design industry work in small companies it doesn’t mean that we can’t have impact. The Global Day of Action is September 25th.