Spotlight on … Professor James Woudhuysen


Professor James Woudhuysen

Professor James Woudhuysen helped to install Britain’s first computer-controlled car park in 1968, before graduating in physics. James has edited and written for many well-known industry magazines including Design and Blueprint Magazine, and also written numerous books on the subject of innovation. Prior to his role as independent forecaster and visiting professor, James was Chief of worldwide market intelligence for Philips Consumer Electronics in the Netherlands and Director of product designers at Seymourpowell.


You’re speaking again at PD+I 2016, what made you decide to get involved?
It’s always vibrant, with great speakers and a fresh, no-posing attitude to free speech and open debate.


What are you currently working on?
Manufacturing, IoT, rail travel, cybersecurity; co-editing, with Martyn Evans and James Moultrie, The Wiley Handbook of Design and Innovation: Trends, Scenarios and Recommendations for 2030 and beyond.


Why did you decide to work in the design field?
I needed a job and saw one in the papers – Technical Editor, Design magazine, at the Design Council. I asked my Dad if he wasn’t a designer. He said he was. From then on it was downhill


Is there a designer or company you particularly admire and why?
Ramesh Annapindi, MADLAB, Bangalore.
Should you meet your heroes?
I have heroes, but society tends to prefer celebrities. Mistake!


What product or design you wish you’d worked on and why?
Apollo 11. It’s obvious why.


What is the greatest challenge you face professionally?
As a forecaster, the challenge of staying ahead.


Can you describe yourself or your company in 10 words or less?
Speaker to big firms about the future of technological innovation.



Spotlight on … Gadi Amit


Gadi Amit, President, NewDealDesign LLC

Gadi Amit is president and principal designer of NewDealDesign – the 2013 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award Winner – and one of Fast Company magazine’s 1000 most creative people. Gadi has been responsible for projects including the Fitbit line of wearable devices, the Ara Modular Phone, the Lytro Light Field Camera, TYLT Devices, Whistle and Sproutling wearables. He was also named a ‘Master of Design’ in 2010 and alongside his team has received over 100 design awards.


You’re speaking at PD+I 2016, what made you decide to get involved?
I was involved with the 2014 conference and I am always very interested to see what’s happening all around the world in terms of innovation. The UK has a tremendous innovative community which always attracted me. Conferences are all about ideas and being exposed to new trends, and London always provides new inspirations and ideas, as well as the chance to meet interesting people.


What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a variety of projects, probably the most comprehensive ever. We’re currently dealing with products at the cutting edge of medicine, as well as autonomous objects – which are not limited to cars. We are also working on a variety of smart home devices and applications, nearly all of which are a combination of strategy, physical, digital and engineering. Most projects arrive as 360 degree engagement, so as well as design, brand strategy is important, and as well as the object, so too is the digital experience.


Why did you become a designer?
I don’t know that I had any other choice. I come from a family of two architects and discovered industrial design in my twenties. It’s my calling and I have never tried anything else.


Is there a designer or company you particularly admire and why?
It’s a complicated question. I am inspired by a few designers and find people like Naoto Fukasawa and Antonio Citterio to be very influential. There are a lot of very good designers out there, it’s hard to pick only a few when there are so many. I admire companies which take big chances and try to push boundaries, for example Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors. BMW is also picking up the green challenge with its i division, which is an impressive approach.


Should you meet your heroes?
I have met Naoto once or twice and Benoit Jacob from BMW I (at PD + I, by the way). I think there is a difference between the persona of a designer and a design itself. We shouldn’t personify design work. I have a slight reservation about design heroes and personification of designs. Some people have large, impressive personalities and some are much quieter, but that doesn’t impact the stature of work that they do.


What product or design do you wish you’d worked on and why?
I would wish for the chance to work on an autonomous vehicle or a house robot which everyone can use. The intelligence of moving things is a topic I am intrigued by.


What is the greatest challenge you face as a designer?
Advanced technology and the challenge to bridge the gap between humanity and technology which is typically non-human. We need to take culture and humanity seriously in design for tech. It is our greatest challenge, especially in terms of intelligent ‘things’. We need to make their assimilation into our culture much more smooth, so that they bring inspiration and happiness to humanity rather than mistrust.


Can you describe NewDealDesign in 10 words or less?
A technology design studio working to humanize technology for people.






Nigel Goode, Designer and Director, PriestmanGoode

Following a degree in product design at London’s Central Saint Martins, Goode worked for a number of large industrial design companies before joining Paul Priestman in 1989 to found PriestmanGoode.

Goode leads a wide range of projects across product and aviation design and has worked on major projects with Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Trains, Swiss International Airlines, Qatar Airways, BAA, Marks & Spencer, United Airlines and Boots.

Goode was external examiner at Central Saint Martins, on the product design course. He frequently speaks at design and aviation events around the world. He is also a regular commentator on trends and future thinking in air travel, covering everything from economy class cabins on commercial flights to space travel.

You’re speaking at PD+I 2016, what made you decide to get involved?

While the majority of PriestmanGoode’s work today is in aviation and transport design, my background is as a product designer, and product design remains at the heart of our company. We still use the same approach, the same attention to detail, just on a much larger scale. As the leading conference in the field, PD+I is a good opportunity to work with our contemporaries and set the agenda for the future of product design and innovation.
What are you currently working on?

We’re working on a number of large aviation and transport projects including for United Airlines, Qatar Airways and World View Experience with which we’re working on a space capsule for commercial flights to the edge of space. Having worked in aviation for many years, it’s great to now be part of the pioneering space travel industry.
Why did you become a designer?

I was always interested in how to improve products, how to make them better and more intuitive for people to use and more efficient for companies to manufacture. I find industrial design particularly interesting because it’s the perfect union of form and function.

Being resourceful is intrinsic to being a good product designer. The industry has developed a lot since I started out three decades ago. Today, design is at the heart of a company’s ability to gain competitive advantage and at PriestmanGoode we’re constantly working to develop a broader public understanding of the industry, and the value that design can bring to business.

It’s also rewarding to know that our work helps make people’s journeys around the world easier and more comfortable. The majority of PriestmanGoode’s work is in aviation and transport design, and it’s great to know that millions of passengers are using our products every year.
Is there a designer or company you particularly admire and why?

Product and industrial design is a fairly new profession, but I particularly admire early British design pioneers such as Ernest Race and Ken Grange who challenged the norm in terms of both design and manufacturing.
Should you meet your heroes?

There’s often a glamorising of the design industry when actually, it’s mostly about a lot of hard work.

Our company, PriestmanGoode, is one of the sponsors for the RSA Student Design Awards, and we regularly do workshops with students as part of the Sorrell Foundation’s National Art & Design Saturday Club. I think it’s important to build closer links between design education and practice, and for students to better understand the realities and challenges of working as a designer today.
What product or design do you wish you’d worked on and why?

The Toio lamp designed in 1962 by  Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglione for Flos. It’s a very economical and playful design based on an assemblage of bought items including a car headlight.
What is the greatest challenge you face as a designer?

Working in transport and aviation design is particularly rewarding, as whatever you design has to last, in the case of public transport design we’re talking up to fifty years. So, future thinking is at the heart of what we do, but the speed at which technology changes can be challenging because technological advancements happen much quicker than you can implement in transport design. This means that whatever we design needs to be flexible, so that upgrades can be made without too much cost or inconvenience.
Can you describe your company in 10 words or less?

Our designs help our clients become market leaders.



Spotlight on… Julie Jenson Bennett


Julie Jenson Bennett, Chief Executive Officer, Precipice

Everybody pauses when asked to describe Julie – not because she defies classification, but because 20 years of working on the knife-edge of business and design has stretched her experiences far beyond her original career in interaction and information design at Intel Corporation.

As a design strategist she’s defined dozens of disruptive technology products in networking, e-commerce, television and domestic appliances and holds a patent for novel visual browsing interfaces. As a leader, she’s consistently delivered vision, profits and growth in a range of business models, from small creative studios to global corporate teams.

Many of Julie’s clients know her best for her rigorous design research, which evolved from her own decision making needs as a senior business manager and product strategist. In the process of getting the answers she needs, she’s acquired a deep knowledge of cognitive science, emotion science, anthropology and material culture, and is passionate about both the power and limitations of user-centered design and consumer research.

Now, as CEO of Precipice, Julie continues to balance her time between business management and strategic consulting. She loves a good spreadsheet, informed risk taking, and getting great products to market.

You’re speaking at PD+I 2016, what made you decide to get involved?

Product Design & Innovation is such a central question of business today, it’s crucial to build the community and have spaces to hold interesting conversations.


What are you currently working on?

I have spent the past 18 months understanding what it means to be a man or woman today and how changes in this have created unexpected ripples in the products we choose to have in our lives.


Why did you become a designer?

It happened a bit accidentally. I intended to become a journalist, but my studies in writing, visual communication and psychology led me to the emergent field of interaction design before it had a name or a real professional identity. From there, I became obsessed with the intersection of product design and business strategy.


Is there a designer or company you particularly admire and why?

I started my career at Intel in the early ‘90s, and the recent coverage of Andy Grove’s death has reminded me of so many qualities that made that company great. But as a product designer, Intel particularly drove home the fact that you are designing for an entire eco-system of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and channel partners that need to be considered and appreciated, alongside what we see as consumers.


Should you meet your heroes?

Heroes live in the stories we create about other people. I am much more interested in hearing the stories other people tell about themselves.


What product or design you wish you’d worked on and why?

My recent work on gender has exposed the modern underbelly of dating. I’d have loved to have worked on Tinder, knowing what I know now, to rethink it from a different perspective.


What is the greatest challenge you face as a designer?

Balancing simplicity and complexity. If we worship the cult of simplicity too much, we miss out on the incredible richness of the human experience. But once we become perceived as complicated, we start to lose engagement. I have to constantly navigate that boundary every day.


Can you describe your company in 10 words or less?

Providing perspective on how and why stuff matters to people.




Ben Hardman is a product designer at heart, with a meandering career through design, engineering and innovation.  His current position within the Speedo Aqualab® challenges the role that technical innovation has within a global sportswear brand, and how it can inspire people to swim.  Ben has a passion for the human element of what he does – tapping into the emotions and making a connection with people through their interaction with a product and the experience that creates.

You’re speaking at PD+I 2015, what made you decide to get involved?

Speedo have been working with Chris Lefteri recently, and he asked if we’d share some stories and insights into who we are, what we do and how we do it.  I’d heard some really positive things about PD+I and wanted to come along to make new connections and hear some interesting talks.

What are you currently working on?

Speedo have recently introduced the Fastskin Lazer Racer X.  The Fastskin Lazer Racer X was created through collaborating with hundreds of swimmers and experts throughout the world, the suit is designed to help them feel fast and be fast.

Why did you become a designer?

I’ve always loved crafting ideas and thoughts into objects, both useful and/or purely aesthetic.

Is there a designer or company you particularly admire and why?

I get really excited by brands such as Bang&Olufsun.  They have such a precise and reserved image, but manage to flip this into very radical concepts.  They explore new and unchartered territories and have fun in the process.

Should you meet your heroes?

I don’t think it’s necessary to meet your heroes, or idolize people or organizations.  For me it’s enough just to appreciate them and feed off their ideas and energy.

What product or design you wish you’d worked on and why?

I love the VW Golf and Jetta MKII cars from the late 80’s – from the age when car makers seemed to have a clearer visual identity.  If I’d been on the team I would’ve encourage them to include a cup-holder and a curry hook!

What is the greatest challenge you face as a designer?

I think the biggest challenge as designer or an engineer is to flip between a subjective and objective viewpoint.  Great experiences can only be created when there is a bit of magic thrown in, a pleasant surprise – but this is hard to achieve by committee, so the designer’s vision should always be protected and respected.  But what we do also has to also be rooted in insights – and this requires a large degree of separation from any personal vision. A healthy dilemma!


Spotlight on …David Tonge

David Tongue picDavid is widely recognised as one of the leading industrial designers of his generation. Quietly successful he has designed a diverse range of award winning products including furniture, luggage, consumer electronics, car interiors, cameras and computer equipment.

He graduated from Northumbria University with class mate and collaborator Jony Ive. After working in London design studios, including Tangerine, he joined IDEO Product Development in San Francisco in the mid-90’s as Industrial Design Director. An exciting period for design in Silicon Valley, IDEO’s innovation process attracted the smartest brands from all over the world and he worked alongside some of the most influential designers of the modern era including Bill Moggridge and Naoto Fukasawa. After a period as Associate Partner to Bob Brunner at Pentagram design he founded The Division with partner Nicole Hodgkinson in 2003 and returned to London.       David has worked extensively in Japan, studying the language and developing an enduring love for the culture. Well over 70 visits later he has a unique knowledge of Japanese companies and frequently lectures, writes and consults about his experiences.

His work has been exhibited at the London Design Museum, has won major design awards in the UK, Germany, Japan and the US and his work and writing have been featured in Axis Magazine,  Business Week, Blueprint, Creative Review, Nikkei BP and The Guardian as well as being interviewed on BBC radio, NHK TV Japan and CBS.

You’re speaking at PD+I 2016, what made you decide to get involved?
I do a lot of speaking overseas particularly in Japan and the US and I thought it was about time people in the UK heard what I have to say.

What are you currently working on?
Our work is split between live projects and on-going advice based consulting with our clients. On the project side of things we are working on kitchen tools, health and beauty products, PC peripherals and the inevitable IOT devices both hardware and UI. Our advice area is expanding and is generally about advising upper management and directing internal teams to do the right thing.

Why did you become a designer?
Encouraged by my parents all I ever did was draw and make things and was correspondingly good at it. At 7 I wanted to be an artist. At 14 I wanted to be a graphic designer and during foundation course I visited Manchester Poly where a guy wearing a pink mohair jumper was designing a train, he looked so cool and it sold me on Industrial design ! But I don’t see any boundaries. I love photography, typography, ceramics, painting, fashion, architecture etc. It’s all story telling.

Is there a designer or company you particularly admire and why?
Given my global design upbringing – in the US it would be the Eames, in Japan Sori Yanagi and his father Soetsu. If we talk about the UK, I would have to say Alexander McQueen.
While all very different all of these were able to balance function and emotion in a way that from the outside felt less about their own style but was just ‘right’ for the time. They all understood that design should be an art form and a communication of the times, not just a weak mouth piece for business. Which is where we design in general seems to be know.

Should you meet your heroes?
I don’t really subscribe to heroes and celebrity but there are a lot of people I respect. I am happy to meet anyone from whatever background and it’s never upsetting, it’s our flaws which are interesting.

What product or design do you wish you’d worked on and why?
There are no dream projects. The one you are doing is always the best one.

What is the greatest challenge you face as a designer?
Not letting the business of design kill my love for doing

Can you describe your company in 10 words or less?
Unbelievably good

David’s presentation titled ‘Nobody needs another designer’ will open the conference on 18th of May 2016.


Neysan Zolzer

Must-attend event for industrial designers, PD+I is pleased to welcome Neysan Zölzer to its exciting lineup of speakers for 2016.

Neysan is a partner at Mensch, an innovation agency which employs human-centred, entrepreneurial, and collaborative approaches to design products, services, and organisations in emerging and frontier markets. He has designed for the governments of Rwanda and Malawi, Cambodian NGOs, and USAID, NASA, the World Bank, and TED.

On his speaker role at this year’s conference, Neysan explains: “Design’s vast potential to contribute to human prosperity remains largely untapped — PD+I is bound to be an exciting forum to explore ground-breaking and meaningful innovations.”

For his keynote, Neysan discusses: How Design can contribute to the Prosperity of Nations. It is his belief that design offers a compelling approach for tackling socio-economic complexity, yet its potential remains largely untapped. So, how can we employ collaboration, empathy, iteration, and creativity to design meaningful products and services that contribute to the development and prosperity of nations?

Delegates of the 2016 PD+I conference will be lucky enough to hear first-hand examples through insights into Neysan’s work innovating in the Global South.



PD+I returns for 2016


The must-attend event for industrial designers, PD+I is pleased to announce its London return for 2016, on 18th and 19th May, with this year’s theme ‘Design thinking for now and beyond.’

This unique two-day conference will once again take place at London’s America Square conference centre, with the popular return of Chris Lefteri in the chair. Chris is the internationally renowned authority on materials and their applications in design, editor and creative director of Ingredients magazine, and founder and owner of Chris Lefteri Design Ltd.

Another familiar face welcomed back is Gus Desbarats, Founder and Chairman at Alloy and Chairman of the British Industrial Design Association (BIDA), Gus joins the speaker lineup this year with a keynote that asks the question: What BIDA is doing for the UK’s Industrial-Design professionals?

On his involvement with PD+I 2016, Gus comments: “BIDA has supported PD+I since its earliest planning stages, so we are delighted with the ongoing success of the event. It is proof positive that the UK has a strong Industrial Design community with many good reasons to come together. We look forward to seeing everyone there.”

PD+I is the only conference which truly allows delegates to get under the skin of the hottest new trends, technologies, materials and processes in industrial design. It is also a fantastic platform from which to discover new opportunities and how to apply them to future commercial growth. Delegates and speakers from Europe, North America and Asia are being drawn in from well-known brands, design leaders and personalities from the worlds of advertising, management consulting and technology.

Already confirmed topics include: Nobody Needs Another Designer, How Design Can Contribute to the Prosperity of Nations, The Art of the Unexpected, Proportionate Protection, The Future of Urban Mobility, From Crystal Ball to Cultural Forge and Happaratus. A series of case histories and factual stories will feature about how design thinking is changing and being utilised by the industry for Product and Industrial Designs of the future, appealing to delegates of many disciplines.

With more than 200 delegates expected to attend, the potential for networking and building invaluable contacts within this specialist area is second to none.

For more information, please visit the website.