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[Herald Design Forum 2017] Pondering the meaning of ‘design thinking’

Nov. 7, 2017 - 19:23 By Hong Dam-young
Leading minds in architecture and product design from around the world gathered at the Herald Design Forum 2017, to discuss the concept of design thinking and the significance it holds in the industry today.

“Design thinking, for me, is about dreaming how you want the future to be. While business people focus on predicting the next jackpot, designers, they can imagine how life would be in next 10 and 20 years,” said Aernout Dijkstra-Hellinga, design director of Bugaboo International, at a Design Talk session, hosted by Kim Sung-hyon, professor at Samsung Art & Design Institute, at the seventh annual Herald Design Forum held in Seoul on Tuesday.

Seok Yong-bae, shoe design director and CEO of SEOK, thought of design thinking beyond its quintessential aesthetic function. 

From left: Kim Sung-hyon, professor at Samsung Art & Design Institute, hosts a Design Talk session with Seok Yong-bae, Carme Pigem and Aernout Dijkstra – Hellinga, held as part of Herald Design Forum 2017 at The Shilla Seoul on Tuesday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

“There are so many elements in design, from promoting sales of products to the beauty and convenience of designs. For me, it‘s all connected,” Seok said.

“But if all industries can grow and sell more because of design, individuals working in companies can keep working, and sustain their lives, leading to their families’ happiness. Rather than be confined to the purpose of beauty or selling products, the fundamental thing is that a good design leads to better sales, leading to families sustaining their livelihood.”

Seok went onto emphasize that separating the core of products and their fashionable parts is necessary to satisfy consumers’ needs, which leads to making enduring products. 

Carme Pigem, architect and co-founder of RCR Arquitectes, said expressing essential parts in life in abstract ways was her definition of design thinking.

Dijkstra-Hellinga pointed out the need for a designer to have a sense of responsibility toward society and humanity in general. He said that designing should be based on communication and empathy toward others.

“Designers are trained to cater to the needs of many people, and I think that’s a rare quality. Design thinking is having the responsibility to think about how future would look like,” he said.

By Hong Dam-young (