The Dutch Technology Week is in full swing. Common criticism is that technology should be linked to design more. And that’s why, on May 16th, High Tech meets Design took place, a big brainstorm session about the collaboration between these two units. All attendees felt that technology and design work better in combination with each other. Or as Martijn Paulen, Director of the Dutch Design Foundation, summarized it: “Let technicians and designers make love together.


“I think when you bring technicians and designers together for a common challenge, you have fireworks.”Martijn Paulen, Director Dutch Design Foundation

The panel discussion
After a welcome speech by Martijn Paulen, it’s time for a panel discussion. The four members of this ar Geert Christiaansen of Design Innovation at Philips Design, Guido D’hert of Accenture, Koen Snoeckx of Baltan Laboratories and Marijn van der Poll of Conceptual Thinking. These four men all already have a foot in both the world of technology and in the world of design. All four unanimously agree: Yes, it’s a good thing that technology and design are collaborating more and more. The more the better and the faster the better.


Add a designer
There are three things you need to combine if you want to be successful with innovation: business aspect, technology and human aspect. And you have to bring them together in the initial phase. The sooner you bring them together, the better, according to Christiaansen. His panel members agree with this. “By adding a designer, you know whether a technology also has value. You don’t learn that by developing the technology.” It is, however, important that the designer isn’t only involved in the initial stage. Because you work from trust, transparency, reciprocity and not being afraid to give each other the credits, according to Snoeckx.


Other initiatives
High Tech meets Design isn’t the first initiative to connect technology and design. There are now Creative Residencies, where a designers settles on the High Tech Campus. Another example is the What if Lab Marathon, where a designer can execute his ideas for the Eindhoven Marathon. During High Tech meets Design, the winner of this was announced. This way the connection between companies and designers gets further developed in Eindhoven. To keep making this link, Explorations for cooperations is a part of High Tech meets Design. Four companies pitch their new invention or technology. Then the companies and designers literally sit around the table to brainstorm.  The outcomes of this are presented during the Dutch Design Week. That way we also connect the Dutch Design Week and the Dutch Technology Week, says Paulen.


Well on the way
‘We are already well on our way.’ Is the general note. It is more about continuation, but how? Is the question. “FAST! By simply letting them experience it.” And if you experience such a journey, you notice you’re moving forward, says van Der Poll. He sees it, so do his panel members, as a great importance to change thinking processes. “We need to start thinking differently. Now we’re talking about technology and creativity. We think that that’s a totally different thing. Technology is supposedly designing a shaver and creativity is watercolor painting. A different view on these concepts is necessary.”


Technicians, designers, and inhabitants
According to Paulen, it’s not a bad thing that there are only designers and technicians in the room now. High Tech meets Design was set up so that these groups can come in contact with each other. It is the part behind the scenes, but the inhabitants do need to know what’s going on. Where in the city the new possibilities are and that they are involved in the prototypes, says Paulen. So that when the technicians and designers have made love: “As a citizen of Eindhoven, you fall back in love with the city.”

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Author profile picture Altijd nieuwsgierig naar het sociale en culturele aspect van hightech en innovatie.