What Is Good Design in the 21st Century? The Brainstorm Design Conference Aims to Find Out

March 2, 2018, 6:45 AM UTC
Close-Up Of Pencils On Paper
Chatuporn Sornlampoo—Getty Images/EyeEm

What does it mean to be a designer in the 21st century? What is good design? What is bad design? Why does it matter? How can businesses harness the power of design to meet the needs of consumers?

Brainstorm Design, the business design conference sponsored by TIME, Fortune, and Wallpaper*, will grapple with those questions from March 6 to 8 in Singapore. Over the course of 43 panels, leading designers, academics and CEOs spanning all industries will convene to discuss how to capitalize on the power of design—specifically in an age of digitalization and globalization.

Traditional methods of doing business are disintegrating. Big data, artificial intelligence, automation, the Internet, and emerging economies are disrupting conventional supply chains, manufacturers, brand names, and distribution networks. Companies now rely on a direct relationship with their customers. Businesses need design-thinking to adapt to the speed and scale of product cycles and identify the unmet needs of consumers.

The conference, which is supported by Singapore’s Economic Development Board and the Design Singapore Council, is designed to help answer those questions and examines how design, business, society and technology impact each other. The speakers are designers from Wallpaper*’s Design Power 200 list as well as business leaders from Fortune 500 companies.

Phil Gilbert of IBM, Don Tae Lee of Samsung (SAMSUNG-CT) Sam Yen of SAP (SAP), Shanying Leung of Alipay, Mauro Porcini of PepsiCo (PEP), Charles Hayes of IDEO, Harry West of frog and Derrick Kiker of McKinsey and LUNAR, will discuss the transformative power of design within firms and how it has enabled them to connect with their clients.

For more on design and Singapore, See Fortune’s video:

Joe Gebbia of Airbnb (AIRBNB)—which, as he often says, is not so much a tech company that uses design as a design company that uses technolgy—Miguel McKelvey of WeWork (WEWORK), and Elizabeth Laraki of Facebook, will discuss how to leverage design and data so as to enhance user experience, build trust, and redefine communities.

Eminent designers Tom Dixon, Thomas Heatherwick, Mauro Porcini, Ole Scheeren and Patricia Urquiola, Daan Roosegaarde, Paola Antonelli of the Museum of Modern Art, and Kenya Hara of MUJI will discuss how design works across all fields, from urban planning to architecture to furniture to sustainability.

Design is a fluid concept and in many ways, can even seem like common sense. But everything, from a handbag to a heart stent, needs design. Brainstorm Design is a unique opportunity for designers across industries to share their lessons in the power of design.

Follow in-depth coverage of Brainstorm Design here.