▲ President Tsai Ing-Wen appeared at the National Design Congress announcing the establishment of the Taiwan Design Research Institute (TDRI) in 2020. World Design Organization President-Elect, Srini R. Srinivasan (third from the left), made a special trip to Taiwan to attend the forum.
On October 23, President Tsai Ing-Wen appeared at the National Design Congress — along with Shen Jong-Chin, the Minister of Economic Affairs; Lin Chia-Long, the Minister of Transportation and Communications; and Pan Men-An, the Magistrate of Pingtung County — announcing the establishment of the Taiwan Design Research Institute (TDRI) in 2020.
After 16 years of operation, the Taiwan Design Center (TDC) is evolving into the Taiwan Design Research Institute, in order to strengthen Taiwan’s competitiveness and innovativeness in the realm of design. On October 23, the TDC hosted the Design Insight National Design Congress. Over 300 attendees gathered to explore how design can ignite change, achieve consensus, and pave the way to a better future.
Using design to transform Taiwan cannot be accomplished in one fell swoop. Instead, after the initiative kicked off in August, four discussions were held in each of the four corners of Taiwan (North, South, East and West). Thereafter, a preparatory meeting was held in September, leading up to the National Design Congress on the 23rd. These discussions acknowledged the importance of cooperating with industry to insert design into the fabric of Taiwan’s corporate ecosystem — but, even more importantly, they focused on how to use design to influence the future of Taiwan.
▲ Participants in the first forum at the Design Insight National Design Congress included (from left) Professor Shu Chang-Kung, from the Graduate Institute of Architecture at the National Chiao Tung University; Tsai Wen-Chien, the managing director of NOVA design; Jhang Guang-Min, the regional consultant for the World Design Organization; and Chang Geng-Hwa, the founder of LuxuryLogico. On the far right is the host of the forum, Chen Fang-Yu, the Director of FutureCity, from CommonWealth Magazine.
The Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau, Lu Cheng-Hua, stated that the Industrial Development Bureau has had an immeasurable impact on Taiwan’s industry, from supporting foundational techniques to advancing technological innovation. Over the last 10 years, the design industry has experienced rapid growth, increasing in value from TWD 36.3 billion in 2003 to TWD 67.8 billion in 2017; the Industrial Development Bureau is continuing to find new ways to help Taiwan continue innovating and growing.
The first half of the discussion invited Tsai Wen-Chien, the managing director of NOVA design — the largest design company in the greater China region — to share his experience working with those select few manufacturers that supported the integration of design into their operations. He acclaimed that by embedding design into business operations, manufacturers can break free of the traditional OEM model.
Afterwards, the founder of LuxuryLogico, Chang Geng-Hwa, talked about how his experience participating in the 2017 Summer Universiade and the 2018 Taichung World Flora Exposition taught him about “ushering in the future” — and how governmental support can ignite change.
T. A. Wu, the director of Spring Pool Glass, approached the issue from the standpoint of traditional industry. He explained how small- and medium-sized enterprises can use design to think outside the box and give free rein to innovation. In doing so, companies can use mastery in their trade to create exquisite masterpieces.
Professor Shu Chang-Kung from the Graduate Institute of Architecture at the National Chiao Tung University approached the issue from the perspective of a public service commission. He explained how to integrate urban planning with design, and how to take successful projects and copy them in other locations.
Finally, the regional consultant for the World Design Organization, Jhang Guang-Min, explained how the international expansion of design research institutes can add value to“Designed in Taiwan” — just as the age of manufacturing added value to “Made in Taiwan”.
▲ Participants in the second forum of the Design Insight National Design Congress included (from left), Chang Chi-Yi, the Chairman of the TDC; Rosalia Yu, member of the Legislative Yuan; Pan Men-An, Magistrate of Pingtung County; Li Lian-Cyuan, the Deputy Minister of Culture; Fan Sun-Lu, Deputy Minister of Education; Huang Yu-Lin , Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications; and Lu Cheng-Hua, Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau. On the far right is the host of the forum, Wu Yin-Chuen, the President of CommonWealth Magazine.
The first half of the discussion talked about how industry can “Cross Disciplines and Kick Into Motion” to disrupt established thought through cross-disciplinary cooperation. The second half took a more serious turn, discussing how the government can “kick into motion” by facilitating cooperation between departments, and between local and national branches. The meeting brought together individuals from across the federal government, including Shen Jong-Chin, the Minister of Economic Affairs; Li Lian-Cyuan, the Deputy Minister of Culture; Huang Yu-Lin, the Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications; Fan Sun-Lu, the Deputy Minister of Education; Pan Men-An, the Magistrate of Pingtung County; Rosalia Yu, member of the Legislative Yuan; and Chang Chi-Yi, the chairman of the TDC.
The Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau, Lu Cheng-Hua, discussed the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ initiative to attract Taiwanese industry back home in the midst of the trade war. This initiative was not just meant to promote Taiwanese manufacturing. Rather, the goal was to establish a more valuable production line through market insight, technological innovation, research & development, integrated services — and Taiwan Design.
He continued to say that the TDC is expanding to become the Taiwan Design Research Institute in order to further embed design into the research and development process, giving more opportunities to the 130,000 design graduates entering the workforce. He called up on the Ministries of Culture, Transportation and Communications, and Education, as well as the Magistrate of Pingtung, to work together across departments to take design into consideration when writing public policies and procurement. Cross-disciplinary cooperation is essential to creating more jobs for the next generation.
Recently, Taiwan Design gained international attention after putting on the Taichung World Flora Exposition. The key actor in this exposition — the Minister of Transportation and Communication, Lin Chia-Long — is also an avid supporter of design. The Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications, Huang Yu-Lin — the curator of the event — asserted that the government is for the people. “Being for the people” starts by understanding people’s expectations and industry’s needs, and integrating design therein to create relevant policies.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Fan Sun-Lu, pointed the discussion towards young talent, adamant that the next generation of designers needed a solid foundation from which to flourish; in other words, a robust education. Design education — in accordance with design thinking — needs to “start with solving problems”.
Moreover, students’ sense of aesthetics is influenced by their environment. Accordingly, artistically inspired school campuses are instrumental in students’ design growth. Following the inception of the Taiwan Design Research Institution, there will be more opportunity to raise the next generation in an artistically-infused atmosphere.
Li Lian-Cyuan, the Deputy Minister of Culture, explained that design can bridge the distance between industry and public policy. Culture evolves and changes to influence society in an almost imperceptible way. But if people from all sectors of society rise together, we can strengthen international perspectives — and step into the limelight.
The continuously popular Pan Men-An, Magistrate of Pingtung County, shared his experience from the Super South Design Exhibition and the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Pingtung. He said that the interconnectedness of design pulled together local industry, culture, and the creativity of young people — not only giving Pingtung a chance to make a mark on the international stage, but also making locals feel proud to be from Pingtung.
Chang Chi-Yi, the chairman of the TDC, realized that the past 16 years of the TDC’s development represent the change and development of Taiwan design. After TDC evolves into the Taiwan Design Research Institute, it will hold onto the energy harnessed in today’s forum, by stimulating industry, stimulating government — and changing Taiwan through the power of design.
Rosalia Yu, member of the Legislative Yuan, agreed that the Taiwan Design Research Institute isn’t the destination, but the starting line. Only after all the ministries, the Executive Yuan, and the Taiwan Design Research Institute cooperate, will it be possible to push policies from the top down. Design has always been about change — helping to push society in a positive direction.
▲ President Tsai giving the closing speech at the National Design Congress.
▲ President Tsai Ing-Wen adamantly supports establishing the Taiwan Design Research Institute.
President Tsai Ing-Wen made a closing speech, saying that the power of design is an important national strategy. “Made in Taiwan” is already respected all over the world; in the future, “Designed in Taiwan” will garner the same respect and recognition. This is what we are all fighting for. President Tsai also officially announced the establishment of the Taiwan Design Research Institute next year in order to push design into all corners of industry and encourage people from all walks of life to participate in the platform — allowing design to propel Taiwan upwards.