Design Acceleration

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At the Russian Creative Week, a new accelerator for Moscow designers was presented and creative project management was discussed

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It's time for designers and manufacturing companies to get to know each other, conclude contracts and produce beautiful competitive products. This is the conclusion reached by the participants of the discussion “Everything to the factory: a new accelerator of design solutions for industry” in the  pavilion of the Moscow Creative Industries Agency (AKI) Created in Moscow. One of the main conditions for such an acquaintance is the development of professional communication, including within the framework of training and acceleration programs.

Established two years ago, the Moscow Agency for Creative Industries builds its work exclusively on the basis of a serious, meaningful conversation with the creative industries, said the head of the Agency, Gulnara Agamova: “Hearing the request of the creative business – our main task. The Agency has working groups in 11 main areas, each of which has its own nuances, its own specifics.  

Based on consultations with designers, it was concluded that their problems are largely related to communication. “Consumers, even when purchasing beautiful things, do not know that they were made by our Moscow designers. Manufacturing companies don't understand that design – This is the key to product competitiveness. But the designers themselves do not always know how to properly “sell” industry itself. I am sure that our "Design Factory" will turn this situation around and build all the necessary bridges,” she said. 

The problem of the low visibility of Russian design is due to the fact that we produce little of the final product, believes the founder of the Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art, president of the Winzavod Foundation for Supporting Contemporary Art Sofia Trotsenko: “Designers are built into global production chains, and we simply cannot appreciate their contribution to a particular product.  Now that the product will be more often created from start to finish, the situation may change. It will be easier to connect ideas with production through a system of competitions and established channels of communication with the customer.

Organize communication within the – not such an easy task, and often it is taken on by officials of sectoral departments. Thus, the head of the sectoral projects department of the ANO “Project office for the development of tourism and hospitality in Moscow” Yana Koltsova spoke about the fact that the employees of the Moscow City Tourism Committee specifically position themselves not as part of the Moscow government, but as a kind of Moscow Travel Hub. This is done in order not to scare away business representatives who are interested in professional communication, but are not always impressed by meetings in bureaucratic offices. 

In order to connect hoteliers, travel agencies, tour operators together, as well as train them in modern communication and marketing strategies, the Committee (or hub!) has already managed to organize an accelerator, a training program, Creaton and other events. As a result – new collaborations, partnerships, million contracts. Residents of the Russian regions could watch outdoor advertising “What I did not see in this Moscow?” with non-obvious metropolitan attractions – this is also the work of the Tourism Committee.

Forming a point of social attraction, it makes sense to try to refrain from using the traditional symbols of the city or region, says the general director of the Tula cluster “Octava” Dmitry Barsenkov: “In our cluster you will not find any references to gingerbread, weapons or Leo Tolstoy. It is important for us not to exploit existing images, but to create something new and build bridges to something else, for example, to other cities and countries.

According to Dmitry Barsenkov, IT and gastroculture are very strong in Tula today, and the coffee culture even surpasses Moscow. The task of the cluster, among other things, is to serve as a kind of “exhibition of the achievements of the creative economy”: if a coffee house, then with local roasters, if a store, then with the products of local makers.

If Moscow Travel Hub is a pseudonym for the Moscow Tourism Committee, and Oktava – the brainchild of businessman Mikhail Shelkov, then the “tourism factory” Director of the City Innovation Center «Palace of Culture. S.M. Kirov Alexey Volkov arose on the initiative of the students: “The guys said they want to develop, and they need our site. As a result, they made a series of “open microphones” with representatives of the tourism industry, who enjoyed great success, and are now rethinking the Russian north as a tourist destination».

The moderator of the discussion, Alexandra Bobretsova, the founder of the INRU intellectual conference and the first accelerator of tourist projects Turaxelator, the authorized representative of the President of the Union of Designers of Russia in the Northwestern Federal District, noted the prospects of the north as a tourist and, more broadly, creative idea: what is Scandinavian or Finnish design and why hygge is cool. But we forget that we also have our own version of northern beauty. I think the northern regions now have a huge window of opportunity. 

Another problem that the accelerator will help solve is the unwillingness and inability of designers to sell themselves. Vitaly Stavitsky, President of the Union of Designers of Russia, member of the Public Council under the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, Vice President of the Global Design Industry Organization (GDIO), Vice President of the Expert Council of the Creative Industries Agency, drew attention to this: “There is Artemy Lebedev, who sells himself 24 hours a day, and only everyone knows him. Other designers believe that they are so beautiful that the client will come to them himself. Unfortunately, that's not how it works.

According to Vitaliy Stavitsky, more than 80 companies (from small to large businesses) have already generated more than 150 design requests within the accelerator. “There are a lot of requests related to furniture, small architectural forms, avionics, there is even a request for the design of a sex toy,” he said. – For example, one company sells birch syrup. However, the bottle looks like cognac on one side, and on the other, like a shampoo bottle. This obviously prevents the syrup from finding a buyer. The designer will need to solve this problem.

Summing up the conversation, the media director of the Design Factory project Ilya Volvich recalled that today the industrial design community is very fragmented, there is not even one or two professional magazines that everyone would read. The accelerator could, among other things, become a step towards the formation of such a common information field. “Any industrial designer in Russia should be signed to us, and not to Lebedev, Smirnov and other Helmyanovs,” he concluded.

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