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words Anna Bates

What are you going to do now that you have left Design Academy Eindhoven?
I’ve proposed to the academy to create sister schools in other countries – I want to bring our brand of education to the Middle East, South Africa and eastern Europe.

Would the people who go to these schools be specifically from the region?
That’s the idea. I think it’s important in the future to create more local cultures – because the world is too similar. Globalisation is the killing beast of the incentive to be creative. In the same way that the world doesn’t have enough food or fuel, we don’t have enough fantasy. We need to reinstall a climate of imagination with different local answers which can then become global. Things can only become global if they are firmly rooted in the local.

How will you help to nurture local talent in completely different regions?
We will have to adapt and create curriculums that are locally interesting. What I want to take is the DNA of the Design Academy – our process of designing. The first school will be in Dubai and start within three years.

What are your other projects?
I’m creating a masters course with a major government research centre in the Netherlands. We believe the century will be about the fusion of opposites. The idea is to team up 15 scientists with 15 creative people, so they can do research together.

Do you see this materialising into something we can use?
No – it’s more conceptual and process driven. It’s not technology and design, it’s all the other sciences and design. I already see design students researching in [science] universities for their work. I do believe in hundreds of years time that we will be able to grow matter in form – whether it is our bodily matter or tissue. We could study these processes and see how we could grow form to be used as a product.

How do you trend forecast? Do you ever get it wrong?
I can’t because if I feel it, then it’s already there. I collect fragments of information. I’m really good at hunting for these “butterflies”. What I don’t know and where I make mistakes, is the importance of a movement. Sometimes they can just blow up.

How will things be for us in the next few years?
We’re going to be very good; I’m super optimistic. The creative industries will be the ones that define this century – our world is going to be important. A big help in the future will be the emerging of the cottage industries – human scale enterprises that are service-driven, design-driven, and bring production back to our areas. They will become bigger and act as a sort of mattress – a second economy to absorb the shocks of the big one. Soon we’ll be governed by one bank, one airline. The bigger we can grow this mattress, the better. Who knows – maybe we will have two economies at one point.

Will the boundaries that we inflict on design completely dissolve then?
Yes – designers will design a strategy, a philosophy, an approach – I believe in the future any discipline will need designers to help them be: a bank, the tourism industry. I see it as a generalist profession in the future – and every year I see the borders pushing back.

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