Ford Motor Company – Trend Conference (Day 2)

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We recently covered the Ford event last week. Ford orchestrated an announcement during the breakfast of the second day. Teaming with Power Wheels, they created customized mini-F150 trucks for children. With an MP3 dock, this was an unveiling that left an impression towards the advancement of toys for children. With three models on display, there was one child who was driving one of these mini-trucks around the entire room. Purely electronic and barely any noise, I envy the children who would be able to access this vehicle and its accompanied peripherals. The current models of the mini-F150s in the market are not the same as these.

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After breakfast, we were guided to the tour buses and taken to the Ford Headquarters to attend the core seminars of the event. Ford uses Five Topics to track the trends: Technology, Society, Economy, Politics, and Environment. Using these five aspects, they track the global trends. The four core seminars spanned the day: Female Frontier, Big Data, Sustainability Blue, and Decoding Design. A trend is a shift, not a fad. While my fellow colleague, Chris, took on Big Data, I stayed for Female Frontier.

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The speakers at the Female Frontier were John Gerzema, Chantel Lenard, Jennifer Senior, and Jenna Wolfe. They all shared their insight and stories concerning the trend of the evolving household dynamics and definitions of families worldwide. Some facts that were shared: 20 Trillion in Consumer spending is by Women, US/China Men are the minority in Higher Education, 1 Billion Women in Workforce double in a decade. Women in US are over 67% in management positions. Women in China are over 80% in management positions. In the US, there are more single individuals than married. 51% of Dads would love to stay at home to care for kids. 75% of women feel misunderstood by motor vehicle companies. Women are often being tested and quizzed in the industries of their professions, purely for being a woman. Eventually, it started shifting towards family dynamics: A social study in 2004 showed that children do not improve the lives of parents. Age 30.3 average is a woman having kids. Statistics show that more people are okay with women having jobs, but more people also prefer that women be with their kids.

And 78% of people would give up sex before smartphones… Really?

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So the following panel, I started to notice that mommy bloggers are some of the biggest blogging sources on the net today. Being a part of media, I’ve heard of “mommy bloggers”, but seeing them at various conventions has been interesting. Chris returned from Big Data to join me for the Sustainability Blue panel, where they spoke about the need for clean water and their methods of water conservation, water cleaning, and distribution. Speaking at this panel were Rob Frederick, Christoph Gorder, George McGraw, and Todd Walton, all professionals on the water conservation front. With the scarcity of clean water, Ford and its partners have spent the last number of years ensuring that they conserve water, estimating a 62% reduction in their global water consumption and saving 10.6 billion gallons of water.

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After lunch, instead of us going to the last trend panel, it occurred in the same area where we had a break. The Decoding Design was interesting to me as a designer myself. The panel speakers shared a lot of ideas which helped reaffirm and refine what I knew about the industry. Of particular interest to me was Jane McGonigal, who is a game designer and large advocate for video games as important aspects of society rather than a detriment. Along with Jane, she was on the panel with Gadi Amit, Moray Callum, and Robert Tercek. Robert Tarcek spoke briefly about his idea that aspects of technology are becoming “vaporized” in lieu of more convenient alternatives in this digital age. And there is an agreement that “visual emphasis” is a misconception of design, as there are other aspects in the design process. I agree, it’s not just the art of the design itself, it’s the audience, the demographic, etc. And in reflection of design, to evoke the attention of the audience, it definitely has an impact if the company looks like the audience. These days, as Jane spoke, more money is going into social/co-op games and ultimately (tying into the earlier panel) encourages the future of women in the industry.

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Jaynesis Ong
Jaynesis Ong 162 posts

He is currently a graphics designer by trade, illustrator for indie games, fashionisto, film production assistant, socialite, sampler of fine music, and taster of various new MMO games. JB likes destructive walks on the beach, visceral plot points, maniacal villains, and collapsing galactic empires.