Knowledge of Design Week 2020 tackles the question of grappling with an ever-changing digital landscape in a post-pandemic world

A selection of key speakers for the upcoming KODW 2020. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Design Centre.
Image courtesy of Hong Kong Design Centre.
CoBo Social Design and Architecture


Knowledge of Design Week returns from 26 though 29 August as a virtual event to grapple with the question on all our minds: What will the post-pandemic world look like and how do we progress towards a better future through technology and human-centred design?


TEXT: Denise Tsui
IMAGES: Courtesy of Hong Kong Design Centre

Amid a pandemic-stricken moment in our society, the requisite question of how we move forward from here and reimagine technologies and human-centred design in a rapidly changing digital landscape for better synergy and a progressive future is a much-needed matter for discussion. Making it’s debut as a virtual event this year, Knowledge of Design Week (KODW)—one of Hong Kong Design Centre’s (HKDC) key annual events—seeks to grapple with this very pertinent topic.


A selection of key speakers for the upcoming KODW 2020. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Design Centre.


With Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR Government) as the Lead Sponsor, KODW 2020 will take place from 26 through 29 August, bringing together the global design community through 15 free virtual thematic sessions of talks, conversations and discussions and 4 interactive virtual workshops to explore the value of design, innovation and technology relating to these key themes: Global Health and Wellbeing; AI, Big Data and Ethics; Creativity and Design Leadership; Smart Cities and Liveability; Future of Work; Brand Resilience; Retail Experience and eCommerce; Content Creation and Media; and Gen Z. Simultaneous intepretation in English, Cantonese and Putonghua is provided for most sessions.

Since its inception in 2006, KODW has become reputable as a vital knowledge sharing platform connecting global field experts, policy makers, industry leaders and progressive, forward-thinking minds to engage in dialogue and foster cross-disciplinary learning on how design can solve complex challenges of our society.

Across four days, more than 40 local and international speakers will share their views and critically relevant insights about emerging cross-industry trends under the KODW 2020 theme “Designing Digital Futures” which places particular emphasis on the post-pandemic outlook and how design can shape change with empathy, creativity and resilience.

Among the many influential key speakers to look forward to, David Chow, General Manager and Partner of Global Business Services of IBM (Hong Kong), will talk about helping organisations drive AI-powered innovation and define next-gen business models through the concept of cognitive enterprise; Simon Mitchell, Co-Founder of Sybarite (UK) seeks to unpack luxury story design in the new-normal context; SK Lam, founder of AllRightsReserved (Hong Kong), will explore the future of creativity, content curation and exciting possibilities for experimentation amid changes; meanwhile Eric Quint, Former Chief Brand and Design Officer of 3M Company (US) will discuss how to navigate change and ambiguity to drive progress and brand relevancy by collaborative creativity.

Tune in on Wednesday 26 August to hear Wes Ng, CEO & Co-Founder of CASETiFY (Hong Kong), who will join a panel talk sharing insights on connecting with millennials and Gen Z around the world through creative collaborations, customisation and the power of social media. At KODW’s digital press conference, Ng spoke of his experience learning that “there is almost no geographical boundary if you have the right products.” Going into some of his experiences since the global health crisis began, he notes, “what the pandemic teaches us, as a brand, the position, the responsibility as a brand these days is more than just making transactions, selling stuff. It’s to respond fast to the situation and also be socially conscious.”

On Thursday 27 August, Carlo Ratti, Director of MIT Senseable City Lab and Founding Partner of Carlo Ratti Associati talk about CURA, an open-source project to convert shipping containers into plug-in intensive care pods for the COVID-19 pandemic. During a virtual press conference, Ratti noted that the project is “about how this new condition is impacting both, what is very close to use in our domestic space and existence minimum.” Further giving us a teaser, adding, “It’s something that can actually work better because of the increased flexibility we have and so if you are able to repeat what we did in the pandemic, flattening the curve and repeat them in the city scape, flatten the curve with the city, then we’ll have more sustainable cities by changing their programming, not by building more infrastructure.”

Closing the 15 sessions of talks on Friday 28 August, Sean Carney, Chief Design Officer & Head of Healthcare Transformation Services of Royal Philips (The Netherlands) joins a panel discussing the reimagining of healthcare at the intersection of emerging design and health tech and why there is a need for decentralised healthcare. Meanwhile workshops beginning on the same day, running through Saturday 29 August, with extra sessions on Wednesday 2 September, will round out the event.


Image courtesy of Hong Kong Design Centre.


Knowledge of Design Week 2020
26 – 29 August 2020
Format: Virtual
Language: English, Cantonese and Putonghua (with simultaneous interpretation)


About Hong Kong Design Centre
Established in 2001, HKDC is a non-governmental organisation founded as a strategic partner of the HKSAR Government with the mission to establish Hong Kong as an international centre of design excellence in Asia. Among its flagship programmes is Business of Design Week (BODW), Asia’s leading annual event on design, innovation and brands; and KODW, an annual thematic programme bringing together the global design community through talks and workshops.

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