Stephan Ott in conversation with Rolf Krämer
Stephan Ott (Head of IfDRA) (r.) in conversation with Rolf Krämer, Head of Department Start-ups, Cultural and Creative Industries of the Hessian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Housing (l.).

The digital world has made its way into all aspects of life, and consequently has also had a substantial impact on design and the day-to-day work of designers. Not only have new opportunities for design research been revealed as a result, but there are now also new issues that must be investigated and understood. Digital designers have already been studying this set of questions for a much longer period of time, and they believe the potential and opportunities are nowhere near exhausted.

We spoke with Professor Julian Adenauer and Sebastian Schulz about the future of (digital) design, as distinct from classic (analogue) design, during a talk themed “Digital design – from the user experience to the visual strategy”. This third and final Design Talk took place on 18 November 2020 and, as with the preceding events, was hosted by Stephan Ott, director of the IfDRA.

Prof. Julian Adenauer
Prof. Julian Adenauer
Sebastian Schulz
Sebastian Schulz

This means you now have the exclusive opportunity to watch the full videos for all 2020 Design Talks on the topics of medicine, mobility and the digital world on our YouTube channel.

The past year gave us a powerful demonstration of how helpful – and also how expandable – the digital world is. At the same time, it provides more than constantly new possibilities. We are also constantly pushed to our (new) limits, especially when it involves communication and exchange with others. These limits became abundantly clear to us as we hosted this third event in the series, though we were nonetheless pleased for the discussion to take place using digital tools.

Stephan Ott (Director of IfDRA)
Stephan Ott (Director of IfDRA) moderated the third Design Talk.

The two speakers give an impressive insight into their very different working worlds during the conversation. Moreover, they also try illustrating a view of the future of design and call on us to keep in mind ideas such as artificial intelligence, robotics and (digital) sustainability. The talk makes it clear that the issues and abilities of designers will (need to) keep growing in complexity and that a generalist understanding of design as well as specialisations in issues and skills will be inevitable.

We again wish to express our regret that we were unable to hold this talk in person and had to resort to digital resources. We plan to hold talks of this kind again physically when circumstances allow it.

We would also like to take this opportunity to give our sincere thanks to our media partner, Medienprojektzentrum Offener Kanal Rhein-Main, which made it possible to record our events in the first place.


This year, the Design Talks event series is being organised and moderated for the first time by the newly established Institute for Design Research and Appliance (IfDRA). Drawing on concrete case studies from the fields of medicine, mobility and digital transformation, the event series offers insights into the world of design research. Design research should not be regarded as a self-contained discipline, rather, it can also help to illustrate the value that companies can add to their commercial success through design research.


Design Talks

On the YouTube-Kanal of the German Design Council, you can find the complete video recordings of all three Design Talks:

In our first Design Talk “Designers in the operating theatre” in September 2020, we talked witht Olaf Barski, Dr. Nicole Busch and Jonas Rehn-Groenendijk about design and research projects in the field of Health & Care.

The second Design Talk took place on 28 October 2020, entitled Mobility design – from the white cane to data-optimised logistics. Attended by Professor Petra K. Schäfer, Tobias Stuntebeck and Carina Haumering, it will look at perspectives and innovations in this area and the ways in which theory and practice can feed off each other.


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