I was pleased to attend the first NEW PEOPLE Talk series last night. The speaker was Tetsuya Kaida, General Manager of Toyota’s Business Revolution Corporate Value Project Department, speaking about his vision for Toyota’s new global values-his presentation called “Space and Wind.” His presentation described a way of thinking that touched my cultural soul, my social being and my renewed hope for changing corporate culture.
Kaida-san brought a new way of thinking about design and the world around us. He opened the evening with an inspiring video with J-Pop background music from Ketsumeishi, that merged the cultural past with modern technology and the notion of humanizing design. Think of it, we use the sterile and scientific word–ergonomics, for humanizing design. Not very human sounding. Kaida-san points out we need to think differently about design if we need to make a new difference in the world.
Kaida-san gave a brand example of how western and eastern cultures think. Western brands looks for rules and regulations for differentiation and the Japanese look to a gentle fusion and diversity of its brand with its customers. The examples he used were Channel and Estee’ Lauder which promotes external beauty with contrast to Shiseido which promotes internal beauty.
Kaida-san gives examples of how Japanese design integrates itself with the human.
He shows an example of Japanese toilet and how the Japanese design elements touch the Japanese soul with the bidet function at the right temperature and the moonlight in the bowl. Anyone who has visited Japan always comments about these toilets.
Another example of how design integrates itself with the human being is Pocky–the delicious chocolate snack. Pocky has two packages to share with another person and chocolate only up to a certain point so your fingers don’t become a chocolate mess. Kaida-san points out the pure functionality of Japanese design.
Kaida-san feels automobile car makers are stuck in the Industrial era and need to get to the conceptual / spiritual era. Kaida-san said “Cars interact quite violently with its environment.” So he suggested cars made from lighter materials like paper/cellulose that will make lighter which in turn makes the car reduce its impact on the world with he calls the one by x concept (1/x). The 1/x concept vehicle is a nature inspired vehicle lightweight–made with mostly natural products.
His other concept is the i-Real which is an urban people mover for what he says “traveling 2 miles to get an small ice-cream in a car seem inefficient and ridiculous.” Enjoyment should be not at the end trip but throughout the trip. The i-Real is somewhat “Segway-ish” for the single passenger but really resembles a “lazy-boy” recliner on wheels.
Kaida-san and 20 of his Toyota brethren looks to us to integrate the world around us and create a more interconnected smoother world as exampled by his designs for i-Real and 1/x concept vehicles. It was great to hear that corporations can allow creatives some space.
You can view a summary video of this presentation from TEDxTokyo earlier this year.