CBi puts an Oriental spin on the Chicago IIT's 9th Annual Design Research Conference


“Insightful, interesting and very relevant,” was just one of the many positive responses to CBi's presentation at the 9th Annual Design Research Conference (DRC) at Chicago's IIT Institute of Design on May 10th to 12th.Please click for the video.

CBi founder Cathy Huang grabbed the audience's attention by asking them to “act like a monkey,” as she introduced the classical Monkey King character, and how he relates to Chinese sensibilities.

Cathy then illustrated how hastily-conducted research can lead to potentially disastrous misconceptions about how to design for the Chinese market. “You can't take pieces of insights and come up with a conclusion without also considering the overriding values,” she warned.

“Seeing the difference between consumers in emerging markets like China and developed markets is easy. However, gaining a meaningful understanding of what, where and why these differences exist, and deciding what you should do to better connect with them is not so easy.”

She went on to outline some characteristics of the Chinese psyche, and how their complex interplay can lead to, what on the surface can seem like, counter-intuitive results.

The reaction from the audience and speakers to Cathy's speech was overwhelmingly positive: 

"Your introduction to China was eloquent, insightful and very practical."

- Raph D'Amico , DRC 2010 Co-chair

 "Thank you so much for your amazing talk at DRC!  Your perspective is much appreciated!"

- Stephanie Swain

"I really enjoyed your speech and took lots of notes. What really stood out to me is how going to different countries to do research requires a lot more background understanding of your audience, and I wonder if enough companies (including our own) take the time to do that."

- Linda Barran

"Thank you for a fabulous presentation at DRC, I genuinely enjoyed it! I hope to see more presentations like yours - insightful, interesting and very relevant. Your presentation is artfully rooted in Chinese heritage, and still full of life with modern consumer psychology!" 

- Sa Steffi Xiao Marty

The Design Research Conference is held every year by the Illinois Institute of Technology's (IIT) Institute of Design. The 2010 DRC was held at the Spertus Institute in downtown Chicago.

This year's conference assessed where design research is headed, posing questions such as professional integrity, technology, communication, integration, and new markets. Questions included how can design research protect its professional integrity as it expands? What methods will new technologies allow and which methods will be swept away? How can design researchers communicate findings through experiences rather than reports? How do you ensure that research is truly integrated into the design process? And how do you conduct research in difficult environments?

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