According to a recent report, the Hong Kong The Swinburne School of Design and the Technological Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi) Product Design have completed a year-long International Institutional Industrial Collaboration (IIIC).
Upon the completion of the IIIC, the two institutions also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formally recognise this collaborative relationship.
The IIIC joint projects from featured over ten innovative product designs and partnered with five renowned industry leaders from Hong Kong and five industrial collaborators. The collaboration had a clear objective to nurture young product designers to innovate and work closely with industry experts in manufacturing.
IIIC co-designed industry projects were offered to final year Industrial Design and Product Design Engineering students from Hong Kong and Melbourne, within their final year capstone units.
Academics from the Swinburne Centre for Design Innovation mentored students from both institutions. Students visited both universities and worked with industry partners in the Shenzhen manufacturing region of China.
The industrial collaborators were impressed by previous student work that showed ability beyond simply product aesthetics through to fully engineered products ready for mass-manufacturing.
It was noted that the collaboration provided students with excellent opportunities where they learnt how to manage industry partner expectations and how to work closely with another design school in Hong Kong. It is anticipated that a similar collaboration will be run in 2020.
From toys, coat hangers, furniture and indoor-outdoor seating to hi-tech locking systems for logistics containers, THEi and Swinburne students collaborated to understand market needs, ergonomics, material economy and manufacturing.
Feedback from industry partners informed the student-led projects to ensure final outcomes focused on mass production and efficient manufacturing processes. Communication between the two cities, universities, industry partners and students fostered a new culture for product designers and engineers, with collaboration and a co-design approach, embracing future design thinking.
The collaboration is expected to help drive Hong Kong’s manufacturing and tech industries. As the city’s economy becomes more and more digitised, relying on collaborations like indicative of more widespread adoption of tech in manufacturing.
A report from July 2018 notes that Hong Kong is APAC’s third most advanced digital economy and the ninth in the world.
Hong Kong stands in its ability to demonstrate high levels of digital development while continuing to lead in innovation and new growth. The report found that Hong Kong is as comfortable with digital businesses and data flows as it is with finance and commerce, and is one of four markets that are “powering ahead of rivals with a complex formula of infrastructure, incubating start-ups, a cultural commitment to innovation, and government support.”
The report meanwhile names China as among the countries in the “break out’ category – countries that currently rank relatively low in terms of digital evolution but that have the fastest momentum.
Thus, together with a high rate of digital and tech adoption in the Government along with useful partnerships between universities and industry players, students and product designers can look forward to a conducive environment in which to innovate and develop their ideas.