We Made Things Happen at IDSA 2016! | Eastman Innovation Lab

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We Made Things Happen at IDSA 2016!

29 August 2016

Wow! The IDSA this year was a true whirlwind. This year’s theme was Making Things Happen, hosted in the Motor City, aka Detroit!

We helped kick off the conference the night before with a reception for the design educators’ at the College for Creative Studies. It was there that we were excited to announce the sponsorship of the new educational platform, Aether Global Learning, a think-tank for transformational learning and leadership, brought to life by some of our favorite EIL friends, Tom Gattis, John McCabe and Owen Foster. Aether is dedicated to finding, inspiring and nurturing the world’s future leaders through educational experiences intended to develop empathetic and strategic leadership at all levels through a layering of 3 educational platforms – SHiFT, META and PRSM. Learn more here!


The Eastman Innovation Lab has been dedicated to design education for over 15 years. To honor this commitment, we hosted the 2016 IDSA Education Symposium: Making Things Happen in Design Education, for the 16th consecutive year. The day kicked-off with an inspiring presentation made by Pratt’s Chair of Industrial Design, Constantin Boym, about the importance of travel in design education, highlighting their recent trip to Cuba to work with Cuban design students.

For this year’s annual EIL Educator’s Lunch, we invited Dr. Brenda White Write to rouse the crowd with a talk highlighted the importance of diversity, and storytelling. She started the presentation off by encouraging all of us to get up out of our seats and join her in a traditional Swahili call-and-response with much clapping and dancing. This writer can say it was a true delight to watch design educators and EIL friends and family let down their guards and get a little silly!

Later that evening we all found ourselves at The Henry Ford Museum for the IDSA Awards with categories ranging from Automotive and Personal Accessories to a new category, Beautility! The most memorable design, which won Gold, Best in Show and Design for Equality, was the Include Fitness, an inclusive fitness machine, accessible to people of all abilities and mobility, lowering barriers to fitness and rehabilitation, designed by Ryan Eder.

We learned that ten years previous, the designer had claimed Gold, Best in Show and People’s Choice as a student, for the Include Fitness concept, changing his life forever. It was truly amazing to see the product actualized and ready for the world. Other highlights included the student project, BoneAid, a flat-packed, polypropylene board that can be folded into various shapes to stabilize body parts that have sustained bone injuries.

The Henry Ford, an American history museum that can claim the bragging rights to the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex in the United States, also hosted the awards gala. All attendees were invited to imbibe and take in the many exhibits. The museum is not to be missed! Housed within its massive galleries include the first car Henry Ford ever built, a realistic replica of the Wright brother’s first plane, and Thomas Edison’s last breath, contained in a test tube. The Henry Ford is a spectacular celebration of uniquely American history.

Molly McGlynn, Principal Brand Strategist at Ziba Design, presented "Once Upon a Brand: The practice of story/logic in the design of successful products,” at the EIL's annual breakfast symposium. She shared her approach to fighting the ever-growing consumer noise by connecting strategy and story to create compelling experiences. When breakfast goers were not enjoying McGlynn’s Drake gifs, they were busy downloading our newest video to accompany the Google Cardboards we gave to all attendees. The video highlights why #MaterialsMatter in the automotive industry and gives you a ‘close-up’ view of Eastman’s best solutions.

During the conference the #TeamEIL was in full-force meeting and speaking with many of you. You’ll be seeing the results of those conversations on the blog and in social media in the weeks to come!

Lotty-dotty-we-likes-to-par-tay… at the IDSA and attendees were treated to not one but two places to mingle over adult libations! Sundberg-Ferar kicked off the night with a beautiful venue next to the waterfront. Music was provided by a local rock n’ roll band, and compelling metal-smithing demos from Detroit’s own Smith Shop. They also hosted a raffle every half hour!

Later, everyone piled into the EIL Sponsored Core 77 party where we provided the parties very own SLOW MOTION booth! If you missed it click here – we would hate for you to miss out on the fun that was had!

On the final day of the conference, Eastman sent one of its very own to the stage! Jennifer Peavey, IDSA, shared with us how the use of industrial design and forecasting methods could help spark purposeful discussions with those who make strategic decisions inside and outside a company.

Overall, we had a great week and enjoyed all the new friends we made and experiences we had. At the EIL, we believe in the power of design – whether that be educating tomorrow’s leaders or bringing new ideas and products to market. We hope to be a continued resource helping the community to understand why #MaterialsMatter in this industry and look forward to next year’s IDSA events both at the regional and international levels!