Speech by SCED at opening ceremony of Knowledge of Design Week 2017 (English only)
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the opening ceremony of Knowledge of Design Week 2017 today (June 14):
Eric (Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hong Kong Design Centre, Professor Eric Yim), Victor (KODW Programme Chair of Hong Kong Design Centre, Mr Victor Lo), Dr Thompson (Rector of the Royal College of Art, Dr Paul Thompson), Edmund (Executive Director of Hong Kong Design Centre, Dr Edmund Lee), distinguished speakers, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to join you all here today at the opening ceremony of the Knowledge of Design Week, or KODW. For guests who are joining us for the first time, a big welcome. For those who are participating in this annual five-day design-fest again, I am sure you already feel like you are home!
KODW has proudly come to its 12th edition and many here, myself included, are not first-time participants. The insights and inspiration brought by KODW have attracted us to come back year after year with much anticipation and enthusiasm.
This year is no exception. Themed "Include 2017: Tackling Big Challenges through Design", KODW this year puts a deserving spotlight on inclusive designs.
Inclusive designs, simply put, require designers to recognise people's different needs with compassion. Holding this theme in Hong Kong is particularly fitting. With people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, and genders living in a small and compact city like Hong Kong, inclusive design aptly meets the divergent needs of different people here. I am sure our local participants will be able to learn from the best minds of design for the benefit of our community.
For instance, in our forum focusing on "Living", which explores ageing and health care, you will hear how interior designers for the elderly go an extra mile to initiate installing tailor-made handrails and adding appliances connected to medical platforms at their clients' homes. You will also hear how designers for hospital rooms make use of colour, materials and decorations to take care of patients’ emotions and moods. These are just small designs you may say, but it is these small yet inclusive designs that have made this world a better place.
Good intentions also result in good businesses. In addition to the invaluable social good brought to our community, design is economically one of the fastest growing contributors to Hong Kong's creative industries, generating over US$530 million to our economy a year, and attaining 15 per cent annual growth over the past decade.
Given the importance of design to our community, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has not shied away from rendering support for the sector. By sponsoring platforms like KODW this week and the Business of Design Week later this year that attract a wide spectrum of participating sectors, we not only promote knowledge exchange among designers but also encourage cross-disciplinary conversation and cross-sector collaboration. In the past three years, the Government has provided over US$38 million for projects that promote the development of design.
Steve Jobs once said, "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." An outstanding design should certainly not just look good, but should encompass the compassion of designers to put themselves into others' shoes, thereby meeting the needs of different people. Let us explore further the hallmark of good and inclusive designs through KODW.
On this note, I offer my sincere thanks to Hong Kong Design Centre for organising this meaningful event. I hope you will enjoy this year's KODW and walk away fully inspired.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Wednesday, June 14, 2017