Despite the seeming design ignorance in businesses

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Despite the seeming design ignorance in businesses, design educators in Chinese design academies were at this very time, developing design capabilities and training future designers. The professors and teachers also held freelance positions and worked as design professionals with businesses and industry. This may have contributed to the increasing awareness of industrial design in society. Eventually, individual local governments implemented policies to stimulate and raise companies industrial design competencies. The Bejing municipal government, for example, founded the Beijing Industrial Design Promotion Organization (BIDPO) and the Beijing Industrial Figure 26.1 Xiao Fuxing mini family car design by Dragonfly Design, 1994. Source: selected works of China Art Grand Exhibition 1997 (volume of Arts & Design) by Shanghai Book & PaintingPress (Duoyunxuan) 1997. Design and Design Management in China 427 Design Centre (BIDC) in 1995. The BIDC aims to promote collaboration in design policy making between the government, academies and industries. The aims of BIDC are to promote the acceptance of industrial design in the business sector
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through actual participation in collaborative government projects. The BIDC has successfully brought together government support and the development of design in business, which set an inspiring model for the other local governments in China to promote industrial design. In the few years, between 1996 and 1999, through demonstration projects and other activities, BIDC has penetrated the medical and computer industries to push forward understanding and acceptance of industrial design in these companies. Notably, it has stimulated the Lenovo Group to set up its own industrial design team and operating system for innovation design. The market success of some new products in 1997 led Lenovo to fully appreciate the value of industrial design in business innovation. The company founded the Lenovo Industrial Design Centre in 1998 and it has become an important organization for business innovation. In just a few years the Lenovo Industrial Design Centre built its innovation design system and attracted design talents to join. It has established Figure 26.2 Dente unit design by BIDC, 1997. 428 Into a Changing World collaborative relationships between international design consultancies and rapidly adapted international design and research methodologies. On the other hand, it also creatively managed design and engineering collaborated interactively at each stage. Led by the customer experience strategy, the design management process covered from user research, trend analysis until engineering prototype. Through the success of a series of computer products especially developed for the consumers in China, Lenovo became a predominant brand in China and also gained a global reputation after it merged with IBM computer in 2004. Other companies in the household appliances and computer fields also established their own design team in the same short period of time. Haier, Konka, Hisense and Changhong illustrate this point, each having built their own design centres.
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