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  • Autodesk University #16

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    Autodesk University #16

    by Susan Smith

    In his keynote speech for Autodesk University 2008, Tom Kelley noted that the more time you spend in an industry, the more expertise you develop; but at the same time, you begin to screen out information. He suggested that in these times of economic downturn, companies should take a more anthropological view and look beyond what they already know. Kelley quoted Marcel Proust: "The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes."

    It's not good enough to be an innovator anymore, stressed Kelley, cofounder of Ideo and author of two books on innovation, to his audience of nearly 8,000; you must "out-innovate" others in your field. The theme of innovation in design permeated this Autodesk University.

    CEO Carl Bass and "What If"

    In another keynote address, titled "Getting it Right," Autodesk CEO and president Carl Bass reminded us that in the often lengthy process of getting things right, along the way it is necessary to get a lot of things wrong. He pointed out that digital simulation is ideal for making such mistakes — before going to market.

    Bass discussed the concept of "biomimicry," which Autodesk is embracing to create new products. "No one has played 'what if' as many times as nature has," said Bass. One example of biomimicry is the Shinkansen bullet train in Japan: a design inspired by the shape of a kingfisher's beak helped make the train quieter. More than mimicking nature superficially, Bass said, biomimicry is about accessing nature as a launching pad for innovation.

    Another revisited area was algorithmic design. The inaugural Design Computation Symposium was held at Autodesk University (AU) to help users promote new ways of working with algorithmic tools.   >>>

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    The central theme of Autodesk University 2008 was "design innovation".
    Photo: Shaan Hurley Extra Large Image

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    Autodesk CEO Carl Bass delivered one of several keynote speeches at the 2008 Autodesk University (AU) main stage event.
    Photo: Shaan Hurley Extra Large Image


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