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Innovation By Design Summit will explore the latest frontiers in design thinking

The summit will discuss the newest emerging trends, including Artificial Intelligence, sustainability, and human-centered design

Innovation By Design Summit will explore the latest frontiers in design thinking
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Good design isn’t just beautiful. It can be game-changing and transform businesses, organizations, and society.

From tech products to architectural marvels, design shapes a better future, breathing cultural diversity and depth into brands. Design is becoming even more crucial in the face of climate challenges and technological uncertainties.

Fast Company Middle East’s Innovation by Design Summit in Doha will delve deeper into the design-thinking process and global design trends, encompassing various facets such as urban planning, biophilic design, machine learning, immersive technology, thought-provoking design, and design for Gen Z.

Tim Martin, Managing Director and Principal of Gensler Middle East, who will speak at the summit,  says design is integral to the success of companies. 

“It has the power to create a better world through improving the human experience or creating a more sustainable future. The brands that are succeeding today are the ones that are putting design at the heart of their innovation.”

Companies should adopt a design-thinking process to encourage creativity, tackle complex challenges, and provide products or services that deeply resonate with their target audience.   

“It helps understand user needs, improve customer experiences, and drive innovation. Qualitative approaches that employ design thinking and user-driven approaches help lead to more inventive, faster, more agile answers to questions and problems captured well with quantitative measurements,” says Mario R. García, CEO and Founder of García Media and a lead speaker at the design summit.

He reinstates a sentiment similar to Martin’s, saying design plays a pivotal role in innovation, transforming ideas into tangible solutions.

“It’s not just about aesthetics but also about problem-solving and creating meaningful experiences. Design also allows us to quickly test multiple approaches, learn from them, and build on them to achieve a better solution faster.”

According to James Ludwig, Principal of Ludwig & Hamilton, design thinking constitutes a set collection of methods, practices, and tools designed to approach problems from a fresh perspective. 

“What brand or company wouldn’t benefit from that? It’s neither a mysterious, magical thing nor an easy formula for success. But it is essential for solving some of the mysteries, those wicked problems businesses and brands face in becoming and staying relevant, which stand in front of success,” adds Ludwig, who will also be speaking at the summit.


Every year, fresh trends emerge in the design field, and this year’s spotlight is on AI, sustainability, and human-centered experiences. 

As AI permeates various industries, its impact on design trends is increasingly pronounced. From automated design processes to personalized user experiences, the intersection of AI and design is driving innovation and pushing boundaries. 

Discussing new and exciting emerging trends, Martin says AI has the potential to accelerate ideas and innovation. “Buildings and spaces designed with the help of AI will be more sustainable, better performing, and more responsive to individual needs and preferences.”

He also discusses the rise of human-centric environments and the appeal of the “20-minute city,” where lively, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are reshaping urban living. This trend underscores the significance of establishing accessible, inclusive urban areas that foster equity, connectivity, and community.

García says the emergence of sustainable design practices is particularly exciting, as they aim to reduce environmental impact and ensure accessibility for all users through inclusive design principles.

“Additionally, the rise of immersive technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is opening up new avenues for innovative design experiences. I am especially intrigued about AI’s potential power and various applications for media and design.”

While expressing excitement about the anticipated advancements in technological foundations, Ludwig hopes for a shift away from overt user experiences and the emergence of experiences that effortlessly enrich and improve lives.

“The challenge will be balancing the tension between benefit to the user and the pressure to monetize everything,” he adds.

The one-day summit on April 24 at Doha Design District features an impressive line-up of speakers. Apart from Garcia, Ludwig and Martin, the other speakers at the summit include Abeer Seikaly, an interdisciplinary Artist & Architect; Annabel Kassar, the Founder of Akk Architects; Arjan Pit, the Managing Director Mea at Unstudio; Charu Kokate, a Senior Partner at Safdie Architects; David Robertson, Senior Lecturer in Operations Management at MIT; Jacob Benbunan, CEO of Saffron Brand Consultants; Manuel Lima, designer and author; and Nasser Abulhasan, the Principal of Agi Architects.

Set to take place at Doha Design District, the summit will host over 400 business leaders, design experts, artists, and architects. It will feature keynotes, panel discussions, fireside chats, debates, and a design showcase highlighting innovative projects.

Attendance to the Innovation by Design Summit is by invitation only. Delegates can register to receive their exclusive invite at fastcompanyme.com

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