BODW 2020 Captures Trends Redefined in Post-Pandemic Era


Asia’s annual flagship event on design, innovation and brands, Business of Design Week (BODW) held its 2020 edition from 30 November to 5 December 2020. BODW 2020 concluded with its Summit held as a hybrid event simulcast live on multiple platforms for the first time. The Summit connected global creative visionaries with international participants from around the world in over 50 sessions.

Initiating with the theme VISION 20/21, the Summit addressed timely themes relevant to the post-pandemic era to help participants find clarity in this time of uncertainty. Over 100 influential design and business leaders shared their views on nine themes, namely Brand Futures, Connected Health, Safe Travels, Circular Economy, Immersive Tech, Creative Leadership, Entwined Spaces, Communication & Design and Culture & the City.

“Through BODW, we are committed to promoting the power of innovative design in Hong Kong, and across the world. At this year’s BODW Summit, over 100 influential design and business leaders gathered together and explored some of the critical topics that will redefine the pandemic era, and inspire us to imagine new possibilities for the future,” said Prof. Eric Yim, Chairman of Hong Kong Design Centre.

This year’s programme featured a new “BODW Great British Design” video series, showcasing the designs of 14 creative leaders from the UK as part of a strategic partnership with the UK. Previous talks from nine esteemed international creative pioneers were also featured in BODW Greatest Moments.

Sessions from the BODW Summit (including MasterClasses) will be available on demand from 18 December 2020 onwards, with more details to be announced at In addition, a TV programme of BODW Summit highlights will be aired on ViuTV Channel 99 on 19 December 2020 at 19:30 – 20:00 GMT+8.

Here are some thought-provoking insights from this year’s BODW speakers, grouped by themes explored during the Summit:

Creative Leadership
“What is Next For Design – Now, Near and Far”
Tim Brown (US), Chair of IDEO, said, “Organisations with existing design capacity were able to respond more quickly (to the pandemic). This shows that investing in design makes society more resilient to unexpected shocks.”

Tim Brown

Brand Futures
“TOMorrow: Designer Brands after 2020”
Tom Dixon OBE (UK), Designer & Creative Director of Tom Dixon, said “The combination of the digital, handmade and personal will be the interesting evolution in terms of design thinking.”

Tom Dixon

Entwined Spaces
“Melting the Boundary: Live/Work”
Keith Griffiths (Hong Kong), Chairman & Global Design Principal of Aedas, said, “So if everybody’s buying products online, what is the purpose of shopping (at physical shops)? What's the purpose of a (physical) shop? We as human beings need to socialise. These palaces of purchasing called shopping malls will no longer be places where we just buy products. They'll be places where we go to meet to exchange news.”

Keith Griffiths

Safe Travels
“Designing Tomorrow's Travel Experience”
Paul Priestman (UK), Designer, Co-founder & Chairman of PriestmanGoode, said, “The contactless journey is a key part of transport design thinking - how do we ease the customer journey in travel, removing the stopping points. Key to design of big airports and stations is to help make the journey secure, safe but also enjoyable.”

Paul Priestman

Circular Economy
“Circular Magic in Nature, People and Planet”
Lay Koon Tan (UK), Co-founder of Nature Squared said, “Today’s environmental imperatives are global poverty and inequality. All these issues are very widely publicised. We felt strongly that if we want to make a difference, however small, we can contribute to sustainable development. We needed to come up with an answer that was holistic and would address environmental, social and financial responsibilities.”

Lay Koon Tan

Immersive Tech
“Design x Art x Tech: Stroke of Human Touch”
Victor Wong (Hong Kong), Founder of vfxNova said, “For me, the work of AI is not just to mimic the work of humans. I think we should find a way to cooperate with AI to do something that humans cannot do. So the process inspires us to do the next.”

Victor Wong
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