DEARBORN, Mich. - The fourth annual Go Further with Ford trend conference showcased key trends expected to have a significant impact on the future of technology, design, sustainability and transportation.
Here are just a few thoughts from some of the trend sessions:
The Female Frontier
"Women around the world are rising in terms of their prominence, their influence, their success, their personal achievements and we know that this trend is not evenly distributed globally, that there are pockets where it’s much stronger than in other areas and that’s why we call it ‘the frontier,’" said Sheryl Connelly, manager, Global Trends and Futuring.
NBC Today’s Jenna Wolfe talked about the challenges she faced at the start of her broadcasting career as a female sports reporter in a male-dominated field and the importance of "trailblazers."
"The takeaway is that I couldn’t have done any of that without the people who did it before me," she said. "And in the sportscasting business it was the women who did it before me and paved this amazing path for me to do so."
Wolfe shared a piece of advice.
"Do one thing every single day that scares you. I don’t care what it is. Say hi to a stranger. Take a Zumba class. Ask for a raise. Break up with the jerk you’ve been dating,” she said. "And then watch growth happen."
Additional participants in the panel discussion included: Chantel Lenard, director, Ford U.S. Marketing; Jennifer Senior, contributing editor, New York Magazine; and John Gerzema, strategist, leadership consultant and New York Times best-selling author.
What’s the Big Deal with Data?
"So much of the media coverage has been around the negative side of big data – the security and privacy issues – but we have to ask ourselves why is big data persisting? Why do people want it? It’s important to explore what’s in it for the consumer. How can big data serve social good?" said Connelly.
Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicles and Services, discussed how Ford is leveraging data from internal and external sources to better design products.
He offered an example surrounding the 2013 Ford Escape when the team responsible for developing the vehicle had to make a decision about whether the rear lift gate mechanism should be a conventional design with a lift gate and separate glass hatch that opened up or a one-piece design with a one-button press that opened it.
"The answer wasn’t really clear. But as a result of taking internal data and combining that with scanning social channels we understood that there actually was a four-to-one preference for an automatic lift gate versus a traditional flip glass lift gate,' he explained. "So leveraging internal and external sources of data we were able to deliver a solution that was much more satisfying to the customer, much less complex from a manufacturing standpoint and thus less costly for us. It enabled us to deliver a higher quality system as well."
Additional participants in the panel discussion included: Dan Wagner, CEO and founder, Civis Analytics; Chuck Holland, vice president, Industrial Engineering, UPS; Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president, Market Insights, Mastercard Advisors; and Cynthia Czabala, vice president, Data Services, InterContinental Hotels Group.
Designers representing different industries shared how they use design to create unique and meaningful experiences for consumers.
Moray Callum, vice president, Ford Global Design, talked about the important role that consumer behavior plays in automotive design.
"We’re constantly observing how customers behave, what their aspirations are and coding that into a design to improve the way that consumers interact with our creations," he said. "When we design a car, we don’t just look at aesthetics. We need to shape the experience for the user. We determine how people will look at and assess (the vehicle) at different stages and then the consumer subliminally decodes it."
Jane McGonigal, a game designer and author of the book Reality is Broken, talked about the experience of gaming and what it brings to people’s lives.
"If you are depressed, bored, anxious, in physical pain, or are going through a stressful period in your life, if you are a frequent gamer you have the ability to change how you feel in the moment and to turn away from negative emotion towards positive emotion," she said. "This is a fascinating super power to have because people who experience on average more positive emotions than negative emotions in their daily lives have a huge cascade of benefits."
Additional participants in the panel discussion included: Gadi Amit, principle designer, New Deal Design; and Robert Tercek, creative strategist.