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Beyond Hosts Social Empathy Workshop        

Hongik University Graduate Students Dive Into Beyond Design’s Workshop

May 3, 2017

Michael Prince, Beyond Design President, and Industrial Designer Mike Lemon recently spent a week in Seoul, South Korea conducting an intimate and collaborative workshop with graduate design students.   Hongik University – International Design School for Advanced Studies (IDAS) – extended the workshop invite again this April after the successful visit in 2015.  Beyond was thrilled to return and excited to see what new ideas the students would come up with this time around.

The focus of this year’s workshop was Designing for Social Empathy.  The goal was to design an empathetic project while having the students identify all key elements within the product development process and taking a holistic approach to creating solutions.  Specifically, the workshop asked the students to create a solution for disabled people (i.e. a blind person or someone missing a limb) to effectively prepare food (like cutting a potato).  The goal was not to make a medical product, rather something that would help disabled people and the general public overall, effectively cook and prepare food.


(L) IDAS students surprise Mike with a cake on his birthday, (C) a brainstorming session in full swing, (R) Michael leads the class in discussion.

The students were split up into smaller groups and over the course of three days completed the Research/Strategic Design Process (SDP), held brainstorming sessions, created mock ups and developed models, and lastly gave “Shark-Tank” style final presentations for a panel of judges.  The students dove right into the exercises and we’re ready to create and impress. With only those three days the presentations ranged from wearables that detect heat (someone cooking to close to an open flame), electronic knives, and innovative food storage.


Michael discusses design concepts with Hongik students.


Students test out their “Put To Go” food storage concept.

On the final day, the students presented their work to the panel of judges. The judges consisted of professors at Hongik and guest judge Chang Hwan Son. Mr. Hwan Son is the President of Samhwa Prosthetic & Orthotics.  By chance, he heard that Beyond was conducting a workshop and after a coincidental introduction he was asked to take part on the judging panel. Mr. Hwan Son provided a great perspective to the judging panel due to his industry and the theme of the workshop.


The judges observe a presentation.


Students present their “EZ Cut” electronic knife design to the judges.

Spending a full week in Seoul, Michael and Mike had the opportunity to explore and take in everything the city had to offer as well as socialize with the IDAS group outside of the workshop environment.  Mike and Michael got to visit the massive and neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) and check out their Pixar exhibit, the pair also made a trek through the city to see the Namsan Seoul Tower, and tried traditional Korean pancakes in a public market. Former Beyond intern, Hyerin Sung, came to check out the workshop and socialize as well!


The Dongdaemun Design Plaza, also called the DDP, designed by Zaha Hadid and Samoo.


Michael peruses the different lunch options in a traditional Korean market.


(L) Scenic Seoul river walk, (C) Michael takes a break from hiking to the N Seoul Tower, (R) Mike takes directions from a local on how to reach the base of the tower.

Overall, the IDAS Workshop was a fantastic experience and Beyond looks forward to hopefully returning again next year. We had a great time teaching and learning how design impacts different cultures. For more information on Hongik University’s graduate program please visit their website here and to see more of Beyond’s work in Chicago please visit us here.

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