Stories & Projects

Anne Asensio talks UID

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Experienced car designer Anne Asensio, previously at Renault and General Motors, had a clear message to students as she spoke from the stage at UID17. She urged the designers of tomorrow to embrace technology and use it as a positive tool to meet the important social needs of our day.

At a time when a lot of people are feeling alienated by the rapid progress of technology in an increasingly digital world, she wanted to convey a note of optimism, namely that the extraordinary force inherent in technological development can and should be used for good. Upon listening to UID graduates delivering their talks she appeared enthused that most students at the school seemed to have taken this notion to heart already at the start of their projects.

"I am very pleased to see what is happening here today because the student projects reinforce the exact sentiment I was trying to communicate. It is clear that this generation of designers, educated here at UID, are identifying opportunities to solve real problems. Coming here is a big bowl of fresh air. Students do not seem threatened by the ever-changing landscape of technology. As a matter of fact, the projects and processes that they have shown offers that same message of optimism I was hoping to give".

After a long and stellar career in the big-money auto industry, Anne joined Dassault Systems in 2007 as the Vice President of Design Experience where she oversees the development of cutting-edge 3D solutions. Her breadth of experience across industries gives weight to her arguments on how useful and innovative design should be fostered in an educational setting. She clearly believes UID is on the right track.

"What is unique here at UID is having bachelor, masters and research under one roof. Housing the whole spectrum at the school is so important, from the practical use of different technologies at the bachelor's level all the way to the PhD-research that is more reflective and critical in nature. This continuum offers a common thread at UID that helps designers understand how technology can best be used to answer the real needs in our societies, from a human-centered perspective".

"I feel that Umeå is far ahead on this path and I'm absolutely impressed by the level of quality among students. There are very few schools that are pushing as far to encompass social innovation while also embracing science".