Friday, December 17, 2010

Rail Interiors Berlin

The Rail Interiors Conference was held in Berlin in the Scandic Hotel on the 13th and 14th of December. The programme included presentations from Alstom, Siemens and Austrian Rail as well as from Martin Darbyshire of tangerine and Paul Priestman of Priestman Goode. The speakers are listed here.

What is clear is that the rail sector is fighting hard to become more customer focused and to be a viable alternative to air travel. Somewhat ironically, it is therefore trying to see how lessons on customer experience may be transferred from aircraft cabins to railway carriages. Some examples are beginning to emerge. Austria's operator OeBB has introduced the Railjet service with three passenger classes (Economy, Business and Premium) to choose from and particular attention paid to passenger flow and airline-style 'comfort seating'.

Alstom Transport
is building a stronger design focus in its innovation strategy to create compelling passenger experiences and trains that can lead the sector. For Alstom, the key interior design issues were presented as Access and fluidity; Brightness and lighting; Modularity and Perceived quality. When creating the AGV the concept was of 'a tube to design' with a focus on the passenger experience as 'connected, easy and exclusive'.

Giving the second keynote of the two days Martin Darbyshire spoke about tangerine's distinctive innovation process and how processes and similarities within the airline sector could offer value and insight for train operators and manufacturers alike.

The rail sector is beginning to discover and utilise in new ways the power of design to drive user-centred, non-technological innovation. The urgent need is to raise quality overall to a new level; to drive in creativity to meet future passenger and operator needs and to increase passengers' perception of quality.

Only by doing this, can the rail sector hope to attract an increasingly demanding and sophisticated travelling public away from other modes of travel.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Catch up

Well. It's been quite a while since I have had the chance to write here. Life has been busy.

I completed the development and facilitation of the DBA's new Executive Leadership Programme, 'Re-imagining Leadership' held over two days in York with 26 very senior participants at the beginning of November. It has been recognised in participants' evaluations as an overwhelming success which is a powerful testimony to the contributors, Jon Teckman, Toby Scott and David Lomas of the Penticle Business School, Emma Collins, Sarah Benton, David Baker and Marco Steinberg. Great work everyone. Well done DBA. Thank you participants for making it such a success.

Since then I have been in Geneva and Lyon although a spot of the flu prevented me from both attending a cities conference in Cite du design in St Etienne and subsequently chairing the education session at the Design & Learning conference held in Brussels and organised by the EU Commission on 25th and 26th November.

Last week I hooked up with Matt Rudd of Rudd Studio. Beautiful work. And last night was a chinese meal in Soho with Massimo Pitis of Pitis in Milan. A week of graphic design and visual communications.

Tomorrow I head off to Berlin to meet with Embassy Experts and then catch up with Erik Spiekermann at Edenspiekermann on Friday. (I used to work as a business development consultant for MetaDesign in London). Next Monday and Tuesday sees the Rail Interiors conference also in Berlin with Martin Darbyshire of tangerine giving a keynote. He will be speaking about tangerine's experience in the airline sector and spotting points of relevance in innovation behaviour that might be of value to the train sector. Should be interesting.

The following week sees me back in la bella Italia, firstly with the wonderful Massimo Iosa Ghini in Bologna and then back to language school - this time in Arezzo in Toscana.

And then it will be Christmas.