Go Further with Ford Trend Conference 2013

Further With Ford 560x196Late last month we were invited to Detroit for the 2013 Ford Trend Conference. The three-day event included an amazing welcome dinner at The Henry Ford Museum, panels with fabulous speakers on the second day, and some great “Behind the Wheel” time on the final day. We covered activities live via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but today we wanted to focus on some of the major highlights from the event.

The third annual Go Further with Ford conference explores major global trends and issues expected to shape the future for consumers, brands, technologies and institutions. Expert futurists, trend spotters and leaders from game-changing businesses, as well as Ford designers and scientists gather to uncover insights and explore key trends for the future of technology, design, health and wellness, and more.

Sculpting the Future

Seth Godin Ford 560x280Seth Godin is a rock star, and easily the most influential Author that has shaped the direction of this very website. His ideas on design, marketing, customers, and products are inspiring, and it was an amazing opportunity to both meet him and hear him speak. His panel was by far the strongest of the day, and also featured Jay Ward from Pixar, Rachel Shechtman from Story, and J Mays from Ford Design.

Designing a vehicle is like telling a story through the sculpting of sheet metal. Just like with any story, it needs to have substance, direction and purpose. Features some of today’s most prominent storytellers to discuss the next story in design

We can’t overstate how excellent the entire panel was, especially the extensive Q&A time they afforded us. We’ve included video of Seth’s portion of the presentation below, but you can find the rest of the speakers in this YouTube playlist.

Godin seamlessly worked in concepts from several of his books during his presentation and answers to audience questions. His work is definitely highly recommended reading.

Disrupting the Drive

Wozniak Ford Closeup 560x280Our second favorite panel of the day focused on the future of Technology, and featured Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Computer. We’re big Apple fans here at Gunaxin, so meeting Woz minutes after Seth Godin was icing on the cake and made for one of the most memorable mornings ever. The panel was hosted by Molly Wood of CNet and also featured Jim Buczkowski of Ford Engineering.

The future is now in our hands. Cars can park themselves, know when you are tired, and even learn and adapt to the way you drive. The technologies that enable phones to be “smart,” thermostats to “learn” and vacuums to be “automated” are now making their way into the car. What does this innovation mean for all of us?

The discussion on this panel was focused on the Ford Evos Concept vehicle, and for good reason. If you don’t give Steve Wozniak some grounding concept, he could ramble all day about everything that excites him in the world of tech.

We did take the opportunity to ask about flying cars, which was quickly dismissed by Buczkowski. Woz did at least explore the question, but even he thinks it’s impractical and not likely to happen. All those hours of watching the Jetsons as children, ruined.

Behind the Wheel

Ford Truck 560x280On the final day we were afforded some time behind the wheel of Ford’s latest vehicles, along with an amazing look at their 3D printing technology. We’re truck people here at Gunaxin, so the highlight clearly came in our time behind the wheel of Ford’s cash cow, the F150. We drove a load of supplies from Dearborn to a Habitat for Humanity project site in Detroit. Ford volunteers were there to help us unload the wood which was destined to be part of the 100th Habitat House constructed in that particular development. You can see some of our photos from that experience, and others from the third day in the small gallery below, and even more on our Facebook page :