Dassault Systèmes provides virtual world collaboration platforms through virtual twins and 3DEXPERIENCE platforms. Since its establishment in 1981, it has expanded into various fields such as , aerospace, shipbuilding, marine, and life sciences. In Korea, Dassault Systèmes has over 20,000 clients, including Hyundai Motor, Samsung Electronics, and Hyundai Heavy Industries. Anne Asensio, Vice President of Dassault Systèmes, who visited Korea for the Design Korea 2023 Conference, emphasized that its platform contributes to solving global social problems. She believes that to create a better world, designers, engineers, artists, and scholars need to pool their wisdom, and that Dassault Systèmes’ work is to develop platforms that allow them to collaborate smoothly online.
Prior to joining Dassault Systèmes, you worked as a car designer for 20 years at General Motors and Renault.
I have been the Vice President of the Design Experience Division since 2008. Some people may find it surprising that I switched from a car brand to a software company. When I was working as a lead design director at General Motors, I had a conversation with Bernard Charlès, Chairman of Dassault Systèmes, about the future of design. At the time, I was worried about the situation where designers were only involved in the final stages of product development and were ultimately unable to fully utilize their capabilities. Also, at the time, designers focused only on the aesthetic aspects, and the tasks of engineers and designers were clearly distinguished. I believed that this dualistic way of thinking was a problem. To solve this, a way was needed to allow all members to participate equally in the product development process, regardless of their field. When Bernard Charlès heard my concerns, he encouraged me to join Dassault Systèmes. Recognizing the potential of digital tools to be the means to realize my ideal in the design process, I decided to make the switch.
After joining, you founded the innovation strategy team “DESIGNStudio”.
It was one of the first things I did after joining Dassault Systèmes. It is a new organization that allows designers and engineers to collaborate on a single platform. As a result of the pilot operation, the work was excellent, and the members were satisfied. So, we expanded the pool of people who could participate to include external stakeholders. This allowed for collaboration with experts and creators from a variety of fields, including art, architecture, anthropology, and sociology. We wanted our platform to help solve global challenges that the world is facing today. In addition, we have been running a program called “Design for Life” since 2016. The program supports designers, artists, and innovators to come together to work on social innovation projects. The finished results are presented at the Milan Design Week every year in the form of an exhibition. For example, in 2018, architect Kengo Kuma presented an air purification structure to address air pollution.
What projects are you working on now?
We are currently working on three major projects. First, we have just started a research lab on biology. It is a project that is considering how biology can help in the way algorithms are built. It has not been long since it started, but the number of participants is gradually increasing. We are also researching how to care for patients using the metaverse. We are working with French musicians to create music that will heal patients’ emotional aspects in the metaverse. We are also discussing how to design the process from growing food to bringing it to the table, the so-called “farm to table”, to make both humans and nature healthy.
In recent years, the number of companies that have entered the virtual world like Dassault Systèmes has increased rapidly. What is the difference between Dassault Systèmes and these companies?
First, I would like to emphasize that Dassault Systèmes is not a technology service company, but a science-based company. It is not a company that generates revenue by selling services using cutting-edge technology. We are a company that is trying to make the world a better place through science and technology. That’s why we also consider the social impact when selecting customers to collaborate with.
Are there any recent phenomena you are paying attention to?
I am paying attention to the phenomenon that economic activities that do not care about scale are rapidly emerging in the industry. There are an increasing number of companies that can fully meet the needs of customers without a large amount of capital, but only using intangible resources such as data, design, and technology. Another phenomenon is the application of digital twins. I believe that it will be helpful in solving many problems facing humanity, such as access to medical care, poverty, and aging, beyond the industrial field in the future.
What do you think are the qualities that designers will need in the future?
People who aspire to become designers have two things in common. First, they are curious about the world around them and want to learn more. Second, they are determined to create something themselves based on that curiosity. In addition to these qualities, it will be increasingly important for designers to have a mindset of experimenting, breaking out of established processes. The importance of gaining knowledge, as well as the wisdom to judge what is right, and of understanding oneself fully through self-reflection, will also gradually increase.