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Audrey J. Bernard and Pat Stevenson attend Go Further with Ford event

*DEARBORN, MI – Scores of journalists attended Ford’s second annual trends forum from June 26-28, 2012 – Go Further with Ford — at the premier automobile headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan featuring some of the world’s leading thinkers who explored global trends and issues beyond the automotive industry.

Go Further with Ford 2012 event explored global trends, and Eco-psychology, Streamline and simplify, Urbanization and The Age of Accessible Design.

Go Further with Ford 2012 attracted technocrats who descended on the Ford compound to listen to pearls of wisdom from expert futurists and key trend spotters as well as Ford designers, engineers and scientists to explore what’s influencing consumers’ choices.

From the changing landscape of urbanization to the psychology behind the latest environmental trends, the three-day seminar took attendees behind the scenes for in-depth discussions, interviews and an exclusive look at Ford’s innovative solutions for the future.

Upon arrival at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Tuesday, June 26, guests were transported to The Hyatt Regency Dearborn where we were met by Ford communications ace organizer Tony McCloud and Ford consumer media communications manager Marisa Bradley who warmly welcomed participants who travelled nationwide for the Go Further with Ford 2012 activities.

Ford Motor Company executive chairman William Clay Ford Jr. in front of a Ford

After quick changes into dressy casual attire special coach buses transported us to the ginormous Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, where we enjoyed cocktails and dinner and then were bowled over by the charming executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, William “Bill” Clay  Ford Jr., and David Kirkpatrick, founder and CEO of Techonomy Media.  Kirkpatrick is a best-selling author, a journalist and an expert on the ever-increasing impact of technology on or daily lives.

Participants were thrilled with Bill Ford’s keynote dialogue that received a standing ovation.  His presidential one-liner summed up his speech to perfection.  “Every company exists to make your life better.”  Is it any small wonder why he’s the driving force at Ford?

As a leader, an environmentalist and a concerned corporate citizen, the great-grandson of the man who first mass-produced the automobile explained how techno hip his company is and how Go Further with Ford 2012 will deal with global trends and issues facing consumers now and into the future.

As executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, Ford is leading the company that put the world on wheels into the 21st century.  A lifelong environmentalist, he is committed to developing products that please customers and benefit society.

Under his leadership, in 2000 Ford Motor Company published its first corporate citizenship report outlining the economic, environmental and social impact of company products and operations around the world.  In 2004 the company completed the world’s largest brownfield reclamation project, the restoration of its Ford Rouge facility.

Ford also championed the Ford Escape Hybrid, the world’s first hybrid-electric SUV. Ford’s charitable, volunteer and business efforts are highlighted by his commitment to the city of Detroit.  As vice chairman of the Detroit Lions, Ford led efforts to build a new, environmentally friendly stadium in Detroit that was the site of Super Bowl XL.  Ford is chairman of the board of the Detroit Economic Club, member of the board of directors of eBay and chairman of the New Michigan Initiative of Business Leaders.

Summary

On Wednesday, June 27, we were transported to the Ford Conference & Event Center where after breakfast we participated in a round robin type seminar consisting of 4 trend sessions.  We were joined by expert futurists and key trend spotters as well as Ford designers, engineers and scientists to explore what’s influencing consumers’ choices.

From the changing landscape of urbanization to the psychology behind the latest environmental trends, Go Further with Ford 2012 afforded us behind the scenes looks and in-depth discussions, interviews and an exclusive look at Ford’s innovative solutions for the future.

Guest speakers included Adrian Grenier, Peter Glatzer, Liz Heller, Tim Sexton, Cher Fischer, Adam Kalkin, Ari Goldberg, Gretchen Gscheidle, Christian Siriano, Carol Coletta, Gretchen Effgen, John Hendricks and Gary Clayton.

After a fabulous dining experience we attended a concert with Ford SYNC, powered by Microsoft, and brought to us by Gracenote, HD Radio and Pandora.

On Thursday, June 28, we were transported to Ford’s Dearborn Development Center for Breakfast by Nuance followed by Trends at the Track.  This is where the meat met the potatoes as guests got to drive eco-friendly cars:  2012 Focus Electric, 2013 Escape, 2013 Mustang, 2013 Police Interceptor and 2012 F-150 SVT Raptor that featured an exciting ride on the wild side.  Simply exhilarating!

Our last lunch together was sad as we had to say goodbye.  But we all left with a Ford experience that we will continue to get mileage from long after our engines shut down proving that things do go better with Ford.  As Martin Sheen would say, “winning.”  Here are key elements of important information dispensed for us to share with our readers.

 

Eco-psychology

People are becoming increasingly conscious of the impact of their everyday consumption on the environment. Owning or using fewer goods/resources or divvying up consumption with others is seen as helping the planet. In this session, Eco-cycology will explore the psychology (and solutions) behind the next ‘green’ movement and how consumer preferences and choices will shape what it really means to be eco-friendly.

 

Urbanization

We are part of the fastest urban boom in history. Consumers are being drawn to new opportunities in urban centers and are demanding innovation tailored to their unique circumstances more than ever. With this urban boom, there’s never been a more pressing need to rethink the rise of urban centers and communities. From health issues and quality of living, to the need for transportation, discuss and experience how the rapid growth of mega cities is driving the future of mobility, technology and consumer consumption.

 

Streamline & Simplify

Technology – If there’s one category in which consumers are willing to commit, it’s tech. Worldwide, high-tech devices and services are fast becoming as integral to people as food and clothing. The latest technology is much more than just a luxury, from the advancements in voice recognition, DIY health solutions and affordable touchscreens. But when does all of this tech, become too much? This session will explore the rapid growth and expectations of consumer technologies, as developers and brands battle information overload and consumer sentiment to actually ‘de-tech’ their lifestyles.

Age of Accessible Design

Consumers today are what some could call “design aficionados”. From Fashion and electronics, to housewares and automobiles, consumers have come to expect products that not only deliver the functionality and quality but also the style, personalization and in most cases, a designer label without the “designer” price tag. The consumer’s eye for design and aesthetics has transformed product expectations and in this session you will hear from designers, product developers and architects to discuss the age of democratization of design, exploring the new trends and philosophies that will shape consumer goods in the future.

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.

audrey j bernard

Audrey J. Bernard