Designer Exchanges

Does anyone know of any companies that have designer exchange programs? (i.e. company A send designer to company B for a month, and vice versa). I vaguely remember Propeller, Fuseproject, or Nike having something like this.

We have done exchanges with clients and talked about exchanges with other firms from time to time but it has never materialized.

I’ve discussed this with Daihatsu before but they disagree, considering it risky to let rival designers into their area.

I read that Samsung places their designers in other industries for a year just for the learning experience.

I noticed recently one NY toy company makes exchanges internally within different business units. Keeps designers on their learning edge I presume.

I was told that IDEO and HLB both send their designers temporarily to their other US branches, which is usually project related for extra capacity where it’s needed.

We (TEAMS Design) have also exchanged people between here (Chicago) and Germany, and the German office has also sent people to our Shanghai branch. It doesn’t happen very often but it is a very rewarding experience for the people involved, and something I hope to continue to do.

Spending 2-3 months in a foreign environment is not only rewarding but can change the way you work and the way you see things.

my employer would shit a chicken if i suggested that idea.

I can understand why. We pay for the flight, additional transportation and the temporary accommodation, which can soon add up. But the most difficult thing (from a management perspective) is having to do without that person for those two or three months -ripping them away from ongoing projects and throwing them into new ones elsewhere.

However, the person that returns after 2-3 months abroad is one who can bring a lot more to the table -an employer should never underestimate the power of talent within the team. In my mind, it’s much more educational and cost-effective than sending someone for external training somewhere.

I hope it would be a small chicken. I sometimes just laugh outloud in a quite office at these comments but I can’t help it.

Paul is correct, IDEO does “share” its resources across all of our locations… and when I say resources that includes people. For some offices like our Shanghai location, designers can be placed for extended periods of time, usually around 6 months, and then return to their original office.

When I was at Nike they did a great job of sending designers on inspiration trips. I’m sure Yo can elaborate on that experience if people are curious.

And when I was at Continuum, I do recall having two designers from Samsung in the office for a few months… kinda like adult interns…

our “broadening” opportunity is to go work in china. 2 year minimum.