The days in which everyone could simply do what they wanted are over. It’s time to step up and act responsibly. And in this context it’s important to raise critical questions: How much innovation do we actually need? Who do we want to support when we decide to buy certain products? And do we really have to play along with every trend?

Today’s world (in many respects) is better than ever; we have more access to information and a far vaster choice of products than ever before. But this makes it increasingly difficult to keep perspective and follow a dialogue that spreads understanding and breaks down prejudices.

We’re therefore made it our mission to help orientate consumers, dismantle barriers and inspire people to learn from each other and make efforts to improve elements of life. Since the Design & Innovation Award was set up in 2013, our intentions have considerably exceeded those laid out by other award events–even those with a far lengthier history such as the Red Dot Award or the IF Design Award. The Design & Innovation Award aims to go beyond purely providing meaningful and honest recommendations and direction when it comes to products. As a neutral platform, a creative hotbed for trends and a think-tank, the DI.A aims to carve out an active role and advocate sustainable and responsible practices within cycling. This special issue isn’t here to merely spark some new perspectives, mix in some critical questions or give unique glimpses into the industry, but also highlight and analyze future trends. We set these amongst the wider context and strive to offer the much-needed direction that’s so frequently lacking.

The ideas of design and innovation aren’t synonymous with ‘faster’, ‘lighter’, and ‘cooler’, but can apply to pretty much anything in the world: servicing, usability, smart intelligence, communication and even the thought of whether something can be brought to the masses. After all, what use is the sickest innovation if it’s only reserved for a select elite?

The answer is obvious to us. That’s why we’ve invested more than 6,000 working hours into the event and this special issue, which is crammed with all the most important insider info. Inside we reveal what’s driving the big trends on the horizon, and discuss how the industry is going to evolve in the coming years. We also get nostalgic, throwing a look back at milestones over the past five years of the DI.A, which may have arguably marked a new epoch for cycling.

Text: Robin Schmitt, Photos: Christoph Bayer

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