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Hyundai: The Horse is Dead, Long Live the Horse

Knowledge Exchange Case Study

‘We went to the Royal College of Art in London to meet the most creative students in the world… from which emerged a daunting number of challenging questions about cars and mobility. This collaboration with the RCA was a truly fruitful experience for us. I am already imagining further collaborative work we can undertake with the Royal College of Art.

– Seokhoon Kang, Director, Market Insight Group, Hyundai Motor Company

Since its foundation in 1967, the Hyundai Motor Company has produced competitive vehicles within the global automotive market. Hyundai approached the RCA to engage in a six-month collaboration of ‘open innovation activity’ with its School of Communication, to bring new thinking to its goal to become the world’s ‘most loved’ automotive brand. 

Hyundai are a forward-thinking company – they combine technological progress with human experience, and promise to create products that will help consumers share ‘precious moments’, ‘enrich our lives’ and create ‘clean mobility technologies’ for the future. They believe that change comes from innovative thinking, and that this can come equally from fresh approaches by outsiders or experienced employees. In this context they were open to young, creative RCA students providing ideas to enable Hyundai to become a favourite consumer brand.

The RCA understands that the new attitude of openness between the ‘art school’ and businesses can provide resources for innovation, creativity, applied design thinking and new kinds of learning experiences for both partners, and it is this complex engagement between global art and industry that sparked the publication The Horse is Dead, Long Live the Horse, which is the outcome of this collaboration. 

The book drives a multi-lane textual and visual highway through car culture, from asking where the car will be within the next ten years by exploring current trends, to presenting a case for a city without cars, or unpacking a critical perspective on why ‘Gen Y’ deems eco-friendliness to be important, and why car companies should be targeting their branding strategies at the smaller, niche markets. 

For the RCA, the project demonstrated the benefits of knowledge exchange, its effectiveness in promoting learning for design educators, and in fostering students’ and staff members’ critical perspectives on the processes and contexts of design.

The Horse is Dead, Long Live the Horse
The Horse is Dead, Long Live the Horse, Book and Slip Case