Redefining Mobility with Sketchbattle, From Four Wheels to Flying Skateboards: Part 1

August 9, 2023
Ron Stefanski


In the evolving landscape of innovation, nothing is perhaps undergoing a more radical transformation than the concept of mobility. Once, the definition was simple: the automobile. Now, as we veer away from traditional vehicles and fossil fuels, Detroit—the city that once put the world on wheels—is making strides and redefining mobility.

The question looms: what does “mobility” truly mean in the 21st century?

DisruptED, hosted by Ron Stefanski and co-hosted by various industry experts, delves deep into this topic. This particular episode, the first of a two-part series, welcomes Brook Banham, founder and designer of Sketchbattle, and Rich Fahle, the Head of Partnerships at Newlab. Together, they discuss:

  • Redefining Mobility: From a simple car to encompass drones, robo-taxis, electric ATVs, and beyond. It’s a testament to the evolution of design and transportation.
  • Sketchbattle’s Evolution: An annual event showcasing fierce competition among designers, reflecting the competitive nature of the industry.
  • Mobility as a Magnet for Young Talent: Today’s youth is not as enamored with traditional cars as previous generations. They’re more environmentally conscious and attracted to the realm of battery-powered scooters, drones, and more.

Brook Banham, with a rich background in design and innovation, founded Sketchbattle as the “Fight Club of Design.” It’s a platform for designers to showcase their skills, often under immense pressure, with the world watching. These design competitions reflect the fast-paced evolution of the industry and highlight the creative potential of the next generation.

Rich Fahle, the dynamic Head of Partnerships at Newlab, has been instrumental in transforming urban spaces into innovation hubs, most notably rejuvenating Detroit’s book depository into the renowned Michigan Central Innovation Campus, “Jason two.” As a recognized leader in urban revitalization and tech collaborations, he seamlessly bridges design, technology, and community engagement.

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