Monday, March 14, 2011

"Yes, We're Open" A Vision on Open Design

This set of principles (above) comes from an exhibition put together by Intrastructures out of Belgium who are exploring how a networked society is reshaping the way we create, consume, and produce.

Thomas Lommee has provided a short manifesto on what it means to design for open standards or to design for adaption. He provides a nice overview: "Today, the pro-active consumer is no longer judging an object for what it is but rather imagines what it could become [I would add that they also see an object in terms of what goals they want to achieve ie. people don't buy a drill because they want the machine; they buy a drill because they want the hole.]. The objects themselves are starting to behave more and more like dynamic puzzles, self-improving product versions rather than rigid monoliths. This shift from product to process allows the product to be adapted over time according to personal needs and flavors."

He's quick to recognize that open standards are already ubiquitous from the internet itself to manufacturing specs that permeate society (eg. a lightbulb used here will work there as well). He's making a new proposal though--that we need to give up the myth of "creating something completely new" or "something that hasn't been done" and transition into a willingness to dissolve into larger projects where we facilitate others and collaborate for shareable outcomes and possibilities. The focus shifts from building that one ideal, proprietary object or service to the development of open standards platforms or systems that enable citizens to do as they need or want with what they have at their disposal.

Using a simple example: Instead of developing strategies that brand and sell people the newest, most unique article of clothing, provide them a standard item or material and accompany it with patterns, directions, a community, etc. they can draw from, so they can define and develop "clothing" (ie. content) and "newness" for themselves. Not everyone wants to do this of course, but in our growing networked society, we've tipped towards a world of interlocking co-producers who find this a much more enticing approach to production and consumption, and in my opinion, community building.

Case in point:
Pamoyo--open source fashion label out of Berlin

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Categorizing Collaborative Marketplaces

Pulling again from What's Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, below are three categories for grouping the burgeoning systems for trading, swapping, lending, borrowing, sharing and exchanging.

Product Service Systems
These services enable products, if owned by an entity, to be rented, and if owned by individuals, to be rented or shared peer-to-peer. These systems do well to extend the life of a product and maximizes its utility. Examples include ZipCar, Zilok, Rentoid, RelayRides.
Redistribution Markets
Through social networks, these markets enable the redistribution or circulation of used or unwanted good. Products can be free ex. Freecycle, Around Again; sold for points ex. Barterquest; or for cash ex. eBay, Flippid; or some sort of mixture ex MakeupAlley, Craigslist. The powerful thing about redistribution markets is that they challenge the traditional relationship between producer, retailer and consumer, blurring the lines between actor and audience.
Collaborative Lifestyles
Involves the sharing of less tangible items such as time, skills and places. These occur on local as well as international levels. Rather than a centralized top down management system, these dynamics rely heavily on trust and interpersonal dynamics to survive and flourish. Examples include; Citizen Space, Airbnb, Landshare, and ParkatMyHouse, to name a few.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Garage Sale Trail

Another piece of re-use ingenuity from Australia. This time a city wide set of yard sales to keep usable stuff off the curbs and placed into needed hands. Here's a quick video on how they did it and who supported them along the way. More than just quaint civic action, this example shows a nice blend between digital networking and printed matter coming together quickly and effectively to organize, inform, and execute.

On that note, the group Let's Do It is setting a nice precedent for similar activities, specifically around large scale mapping and clean-up of environmental hazards