…finding a better way to analyse consumers’ insight, and provide companies with customer-generated ideas for their next thing.
As naive as this could seem to you, I truely believe in the counter reaction people can have to their spoon-fed life, and it is not by letting them determine what will be in the spoon that they will be satisfied. As a matter of fact, I like myself to refer to this whole phenomenon of piracy in the musical industry. I am more than happy to see that peer-to-peer engines start to dig the gap between record companies and their artists. A couple of days ago, the band radiohead came up with the idea of selling their new record “In Rainbows” exclusively and directly from their official website. The listener is free to pay as much as he wants for each track. And the news is all the better, as many artists are now taking action to follow this initiative.
So, to get back to this product research, my ambition for global individualism guides me towards a real people-powered innovation. If I had to define my role as a product designer in this context, it would be to offer possibilities. We cannot avoid a certain degree of pre-conception, which doesnt mean that we have to freeze our products once for all.
Now to come to a next step, the research will split into the two main motives that make a person need a product.
-customer-made identity: how do I see myself in an object ? does the object provide me with new values ? are my values anterior to the object ?
-customer-made experience: how do I need to experience something ? How to I define my need for practicality ? how far, and how detached from the products I know can I define my need for a function ?
Here is a series of points established by Trendswatching.com in their report about the trend of “Customer-made” strategies in production.
.Status: people love to be seen, love to show off their creative skills and thinking.
.Bespoke lifestyle: something consumers have been personally involved in should guarantee goods, services and experiences that are tailored to their needs.
.Cold harsh cash: getting a well deserved reward or even a profit cut from helping a company develop The Big Next Thing is irresistible.
.Employement: in an almost ironic twist, cusomer-made is turning out to be a great vehicle for finding employement, as it helps companies to recruit their next in-house designer, guerilla advertising agency or brilliant strategist.
.Fun and involvement: there’s pleasure and satisfaction to be derived from making and creating, especially if co-creating with brands one loves, likes or at least feels empathy for ?
Filed under: general | Tags: consumption, creativity, customisation, DIY, freedom, product design
The more choices we face, the freeer we become.
Isn’t the role of a designer to offer alternatives ?
giving a freedom of consumption has always been assimilated to the extension of the pannel of choices.
This solution is reaching a wall if the demand is changing too fast, as the industry cannot restrain to smaller quantities.
One can say that more of smaller companies = more choice, still this remains utopia.
The creative change can then not be operated on the industry itself, but on the consumption scheme.
That is to say, on an idividual level, people can participate in the final process of creation in the simplest way.
By imagining a production that in its final phase still offers choices, we can find a balance between choices and industry.
this is no DIY, but an DIY with limited possibilities.
The point is to find a way to sell incomplete products, giving still a certain freedom in their final form. This can deal either on their communicative level (their appearence, their esthetics…) or their functional level. One can think of these changeable shells for cellphones…
- For example, instead of 5 different pairs of sneakers, we offer 5 differents ensembles of necessary pieces to assemble one pair. if one shoe is made out of 5 pieces, then 5 shoes x 5 pieces x 5 types of pieces = 125 possible shoes!!!
People have now more creative responsibility. The use of internet, and the dependency of older media on this new way of sharing, such as TV, radio, news etc made our communication go faster.
Over-communication (faster, further) leads to the impossibility of something sustainable, of durable icons, and a terrible lack of control on consumption.
What used to be an iconic music band for my parents throughout a whole decade, would now last only three weeks before the next icon.
1- self-casting = the will to be different (concerns identity, trends, fashion)..blogs etc.. the death of social tribes..
2- self-casting = the will to affirm an opinion. The permanently mutating morality. shared visions.
3- self-casting = the will to create and be seen as the creator
In this super-communicative society, people start to share more, and become authors of ingenious ideas that they share immediately.
The witty design for designers has reached the state of an incestuous loop. Even though important questions have been raised by creative people, designers tend to define their profession the same way over and over again. The modern wanna-be designer wants to create from above, and have his thought under the light of galleries.
Therefore, the real lack of connection to the real world is undeniable.
Products, which are originally meant to be links between people and their environement, are now in white galleries with a little “don’t touch” note guarding them, becoming the absolute denial of their reason to be.
Design = poor art …?
One of the big issues of this act of denial, is that the borders between art and design become extremely vague. Very usual objects such as chairs, vases, carpets become a new frame for concepts, just like paintings used to be.
Well, here starts my writing. It is a pretty hard task for me, but I chose the medium of a weblog to help me putting things toghether along my research.
So, just to introduce my topic and the things I am about to discuss, here is a little presentation:
this year, I will go along the theme of global creativity and how today’s consumers become more specific in their needs under the constant flow of information that is provided by new media.
Some of the relevant points I would like to highligh: concerning identity, the possible death of icons and stars, imperceptible trends, the phenomenon of self-casting and the raising multiplicity of values, about user’s experience, the raising creativity of the users, user-generated-content/designs , design-to-order, P2P, DIY and already existing tools for producing at home.
Besides, I want this research to lead to realistic proposals. I am not a furniture designer, so my hope is to achive this research with a challenging strategy of production with a specific accent on the consummer’s enhanced freedom.
Yes, this is a terribly ambitious and almost naive goal. But let’s say that everything starts with a personnal wish for the better. So, dear reader, ignore the stigmas of such an utopia, and understand this world should allow anyone to achieve anything he, or she, can conceive.