This was amongst the best sessions I attended at SXSW this year; the video’s just been released – Joi Ito and Tim Brown on the Future of Making.
Some highlights relevant to this talk that I spoke about at the SXSW-themed IPA 44 Club event earlier this week:
The very definition of a product has changed with the evolution of technology. I’m a big fan of the work coming out of the MIT Media Lab, where they are actively challenging what it means to make. The interesting thing about wearable sensors, which the Affective Computing group at MIT is looking at, is not only how these sensors can understand our emotions but the insight we can get into human behaviour, which the group is using to design better experiences. For example, brands can design how to set up the right motivation scenarios because people always have to decide what to pick (if your competitors’ product’s aren’t there then they have no reference point and behave differently). The Mediated Matter group is looking at 3D printing with objects of varying density – and 4D printing too. These materials can help us avoid wasting resources when we 3D print objects that are not of uniform density. The Self Assembly Group is looking at industrial applications of materials that literally build themselves when the right amount of energy and pressure is applied. Bioengineering was in fact repeatedly referred to as the future: Joi Ito said it would be as ubiquitous soon as the internet is today, it is growing as an industry at 6 times the rate of Moore’s Law – so one to watch. IDEO is also working with MIT to translate this work into simple concepts that are easier to grasp so I encourage you to take a look at their site Made in the Future.
One of the issues of the Industrial Revolution was that it was hard to design through making – you couldn’t really design while at a factory, where products were churned out. But that’s changing. The ability to contribute to design changes with the materials used: MIT sends students to Shenzhen to make things right there in the factory, A/B testing hardware live!
With every product that you make and sell, you are adding to culture. Think about that as marketers and as agencies.