Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Can/should retail train makers?

If there's one thing that I believe will help the sustainability movement, it's the maker/urban craft movement. Many Makers and Crafters hold that if we get back to making stuff and understand how stuff is made, then that understanding will transform how we consume mass produced stuff. All kinds of stuff - mass produced food, GAP clothes made in sweat shops, cleaning products that change the sex of fish, suburban homes that make us drive all over town just to get to work - you name it. Mass produced stuff is every where and for the most part, it's awful trash that helps us trash the planet.

At present, the maker/craft movement is on the fringe of culture. Sure it's gaining momentum but will it ever grow big enough to change unsustainable behavior at large? I'm not sure. It might. OR we might look around for alternative, unlikely venues for strengthening the movement.

For a while now I've thought it would be smart for places like Walmart and other retail corps to install co-creation software and rapid prototyping in their stores. Kind of like how kodak has digital camera kiosks in drug stores. If big retail decides to go this route, I hope to see an upsurge of common folks making their own stuff, taking better care of their stuff, and shedding this tacky disposable attitude that is one of the sustainability movement's greatest challenges - "If my toaster breaks I'll just get another one at K-Mart."

The presentation above just dips our toes in to that water. But hopefully it helps you understand what co-creation looks, feels, smells like.

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