“Production is in fact, you will forgive the term, tribalizing: it is increasingly self-consistent within a niche containing all production stages. The act of consumption itself becomes the act of economically and emotionally supporting your favorite crafter, artist or creative, their communities, their niche and their tribes.
However, crowdfunding is probably only the first among the expressions of a paradigm still being defined: while production costs lowers, the niche needed to support production becomes reduced in size of and, with the narrowing of the audience, users gain an increasingly important voice in defining product requirements, style, use cases. In some cases the niche even participates directly in certain phases of the production.
The design and creation process is transforming every day more quickly into a co-design and co-creation participatory and collaborative process.
In the past, design has often aimed to translate individual needs into general ones: it aimed to build products that were economically viable only because of economies of scale. This habit inevitably reduced the product’s ability to adhere to our personal and unique expectations as individuals.
Instead we’re now seeing the birth of a living process in which, on the contrary, design communities spontaneously emerge from the mass by using collaboration tools – the so-called platforms – to co-design and co-create solutions with general characteristics that, later in the process, will be subject to actual hacking and adaptation cycles producing, only then, the perfect fit.
This approach to production is likely intended to permeate every phase and aspect of the economy due to enormous advantages in efficiency. In fact, innovating in direct inspiration of a community – by definition more sustainable and participatory – is way more efficient if compared to the traditional innovation approach dictated by economic and market criteria.
Rather than create new demands the co-operative design process is about responding to them, rather than seeking innovation in the closed of R&D labs is about helping this ability to innovate to emerge directly by users and communities. This kind of approach dramatically shortens the distance between the emergence of a need (gap), and the formalization of the solutions and throws them immediately on the pitch in a continuous cycle of reformulation, adaptation and improvement, from scratch.”