Maker Faire UK

I’ve been back from Maker Faire in Newcastle for a couple of days now. My brain is just about back to normal. Maker Faire is an exhibition, (un)conference, and general get-together of people who are interested in making stuff: craft, DIY, hackable electronics and software, art projects, science projects, robots, knitting and everything in between. Continue reading “Maker Faire UK”

Open Data Brighton and Hove

I went along to the first meet-up for Open Data Brighton and Hove last night. It was a stimulating evening with a room full of smart and knowledgable people, and a great opportunity for me to learn, as I am neither a geek, nor an open data expert.

Right now, there’s no website, so if you want to find out more, come along to a meet-up (the Quadrant has pretty good beer, so the worst that can happen is that you’ll have a nice drink) or sift through the Twitter hashtag: #ODBH.

I wrote down lots of what other people said, and I’m sharing the themes that I found interesting here. To caveat: the good stuff was mostly said by others; I’ve just filtered and remixed it. In some cases, people who said these things may have been trying to make different points, in which case, sorry if I’ve used your input to say something else. And I’m not trying to be comprehensive; there are lots of big important challenges (like negotiating licensing rights) in which I’m personally not that interested, but I’m sure others will take on. Continue reading “Open Data Brighton and Hove”

Lessons from Maker culture

My sister gave me a copy of Mark Frauenfelder’s Made by Hand for Christmas. It’s a good read — I got through about 100 pages just on Christmas Day. I’m becoming more interested in the craft ethic, ‘maker’ culture, or whatever you want to call it (‘DIY’ seems too tied to home improvement to me). Over the past few months I’ve been trying my hand at various projects, including light metalwork, woodwork and now, sewing. As is my way, I’m documenting some of these projects on Flickr. Continue reading “Lessons from Maker culture”

More on brands and desire

I wrote recently about the nature of desire in brand design. The tendency for brands to fall back on the stimulation of desire (for novelty, more power, bolstering of self-image) is fundamentally at odds with a sustainable approach to business. But that tendency is so fundamental to the way brands currently work; it’s critical that we examine it; look for alternatives; ways to move beyond this impasse.

As I noted then, Muji have an interesting take on this, though their (claimed) refusal to pander to desire is not a position that I’ve seen any other brand take.

In this article about the role of brands in changing attitudes to sustainable consumption, Anna Simpson of Green Futures calls out the shift to service models as another way in which brands can evolve. Continue reading “More on brands and desire”

Design for desirability

Recently, I’ve come across fragments of the writing of Kenya Hara. I’ve been trying to track down the primary sources for further investigation, but the key source, his book, Designing Design, is currently selling for £510 on Amazon, so I won’t be reading that any time soon. (By the way, buy the book through that link and I’ll get a hefty kickback, thank you very much.)

In the meantime, here are the second-hand fragments I’ve found so far, which, pieced together, begin to tell an interesting story about desire and product design. Continue reading “Design for desirability”

Sustainability and sacrifice, resilience and collapse

When we think of sustainability, we often think of sacrifice. Fewer flights, reduced spending, buying andhaving less stuff. And in a world where we are used to having more and more every year, sacrifice doesn’t seem like a viable option. Which leaves us between a rock and a hard place.

One way out is to reframe a sustainable lifestyle as a more abundant one. A sustainable future being one in which you can have more of the things that really matter – not more stuff, but more of the good stuff. This is where much of the promising work in communications and engagement is taking place. But it’s also worth exploring the notion of sacrifice; the possibility of scaling back, simplifying, making do with less. Not least because we may not be able to avoid it. Continue reading “Sustainability and sacrifice, resilience and collapse”