I like to think about current and future product experiences and manufacturing processes in comparison with nature, and how stones and trees and flowers, for instance, become what they are. Each natural product is a unique specimen; nothing else compares to one, after another, after another. Imagine if the manufacture of consumer electronics afforded such diversity! Imagine if consumers had the pick of an endless array of devices, each one its own distinct shape, size and color while keeping the internal components the same.
What if products could take on the diversity of nature What if products embodied twists and contours, and off-colored spots What if a line of MP3 players, say, could be designed to resemble an array of pebbles scattered along an ocean’s shore Or like a basketful of heirloom tomatoes at a farmers’ market Imagine the possibilities of mass customizing with such diversity in mind How would it change the way we interact with devices How would it change the experience of consumption How would it impact the human-product relationship
The state of things now: sameness sits on assembly lines; sameness lives on shelves; sameness is in hands of consumers. Need it be this way where color is the only distinguishing feature Why not tackle design in more interesting ways Rather than considering a product as one of many, diversify the multiple existing molds and consider product a little more freely. Need each be a clone of the other Why not envision production methodology anew, as a result of more organic processes Just imagine: a near future where we still make a single product in large volumes, but we do so more randomly, intuitively, eclectically. This way, with advanced manufacturing techniques, consumers are offered more choice within a single product category.