Artisian Innovation and the creation of sustainable new business models

November 4, 2011

In response to comments on a recent Economist article, and some ideas from Autodesks Phil Bernstein, I started thinking about how craft and life experience begin to add value to the whole idea of work.  Rather than wait until I have perfected this post I want to start the dialog…

One reason I am so excited about this is how many great ideas I have encountered in the rapidly expanding high-performance engineering world as I travel the US talking with different companies evolving their business model during the great recession.

The Economist article 

Some of the comments miss the point of where artisanal
innovation and lifelong learning can take the market. Don’t take Larry Katz
concept of a cabinetmaker so literally, but think instead of the IPhone’s level
of quality and function. A product designed to respect the importance of craft
and tactile interaction with the people who use the device.  In the field of Architecture practitioners
are taking digital tools and asking “ how can we use these to transform the
materials we have worked with ?”

This level of co-operative discourse requires just the kind
of broad experiential education and understanding of product life cycle that
the author is describing. Think about the greening of Wal-Mart, is that a small
local economic engine?  Hardly, and yet
as river guides and local food producers reinvent the corporate approach to
global economics new occupations and ways to understand the benefits  of thinking artisianaly are emerging.

Health care and quality of life will improve when we
disconnect our economic model from the idea of humans as extensions of machines
and turn the equation around.  Product
lines and exchange systems designed to value long term quality and deep ecology
manufacturing process actually create more value.  You can’t develop that awareness without
getting out into the world and developing an understanding of how what you do
as an individual effects whole systems.

Watch as the next generation takes advantage of what they
learned during the recession to develop brilliant new tools and product lines
that “ do no harm” and still create wealth and stability.


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