Industrial Design

Small solutions but bigger problems

I’m one of those designers who is always searching for the latest technology or process to help trigger new ideas or new ways of doing things.

I absolutely love finding new products, facelifts, next generations, and improved iterations. This goes back as far as I remember being interested in design. It hasn’t always been so easy to find new things. Previously, it meant going to the bookstore and looking at the latest design magazine, or maybe going to the mall/store that had the new shipment that just came in. It was a lot of effort to find something new that I had not seen before.

Today, you can see any new idea the minute someone creates it. We have social media in the palm of our hands and within seconds we have updates letting us know exactly what’s going on at that given second across the globe. With websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, we can get our fulfillment by seeing what others are creating. It comes so easy that day by day, new ideas are being uploaded for us to judge and critique whether they are good or not. There are shows like “Shark Tank,” where new ideas are broadcast on TV, so we can all take part in a proposal process.

We have all become experts at seeing an idea, understanding its nuance or the specialty of what’s being proposed, and then making a bystander determination of whether it’s a good idea or bad. This can go deeper into writing reviews on products online as well. It’s making everyone an expert: “These headphones didn’t fit my ears, don’t buy them.”

I’m starting to become numb to new products. There is something to look at that’s “new” every day. And thanks to easily accessible apps on your phone, you can get kind of arrogant about these ideas. These innovators, entrepreneurs, startups are putting a lot of effort, time and money into their product/idea, and we can flick our thumb up or down in a split second to say if it’s worth our valuable time.

I can’t help but think there is some repercussions.

I’m afraid that if this style of innovation and competitiveness of content increases, we will start to skip the value of design intent. We might gloss over meaningful ideas that could change the way we live. If we are too saturated with idea after idea, how is one thing going to stick? Perhaps being discontent with technology is exactly what we need to innovate? Maybe this is how we grow? Or will we miss the “big idea” if it comes?

Are we too fast at solving every small inconvenience, which diverts our attention from the bigger issues?

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