Monday, September 15, 2014

Abel, B. van. (2011). Open design now: why design cannot remain exclusive. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: BIS Publishers.

Open Design Now looks at design in the new creative commons, co-creation era. It presents practices, tools, and licensing systems, as open design is a way of designing everyone can participate in. Includes essays, cases, and visuals on various issues of open design, as well as practical guidelines for designers, design educators, and policymakers to get started.

Yang, A. (2014). Smart people should build things: how to restore our culture of achievement, build a path for entrepreneurs, and create new jobs in America.

The founder and CEO of Venture for America steers young graduates toward entrepreneurship, interweaving success stories with explanations of why current trends are leading to economic distress and cultural decline.

12 thoughts on “Monday, September 15, 2014

  1. I really found the way “Open Design New Looks” was written to be really interesting. The book seems to be very flexible and the content has the ability to constantly change. I wish they went more into what it mean to be an openly sourced book. They do make the point that more people need to be involved in the design process because there are so many problems that can’t just be solved by designers. While I do agree that more people should be thinking of solutions to our world problems, I think we still need to be a little picky. While people can come up with unique insights, they can also be short sighted and not understand the bigger picture. I think with open sourcing these issues, there needs to be a level of education or training to those who are contributing to the solution. People also have the ability to make their ideas seem for valid and appealing than they actually are and this cannot be afforded with these kinds of problems.
    Venture of America seems to capture a trend that I have noticed as someone who grew up watching Wall Street. Many of the people from my area had parents who worked in finance and wanted that luxurious lifestyle but also wanted to do it fast. This tended to take the form of wanting to create start ups and apps that they hoped would be a big money maker. While it is extremely amusing to watch them realize that its not all that easy, I think this program would be a very beneficial step for them and would give the bigger picture sight that they need.

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  2. I enjoyed learning about the concept of Open Design, as it does seem that designers are always bogged down by patents and copyrights. I like the description of a world before industrialization, where everyone could create the same style of chair without any concern. Today, even in fashion, there are copyright issues if the pleating of your shirt is too similar to that of your competitors. I also agreed with the concept of transitioning from “wow” design to “we” design. Instead of making things flashy we should concentrate on ease of use and functionality. Through a more collaborative process we can come closer to achieving this instead of having a star designer sitting by himself in a studio space. Today, there is more and more open code software, so why not have that same collaborative process possible in the design world?

    The Venture for America concept is very interesting and it will be interesting to see how the program pans out over the long term considering just started. I do agree that we need to encourage more of the smart, bright talent to become entrepreneurs instead of going into medical and finance. The problem being how do you actually foster that entrepreneurial spirit? How much can having 108 fellows per year affect the bigger picture? As someone you taught Entrepreneurship at a college level and helped with seed funding allocation to young entrepreneurs, I discovered that it’s much harder to have long, lasting results. It’s easy to start a business but much more difficult to continue it.

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  3. The first video left me feeling excited yet confused about open design. Perhaps I missed something, but it felt like they discussed very abstractly and vaguely about design, without any references to tangible work. The only thing I got out of the video was that their design process is open to the public. However, I’m not sure how this is revolutionary. The internet provides access to a wealth of information. The reason people don’t (for example) make their own prosthetics is that they have no access to the shop that can machine them a new leg. I don’t think the problem here is about accessing information about how to do things. The issue here is accessing resources, which is entirely different. Simply saying that “everyone can participate” feels like a shallow claim made by someone with no understanding of their privilege.

    As for Venture For America, I really like the concept of it. The scenario he mentions towards the end where brilliant minds go to work in startups instead of Wall Street sounds promising. I definitely feel like there’s no understanding of how someone would go about starting a business unless you were born into a family that runs one. I wonder why they aren’t in startup-heavy cities, though.

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  4. The open design idea is intriguing, although I’m still a little unclear about what exactly it is trying to accomplish. My impression is that they are encouraging collaboration and the sharing of ideas and processes through new technology like the internet. Part of me thinks that this is kind of a natural consequence – everything becomes open information eventually. The authors were talking about the difference between design vs music and text, but I’m not sure what that difference is. At first I thought the difference was in the design process, but though they said that music and text can be quantified as data, they are still creative processes. There is also thought behind them that isn’t so easily translated into data. I think there are interesting implications for the future of design processes as well as ownership if open design becomes popular. Do things/ideas belong to everybody or nobody? It would definitely be an interesting experience to be able to build off of somebody else’s design at any step of the process because all of it is transparent, but at the same time, how do you give credit? Is there no room for ownership? I understand the advantages of having a transparent process, but I think I am uncomfortable with, on the extreme end of the spectrum, the idea of not being able to own what I create.

    I think Andrew Yang makes a good point about recent college graduates not knowing what they want to do and choosing the path presented to them, and he does offer an alternative to this problem and makes good arguments for it. However, truthfully I did not find his ideas new or interesting, but I think I am biased because of the culture at CMU that is incredibly supportive of entrepreneurship. I am not against entrepreneur spirit but I felt like his talk seemed to present ventures and start-ups as a great solution that everybody who doesn’t fit into conventional academic stereotypes should try. And I do think that entrepreneurship tends to go overboard in certain places, where everybody wants to make it big with the next start-up, and it leaves me wondering just how many of those ideas are meaningful.

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  5. Open Design seems like an extrapolation of the “Zero Margin” effect we discussed earlier last week. The effect of Open Design essentially opens the studio of design to multiple ideas and concepts, however what had not been determined is who reaps the benefit of a good design. In the case of the book, there are a group of core authors and additional input, unless grandiose, is unlikely to be reimbursed for the success of the book. Thus in sch a model it is imperative to delineate who gets what credit or else smaller, later contributors will become victimized in a capitalistic society. An interesting living concept of open design is Quirky which lets Inventors and Contributors design products while also getting compensated for their time and effort.

    Venture for America is another collaborative project which I believe has great potential. College graduates are often at a loss when choosing their career path since they are tempted by numerous large companies and entrepreneurial spirits are stepped upon by the sheer statistics–a majority of entrepreneurships fail. By allowing graduates to experience the intricacies of running business and also giving the business additional recruitment support, Venture for America represents a collaborative effort to better both the budding employee and the larger business. Through this concept entrepreneurships have greater support and they are better established by smarter entrepreneurs, creating a cycle of more budding businesses forcing innovation into society.

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  6. Open Design seems like an interesting concept but I am confused as to what exactly it is. Based on my understanding, it seems like Open Design is the process of allowing other individuals to use your work without offering any compensation. If this is what Open Design is, then I am not a fan. I am all for allowing designers to work on designing something together in an open source manner but I do not agree with allowing any artifact in the world to be leveraged for a new design without offering just compensation to the original designer.

    Venture for America is awesome. I did not know a program like it existed. The six paths Andrew defined summed up my feelings toward the future quite well. It seems like I have very defined paths before me when talking about joining corporate america but none for entrepreneurship. Having worked at a couple of
    startups in the past, I understand the value of seeing other entrepreneurs run their businesses and Venture for America’s model appeals to me greatly.

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  7. I also was not sure what Open Design actually is. My impression from the video is that it is an open resource for design like the way GitHub is for collaboratively writing code: https://github.com/ . How is Open Design different from design websites like Dribble (https://dribbble.com/ )?

    I never knew about Venture for America until I watched the Andrew Yang interview. It’s a great concept, which provides young adults with structure in developing a career in entrepreneurship/start-ups. I totally agree with Yang that youth should have this option and structured guidance. I also think that during the video, Yang describes college students as a product that needs to be developed properly.

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  8. The concept of open design is something I found really fascinating. What was interesting about the first video was the motivation behind open design – sharing creativity and solutions in order to move towards a better place in the future. I felt like I could relate to one of the editor’s response of moving from the WOW design to the WE design. However, towards the end, claims were made about how the world of open design would be a great place for business opportunities also – this was the part that I was unsure of. I’m not entirely convinced that such a huge step toward the open source movement can be supported by advertisements. I’m also wondering if there’ll be any consequences for “de-valuing” information in the sense that making information transparent might lead to making it less privileged/exclusive.

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  9. I really like the idea of Open Design Now. It seems in keeping with the Maker movement and the new emergence of collaborative creativity… sites like Instructables, Github, Makezine, empower people to create things in the physical space. I have been working in this space for awhile, but I’m not sure if this space is also conducive to a viable business model for actual products. But I’m excited to see if this can be a disruption to the status quo way of doing things and to see if this open source way of operating leads to better products (since the designers/coders are usually also using the product being created).

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  10. Open Design lacks a real definition of how it is presented to the public. The idea seems to spark new relationships, but still requires some threads to tie it altogether. The founders are confident with the movement; however, the concept lacks clarity.

    I’m hooked! The Venture for America seems like a done deal with the start-up environments. I have to say I have been in an internship for the past summer and completely agree that a mentor will help the college students develop a sense of the real world once we get out there. The idea of Venture for America definitely aligns with my intentions. However, it is appropriate to question the qualifications of the mentors and the program. Is the program as successful as they hope for it to be? What are the flaws? Are the results gratifying?

    I hope that programs like Venture for America continue to strive and improve the young college graduates to promote for better education after education.

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  11. Interesting to have these talks right after talk about Solutionism and Morozov’s curmudgeonly rants. “open design” was a little unclear; at what level are you open? Share your idea? Share your 3d printer files? The first sounds like nothing new, the second sounds like github. Also, what new problems come up? I can think of two: how do designers get paid, and do we trust github to run everything well?

    As for VFA, sounds great. I’m glad they’re spreading then around the country. It sounds like part of a bigger solution. But it does make me wonder a bit: who will they employ? When you talk about “startups”, I picture a bunch of 23 year old software engineers. Who hires the 50 year old construction worker who’s been laid off and unemployed for 3 years? (maybe the windmill startup does. OK.)
    Also, this doesn’t solve Piketty’s issue of r < g. Making more jobs is great, but who wins the most? The few who founded the company, and the investment banks that funded them.
    These are not killer problems. I think they'll be addressed. But it's important that they are. And instead of just saying "wall street bad, therefore startups good" or "closed bad, open good", we need to think more about the details of what these things mean.

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  12. I believe that open design is necessary and beneficial for society. There are several open designs that can help us become independent. For example there is open sourcing and open courseware where people can utilize web resources/ and tools to educate themselves on various topics. However, there is a problem with who gets credit for the knowledge that they host/communicate to others, but if that is such a concern, why would one be obliged to share work. The essential underlying principle of open design is that it is created to help the world and no one person is the author of such design/concept. It is a shared principle. There is time/money invested in creating such an open design however the creator can maybe obtain the benefits of what they are sharing through a small fee or subscription service. As more people invest in the database, the creator can turn time investments in to money investment and thus become successful. Or advertisements can help fund open design strategies. It all depends on what benefits people need to justify the design.

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