Viewpoint #38

VIEWPOINT #38  Think Small
Political commentators, designers, and thinkers are heralding a future in which globalization is reversed, shifting the focus from global to local; and power of the few to the power of the people. From the increasing number of people choosing to set up their own small business rather than work for a giant corporation, to the burgeoning numbers of households committing to a more self-sufficient way of living, this is the up-rising of small against big. Issue 38 of Viewpoint Design explores the rise of the ‘Small Revolution’.
Driven in part by a burgeoning mistrust of the establishment and big business, and in part by a desire to maintain more autonomy over our own lives, the small revolution is a grassroots, bottom-up movement. Adam Lent, author of Small is Powerful writes ‘Political and social change is increasingly delivered by many small initiatives and campaigns rather than big parties. More than ever, people make their own decisions about how to live their lives rather than accepting the rulings of big religious and civil organisations.
This is not about running for the hills and reverting to a ‘back to basic’ or ‘grow your own’ mentality. We uncover the potential of digital technology to connect and empower communities to nurture efficient and effective ecosystems that operate locally, but are connected to share information and knowledge globally. Recognising that scale is sometimes the only viable option, we also uncover the importance of collective action, featuring some exciting examples of locally organized, self-directed coalitions.
We explore how digital communication and distributed manufacturing are strengthening localised peer-to-peer networks that are based on trust and mutual benefit. Distributed manufacturing with its smaller-scale, more focused approach not only allows makers more control over what they produce, but also gives consumers more stake, more input and more autonomy when they choose what to purchase. On a domestic scale we look at how designers are enabling individuals to create the home factory, ultimately leading to more self-sufficient lives. On a macro scale, we explore new models for self-sufficient cities that are locally productive but globally connected.
We report on how brands need to become enablers, facilitating learning experiences for a more empowered, nimble and self-sufficient consumer. How recognizing the local nuances of your offering and driving community engagement now needs to come to the fore, emphasizing the importance of re-connecting with a more localised identity, abandoning a one size-fits-all attitude.
The creative industry round-up featuring the new design, retail, lifestyle, material and technology stories that you need to gen up on
The Context
Each issue we report on The Big Idea, the current topic influencing the creative industries, exploring the core rationale for this thematic focus and the context behind the trend. This issue: THINK SMALL
The Evidence
We show how THINK SMALL, this issue’s Big Idea, is beginning to affect the creative industries, unpacked through cutting-edge case studies and the work of pioneers in the field
The Toolkit
From turning waste into new products to bringing craft and tech together to supporting making communities, these varied creatives, designers and facilitators are aiming for positive change. Their focused, distinctive initiatives punch above their weight in terms of impact. Super Local / Makery / Opendesk / Unfold / Dave Haakens / Makerversity
The Visual Essay
A visual essay featuring a series of images by Benjamin Grant, inspired by the Overview Effect – the sensation felt by astronauts when looking down at the earth from space.
The Opinion
Interviewing global leaders to get their take on The Big Idea — Frances Edgerley, cofounder, Assemble architecture collective / Joe Gebbia Cofounder and CPO, Airbnb / Jon Marshall, Cofounder and director, Map / Gianantonio Locatelli, founder, Museum of Shit
The Delivery
An in-depth analysis of the Fab City initiative — this issue’s Big Idea in action. The Fab City initiative combines cutting-edge technology and hands-on practical skills to create self-sufficient cities that can power, feed and fix themselves
The Translation
The design movements manifesting as a result of The Big Idea — how designers are embracing a new aesthetic with sustainability and conscience at its heart
Undercurrents: Lifestyle
Reporting on emerging behavioural and attitudinal lifestyle trends that are shaping the design world — No Ownership / Politics Rebranded / New Vegan Values / On The Move
Undercurrents: Design
A visual exploration of emerging design movements across the lifestyle industries and their influence on colour, shape and form
A rundown of the need-to-know new technologies, materials, approaches and working methods currently affecting the creative industries — Augmented Empathy / Designed by AI / Materials of the Anthropocene Era / Human Hair / Environmental Indicators
A directory of names that you should know. From photographers and illustrators to disruptive fashion designers and idea sculptors, we identify the idea-makers of today and tomorrow.  Atelier Biagetti / Kia Utzon-Frank / Convivial Studio / Alessandra Kila / Ka Wa Key / Ira Ivanova / Dawn Ng