While people talk about the crafts-based, local-oriented Makers Movement
replacing large-scale manufacturing, IDEO CEO and president Tim Brown encouraged
the combination of both. “I think it’s about bringing large-scale and small-scale
together in very interesting ways,” he said at a SXSW session on The Future of
Making. At the same session, MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito said that in the future,
we’ll see “a factory in a box.”
On IDEO’s Made in the Future website, the company observes:
Today, most marketplaces thrive where there is scale. Factories in a few
regions supply goods for the whole world. We are wondering how new tools
will shift this scenario. Could they allow us to assemble things closer to home?
Or could these tools create a strong, connected community of makers that
reduce our interest in mass-manufactured products?
We wondered how manufacturing could create product platforms. And how we
might better shape products to our needs as they’re made locally. Could this
shift make space for local craftspeople? Would this align local purchasing to
local jobs? We envisioned what a completely mobile manufacturing solution
might look like to explore this idea.