Mega trends 2013 – A brave new world & the rise of new value systems

DUTCH DESIGN WEEK: MEGA TRENDS UPDATE

The world evolves faster than ever. That’s the message of our Koos’ blog Megatrends for 2010: “Time for the big clean up!“. Our needs and values changed significantly and rapidly between 1990 and 2010.
1985: The optimistic and globalizing economies of the nineties transformed into a society of true ambition with an ‘image is everything’ mindset. But the higher you fly, the bigger the fall.
1995: The new century experienced large scale cocooning to avoid our harsh reality (the burst of the internet bubble and the terrorist attacks of 9/11).
2005: Heading for 2010, we embraced reality instead, with Innocent fruit drinks and real Dove models.

We now see the latest trends unfolding, heavily shaping our new value systems. Nearing the end of 2012, it’s about time to revive and validate.

Concurrently, the eleventh edition of the Dutch Design Week (DDW) took place in Eindhoven’s city centre last week. According to the website, the event offers ‘today’s trends and unique insights into the future of design, hosting a dazzling amount of boundless creativity and bold ingenuity from hundreds of renowned and talented designers’. Koos visited the DDW and provided us with a great trend update, combining his recent trend study with inspiration gained in the far south. Koos has researched developing and future trends, which is currently converted into an inspirational card set; The Koos Opportunity Cards. Some exclusive previews are linked to the DDW insights.

 

What are we up to?

As predicted in 2010, the Getting Real trend has evolved into consumers taking responsibility and participating for the greater good. Incidents like the credit crunch raised the urge for independency and taking matters into our own hands. Do it yourself (DIY) is the new mindset. From having an own identity, to customising and even producing our own products.

 

Searching for identity

As we are evolving into a bottom up society, power shifts from top to bottom; the public. As a rebellious response to the powerful organisations and establishment, we are starting developing own identities and alternative expressions. Besides our own appearance, it becomes increasingly important to express identity through products. Janet Emmelkamps developed the ‘Van Je Beste Kant’ dishware, allowing users to switch between a basic dinner set into a luxurious one. Even pure functional products are now used to express ourselves. Bayern Design presents elegant, colourful and 3D printed finger braces, because even medical products should fit our personalities.

 

Being responsible & quality over quantity

Besides looks, image and identity, we value the story behind products and brands. We’ve stopped to consume mindlessly. Instead we are taking responsibility and we are willing to make an effort for the greater good. We will learn, query and get involved to make responsible choices (Droog combines our need for DIY and responsible consuming in the Bottle Boat, a DYI eco kids toy). Things we took for granted will be re-discovered and re-invented. The importance of friends and family as well as the appreciation of old products and techniques is increasing, as we prefer quality over quantity and long term happiness over instant gratification. Craft techniques are renewed in high-quality, low-impact and sustainable products. The Stripped lamp from Floris Wubben is a true product, produced from a single tree branch using a minimum number of modifications. The Maas003 bench is another product combining the best of two worlds, with its crafted reed seat and modern frame.

 

The Internet of things

 Soon, everyone will be able to become a DIY information manager, without the need of experts. Meta Products form a network made possible by the web and other technologies, making sure we can effectively use all the content that’s available and desired. Coaches are made redundant in The Incredible Machines’ ping pong concept where table and rackets are sensored while the obtained information is sent to an online service, allowing the player to reflect on his own skills. Same story with Skatepark Area51. Chipped skateboards communicate with cameras in the room, allowing every skateboarder to be followed and filmed. An online service holds the personal footage, which can be used to reflect and improve, or simply as promotion. Finally, The Incredible Machine developed a clock that is connected to a family’s or organisation’s Google calendar.

 

Mass customisation & enabling platforms

Since we have developed the desire to take matters into our own hands, the means to live up to this requirement are rapidly developing. Traditionally, producers deliver fully completed products. However, the future beholds platforms enabling customers to create or finish personalised products. Customers of Fraai-Werk can choose a certain lamp model and modify it to their preferences. Fraai-Werk produces the components, which are sent to their customers as a DIY-kit. EGG works similarly , producing basic helmets and enabling customers to personalize these with skins and add-ons. And the online 3D printing platform Shapeways takes it even further, allowing designers to upload new designs to their website, becoming visible for potential customers.

 

Recycling at home: 3D printing

Even though enabling platforms allow us to take partial matters into our own hands, it will not stop here. We really strive to be the ultimate DIY-ers, becoming self-providing, and gain back the control over our currently chaotic lives. This does not mean we will retreat as solitaries. Contrary to this, local collaborations will pop up everywhere.

A promising development to support this future is the 3D print concept from Refab Lab. They launched a step-by-step process on festival Lowlands, where the party animals could transform their plastic cups into live-made souvenirs. Cleaning, drying and shredding preceded the forming of a plastic wire, which was 3D-printed into a ring visitors could take home. A few years from now we might print our own vases, bracelets and buttons at home. We will recycle the local plastic packaging by ourselves, actively contributing to our future as true DIY-ers. It seems nothing will be impossible. As stated by the DDW, the future will be about entering a brave new world. One where we decide, manage and create for ourselves.

Interested in how you can turn these trends into business opportunities? Give us a buzz!