Inspired – Matthew Link

Product designers thrive on the creative opportunities presented by ground-breaking technologies, materials and manufacturing processes. Clients want their products to include the latest innovations, to lead the competition and reinforce their future-thinking credentials.

Companies are so focused on technological breakthrough being the sole driver of their business that they don’t often look backwards at missed opportunities.

Technology is great, but the notion that it must drive everything is a nonsense. It is increasingly tempered by the environmental concerns arising from our consumption of so much product, particularly low-cost electrical consumer goods.

One of my passions is spotting old ideas that can find new currency in today’s sustainable economy. Ideas like cow dung batteries being developed in India, and the Omlet Eglu chicken run designed by four Royal College of Art students, are examples of inspirational thinking.

I’m interested in how service and experience design can benefit from this approach. For example, there could be a huge market for a chain of modern luxury English High Tea shops – a funked-up version of Bettys Café Tea Rooms in Yorkshire – or a modern allotment franchise for people to grow their own food.

Simple, grassroots ideas don’t necessarily need technology to make them work. They just need re-presenting, using the power of design. I call this renaissance design, and I’m inspired by innovators who look backwards for ideas before moving forwards.

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