Despoke caught up with Nik Roope to ask him a few questions of the talk he is chairing at 100% Seminars next week.
1 Why is a CD of a digital agency talking at a design fair ?
I have a few hats. Having many hats sounds awkward because you can only really put one hat on at once. Unless you stack them on top of each other! So as well as being a creative director of a digital creative company I’m also creative director of Hulger, a product company. Some creative people sit neatly in a discipline, some sprawl comfortably across several (that’s me).
2 As well as being a CD you design and market your own products has this helped you understand and work with clients ?
Working in different kinds of companies gives very different perspectives. Perspectives lead to insights, empathy and knowhow that can be a potent mix when they all come together. We’re all very wedded to the idea of specialists and masters but in many ways specialism narrows and neuters.
3 Your talk is about Connecting Commerce . Do you feel the Internet is now in a position to revolutionise distribution of physical products as it has with digital products ?
We’ve accepted that things that can be digitised and distributed via the internet have been altered forever. Music, films, books etc. But there is a new revolution taking place that is changing the mechanics that join ideas, products, distributions and markets. The changes are not so easy to detect but the effects will be profound, even though these nascent trends are only just surfacing. Despite the complexity I think it’s very exciting for those with something to share.
4 Can you tell us a little bit about the speakers at your seminar ?
Jane from Sugru’s been developing a product that breaks established categories. Is it glue? Is it Blue Tac? Is it utilitarian or is it recreational? Whatever it is, the stuff is compelling and Jane is using the web to spread the good news, slowly seducing the world with her wonderful product but in very unconventional ways. Tracy Doree’s Llustre, now FAB UK completely dynamises the retail experience and brings fresh products to an invigorated marketplace. The approach creates new bandwidth for products that would otherwise suffocate in a static environment where competition for attention stifles even the stand out-products. Berg’s Little Printer, together with Berg Cloud demonstrates how the boundaries between physical and virtual can be usefully blurred in order to create the really compelling product concepts of our times. Oh and there’s me and my light bulbs.
5 How soon will we be downloading and printing physical products to our house ?
It’s already happening now, just not in so many houses. Like the cognoscenti of computing or the early adopters of VCR, home 3D printers are few and far between but are gaining in numbers and momentum. Costs are coming down, utility is going up. We’ve seen these patterns before.
6 Do you feel the changes will empower product designers or will I.P infringement bankrupt them all instead ?
As always some will go bankrupt, some will get rich. As the ladle of progress stirs the soup there are always winners and losers. But from what I’ve seen before new entrants and challengers have most to gain providing they can establish new attack strategies using these new potent tools. The thing that really interests me creatively in this area is looking beyond the vision of reproduced products to infinitely customisable, personalisable elements that can now afford to beak away from the cookie cutting production line.
7 Final Question – Isn’t It all a bit much ? Don’t you just want to go and live in a cottage by the sea with no mobile/broadband /phone signal ?
I’ve heard a phrase a lot recently that I really like. You hear politicians saying it a lot. “Grasp the nettle.” It kind of describes what I feel is the right approach with all this stuff. It is exhausting, it is complex and confusing and destabilising. But sitting on the sidelines guarantees marginalisation in some form or other. The advantages of being in far outweigh the pain of the grazes and cuts acquired in the “mosh pit” of this revolution. If we can find the confidence to really take it on we can learn and discover so much, creating new ideas, methods and models as we journey forth.
Nik chairs CONNECTING COMMERCE – A NEW NEGOTIATION BETWEEN MAKERS AND MARKETS with Matt,Tracey and Jane
Friday 21st from 15:00 to 15:45 More Info:www.100percentdesign.co.uk/