Snowflake Based New Economy?

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Can’t help wondering (hoping?) if the current downturn in the overall global economy will provide the opportunity and perhaps the imperative to make some substantial changes in our approach to designing and producing products an services?  The one I’m thinking about the most of course is the Snowflake Effect permeating design such that the default design assumption is creating unique products and services which are just the right for each unique person and situation.

This transformation from a model of mass production to one of mass personalization will require a complete new rethinking of many of our fundamental assumptions, processes and infrastructure.  There are other examples in history of such transformations taking place such as the change to containers in the shipping industry, however in all these examples this degree of complete change required an almost “perfect storm” of conditions occurring at about the same time to create the imperative for such a wholesale change.  What can we learn from these previous examples?

Will the current collapse of the global economy combined with other global conditions and an  increased focus on uniqueness, be what it takes to create a new economy based on going after meeting the unique needs of billions of markets of one? 

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