Product development & The YouTube generation: Open Design

Thomas Lommée, owner of the design studio Intrastructures in Brussels, believes the world has changed. The world we now live in is no longer hierarchical, it is a network society. People are not only connected to each other, but also to producers and products. Only hours, or even minutes, after a product launch, reactions and reviews are published. Today’s world is all about dialogue. Someone blogs about it, someone else reads that blog post and designs a new application for the product involved, a third person customizes, repares or hacks it, someone posts a ‘how to’ video on YouTube, etc. The essential is everyone does something with the product. Users are no longer passive receivers. Moreover, they put it online!! The beauty is the product evolves constantly without the producer interfering. A new eco-system of product development is born. But how exactly is an efficient dialogue shaped?

Thomas Lommée has illlustrated his vision of today’s world in a new Peer-to-peer communication model that focuses on product development, the area in which he, as a designer, is the most active.

In his opinion, the Internet and this new, horizontal, network society are promising omens of new social dimensions. He strongly believes that, more than ever, we are evolving into a more active, more engaged society that allows user initiatives. 

What fascinates me the most is the level of importance he attributes to the Internet and social media. The Internet and social media allow you to connect with people from all over the world in just seconds. Next to that the Internet is the place where knowledge is accumulated at an ever growing pace. In fact, what he believes is the message that many professional 2.0 communicators have been trying to spread for several years: people are not careless egocentric individuals. On the contrary, more than ever, people are willing and motivated to share their knowledge and to help other people. The fact that they can do so individually, from behind a computer screen or from their Smartphone, is just a mere contradiction in the new society.

Keywords for Open Design are: transparancy, usability, active end-users, self-improving products and open producers.

From a communications professional as well as from an entrepeneurial point of view, this is exactly what is so interesting. Companies should be open to these new relationships and concepts as they generate new opportunities, innovative ideas/concepts/products/etc… It is beneficial for the end-users as well as for the producers. The benefits for the end-users have already been discussed above; the benifts for the entrepreneurs? Innovations lead to what companies are interested in the most: generating revenue, making profit and $$$$$$$$$$$$$. Or am I mistaken? 😉

However, there is one question that remains unanswered in this story… ‘Is the Internet a catalyst for this new world order or is it the foundation, the corner stone that has laid the basis?’. But maybe that just isn’t important…
What’s your opinion?

To found out more about Thomas Lommée, his company and his projects, visit his website,

Source: Knack Weekend (a Belgian lifestyle magazine), n°41, p. 126-134.


About ChristianRemon

A young Communications Pro passionate about PR, Advertising, Marketing and Social Media. Very much into sports & music too! Interested in International Job Opportunities.

Posted on October 18, 2010, in Entrepeneurship, Innovation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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