Makers vs. Inventors

How has technology shaped the way we create?

Technology = Efficiency

As designers we are caught in the constant dichotomy of technological progression and technological adaptation. However, as designers we cannot let this constant adaptation control the way that we think, rather we need to approach technology as a means to an end. This means moving away from your computer, the tablet, the tools, and thinking independently from these techniques as often as possible.


A simple illustration to describe technological efficiency is the automobile. A car will get you from A to B efficiently, however the experience is very limiting. You are confined to very strict rules and techniques, and everything you do becomes car-like. Technology makes events more efficient, but can create a technical mindset.

Ask yourself, when I focus on the latest design tech or tools, do I become more mechanical with the way I think?

Technology is necessary in order to be a successful designer, but as a community and on a individual level we need to make sure that we are first nurturing our design thinking, and then implementing technique, rather than letting the techniques control us. I challenge you to take a look at your design process and see if you are thinking like a worker or a creator, and what you can do to cultivate the latter.

What value can I create without a computer?

Making vs. Inventing

'Making' is "to form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; to construct". The definition of 'inventing' is "to create or design something that has not existed before; to be the originator of". Big difference right?

I recently read an article that said that certain Chinese manufacturers  iconic stickers "Made in China" to "Invented in China". The article went on to say that the reason for the change is that these manufacturers are not only assembling their products, but they are also designing and creating their products. This may seem insignificant, but this is a vast shift. The major difference between making and inventing is that inventing allows for you to be independent of the limitations of an tech needed to make the thing. However, if you are simply making or manufacturing you must follow the guidelines. As designers we do not want our techniques to dictate how we create, unless in the unique instance where technique is integral to formulate your idea.

Technology is governed by techniques and techniques can limit invention.

Not all design requires exhaustive inventing, however every innovative idea is a often a connection of multiple ideas. The better we can connect ideas, the better designers we become. But, we must first invent, and then make, rather than letting the making dictate our minds.

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