How do you do?

Posted by Flux on 

28 August 2012

What’s trending now?

The Do It Yourself trend is not new, people have been making and mending as far back as we can remember. What we are seeing now, however, is a popularisation of this trend, spurred on by a host of products and services that are integrating DIY consciousness into our collective ideology.

Startups like Instructables and Snapguide are going further than the simple “How to” videos from YouTube and making making a fun and social activity. Google Plus has also recently climbed on board, in collaboration withMakezine, to create a  series of Maker workshops which teach young people how to engineer their projects from inception to completion. Then there is Etsy, arguably the most popular platform for the DIY insiders to publicise and profit from their creations, who hosted a Global Craft Party on August the 24th, facilitated byMeetUp, a site that encourages online communities to meet up in the real world.

Why it’s important?

The Do-It and Make-It-Yourself trend speaks about a broader shift in consumer behaviour that like-minded companies can tap into when innovating new products and services. This person values empowerment and appreciates brands that can help them to help themselves. The DIY customer has no doubt read the Maker’s Bill of Rights, a manifesto written up by Maker activists which insists that if you can’t fix it, you never owned it in the first place.

“Ease of repair shall be a design ideal, not an afterthought” ~ The Maker’s Bill of Rights

What’s the butterfly effect?

DIY movement is growing, gaining momentum amongst a group of consumers who value thrift and boast a conservative mindset. Their empowerment is their status and their story. The sentiment is not necessarily anti-brand, but it is certainly pro the brand that can.

The effect of the movement will be felt throughout the discipline of design, as people will begin to demand products that can be fixed, rather than replaced every time they blow a fuse. The future consumer will demand smart design,  and in their minds there is not such thing as impossible.

The pioneers

As mentioned, post-recession startups like SnapGuide, which is available online or as an iPhone App, allow people to post their own “How-to” guides, and connect with other people who have the same interests at heart. The brand that can facilitate these kinds of real connections between people based on shared interests are the brands that will be seen as valuable allies in an increasingly saturated and message-weary marketplace.

“Profiting by selling expensive special tools is wrong and not making special tools available is even worse” ~ The Maker’s Bill of Rights

The global hot spots

Social DIY startups are tending to centre around countries which have been the hardest hit by the recession, however this consumer attitude is likely to permeate the global marketplace as smaller budgets and less disposable income continue to be felt. The attitude speaks of thrift and conservation, also viewing the rapid pace of the consumer treadmill as an unsustainable (and increasingly evil) cog in the machine.

In South Africa, a history of scarcity and lack has demanded that we, as a nation, “make-do” with what we can, and it is likely that this trend will be embraced with vigour. Furthermore, we have grown up in a culture which demands resourcefulness and where innovation is simply a necessity, so entrepreneurs and forward-thinking businesses will find no trouble in using some of these trend insights in fueling market-driven innovation.

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By: Loren Phillips

About Loren

Loren is an avid trendspotter, with a keen interest in how the internet is shaping human behaviour across the board. Her favourite subjects include design, technology and the environment.

Image credit: Gallo Images/ Getty Images

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