CycleFuturesLAB: designing for after the auto-diseconomy
Given Australians buy more new bicycles than they do cars what if Melbourne redirected its car parts manufacturing capabilities towards innovation in the cycling product/service ecosystem? Auto parts manufacture in Melbourne has been the mainstay of the local manufacturing sector for the best part of a century and is now at a critical crossroads: car-making as we know it will cease by 2017. The auto parts manufacturing supply chain have to either rapidly establish new markets for their specialized capabilities, close up shop, or radically re-position their production towards new types of products for other markets. For those industries and employees that require volumetric manufacturing using existing plant and equipment and ready markets to maintain their jobs in the near term placing faith in “the market”, or the prospect of “advanced manufacturing” and “diversification” as solutions is deeply problematic. However, this rupture in the auto-diseconomy presents a very real opening for design to redirect the radical monopoly of car making/selling/buying/using through proposing strategies for a more resilient manufacturing future.
This studio uses a variety of design research methods to explore:
– How current auto-parts manufacturing enterprises might be re-made as cycle-parts manufacturers.
– What the diverse social, environmental and technological conditions of Melbourne offer for product innovation for global cycle markets.
– How design thinking can be used to maximize the application of existing manufacturing infrastructures and to identify opportunities for new investments.
– How to connect design thinking to broader demographic, psychographic, service provision, advocacy agendas and policy shifts.
– The development of robust design propositions as working prototypes.
– New ways of doing design innovation to disrupt existing trends and attitudes and to make new markets.