We live in a world propped up by our hunger to consume. Cheaper, faster, more. I recently learned that the turn around for places like Topshop from catwalk to high street has been squashed and squashed to days not weeks or months. It’s no surprise that our relationship with technology is the same. At any point in time I can purchase an app to possibly satisfy some need I may or may not have. For pennies the solution is at my fingertips. The investment is small, the decision quick and if it doesn’t work there will probably be something that does.
There is a huge asymmetry in tech consumption and creation. This is not perhaps a surprise as many industries have few making for many. It is unlikely that you can do a better job of making a car that Ford of VW. So why would technology be any different? You are not going to make a better iPhone with an Raspberry Pi and bunch on sensors but you may make a unique Item that really satisfies a need you have. Something you can’t buy, as its highly personal, and satisfies a need you understand intimately. It gets really exciting when it isn’t just you doing the making. The professionals do such a good job because they have a range of experts working together to meet a common goal.
The ability to work with people from different background is a really valuable skill. Many fields have strong ethos of team working with mixed discipline teams. The curriculum for excellence acknowledges this and aims to foster cross discipline working. There is a risk of this becoming a bit transactional and a relationship of consumption. To collaborate you need to take the time to understand those who you work with. There will doubtless be differing language and cultural norms and it may be tempting to compartmentalise parts of the project and make naive assumptions about what different people can bring to it. Having the role of coder among designers or designer among computer scientists it is quite interesting to be on both sides. Nothing turns a coder off more than assuming they can only offer the website or the code once the problem is solved. It’s a bit like calling in the design team at the end and asking them to make it look nice. Chances are regardless of background you are all bright people that solve problems using your own medium and stepping out of your area of expertise may just harbour the creative solution you need. When you create with others don’t consume collaborate.