London-based creative consultancy Map specializes in strategy industrial design. Map’s clients include Virgin Atlantic, Google and Panasonic as well as startups such as Kano and BeeLine. Jon Marshall was listed as one of Creative Review’s top 50 creative leaders in 2016; the team at Map has won over 25 international design awards and Map is one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2016.
‘I think the small revolution is a direct reaction to globalism – although people enjoy many benefits from globalism, they are looking to regain control at a local level as a reaction to it. The advantage of localism is the ability to tailor products and service to individual needs. But I don’t actually see global and local as competing against each other – they can exist side by side.’ ‘I believe big brands need to do more ethnographic research at a community level to understand how attitudes, needs and desires change for each market. If they feed that into the product development process, new products will be better adapted for local markets. Customisation of products in mass production will be an interesting development in this space.’
‘Empowering self-sufficiency is a bit of a blind spot for big brands as they see it taking away their market share. The thing that most interests me is how both startups and big brands are interested in inspiring the next generation of makers and technologies. Great examples from London are Kano, Technology Will Save Us and SAM Labs.’ ‘I think digital fabrication of physical products is still a way off as it’s quite expensive. But we’re seeing companies like Touchnote (postcards) and Lost My Name (books) successfully using decentralised manufacture for printed products. This is going to totally transform how products are distributed. At the moment sales are online but I think the potential for retail stores with manufacturing directly onsite is huge.’
‘Globalised production of consumer goods means it’s difficult to engage fully with local industry for big brands who are manufacturing price-sensitive products, but there are great examples of harnessing the power of the crowd to adapt software and digital services to the local community.’
‘The digital space is an area where big brands have offered new ways for individuals to do business locally, with eBay and PayPal being good examples. Cryptocurrencies will be interesting to watch as they allow local trading outside of the monetary system. Big brands need to embrace this rather than fight it.’
‘Brands have to streamline all levels of their production systems to reduce environmental damage. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues and it’s affecting their purchasing decisions. I’d like to see brands talk more about what they are doing.’