Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sticky Design a motivator for the LM community

At the end of last week, Crisp Angles, response to my blog post of May 1 "Listening to the Community" really provoked me to dig deeper and to explain the way we view our Community and Local Motors in general.

(LMone Concept by Crisp Angles,

Let's start with Eric von Hippel, a professor and economist at MIT and Harvard Law School and the father of the lead user concept and much groundbreaking work on user innovation. In 1994 von Hippel theorized that knowledge was not as free flowing as the netted world might suggest and that information remains "stuck" to certain areas of expertise and groups of people. When I first read about this "sticky information" theory, it made great sense but it did not dawn on me how it related to the LM Community.

Fast forward to a relatively innocuous post by one of our community members last week. Ugo, a 20 year old student from ISD in Valenciennes, posted a pic on his profile of the Auto-Moto concept from Lazareth. I have admired Ludovic Lazareth, a French mechanic and fabricator, for quite some time because of his willingness to use commonly available bikes and to turn them into the concepts that no company has had the guts to make. Ugo's post was the first Lazareth to show up on the LM community (at least as far as I can tell), but I am sure that it will not be the last. Anyway, Lazareth concepts, despite how fresh and provoking they are, are not well known in the United States, in fact they are basically inconnues. This is a classic example of how design can be sticky in the von Hippel sense of information - a style or creation that is conceived, funded, created, marketed, and sold in a Local ":)" area is often not able to transcend borders as quickly as you might think.

(Lazareth Quadrazuma -

Enter the Local Motors Community. In a phrase, we are not so much about democratizing design as we are about exposing great pockets of Local design expertise and pushing them to the forefront for a broad audience of builders, designers, and enthusiasts to see. It is our hope by sharing such inspiration in and of it native environment that Local Motors will truly advance the automotive designs and productions that are yet to come.

A strong thank you goes out to Crispy, Ugo, Eric von Hippel, and those community members brimming with ideas that are sticky and raging to break out.


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