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The Future of Stuff: The Global Breaker Challenge

How do you redesign manufacturing in 14 days? Students in teams around the world are trying to figure this out now in the Breaker Challenge...

How do you redesign manufacturing in 14 days? Students in teams around the world are trying to figure this out now in the Breaker Challenge 2013—focused on the way consumers can become producers. Project Breaker lead Juliette LaMontagne explains:


Whether we’re looking for a new pair of jeans or ten thousand microprocessors, the way we go about making and getting objects is changing fast. Current and developing technologies present exciting opportunities to democratize production and personalize the manufacturing process making it hyper-local with tools like 3D printing and facilities like TechShop.

We’re entering an age of mass customization and pushing in new directions with products that bridge the digital/physical divide. How might we build an economic base of producers not just consumers?

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Two teams, based in New York City and Detroit, are working directly with facilitators from Project Breaker, the Stanford d.school, the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), and the Henry Ford Learning Institute. Other self-organized teams around the world are using an online platform to go through the same process—all aimed at finding new products, services, communities, or systems that could create immediate value in the changing world of manufacturing. Over two weeks, they're careening through all of the stages of the design process, and will end with a pitch of their idea.

One team with a successful concept will win a year-long fellowship from DC3 to bring it to life. Though the in-person sessions are underway, and only current participants will have a chance at the fellowship, others who want to try out the digital version can jump in anytime.

For more about Project Breaker, check out this video we produced last year.

Design's a useful tool for solving any challenge. Find a problem, design a solution.

Image courtesy of Project Breaker

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