A few weeks ago I came across an article  about Local Motors the company who first introduced the car designed and manufactured using the wisdom of the crowd. Needless to say I practically fainted. I was not the only one though, as some of my best friends sent me the link or just kept a copy for me. It seems that the final product is what people are intrigued by. The design of the car that hopefully works is rather clumsy yet cool, a result of a co-design of a wide and involved community.

The joint design is CO.CO’s credo and we strive to promote it. We have recently approached different institutions where new designers are trained and offered thestudents to experience this platform allowing manufacturing at no risk and without an investment. Just a reminder: whoever wishes to send us designs (sketches) is welcome to do so. The designs are put to a vote on CO.CO website and Facebook. The design to be manufactured will be decided according to feedbacks, the ratio between “like” and “pass” and the judgment of the professional team headed by Dalia Kapoza. The model sold is named after the designer (upon her agreement) and she gets one free.

No, this is not Pop Idol. No need to persuade the entire family to vote 50 times from any available computer or Smart Phone. We examine specific parameters in order to determine what products are likely to be manufactured and sold at a possible minimal quantity. We don’t want to manufacture 1000 dresses at a cost price of 50 NIS each and sell one for 500 NIS or 3 for 100 NIS. We prefer to manufacture 50 dresses at cost price of 100 NIS and sell for 400 NIS each. Further on, when we are stronger and safer we will be able to sell for less. It’s pure economy. The major difficulty we are facing (so far so good) is the local means of production. That’s why I lost my tongue reading about the vision of Local Motors and Jay Rogers its founder.

Micro-factories

Small assembly centers built in various areas in different countries that enable local communities to use materials that suit their environment and to build their own car.

Micro-industry, the third industrial revolution as Chris Henderson calls it, and many other names all refer to the rapid growth rate of the 3-D printing industry. Soon we will print our customized electric kettle, a cup of coffee and even shoes. Yet I assume that years will pass before printing polyester dresses will be commercial and not just a gimmick. But until then, women will keep on consuming billions $-worth of fashion items. For ages, fashion hasn’t been just a niche. It’s hard core. A huge industry that leveraged nations, elevated the rich while dosing its consumers up with 59.90 shirts.

Micro-factories are a fascinating, accessible vision that can be implemented immediately. It’s the only solution to promote traditional work thus allowing many more people to make a living. Jobs are scarce as you can see for example in Europe or Spain for that matter (somehow banal yet true).This can’t happen without government involvement. Magic won’t work. This requires investment, subsidy and regulation protected from mega chains that have destroyed the local industry by favoring import.

But this is a sustainable vision both for the western world and its inhabitants. If the defensive textile law was an illusion that fixated the archaic economy by subsidizing mass production of a low product, then micro-factories are a breaking through vision of customized production.

Naftali Bennett, please think again whether Negev Textile should remain but think differently now, think innovative like Jay Rogers, Tony Hsieh and Chris Anderson and not like Offer Eini and Yeruham Meshel.

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