Howard Brown delivered our first day’s lecture on the nature of Design. A disciple of Bucky Fuller, Brown defined a “problem” as a system’s “preferred state” minus its “present state.” In other words the aspirational, functional, and correct way without the current arrangement of resources — the problem is the obstacle standing between now and achieving the goal.
People buy products for the benefits of having the products, not for the products themselves (think functional, emotional, practical). So if it’s not about the mass of the product, can we get the same benefits with less resource inputs? Brown and his organization dMass coin this concept “naked value” and just published a new book demonstrating how this idea can reshape business and innovation.
It reminded me of one of the presentations at the Transforming Cities conference this past May during which the speaker discussed the real cost of a hamburger. By factoring in all the resource costs, the bill would be around $200 for a single Big Mac according to author of The Value of Nothing, Raj Patel. “According to a report by the Centre for Science and the Environment in India, a burger grown from beef raised on clear-cut forest should really cost about two hundred dollars,” Patel explains. CIR also has a video that explains the outrageous resource inputs.