The idea is powerful but I am also challenged by transparency. The thought of efforts being misinterpreted and applied erroneously to large tangible problems is a scary one for sure. But I am buoyed by similar habits in the open source movement. If Jonas Salk, Madame Curie, or even the actual inventor of the web, Tim-Berners Lee, had patented their discoveries the world as we know it would be a far less innovative and I would argue less hospitable place.
Listen to Alastair Parvin's brief Ted Talk below. Maybe like me, when you hear him reveal the possibilities in rethinking the role of architecture--you hear an identical argument for data stakeholders--statisticians, data scientists, and even computer programers.
The snapshot from the IMS prospectus reveals how big the data business has become. Reporting 2.44 billion in 2012, revenue has only grown with the IMS Health and Quintiles merger -- to 7.2 billion in 2015.
The first is, I think we need to question this idea that architecture is about making buildings. Actually, a building is about the most expensive solution you can think of to almost any given problem. And fundamentally, design should be much, much more interested in solving problems and creating new conditions.--Alastair Parvin from the TED stage
So here's a story. The office was working with a school, and they had an old Victorian school building.
And they said to the architects, "Look, our corridors are an absolute nightmare. They're far too small. They get congested between classes. There's bullying. We can't control them. So what we want you to do is re-plan our entire building, and we know it's going to cost several million pounds, but we're reconciled to the fact."
And the team thought about this, and they went away, and they said, "Actually, don't do that. Instead, get rid of the school bell. And instead of having one school bell that goes off once, have several smaller school bells that go off in different places and different times, distribute the traffic through the corridors."It solves the same problem, but instead of spending several million pounds, you spend several hundred pounds.
Now, it looks like you're doing yourself out of a job, but you're not. You're actually making yourself more useful. Architects are actually really, really good at this kind of resourceful, strategic thinking. And the problem is that, like a lot of design professions, we got fixated on the idea of providing a particular kind of consumer product, and I don't think that needs to be the case anymore.--Alastair Parvin from the TED stage
I would guess the recipe is what persists. If you are a data stakeholder or rely on big data for gleaning insights, you know the price.
So if we're serious about problems like climate change, urbanization and health, actually, our existing development models aren't going to do it. As I think Robert Neuwirth said, there isn't a bank or a corporation or a government or an NGO who's going to be able to do it if we treat citizens only as consumers.
How extraordinary would it be, though, if collectively we were to develop solutions not just to the problem of structure that we've been working on, but to infrastructure problems like solar-powered air conditioning, off-grid energy, off-grid sanitation -- low-cost, open-source, high-performance solutions that anyone can very, very easily make, and to put them all into a commons where they're owned by everyone and they're accessible by everyone?
A kind of Wikipedia for stuff? And once something's in the commons, it will always be there. How much would that change the rules? And I think the technology's on our side.--Alastair Parvin from the TED stage
“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” – George Bernard Shaw
The risk in presenting your ideas is not that they will be stolen, but that they will be copied poorly Stephen Chavez, President and Co-founder, Health Advocacy Partners