The Design Incubator

• Comming soon to a link near you: Meme Garden. Wander through a forest of memes and sticky ideas-of some of the many ways in which we might all design our futures.

• to see LATEST COMMENTS - click the orange "Comment" button (below)

• to contribute to THIS DISCUSSION - click the "add a comment" button (below)

Memetic Design

• Why is the iPod such a memetic product?
• Why - when other MP3 players do more - is it so popular?

Visit our new definitions page

The Beneficial Meme

• What is a meme?
• Can a meme be designed consciously, just as we design any other product?
• Is the meme an idea or a 'thing'?
• Can we create ecologically benign designs using the principles of memetics?
• How might the butterfly effect and the Tipping Point be useful in designing a better world?

Is a 'Best Seller' a meme?

• This is a difficult question.
• The best selling book in the world is alleged to be the IKEA much was this 'designed', and how much was a surprise to IKEA?
• IKEA Founder Ingvar Kamprad became part of a memetic story in 2004 when a Swedish magazine reported that he had become richer than Microsoft entrepreneur Bill Gates.
• Allegedly, this story prompted Mr. Gates to commission a report to find out why he had lost his place at the top of the (metaphorical) food chain.
• What can we learn from this? For one thing, there are far better ways to enhance the shared potential of the world and its resources.
• A mutualist approach costs (us all) less than a competitive one.
• In this case there is no apparent conflict of commercial interests, yet the idea of supremacy needs to be refined and qualified very carefully.

So we cannot really 'design' a 'meme'?

• We are not too concerned with the philosophical question.
• On the contrary, we would like to know how to create a 'design', rather than to understand 'memes'.
• Distinctions between 'design' and 'discovery'...or between 'memes' and 'non-memes'...are less important than knowing how to design for 'attainable utopias'.
• Arguably, the fact that our example is based on a competitive system should concern us more.
• We may not (yet?) be able to design a meme, but maybe we can design a 'memetic effect' by nurturing the popularity of an existing interest or potential trend

Designing a 'memetic effect'

• Perhaps we cannot (yet?) design memes in the full sense of the word.
• However, perhaps we might be able to design a 'memetic effect' by
1) learning far more about its relationship with the surrounding context.
2) cultivating/nurturing/refining its memetic qualities


• What is the most memetic and beneficial thing you have noticed this week?
• Prizes to be won...!?