ManifestoChallenge #1: Reverse this statement“We must shift America from a needs, to a desires culture, people must be trained to desire, to want new things even before the old had been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.” Paul Mazur (Harvard Business Review, 1927) [6]

Challenge #2: Reclaim the means – stop obsessing with the ends“Modern anthropology … opposes the utilitarian assumption that the primitive chants as he sows seed because he believes that otherwise it will not grow, the assumption that his economic goal is primary, and his other activities are instrumental to it. The planting and the cultivating are no less important than the finished product. Life is not conceived as a linear progression directed to, and justified by, the achievement of a series of goals; it is a cycle in which ends cannot be isolated, one which cannot be dissected into a series of ends and means.” John Carroll [7]

Challenge #3: As things become increasingly automated – facilitate action not apathy“[W]hen it becomes automatic (on the other hand) its function is fulfilled, certainly, but it is also hermetically sealed. Automatism amounts to a closing-off, to a sort of functional self-sufficiency which exiles man to the irresponsibility of a mere spectator.” Jean Baudrillard [8]

Challenge #4: Bring an end to this vacuous celebrity designer BS“My juicer is not meant to squeeze lemons; it is meant to start conversations.” Philippe Starck [9]

Challenge #5: Interrupt legacy thinking and product lineages“All inventions and innovations, by definition, represent an advance in the art beyond existing base lines. Yet, most advances, particularly in retrospect, appear essentially incremental, evolutionary. If nature makes no sudden leaps, neither it would appear does technology.” Robert Heilbroner [10]

Challenge #6: Rather than feed the illusion of invincibility, work from the reality of uncertainty and transience“Everywhere gold glimmered in the half-light, transforming this derelict casino into a magical cavern from the Arabian Nights tales. But it held a deeper meaning for me, the sense that reality itself was a stage set that could be dismantled at any moment, and that no matter how magnificent anything appeared, it could be swept aside into the debris of the past.” J. G. Ballard [11]

Kleine Dada Soirée. Theo van Doesburg, 1922 Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Challenge #7: Set aside the easier work of armchair critique and take up the more difficult work of proposing viable alternatives“It is true that I can better tell you what we don’t do than what we do do.” William Morris [12]

Challenge #8: Ask yourself (before putting things in the world): Am I prepared to play God?“It’s not right to play God with masses of people. To be God you have to know what you’re doing. And to do any good at all, just believing you’re right and your motives are good isn’t enough.” Ursula K. Le Guin [13]

Challenge #9: Design ecologically“One merges into another, groups melt into ecological groups until the time when what we know as life meets and enters what we think of as non-life: barnacle and rock, rock and earth, earth and tree, tree and rain and air. And the units nestle into the whole and are inseparable from it … all things are one thing and one thing is all things – plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.” John Steinbeck [14]

Challenge #10: Adopt a khadi mentality“True progress lies in the direction of decentralization, both territorial and functional, in the development of the spirit of local and personal initiative, and of free federation from the simple to the compound, in lieu of the present hierarchy from the centre to the periphery.” Petr Kropotkin [15]

Challenge #11: Be patient for the quiet days“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” Arundhati Roy [16]

Challenge #12: Start building the future you want, with or without technology“People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it. Better yet, build it. Predicting the future is much too easy, anyway. You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better.” Ray Bradbury [17]