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Will.i.am and Knowledge Exchange Toolkits

Date Published: 06 May 2012

New IDEAS is all about designing new KE toolkits (by this we mean creating processes that act as a foil to enable knowledge exchange between others when we are not present). We think we have a pretty good handle on KE and exchange toolkits, having read many KE events and developed many more KE mechanisms.

A presentation at the Royal College of Arts Innovation night by the musical Will.I.am form the Black Eyed Peas really introduced some new perspectives for me in terms of what could (should?) constitute a toolkit. In particular his plans for a new car illustrated this new position. On the face of it the IAMAUTO, shown here is a vanity exercise, even if the intention is to build these in run down areas in the US how could this possibly not be the next DeLorean?

Well its not about producing cars exactly, this intention is that each year a hot-shot stylist creates a car design married to solid but not cutting edge rolling stock, so far so VW Scirocco, this is not the clever bit. Each year only 20 of these cars will be produced with a different one each year and will be used as a stimulus in neighborhoods to help mechanics grow their skills. At the moment its easy to fix a car from the 1990`s but after this cars are increasingly dependent on electronics beyond the skills of the traditional mechanic.

The IAMAUTO is a toolkit to facilitate KE around car electronics and it achieves this through being cool and trading off the cachet of Will.i.am in addition to being a good learning tool. It becomes a totem to draw in disaffected people that then have the opportunity to learn skills that make them more employable or able to operate more profitably. It also reduces the number of cars that are perfectly serviceable that are scrapped because its too hard to keep them running.

Of course this is not going to work in the same way for New IDEAS but it does raise interesting dimensions when thinking about toolkits. I don’t think an information pack that is easily printable is going to make the grade.

For more on Will.i.am’s talk got to the RCA site, here http://www.rca.ac.uk/Default.aspx?ContentID=515533&GroupID=515532&CategoryID=36538

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