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Human evolution and innovation go hand in hand

Innovation is not an option: it is a necessity - to keep on improving on the way we do things and having a role to play in the fluid economics context. Español, Português

Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). On the screen, artist and designer Olafur Eliasson gives a lecture to the fab lab network within the Academy’s program.

This piece is an excerpt from an original article published as part of the eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta series, which can be found here.

Throughout history there have been multiple milestones that have transformed populations, cities, processes, the ways in which we interact and relate to other human beings.

If we look back, we can see that the eruption of agriculture was one of those milestones which changed an infinite number of human habits.

It changed the very organizational constitutions of societies, eliminating the hunter-gatherer figure and turning individuals into goods accumulators that concentrated themselves in fixed places, that later became hamlets. This provoked a drastic change; we began to inhabit the planet in an entirely different way.

The legacy of money as a form of exchange of products and services on an abstract level implied the beginning on a new form of economics, that has lasted until today.

In this sense, many questions regarding social, economic and political change that have been brought about by technology and the internet and the power interests behind them are generated.

In the text, different variables are analysed and certain questions we should all pose to ourselves are proposed: For what and for whom is technology useful? Who decides what to do with it? How much do we really know about it?

The need to construct new forms of using technologies and the internet through individual, community and organizational participation that present alternative approaches with the objective of placing technological advances at the service of human beings and the planet. 

Finally, the text shows Barcelona as a city with a special ecosystem for finding and prototyping new ideas regarding production in cities in a fair and transparent way, with the intention of these ideas being replicated and adapted to other places around the world.

About the author

Tomás Díez is a Venezuelan city planner specialised in digital production and its implications for the future of cities and society. A founding member of the Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), he currently manages the Fab City Research Laboratory and the Fab Foundation European project and several projects with the global network of Fab Labs. He is also a tutor in Product Design at the London Royal College of Arts, where he co-directs the Exploring Emergent Futures platform, and was singled out by The Guardian and Nesta as one of the top 10 digital social innovators in 2013.

Tomás Díez es un urbanista venezolano especializado en la producción digital y sus implicaciones para el futuro de las ciudades y la sociedad. Miembro fundador del Fab Lab Barcelona del Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña (IAAC), dirige actualmente el Fab City Research Laboratory y el proyecto europeo Fab Foundation. Es también tutor de Diseño de Producto en el Royal College of Arts de Londres, donde co-dirige la plataforma Exploring Emergent Futures, y fue seleccionado por The Guardian y Nesta como uno de los 10 mejores innovadores sociales digitales de 2013. 

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