Jul 2, 2013 at 11:53 pm #1304904
@maiaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Companion forum thread to:Jul 3, 2013 at 12:08 am #2001955
In the end the marketplace will decide — that is: supply and demand. Light weight isn't new. I have seen very few innovative designs in the past few decades. What I have seen are new and improved raw materials that the outdoor industry uses; Cuben and titanium come to mind. The smart consumer will by the best product at the best price, without prejudice as to what segment of the industry produced it, or where it was produced.Jul 3, 2013 at 1:36 am #2001960
The smart consumer will by the best product at the best price, without prejudice as to what segment of the industry produced it, or where it was produced.
Ahhhhhh, the smart consumer … does that sub-species make up enough of the market to lead the "broad market" producers anywhere other than into the realm of perception (rather than reality)?Jul 3, 2013 at 5:16 am #2001980
"An educated consumer is the best customer"- Sy SimsJul 3, 2013 at 6:31 am #2001992
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
For some, the latter things are part of the criteria used to determine best.Jul 3, 2013 at 9:01 am #2002038
@rutilateLocale: Pacific Northwest
If the answer is true innovation, how about we as UL consumers partner with a willing gear manufacturer and crowdsource new and truly innovative products that exactly meet our needs, rather than waiting for someone to get "close enough"?Jul 3, 2013 at 9:09 am #2002042
I'm actually thinking of doing something very similar to that, Curtis.Jul 3, 2013 at 9:36 am #2002048
@rutilateLocale: Pacific Northwest
There is a ton of momentum in many different industries around crowdsourcing, which minimizes R&D costs, provides a stronger guarantee of adoption and sales. A large photography community worked closely with Nikon to build a camera that married the best features of recent Nikon and Canon cameras and perfectly met the large community needs. The challenge is the size, reachability, and financials of the desired audience which determines the ROI.
There is a HUGE level of expertise here in this community, and some (but not necessarily all) cottage manufacturers have been very willing to listen to gear wishes and design recommendations.
I wonder if the first step might be to create a crowdsourced wish-list of gear or improvements that this community would vote on. The outcome should be a prioritized list of high value, low investment gear elements to either build or use to approach willing manufacturers.Jul 3, 2013 at 10:06 am #2002059
Backpacking is just walking in the wilderness. Many do it these days with some pretty light gear, to include thru hikes of major long distance trails. Given that, what innovative gear or equipment do people seek that would enhance or simplify their hiking? Do people seek solutions that are substitutes for skill and experience?Jul 3, 2013 at 10:14 am #2002062
It certainly is, and I think it will only become a more common way to research, develop, and fund new products. I was thinking of developing one product (a backpack, most likely) to begin with, and seeking community input on design, features, materials, etc.Jul 3, 2013 at 10:24 am #2002069
I know the collective memory here is rather short but didn't BPL take this crowdsourcing approach with the packs they briefly sold in ~2010 before fetting out of the gear business? I recall taking a survey and then being offered the opportunity to purchase a pack.
In general not sure how I feel about groupthink and design by committee. Having said that I have long felt that a crowdsourced approach to building an ultralight data logger sized GPS device with the ability to display locations in multiple coordinate systems would be a great project. One that many have asked for and spec'ed out in these forums over the years.Jul 3, 2013 at 10:41 am #2002081
"In general not sure how I feel about groupthink and design by committee."
It is a recipe to inhibit innovation. It drives compromise and development of the average.Jul 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm #2002156
That has been my experience as well, the greater the number of people, the greater the compromises and the less elegant and successful the final design. That is only my limited experience, perhaps there are successful examples found elsewhere. I'm genuinely curious about this, and in particular how the BPL packs were received and perceived. They definitely do not seem like a popular pack these days? But that may be a function of their availability.Jul 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm #2002175
Seems like everyone is making a pack these days. The innovation comes from the exceptional individual who understands what works and what the public wants. Marry those two items and you can be successful. But look at everything on the market and they are just clones of something that has already been produced. They only thing that has truly changed are the materials used, and those were not developed by the backpacking industry.
Dick Kelty was an innovator. Whoever built the first internal frame pack was an innovator (no consensus on who this was).
Because I own a couple, I can say Dan McHale is an innovator. His integration of past designs by others, his awesome hip belts, construction techniques, and his patented P&G extensions and by-pass harness are all innovative and make for excellent packs. I have owned many packs over the years, and having used my McHales a lot, I now find the whole subject of backpacks boring.
Crowd sourcing is just a scam by wannabes who don't have a viable product that can secure financing through traditional means.
Bottom line… There is a plethora of good quality lightweight gear available today. This endless search for the perfect item for each piece of grear to create the nirvana of kit is just plain rediculous.
I think people should forget about what is best and just get out and hike a lot. That is the bottom line, isn't it?Jul 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm #2002176
Lars Laird IversenParticipant
I´m sure there are people here with more insight in these things than me, but I have just done a bit of reading on brainstorming, groupthink and collective creativity.
As far as I can read the research, groupthink becomes problematic when members of the group are trying to "manage their presentation of self" (ie, impress). Brainstorming and other such ideas do not work well as long as the members are trying to achieve status of some kind. And most people are, most of the time. If not actively looking for status, most people are (thank God) somewhat socially self-conscious.
I guess the problem with design by committee, is that you tend to get everyones veto-es, rather than everyones ideas.
However, collecting the ideas and knowledge from a larger team is usually a good way to higher quality (though certainly not a time-saver). Apparently, the trick is to find a situation where people generate and communicate their ideas outside of a collective group context. Brainstormings work better if the group is asked to write down all their ideas for three minutes, and then hand in their contributions anonymously to an administrator that then mixes and mashes the ideas before the group again gets the ideas in return for further refinement and evaluation.
Crowdsourcing at BPL would do well to avoid a general brainstorming in the forums. Many people would feel that the threshold is too high for their ideas, and still more would go down the "lighter-than-thou" path. But getting members of BPL to share their wisdom and experiences will certainly be useful. An anonymous poll, or a personal message system, or some other mechanism to sever self-presentation from genuine creativity would be useful.
I think one of the reasons why crowdsourcing on the web sometimes is a success, is that it is a community of strangers (more or less). You get the benefit of the group, but, if done right, not the disadvantages of status anxiety.Jul 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm #2002193
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
>groupthink becomes problematic when members of the group are trying to "manage their presentation of self" (ie, impress). Brainstorming and other such ideas do not work well as long as the members are trying to achieve status of some kind."
True that.Jul 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm #2002233
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
" I have owned many packs over the years, and having used my McHales a lot, I now find the whole subject of backpacks boring."
ya.. huh ?
it gets like that after awhile.
Nick and David are quite clued in on this sort of social/production subject matter.
i enjoyed reading the orig article. it seemed to have the word "should" in it an AWFUL lot of times. and since those multiple "should"s seem like they might pertain at me, i wonder if the guy who worte it might anti up and produce something on his own outside of directives for the creative individuals who are doing the work that makes cottage industry products available.
the whole subject of "how are we going to most effectively tell chicken little how to make bread ? " is sort of obtuse to my way of thinking.
peter is likely Deep into "self presentation". it's just one of a plethora of self pleauring things you can do online.Jul 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm #2002257
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> Avoiding a real need for education, the fundamental skills and techniques of
> lightweight hiking are still largely dismissed as fringe interests while the language
> of our approach has been warmly adopted and worked, without much concern, into
> technical doublespeak.
I wonder: was this article written in the heat of the moment? It has fire and passion and real understanding. No cold sterile maunderings from a spin doctor trying for buy-buttons.
I love it!
Cheers and Hurrahs
PS: a committee is a dead end into which good ideas are carfully herded to be quietly buried.Jul 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm #2002298
PS: a committee is a dead end into which good ideas are carfully herded to be quietly buried.
Here's another one … "a camel is a horse designed by a committee"Jul 3, 2013 at 10:57 pm #2002347
"while those manufacturers focused on Australia and New Zealand (with a few exceptions)have continued to stagnate "
Nice to see one exception, that Aarn pack, on you back.
BTW, BPL here hasn't been the same since you left.
Yes, much better now.
Anyway , thank you for your LW evangelising efforts in the retail industry, much appreciated.Jul 4, 2013 at 6:03 am #2002370
Aarn could do so much more, Franco. Innovation has to be tempered by a clear aesthetic in order to be successful, in my view.
By the way, Tarptent DR did well in Indonesia, tropical rain and all.Jul 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm #2002483
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Fantastic article. It might be more clear to replace "outdoor industry" with "world" in the last sentence.
I assume a big part of what Mr. Payne is getting at here is that traditional cost-benefit models need to be rebalanced and broadened. While it may be foreign to our current definitions, it doesn't take too much imagination to see how various ethical and humanistic rubrics might be included. The world needs this, and in ignoring it I think Nick goes wrong here.Jul 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm #2002490
"I can say Dan McHale is an innovator."
Indeed, his invention of the daisy chain was…
Actually, I was surprised to see that he has adopted bottom compression straps similar to the Golite Jam packs and those available from MLD.
Viva la Cottage.Jul 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm #2002497
"The world needs this, and in ignoring it I think Nick goes wrong here."
Ah, but that is due to different philosophies. And this thread is not the forum to discuss them :)
Good news is we both like to get outdoors a lot.Jul 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm #2002498
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"…traditional cost-benefit models need to be rebalanced and broadened…"
Yeah, I'd rather pay a little more if they paid their people a fair salary, or made in the U.S. (or some country we have balanced trade with), or used more environmental methods (although that can be hard to determine).
And ha, ha, ha, it's fun to think of examples where committees have made ridiculous decisions, but there are many problems that require many people to solve, computers and medical stuff and atomic bombs… Maybe making a tent or backpack can be done by one person.
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