People have created and modified tools to address their needs since prehistoric times. But since a few generations we simply buy the tools we need and use them in the way they have been designed. With the current pervasive presence of digital technology, these digital 'tools' are increasingly defining how we live, communicate, learn and work.
Many think of this as nauseating and constraining. We feel that we are forced to live the way big corporations have designed it for us. We feel no longer free to do what we want.
Why can't we design our own tools anymore? Is it really true that corporations always know better what we want? What about those people who fall outside of the mainstream, and have needs and contexts of life that require special tools, that these people can design themselves better than anyone else? And are we not all sometimes out of the mainstream?
In fact, we are increasingly becoming tech tinkerers, adapting our digital tools to a great variety of human needs.
This phenomenon has only just started. The open source hardware revolution has hardly kicked off, also due to the fact that digital technology that surrounds us is not always easy to modify.
But what would our world be like if technology was easy to modify? Would there be more empowerment? Innovation? Democracy? Participation? What could be in it for business? What could this all mean for people in emerging markets and for the future web of things?