Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back to virtuality

Here's a story on corporate philanthropy experiments in SecondLife. Philips, the consumer company which specializes in "simplicity"** used the platform to lead a cross company discussion on the production of a "smokeless stove." Philips is using the SecondLife platform to get feedback on their designs, co-create new products, engage potential users in shaping the tools, and provoke discussion on the fine lines between Bottom-of-the-Pyramid market reach and philanthropy. Those of you who inhabit SecondLife can use this SLurl for more on the effort.

The interaction and findings as noted in the story are interesting. This version of social investment is less about giving money and more in line with "Design for the other 90%" exhibit recently at the Cooper Hewitt. Philips excels in building beautiful high end stereos and shaving systems - can they bring this knowledge, aesthetic and practicality to products for the poor.

**John Maeda, MIT Guru of simplicity, advises Philips.

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