An experimental site called cross-innovation is exploring innovation in appropriate technology. Founder Jon Minchin asks “How can we improve / augment collaborative innovation online?” I like the question, and these are my thoughts:
To socialize hardware, think about social structure. Communities doing things on the ground are key to the physical activities that people participate in. That’s partly helped by networking – finding out (A) who else is near you who likes the same things as you, and (B) what building and tinkering is going on near you (in case it catches your interest). Uniiverse sounds interesting for that.
It’s also helped by information flow. This is my own focus – the socialized information. I’m hoping we’ll make the most of th possibilities of socialized information, by building a comprehensive library of how-tos, guides, designs and topical info (which is what Appropedia, a wiki for appropriate technology, is about).
I might be that person who only has a hammer and find that everything looks like a nail – but my feeling is that access to quality information, inspiring stories and great designs is actually central to making things happen.