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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hacking: Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

Hacking gets a bad rap. When you think of a hacker, you probably think of a computer nerd in a darkened room fiercely typing random letters and numbers until that eureka moment when they hijack super secret missile bases and hold the world for ransom.

Now consider today's buzzwords "adaptive reuse." It is considered "green" to take something old and decrepit and adapt it for another use. Anyone who has taken something apart and used the parts to make something else is essentially a hacker. Especially with the arrival of Pinterest we now proudly post photos and tutorials of how we did it and how you, too, can turn a dresser into a play kitchen and a piano into a garden fountain. (I am not kidding!)

It is exactly what professional product designers do when they look for a new product or improve on an old one. They look at the strengths and weaknesses of the product and see what can be done to modify it or what else can the product be used for. Competitors will take a product apart to see if they can make the product better or cheaper. In business-speak this is called "reverse engineering." The smart company will cruise these "hacking" sites to find out how their products are being modified. What the frustrated consumer does may inspire the company's engineers to rethink their line for more profitable ideas.

For sheer numbers of ideas, Pinterest does deliver the goods. Cruise the site for inspiration. Enter something like "furniture hacks" into your favorite search engine to see what pops up. Who knows, you may be inspired to create the next big thing!


Hack your Ikea furniture:

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