Why Low Tech Innovation Is The Future – Johnathan Ford, Pearlfisher [Video]

Why Low Tech Innovation Is The Future – Johnathan Ford, Pearlfisher [Video]
Arts & Culture

The Creative Partner illustrates the importance of keeping things simple can offer the most rewarding solutions.

Karen Summerson
  • 21 october 2012

Addressing second- and third-world poverty is a continuing struggle for philanthropic organizations. Common responses, such as sending financial aid and supplies, can often be “parachute” solutions, which lend help, but do not provide sustainable solutions for countries who cannot support themselves monetarily or in terms of natural resources. At PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON, Johnathan Ford of Pearlfisher explained how designers and creative companies can use low-tech innovations to transform poverty and barren space into an economically sustainable and thriving resource in a community. Citing the work of the Haller Foundation in Mombasa, Kenya, Ford stressed the importance of ethical design within a project or corporation and how this sort of innovation could change perceptions surrounding design and encourage knowledge transfer.

“Releasing Potential” is the underlying theme of the Haller Foundation – working to enfranchise and rebuild slum communities, the group teaches local residents how to develop barren land, grow food, create fish farms and keep perishable food cool without refrigerators. One particuliar innovation combines several of these needs: a sprinkler waters plants that are in a raised bed; the residual water passes through the soil, through small holes into a tank holding fish; the fish feed off of the nutrients of the plants and their droppings, along with excess water, pass into a layer of charcoal and earth; this layer purifies the water, which is fed back to the top of the “machine” through a solar-powered pump, starting the process over again. This sort of process uses recycled or derelict containers, costing the village and designers very little – a wonderful example of design.

Some highlights from the talk:

  • Low tech innovation is the future.
  • Release potential from freely available resources.
  • Today’s commodity is tomorrow’s luxury.
  • Big businesses with short-term returns and shareholders squelch the creative process, creating an unrealistic timeline.
  • A high level of attention to detail and design experience are crucial to making innovative, sustainable change.

Johnathan Ford / Pearlfisher

Want to hear more inspiring talks at PSFK events? Click below to buy tickets for PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO 2012.

Arts & Culture

Dubai And The Future Of Humanitarian Design

Design & Architecture
Technology Yesterday

Concept Camera Designed To Only Take Unique Photos

Camera Restricta is tool that prompts photographers to only capture one-of-a-kind images

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Fragrance Will Release The Smell Of Data If Your Private Information Is Being Leaked

The device is designed to create a physical cue for the potential dangers lurking online


Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Retail Yesterday

LYNK & CO Is A New Auto Brand That Promises Mobile Connectivity On Wheels

Online access and mobility sharing are driving the company to disrupt the auto industry

Related Expert

Colin Nagy

Marketing and Advertising

Travel Yesterday

Become A Citizen Of The First Nation In Space

Asgardia is a new concept for a floating society above Earth

Entertainment Yesterday

Speaker Displays Song Lyrics As Music Is Played

The device is able to generate the graphics on a translucent screen and retrieve the words from a connected database

AI Yesterday

Travel Assistant Scans Your Emails To Make Planning Easier

This AI add-on will sync with your inbox and sends reminders to make sure you don't miss anything important


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 17, 2016

Home Depot Green Energy Expert: Americans Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Green tech expert Jennifer Tuohy discusses new home energy tech and developments for renewables in the US

PSFK Labs Yesterday

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Millennials Yesterday

FOMO Survival Kit Helps Millennials Cope With Social Anxieties

The satirical product is meant to be a playful diversion for people who feel like they are missing out

Food Yesterday

New York Restaurant Uses Tomato Sushi As Its Newest Meat Alternative

fresh&co is using sous vide Roma tomatoes to create a vegan option that has the texture and taste of tuna

Advertising Yesterday

Red Bull Converts Sao Paulo Payphones Into Data-Driven Bus Schedules

The booths allow city residents to check local transit times through a simple toll-free phone call

Work Yesterday

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

Retail Yesterday

Why Experiential Events Could Replace Trade Shows

Marketers are seeking creative and impactful new ways to connect with influencers

Children Yesterday

Modular Kit Teaches Kids How To Make Their Own Robots

MODI features magnetic modules and a platform for programming to encourage experimentation

Infants Yesterday

Work Table Doubles As A Baby Seat

Designer Kunsik Choi created the furniture to facilitate emotional communication between between parents and their children

Technology Yesterday

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

No search results found.