Technology will advance to humans the ability to touch objects to gain the physical, emotional and historical experience behind each thing.
When I was four years old, I was captivated by a segment on a children’s program where a young girl was coloring with crayons. After drawing for a moment she picked up the crayon, held it to her eye and squinted in thought. The video then took the viewer straight to the crayon factory, on a journey through the entire supply chain and then back to her fingers where she was coloring. For the next 25 years, as I held different objects, I’d work to imagine everything that created the thing in my hands whether it was a rock that started its life path millions of years earlier or more recently, my smart phone and the resources and lives it has used, touched and affected along the way. I dream that 100 years from now we will be able to touch objects and experience their supply chain. Because of this ability to experience with one touch the connectivity of each object made, the world of work will dramatically change and lead to exponential improvements in humanity.
Through the aid of technology and scientific innovation we will be able to draw insight and perspective from things that have not had the opportunity to participate in product development, manufacturing or service delivery. Things like plants, insects, rocks, and water will be partners in the co-creative process through the touch of our hands. Technology will advance to humans the ability to touch objects to gain the physical, emotional and historical experience behind each thing. Because we are able to capture these insights, engage new participants and have workspaces located virtually anywhere, we will be able to fully connect to the scope of our work and generate ethical ways of making and doing.
Through touch, humans will have the ability to experience the steps of the supply chain, making exploitation almost impossible. People will instantly feel an emotional impact that will guide their decisions toward a more humane experience in the production of goods or services. Technology will have a key role in affecting elements of work that formerly exploited vulnerable human populations and natural resources.
One hundred years from now, all living and non-living things will be inventors, creators and manufacturers. We will be able to touch a crayon and know where it came from, what it took to make it and together co-create to determine where it is going.
Luisa Schumacher serves as the Executive Director of the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT), an innovation-focused not-for-profit that pairs art and technology to make a positive impact in society. Her vision, enthusiasm and creativity have helped to transform WMCAT into a nationally recognized center for student impact, design partnership and community engagement.
Luisa’s work is fueled with a background in non-profit marketing, corporate relations and political fundraising. Her experience in these three key areas has led to rich experiences that inform new opportunity pathways for the emerging social entrepreneurial model for non-profit organizations. Prior to her work at WMCAT Luisa worked as the Marketing Director for Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, Corporate and Community Relations Manager for Metro Health, and Finance Director for Christine Jennings for Congress.
Active in promoting cross-sector collaboration, Luisa serves as a board member for several organizations, particularly those focused on urban development, public transportation, equity and creativity. Luisa is the 2009 Grand Rapids Athena Young Professional Award recipient, 2009 Grand Rapids Young Non Profit Association Exemplary Executive, 2008 MiBiz Regional Thought Leader and has been featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Rapid Growth and a variety of regional publications.