Cultural value development for New Technologies

The value of a product is determined by a huge amount of factors like hard facts and soft facts or socio cultural, economical and technical factors.
Its value itself cannot be described by cash alone but this is the part that lets you calculate a certain ROI. For consumer products these influence factors are quite clear described. But how about the innovation of a new technology or a new material? For material and technology industries most likely hard facts like strength, conductivity, resistance etc. which all can be put into a fact sheet vs. its availability on the market plus a little bit of brand identity and service generates the price. To receive the full value of a new material/technology as early as possible the cultural meaning needs to be discovered and developed in parallel as much as its technical behaviours and the security and environmental approvals.
Some examples: What does salt mean to you? How about water? Diamonds? Plutonium? Fire?
I guess in all of us a huge amount of pictures rise as you are reading these words. Besides to the pure picture, which kind of feeling do you had? Were they all positive? Did they perhaps even caused fear? Or could you give me a rough guess how much you would pay for a pound? Why? We connect known applications and experiences to its cause. And all these materials had years, decades or … hundrets of years to develop.
Now, how do you think about OLED and new kind of lighting technology or EAP a new kind of polymer that can behave like a piezo crystal. I think you have heard of OLEDs and you have a good feeling what you would like to do with it even if you never made a prototype with it nor you have an OLED product at home. But I am also sure most people are not sure what to do with an EAP. How much would you pay for ONE Square meter? During the EU conference in Brussels concerning „Material Innovation for the creative economy“ one thing became quite clear.
Design and the creative industry has a huge field of action whith their experience and methodologies to explore the cultural value of innovative technology in context of its purpose of use. During the last few years we worked on several projects to develop and itterate this part of the cake. Interestingly creative economy hasn’t build up a clear methodology with a clear pice point in this area. We go more hunting for the next cool material and effect to lift the value of an endproduct. I havent found a strategic cultural development process that has put design or the creative economy openly strong into play. And I have seen a few agencies only that put material culture development into their focus, e.g. Chris Lefteri.
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