Audience: Product Designer’s at work
Location: Workplace / Office
Life’s Principles can you help you develop innovative products that are sustainably focused. We all know it’s been a challenge to integrate sustainability without running into many obstacles through design, budget, clients, and technical capabilities. Let’s use a step-by-step approach to address the product you are working on through life’s principles.
Step 1: Place the product / rendering in the center of the table.
Step 2: Tell us the process of designing this product from beginning to end.
Step 3: List out any concerns / questions on how or where you currently think areas of improvement could happen based on our sustainability initiatives.
Great! Now we have identified the existing concerns and ideas around how sustainability and product design can be challenged.
Introducing Life’s Principles / discussion + questions catered for product design work
Locally attuned and responsive
Are we including a feedback loop within the product? (trade back programs with recycling? Are consumers responding through a platform? To help us evolve or change this product in the future?)
Where are we sourcing our materials from? If overseas, can we think about how local materials can be utilized? (as exploration, perform an LCA evaluation)
Integrates cyclic processes
Does the product have interchangeable inset spaces? To ensure we are meeting design/aesthetic needs for our consumers? (fall/winter vs. spring/summer – color palettes and /or materials)
Based on the materials, do we have a way to recycle or reuse specific components?
How durable is this product compared to previous ones we have developed or that we see in the market?
Can we provide the consumers with additional parts/components if it breaks so they don’t have to buy a brand new one?
Where would we place this product based on the tech adoption curve? And trend adoption curve? Incoming, pre-peak, post-peak or outgoing
Optimizing rather than maximizing
Does this product have need to be modular? If it already is, are the consumers aware of it? Are we providing the right marketing / packaging tools to help them understand the multiple uses of this product?
Can we dissemble all the components easily? Are there batteries included? Can we messaging (through icons/debossed on the product) to ensure consumers know which parts are recyclable? And which ones aren’t? Note: consumers will most likely not have the instruction manual when the product is done being used/how do we integrate it on the actual product?
Can we communicate with other designers at the company for user-testing purposes and feedback?
Are there areas of interest within the current assortment where we can leverage design forms, to develop a system?
Using benign manufacturing
Are we considering bio-degradable materials? Plant based materials (cactus, mushroom, pineapple leather)?
What is the color dyeing process? Are there waste scraps from the plastics or other materials because of the unique forms we are using? How much over-development are we anticipating? Can we cut down / narrow concepts before we send over round one sample designs?
We can compare our Steps 1-3 with Life’s Principles to understand the in-depth implementation of how Life’s Principles can positively impact our design work. Let’s prioritize our concerns based on the impact and capabilities to ensure we can move forward with some of these strategies and continue to work through others.
Thank you for engaging in the conversation and providing valuable insights!
Reference: The Butterfly Life’s Principles Visual (Biomimicry Guild ©2009)