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Design Innovation Blog » Sustainability

Design Innovation Blog

Design Innovation Blog

Archive for 'Sustainability'

Realising Sustainability and Innovation through Design

The second policy booklet (PDF) from the SEE Project was recently published. There will be a total of four policy booklets over the course of the programme.

Design thinking can be a tool for realising social innovation and sustainable development by contributing to long-term behaviour change and integrating the user experience into significantly improved products, processes, services and systems. This Policy Booklet outlines the rationale behind policy intervention in this domain, explores how design can be employed to address social innovation and sustainable development, provides illustrative case studies and proposes policy recommendations. We have applied this framework under four headings: communities, industry, the public sector and policy-making.


Posted by: Justin Knecht

Big Companies Care About the Energy

hohm_logo Hohm is the new Microsoft service which will come as an answer to Google’s PowerMeter and all the other similar services.

Hohm is about ‘Bringing people together to save energy and money’. They are trying to give us a better understanding about our home energy usage and about what we can do to conserve energy and save money.

Besides real time monitoring of the energy consumption through smart meters, Hohm will also provide users with data about their energy consumption even if their utilities are not online yet. In order to obtain this data the user will have to answer a set of basic questions and Hohm will estimate their energy consumption. Through this Microsoft wants to make Hohm available to all users straight away.


Posted by: Cristina Luminea

The wisdom of designing cradle to cradle

My favourite TED Talk used to be Ken Robinson talking about creativity and education. That top spot has now been replaced by William McDonough relating his philosophies of cradle to cradle design. With a great sense of humour, he designs a realistic future where all products become biological or technical nutrients and architecture creates buildings that make more energy than they need and purify their own water.

Regardless of whether you are a designer or not, these two videos are worth 40 minutes of your time if you are a human being.

Posted by: Justin Knecht

Is design political?


Though written primarily from the perspective of designer to designer, Jennie Winhall wrote this fascinating essay on the politics of design. Not only do designers need to take responsibility for the consequences of design, whether they be unintended like the “butterfly ballot” which may have turned a US election, but also the conscious choices designers make around creating sustainable products and services, and even the clients they choose to work with. The very process of design is becoming more “democratic” as users become a focal point and in some cases are co-creating solutions.

I recall seeing Bruce Mau speak in the States and he began and ended his presentation with a challenge to all the designers sitting in the room, “Now that we can do anything, what are YOU going to do?”

Read the entire article

Jennie is setting up Participle, a social enterprise focused on designing a new generation of public services along with the former UK Design Council RED team members: Hilary Cottam, Colin Burns and Charles Leadbeater.

Posted by: Justin Knecht

Green My Apple


There have been many examples of people openly protesting organisations that blatantly destroy the environment. Could this be the first example of a peaceful campaign to urge a manufacturer to adopt sustainable practices? I was astonished to read earlier this year that Apple ranked lowest in a study of environmental practices by 14 electronic manufacturers.

Greening your products and services is a point of differentiation today. Will it be a cost of entry in the future?

Green My Apple website

Posted by: Justin Knecht

Designers suck

OK, for starters, we didn’t say it. Bruce Nussbaum was the one to provoke the discussion and highlight the necessary shift from “designing for” to “designing with” users in a speech at Parson’s. We share his belief that everyone, including designers, will benefit by design thinking. He takes no prisoners, challenging design management, business, Apple, Al Gore and even himself in the process.

Read the speech

Posted by: Justin Knecht