In the wake of Steve Jobs’ passing, many in the business community are reflecting on his loss and legacy. There’s no question about the influence that Steve Jobs’ career has had on the field of product design, and there is much that the sustainability community can learn from his design ideals and legacy of innovation. The design process can be a powerful tool for businesses working to create more sustainable products and services. At the 2011 Opportunity Green Conference, Yves Béhar, founder of fuseproject, presented his own ideals for how to take a holistic approach to sustainable design challenges.
1. Start with questions, not answers.
Instead of trying to design a product from a detailed client brief that dictates the answers, the design process should start with a few simple questions. For example, Puma asked the question, “What can we do to improve the sustainability of our already very successful shoe box?” This question spurred an in-depth exploration of the company’s logistics, manufacturing, distribution, and customer interactions with the product.
2. Deliver more, not less.
Eventually, that design process yielded Puma’s Clever Little Bag. This unique packaging solution was an answer to that very simple question which managed to maintain everything that worked about the original packaging while reducing material use by 65 percent and creating additional value for customers in the form of a reusable bag.
3. Create your own theories.
The development of Herman Miller’s SAYL chair started with the bold theory that the same principles used to suspend bridges could be employed to construct a chair. Béhar eliminated as much material as possible from the design of the chair in a process he calls eco-dematerialization. After intense experimentation and many failures, the result is a product with a lower price point and a lower carbon footprint than any other Herman Miller chair.
By Kara Scharwath
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Originally posted on Triple Pundit. Republished with kind permission.