Sustainability and Design
You might be thinking, you’re a designer, ¨why are you talking about sustainability¨, and ¨what does it have to do with designing my presentation, report, poster, infographic, app, website, or dashboard project? ¨ I decided to write about this topic because it is important. Sustainability is an important driver of innovation, and it influences the way I think about customer problems, how I try to solve customer problems, and the decisions I make as a person and as a designer. It is a mindset or a consciousness that embraces the teachings of Tikkun Olam (Healing the World).
Empathy and The Customer
When working with clients, I bring high-level communication skills and put myself in their shoes. In a sense, we join in a partnership, and I like to dig into the why to understand customer pain points and ask 100+ questions, which explore all the details –related to past and present. Sustainability presents innovative, fresh, modern ideas and solutions that can be explored and iterated.
A Sustainable Mind-Set
Nowadays more than ever, I believe that sustainability should be top-of-mind as a driving force that plays a significant role in what we do in our jobs and in society. Sustainability presents an efficient model for business, innovation, community structure and relations, production and industry, and environmental expansion and protection. One of the benefits of sustainability is that it is a mindset that can be used as a model for making decisions and creating strategies. It is by nature it is inclusive, accessible, and caring.
In today´s social and commercial landscapes, there should be no doubt about the value of integrating sustainability into your day-to-day work, and its ability to make a profit. Plus, the added benefit of supporting the protection of the environment and social impact actions that benefit all people, not just a few. Integrating design thinking and product development to promote sustainability can create practical, responsible, and innovative outcomes. The list below illustrates ten categories for how design thinking has created sustainable solutions that are socially responsible and protect our environment.
10 Examples of Sustainability and Design Thinking
Design thinking can be used to create:
- Sustainable packaging for biodegradable materials, reusable containers, and repurposing packaging after one use.
- Eco-friendly transportation solutions, such as electric bikes or cars, leverage public transportation systems powered by renewable energy sources and create smart traffic management systems, which reduce congestion and emissions.
- Energy-efficient buildings that depend on renewable energy sources, passive solar design, and other materials, which minimize energy consumption.
- Sustainable fashion solutions, such as clothing made from recycled materials, zero-waste production processes, or garments designed for durability and reuse.
- Sustainable food systems, such as urban agriculture, farm-to-table initiatives, and innovative packaging solutions that reduce food waste.
- Green energy solutions, such as solar panels, wind turbines, or energy storage systems rely on renewable energy sources.
- Sustainable consumer products, such as reusable water bottles, eco-friendly cleaning products, or furniture made from recycled materials.
- Sustainable waste management, such as recycling programs, composting systems, or waste-to-energy facilities.
- Sustainable urban design solutions, such as green roofs and walls, bike lanes, and public spaces for pedestrians while reducing emissions.
Examples of socially responsible healthcare solutions include mobile clinics, which provide healthcare services to underserved communities, healthcare facilities designed to reduce the spread of infections, and healthcare technologies that prioritize patient privacy and safety