For June, 2013

Design and Innovation for Sustainability

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Design and Innovation for Sustainability        How to do more with less, and use resources more efficiently, so as to have a more positive impact on the natural environment, and live in a sustainable way. Here are 5 video clips of a talk/discussion with Matt Cook, June 2013. Click on the link to watch the video.

1. Introduction

Matt introduces himself, the topic, his research into it and his approach to his work.


2. Product Service Systems and Sustainability

Product service system design has the potential to improve the efficiency of the manufacturing and use of products, and the effectiveness of resource recovery at disposal.  Matt gives examples of the 3 types of product service system (PSS) identified in the literature –product, use and result-orientated types, with the last of these focusing on results and functionality.  No PSS type is in itself the answer to the challenge of sustainability.  However, they may all form part of the mix of innovations required to assist in transitions to more sustainable living.


3. –Products and how they are used 1

Matt shows that a focus on technology, such as PSS or behaviour is insufficient when pursuing more sustainable development.  Instead, he argues that we need to focus on both technology and user behaviour. These are combined in practices, in a firm, household or some other institutional context. This includes understanding both user needs (e.g. for autonomy  or control –  so as to have products available when needed), and  relevant assumptions and values embedded in a culture (e.g. around ownership). Finally, Matt emphasises the need to give users the opportunity to make informed choices.  While more resource-efficient designs may be available, their potential may often only be realised if they are used in certain ways.  Here it may be necessary to encourage users to reflect on their behaviour and habitual practices in the light of their aims and values.


4. Products and how they are used -2

Two examples of user behaviour are given and discussed: cars and household energy efficiency.


5. Some Key Principles of Design for Sustainability

Matt helps us to see how users are also designers and innovators in the way they use products and services to get what they need from them, and how the professional product and service designers in turn need to understand different users and their context so that practical solutions are arrived at.




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