Sustainable Design and Corporate Strategy: Why Does It Go Wrong?

Sustainable Design is at the heart of the Design Technology IB Syllabus both in Standard Level Unit 2 and Higher Level Unit 8, but it is always worth ensuring that students really understand the complexity not only of creating excellent sustainable design but ensuring that it is successful in the marketplace in which it has to thrive if it is to change our habits and support our environment. The best way to study this is to utilise so examples of supposed failure and probable success?

Example 1: Edible Six Pack Rings a Failure?

On the face of it this simple design and product should be everywhere and have made the plastic versions obsolete by now, surely after 3 years? However it has not, and this is a great learning opportunity to discuss with students why this may be the case.

This website here gives some ideas but try to get students to brainstorm areas such as:

  • Production issues
  • Economies of scale / economic viablity
  • Corporate strategies and vested interests
  • Manufacturing methods

The question remains after the struggles of the above: will other examples like the worlds first edible straw the Lolistraw succeed? A great debate to have with students.

Example 2: Nikes Showbox Solution

An interesting design in which the designer has reduced the numbers of materials involved, the amount of material involved and also how the product can be utilised after its intended first use. Design for dissasembly, design to reduce materials and design for reuse.

The question to ask students is why do you think this product is more likely to succeed? Again some areas to explore could be:

  • Corporate Strategy
  • Lone inventor
  • Production and Manufacture
  • Design aesthetics

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