Design For (Your) Product Lifetime

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Core77 is having a design contest: Design For (Your) Product Lifetime. In addition to fame and glory, there are cash prizes. Design for lifetime includes design for recycling, reuse, disassembly, upgrade, and repair. It’s an often-neglected but extremely exciting aspect of sustainable design, because it can make an enormous impact. DEADLINE to apply is November 15, 2012!
Dirty little (big?) secret
One of the dirty secrets of product design is that most products end up as landfill. Even worse, much of those land-filled products still work, but are simply obsolete, worn, or out of fashion. For many products, one of the best things you can do is to extend its life. Giving your product twice the life is equivalent to using half as much material; giving it ten times the life is equivalent to using a tenth the material. Such huge material reductions are nearly impossible to do even by the best engineering, but good design can achieve it without even using high technology.
Of course, the tricky part of design for lifetime is that it’s not just a matter of your product lasting longer, it’s a matter of people using it longer–staying up-to-date and attractive as well as being functional. Or it’s a matter of it being easily transformable into new products that people will use and love.
I’m one of the judges for the contest, and the best way to have a great contest is to have lots of great entries by excited and creative people. So enter the contest! And get the word out to your classmates, teachers, and students, for others to enter as well!

Jeremy Faludi

Jeremy Faludi, Ph.D., LEED AP BD+C, is a sustainable design strategist.  He is an assistant professor at Dartmouth College and has taught green product design at Stanford and elsewhere.  He has contributed to six books on sustainable design, including Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century, and co-authored the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop.  He prototyped the first version of AskNature.org for the Biomimicry Institute, created the Whole System Mapping sustainable design method, and a bicycle he helped design appeared in the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum’s 2007 exhibit “Design for the Other 90%”.