Technology Design For A Greener Tomorrow

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green-technology-designThere’s definitely a need to do something to protect our planet. As a matter of fact, identifying that need is a much needed action. Now is the time to identify the need to address the challenges we are facing. With the force of nature slowly driving us to the brink of destruction and maybe extinction, there is an imminent need for action. But how do we design the action path for that? How can technology design open the gates for a greener tomorrow?

I came across a video of Yves Behar. He is an amazing and a creative mover, not just in the area of technology design but also in other industrial fields such as sports, fashions, and lifestyle. A brilliant thinker and designer, he asks this very timely question.

“What is our intention for the planet?”

In answering the question, he proceeds to clearly depict our cold intention to pollute the earth. In spite of the fact that we need to do otherwise, our intentions are highly questionable. If our intentions are questionable, how can we come up with a design to resonate our intentions for a greener tomorrow?

As a designer, Yves Behar shares the two things that should be accomplished. These two things identify how beneficial the design is. First, design should be able to “build efficient and successful businesses. Second, design should be able “to change the world” through sustainability and socially relevant solutions. As opposite as they seem, these two things can merge and dictate how technology design can provide for us a greener tomorrow.

Nowadays, more and more products have been created and aligned to a more earth-friendly technology design. But how can we really tell if their technology design is earth-friendly?

Based on what I read on this website, I came up with a quick guide on how to tell if the product has an earth-friendly technology design.

  • The source of energy used to create the product is natural, renewable, and sustainable. So maybe it’s best that you do know more about the company first before purchasing their product.
  • The product is produced from recycled materials. Again, doing some kind of product research before purchase is very important.
  • The company of the product protects landfill. So how the company disposes their waste sheds light to the technology design of their product.
  • The product is not harmful to the body.
  • The company creates jobs in stable working environments.

Going beyond the product and looking into the company can tell a lot about the technology design. That can give you a good ideas as to how earth-friendly the product is.

So in closing, I go back to the two questions. First question: How do we design the action path for a greener tomorrow. Well, as consumers, we should be aware of the innovative products that are friendly to our ecosystems. We should take into consideration the technology design that clearly resonates our intentions for a greener tomorrow.

Second question: How can technology design open the gates to a greener tomorrow? Well in my opinion, it has already opened the gates. And the good thing about the process of technology design is that products will forever be improved to provide the greenest tomorrow.

The Technology Design Process Of A Bike Coffee Cup Holder

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coffee-cup-holder-design-processWe all know that technology design process is what makes an idea real. But how does it really work? How does a technology design process organize thoughts to come up with an innovative product?

How The Bike Coffer Cup Holder Came About

It all started out as a problem. Let’s take a look at how a bike coffee cup holder came about. A college guy (that bikes around the campus) had a problem. His problem was how to drink coffee while biking. Aside from the safety aspect of biking and drinking coffee at the same time, it was just simply hard to hold on to the coffee cup.

Taking Time Out To Observe

So this challenge led a team to observe the bikers in the campus. They noticed that a lot of the bikers drink while biking around the campus. Whether it was a cup of coffee or a can of soda, there was always a beverage on one hand. Some bikers that attempted to place their coffee cup in their bike basket only to end up spilling the beverage.

Understanding The Problem

After observing how all the bikers were challenged to hold the coffee in one hand and bike at the same time, the team understood the need to come up with an innovative way to hold the coffee or any beverage cup in place.

The Next Step: POV (Point Of View)

The POV identified three components:

  • User. The users were identified as the bikers in the campus.
  • Need. The need was for the campus bikers to have a fast, easy, and zero-spillage way to carry the cups of their chosen beverage while biking.
  • Insights. The up and coming product should be versatile, affordable, and should fit other cups of beverages, aside from coffee.

Coming Up With Prototypes And Testing Them

The POV gave way to the creation of various prototypes. For each prototype, location, mobility, stability, and convenience were all factored in.

All the prototypes were to be tested by the campus bikers.

Gathering Feedback

It was vital for the team to gather feedback from all the campus bikers that had tested the prototypes. All the feedback was used to refine the bike coffee cup holder.

Improving The Product

So the bike coffee cup holder was improved further. First of all, it was designed with some holes at the bottom so it wouldn’t accumulate rain water. So aside from the rain drainage, the bike coffee cup holder had an attachable ring and a removable plastic container. The removable plastic container was designed to accommodate a soda can or cups of beverages. So if the chosen beverage was coffee, all the biker had to do was to take out the plastic container.

While the product is a very simple one, the overall functionality seems to satisfy the needs of the campus bikers. The overall functionality wouldn’t have been in place if it weren’t for an organized technology design process.

The Technology Design Process: A Common Ground

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technology-design-02While the communication process may seem very simple, it’s a fact that more can go wrong than right. A very simple message can have various meanings for the receiver. It’s just not that easy to communicate or relay the exact message. It’s a fact that miscommunication is inevitable.

One of the complexities of working in a team is communication. How to get the right message across is an everyday challenge. Finding a common ground to effectively interact with one another can be very daunting and exhausting.

The good news is that there is a way to overcome communication challenges. Shelley Evenson, an interaction design guru, explains the importance of “visual modeling” to create the common language that can ultimately set the terms of references among team members. There’s just no doubt that models or representations play a vital role in the whole technology design process.

Dealing With A Lot Of Different Context

A challenge Shelley Evenson faces all the time is to get every body on the same boat. In her 25 years of practice, she admits:

“… some challenges around getting people to really agree about what we think we mean together as a team.”

Integrating all the various ideas in the technology design process is, no doubt, a challenging task. But it can be done as long as all the different kinds of people are included in the immersive research.

Establishing A Definite Representation

Creating diagrams and frame works that are relevant to the project are the best ways to facilitate better communication in a design team. They help incorporate the findings from the immersive research.

Bridging the Gap With Models

Models can bring the immersive research and the design concept together through a four-step process. First step is to capture all the relevant and essential features of all the research findings. Secondly step is to to enhance the interpretation process to the design team. Third step is to come up with design decisions by discovering vital regularities and structures. Fourth step is to gather more focused data.

Creating Clear Representations

Clear representations give way to a new form of visual literacy. It is important to find the best way to visualize the data. There are various ways of diagramming data. Below are the following ways:

  • Spider diagram
  • Process flow (linear)
  • Process flow (circular)
  • Venn diagram
  • 2×2 diagram
  • Maps

Creating The Models In The Technology Design Process

Creating the models after each stage in the technology design process can help visualize the whole project. For example, creating a territory map can help identify the things that the whole team needs to work on. This is the first important model after the initial stage in the technology design process.

It is important to note that there will never be a right model. But out of all the models created, there will definitely be some “shared representations” that can create a common ground for every team player that plays a vital role in the technology design process.