The Ocean Cleanup: Capturing Plastics with Passive Design

MAKER: Boyan Slat and the Ocean Cleanup Foundation  CHALLENGE: Millions of tons of plastic are collecting in our oceans, resulting in damaged ecosystems and corrupted food chains. The Great Pacific garbage patch, located within the North Pacific Gyre, is estimated to be as much as 15,000,000 square kilometers in size. A traditional cleanup approach is estimated to take thousands of years to complete and billions of dollars. SOLUTION: Boyan Slat …

FreshPaper: Reducing Waste and Improving Access to Fresh Food

MAKER: Kavita Shukl, founder of social enterprise Fenugreen CHALLENGE: We lose over 25% of our world’s food supply to spoilage. SOLUTION: Natural produce saver sheets infused with organic spices that keep fruits & veggies fresh for up to 2-4x longer. FreshPaper sheets are designed to be dropped into any existing packaging, fridge drawer or fruit bowl filled with produce – a simple, intuitive …

MOYO: The Fast Fetal Heart Rate Monitor Saving Lives

MAKER: Laerdal Global Health, a non-profit company CHALLENGE: Stillbirths and early neonatal death due to birth asphyxia is estimated to account for two million perinatal deaths every year. In low- and middle-income countries where 98-99% of these deaths occur, there is often neither sufficient staff nor equipment to monitor fetal heart rate according to guidelines. SOLUTION: Moyo can detect the fetal heart …

What is Human-Centered Design?

If you want to create successful solutions and real impact through your designs, keep the people you intend to serve at the heart of your process, every step of the way.  This is what Human-centered design tells us. As defined by IDEO.org, an international design and consulting firm working to improve people’s lives through design, Human-centered design is a three-phase process all about “building a deep empathy …

Biomimicry: Adopting Proven, Sustainable Solutions Inspired by Nature

What if the sustainable solutions we’ve been seeking have existed in front of us all this time? According to biomimicry, that’s exactly the case. All around us in our environment and its systems, in the plants and animals and insects, we see evidence of perfectly executed, and perfectly sustainable, design, architecture, planning, and engineering. The Biomimicry Institute is a superb resource for learning …

Handbook: The Basics of Using Natural Dyes

The synthetic dyes widely used in the fashion industry are hazardous for the environment, consumers, and the people who work with them. According to the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, making the switch to natural dyes is a unique opportunity. “Natural dyes open up possibilities for a more diverse and locally derived colour palette for design practice and one which is not dependent …

Designing for the Circular Economy

What single design practice can help close the gap on the the harmful “take, make, and dispose” economic model? Designing products for remanufacturing, refurbishing, and recycling. This is one of the key principles behind the circular economy model. “A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times.” (Ellen …