Q&A with Alan AtKisson: “Sustainable design is crucial to nearly every aspect of the SDG vision”

Designers have a special, challenging job, but it’s going to keep them busy for a long time: rethinking virtually everything in the world, and redesigning it for sustainability. As the President and CEO of AtKisson Group, an international sustainability consulting network, Alan lives and breathes sustainable development and transformative change. When he isn’t consulting governments, companies, global NGOs and the United …

Q&A with Kristin Støren Wigum: “Designers need to ask more questions”

If you want to work more sustainably, more ethically, you need to argue for it.  Kristin Støren Wigum is an industrial designer and researcher with a Ph.D. in Product and System Design for Sustainability. She’s also the owner of Gaia Trondheim—a small firm that’s part of a collective of eco-architects called Gaia Architetcs.  In her work, Kristin lets design-thinking mingle …

3 Sustainability Lessons from Forward-Thinkers in Design

Forward-thinking isn’t just a necessary ingredient in creating positive change, it’s also the name of a powerful meet up hosted by DOGA, Design and Architecture Norway every year that brings designers, industry leaders and sustainability visionaries together for a day of inspiration, forward talking and dialogue around increasing the role of sustainability in design, strategy and customer experiences. According to DOGA, “design …

Read: The Circular Design Guide

IDEO and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation have gathered an extensive stockpile of action-oriented methods, mindsets, and thought starters and put them all in one place for the purpose of giving designers and innovators the “creative confidence” and resources they need to develop solutions for the circular economy. “Traditional manufacturing is wasteful, because it focuses exclusively on the end user. The …

Tool: The SDG Compass for Aligned Business Action

As a designer or architect, there’s a good chance you also drive or work in a business or organization. If you’re serious about integrating sustainability into the core of your business strategy, we recommend taking direction from the SDG Compass. Developed by GRI, United Nations Global Compact, and WBCSD, the SDG Compass is a free tool and guide that aims …

Watch: Introduction to Life Cycle Thinking

This video, by Autodesk Sustainability Workshop, provides a six minute introduction to Life Cycle Thinking as it relates to whole systems design. It explores how opportunities for saving resources, like materials and energy, can often be uncovered early in the design process, by identifying the right problems to solve before engineering begins. Learn more: https://sustainabilityworkshop.autodesk.com/products/whole-systems-and-lifecycle-thinking      

Watch: Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture

In this Ted talk, architect Michael Pawlyn describes and gives examples of three habits of nature that can transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. “If we could learn to make things and do things the way nature does, we could achieve factor 10, factor 100, maybe even factor 1,000 savings in resource …

Book: Do Good Design—How design can change the world

“Some of us choose to pursue design purely as an exercise in the aesthetic. I know that simply creating beautiful objects or surrounding yourself with beautifully designed things can help create a fulfilling and comfortable life. However, that is only the surface of the potential good and sense of accomplishment you can achieve with your creative skills… Go further: recognize the …

What is the Circular Economy? This infographic explains the big picture.

As a designer, you have a critical role to play in helping the world close the gap on the unsustainable make-use-dispose cycle. If you’d like to learn the basics of the Circular Economy, here’s a great visual resource to get you started. Created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, this infographic not only explains what Circular Economy means, it breaks down the key benefits and challenges, including examples of what …

The Ultimate Ted Talk Playlist for Sustainable Design

Looking for inspiration, or maybe even a pep talk? Why not spend an hour or two with this playlist of twelve Ted Talks, all on the theme of Sustainability by Design. From “Are mushrooms the new plastic?” with product designer Eben Bayer, to “We’re covered in germs. Let’s design for that.” with engineer and ecologist Jessica Green—these pioneering talks by designers set on making …