Design Slam

I found the design slam a challenge. To be given the task to come up with a sustainable solution to a problem in 20 minutes is definitely a challenge, but it made us really use our imaginations and I like to think that, with some of the great ideas that were accumulated within just one class period, our class might have the potential to come up with some really life changing ideas within their fields. Our problem was that, as merchandisers, it is our job to continue to sell, sell, sell which is only adding to the problem of clothing being thrown out. So we needed to come up with a solution that allowed us to continue doing our jobs while we try to be sustainable. I’m a little upset that our groups idea was one that was already implemented – we had the idea to begin an incentive program where consumers receive coupons for their unwanted/used clothing – but I’m also glad to know that an idea we thought could solve a problem is actually a realistic service. I was incredibly impressed by some of the design ideas as well. One that stood out to me was the motion sensor lighting, which I believe could heavily reduce the amount of energy used on lighting that isn’t even being used while it is on. Another was the bamboo bathroom door. I’m not sure how realistic of a product it is, but I love how they incorporated plant life into an object we use for privacy. It would add a green element to the room it is installed in while also performing the same job a regular bathroom door would.

Outdoor Activity

I was gone on the day our class went to the Botanical Gardens, but my team was kind enough to fill me in on what happened during that class. First, I think there is something very right about holding a sustainability class outdoors. It is hard to get the sense of nature and awareness of what we are studying while we are held up in a classroom. I understand the impracticality though. Out of the five activities assigned that class, the first I’d like to discuss is the Activity 2. I think it creates an interesting perspective to try and possibly use biomimicry to see if nature provides any alternatives to practices we currently use. For merchandising, it is harder to use this perspective because we are not designing new things, but rather engaging in the corporate processes it takes to get those newly designed things to the consumer. We could possibly look at the energy from the sun and how it is used to “power” or give life to the plants and trees. Could we use solar energy to power the electronics we use to track inventory levels or create purchase orders? Another activity that I’d like to discuss is Activity 3. I think this activity would reveal how ignorant we are to nature as we treat is like a background to our lives. Instead, we need to use it as an inspiration to change the unsustainable practices we currently use.

Personal Sustainability

I believe I listed on a past blog post that, at work, we have a recycling bin and are being conscious of the things we recycle. Carpooling is also an easy way I have found that I can incorporate sustainability within my own life. It is something that I have done here and there previously, but it is now heightened in importance because of this class. It is interesting to go day to day now and find new ways to become sustainable.

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