The team at ID firm fredsparks in St. Louis used green product design software Sustainable Minds to develop the new Misura Eyewear. They used the SM tool to evaluate concept decisions early in the process, allowing them to capture an equity stake in a start up business developing sustainable reading eyewear. The product line is due out this month. So what was their experience using Sustainable Minds?
The business driver for using Sustainable Minds, however, goes beyond ‘the right thing to do.’ As consumer desire to make more socially and environmentally-conscious purchasing decisions continues to grow, we see a future for design that requires knowledge of lifecycle design, and of sustainable design strategies.
Sustainable Minds has published their case study as a webinar featuring Ken Harris from fredsparks:
So one question I have been asking is: does using this tool really make a difference and are clients willing to pay for this kind of in-depth research and integration of sustainability into the design process?
Being an early adopter of Sustainable Minds in the ID consulting arena – we have an opportunity to lead. Often, we find that our ability to offer our clients sustainable design solutions opens doors with them, even if the first project is not expressly a sustainable design initiative.
A couple of interesting notes about Sustainable Minds: First, Sustainable Minds’ life cycle impact assessment (LCA) methodology contains a next generation dataset based originally on the Okala 2007 impact factors, a module in the Okala curriculum guide. The guide was developed under the auspices of IDSA, through financial support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Design for the Environment Program, Eastman Chemical Company and the Whirlpool Corporation. If you’d like to get more information and download the 2010 edition, you can find it here.
Second, for those of you who are IDSA members (including educators and students), you can get a discount on a SM subscription. More information, with the discount codes, can be found here.
So what do you think? Does it seem viable and valuable to you as a designer? I’m watching how this and other tool like it are being adopted by the design community.
[Sustainable Minds case study (full text)]