Obviously, all of us still need to do a lot more.
That’s my general feeling after spending five days at the Hebei Industrial Design Week (HIDW 2020). As the first design fair held during the pandemic, the HIDW provides a new opportunity for us to showcase the reinvented INDEED in China.
Instead of showcasing our past projects like business-as-usual, we designed our booth for viewers to experience and learn more about innovating for the Triple Bottom Line.
INDEED at HIDW 2020
On the outside of the booth, we built an interactive installation, creating an engaging experience to learn about the environmental impact of sharing our photos online. By cranking a power generator for 10 seconds, the viewer can see how much electricity they would have generated if they continue cranking at the same speed for one hour. The viewers can also see how many pictures they can upload to social media with that power (uploading one picture generally takes about 10W/h). While the viewers crank the power generator, the camera snaps a photo of the viewer. After 10-sec of cranking, the printer prints out a souvenir card. The card shows the wattage generated by the viewer and the corresponding fraction of the viewer’s cranking snapshot. For example, if a viewer cranks up to 6W during the 10-sec interval, they would see only 60% of the photo printed.
With a fun cranking experience, we invited the users to think about the complicated processes and environmental impacts of seemingly mundane activities in our life. The convenience of digital modern life quietly translates into excessive CO2 emissions.
Over the span of the 4-day exhibition, our cranking machine has been one of the hottest spots at the fair. From audiences to exhibitors, from kids to middle-ages, from design week volunteers to even security staff, they all had quite some fun with the cranking machine. I hope when the initial thrill of interaction passed, our installation can trigger some awareness and thoughts about the environmental impacts of our daily life.
Inside the booth, we explained the concept of circular innovation, introduced INDEED’s new blueprint, circular design tools and circular case studies to persuade the audiences of the benefits and potentials of circularity. At the center of the booth is a 4.5-meter tall installation that symbolizes the shift from a linear model to a circular one.
We are not alone.
Luckily, there are others showcasing products and giving keynote presentations about building a more beautiful future.
Red Dot Design Award holds a social design exhibition at their booth, outlining the history and development of social design of the past few decades, spanning across governmental actions, design thinking, iconic projects, and business transformations. Red Dot also showcases several products with a focus on sustainable materials, including water-soluble and biodegradable packaging film by Proudly from China and Kaffeeform’s coffee cups that made with used coffee grounds.
Besides my keynote on circular innovation, my fellow exhibitor Eduardo Alessi from Trovitech in Shenzhen talks about sustainable design, manufacturing, and the use of eco-friendly materials in lifestyle products. In addition, Shufen Lin from iF Design Award Chengdu branch also gave a speech about designing for UN’s 17 Sustainability Development Goals.
There is a lot more to do.
Despite the presence of the topic, there were little real interests from the Hebei audiences to use design as a powerful tool to develop truly sustainable products, business models, or ecosystems. Design innovation is still largely about new and cool products packed with whatever technology that emits blue lights.
This once again proves that there is a lot more to do. In my opinion, it is the designer’s job to raise the bar for the consumers by designing well for the Triple Bottom Lines, so that consumers and businesses are aware as well as having a higher reference point. Over the last 4 days, I have done quite a lot of talking: explaining circularity to viewers, answering questions at interviews, giving a presentation, exchanging thoughts with other exhibitors. After all this, I can’t wait to turn talks into actions with the others.
Industrial & UX/UI Design