It's no secret that the world is in a state of upheaval. The headlines are full of stories about economic recession, social unrest, and environmental disaster. In the midst of all this chaos, it can be difficult to remember that there is still hope for a better future. But hope is not enough;we need action. We need to take steps to create a better world not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren as well.
One way to do this is by designing products with the triple bottom line in mind. The "triple bottom line" implies that responsible companies should prepare three different bottom line statements.
The first of these statements is the traditional financial measure of profit, as it has been traditionally calculated The second is the bottom line of a firm's "people" entry—a metric of how socially responsible an organization is with its workers, consumers, suppliers, andcommunity. The third is the bottom line of a company's "planet"entry—a measure of how environmentally responsible it has been.
These three Ps — profit, people and planet — make up the triple bottom line (TBL) and measure financial, social and environmental performance over time.
One way to make to design products with the triple bottom line in mind is by designing products that are sustainable. This means that the company takes into consideration all of the resources used in the manufacturing, distribution, and disposal of a product. By thinking through these issues at the beginning of the process, it's possible to avoid many potential problems downstream.
Designing Products for the TBL
When a company designs products for the TBL, they not only look at how their products will be used, but also how they'll be used up. Theway that a product is manufactured and disposed of deeply affects the planet's ecosystems. For example, when designing a sustainable product, companies need to consider where waste from the manufacturing process will go and if those disposal methods will harm the environment.
We discussed some of the design considerations that you should include in the design process for an environmentally-sound product here,but this addresses the third P only. So we'll look at the other aspects of TBL in this article.
People First Design
The people you include in your design process are important;they're the ones who will be buying and using your product. So think about them first. Keep them in mind as you go through the development process, even if it changes along the way.
People first design understands and addresses key challenges and motivations of the target users. Users are at the core of your product's success. It develops a thorough knowledge of customers and learns from them as your solution is being created. The design process is driven by the wants, desires,and necessities of those who will use the product.
Of course, the client brief should provide a quick overview of what the design needs to accomplish. Consider your client following that.You're dealing with a person or a group of people; strive to figure out what they want and need. What do they need to see to accept a project as a success?
Above all, consider the client's customers: end-users. Who are the product's intended users? What challenges do they confront and how will this design assist them? In the end, how will your design improve their quality of life?
Responsible Sourcing for Manufacturing
Sourcing responsibly is about more than just choosing materials that are environmentally friendly; it's also about choosing the best manufacturing practices for labour laws, quality control, and overall environmental impact.
For products to have a positive social impact they should be made in places that are safe for workers and where children are not being exploited. By making sure your product is responsibly manufactured you can cutdown on child labour because if it's good enough for rich people's kids, rich people should want it to be good enough for their kids too.
Social design is a very specific type of design that puts people's needs at the forefront. This means not just considering what your end-user wants, but also how they're going to get it and who you will sell itto.
The point of social design is to create an innovative solution that works better for users while helping them live in a better world.The solution can be a product or service, but the point is that it's innovative and addresses some of the social issues that users face.
Transparency in Design and Communications
There are two sides to transparency. First, you want your end-user to know what they're getting into by considering all of the major components that are used in your product. Parts are just the tip of the iceberg, so know how it's made, what kind of labour is required to make it, and what kinds of chemicals are in it - that is if you're designing with chemical components.
Next, consider yourself transparent when communicating with your client. Explain everything you can about what goes into your work and howit could be improved in the future. Your client has to trust you in order to keep giving you projects, so make sure they know that their interests are at heart when you're making suggestions for improvement.
Case Study - Patagonia's Worn Wear Program
Patagonia's Worn Wear program is one of the best examples of ethical design. The company views their products as parts of a larger garment that should be looked at holistically, not just in terms of durability orstyle. Their entire ethos revolves around the fact that they want people to buyless clothing, but to buy better quality clothes that will last for a longtime.
They've created a program that allows customers to give back their old clothing and receive store credit instead of cash. This is the best solution for everyone involved because it allows people to get rid of their old clothes, avoid the landfill, and still purchase better quality products at a reduced price.