Note: This post was written by SEI staff member, Amy Cade.
February’s Electronics & Sustainability: Design for Energy and the Environment Symposium highlighted some great work and ideas given by experts in the field sustainable electronics.
In hopes of continuing the discussion I am posting a multi-part series addressing different topics raised at the symposium.
The first part can be viewed here. This, the second post of this series, will address issues posed before manufacturers/designers.
It is always exciting to hear lectures from someone in your field let alone those talking about something you are truly interested in. But I don’t think you had to be a designer to enjoy Rajib Adhikary’s presentation at the Electronics & Sustainability: Design for Energy and the Environment Symposium. Mr. Adhikary is a design strategist for Dell Inc. He has been working in the industrial design field for 15 year and has a unique background contributing to his global problem solving approach to sustainable electronics.
Mr. Adhikary came from a sustainable background. At age 6 he attended a school in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India that was completely self-sustained; it grew its own food, made its own supplies and so on. When he came to the United States he was shocked at the amount he saw people consume. But it only took him a couple years until he turned into the average or even above average United States consumer. He was “living to create obsolescence.” So drawing from his own experience, he has come up with ideas for change. Mr. Adhikary believes change can occur if mindsets can change. This can start with the design. Mr. Adhikary pointed out that designers have a lot of say in the consumption process. We designers are responsible for knowing trends, how to make things appealing, consumer behavior and knowledge of materials/sustainable methods. In other words, we have the tools to create unwanted consumption but we also have the tools to create sustainability.
If sustainability is our goal, our time to act is now; “You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledgehammer on the construction site” –Frank Lloyd Wright.
So what is Dell doing to move towards sustainability? Dell is aspiring to sell experiences rather then products that offer functions. They want these experiences to enable sustainable lifestyles. So in the past 3 years Dell has moved from having 6 designers to 120; an obvious acknowledgement of the importance of design. To enable sustainable lifestyles, Mr. Adhikary considers it vitally important to keep consumers informed/aware. He gave a series of ideas Dell is exploring from earning the energy you use to creating sustainable collaborative spaces.
Needless to say, I will keep watching and I am definitely interested to see what they come up with.
To view Mr. Adhikary’s entire presentation in video form as well as other presentations, papers, and biographies from the symposium go to http://www.sustainelectronics.illinois.edu/symposia/archive/. If you did not attend the event it is $50 to access this information.