The human-Centered Design process with suggested emphasis on sustainability.

Sustainability-Check Float Cards in Human-Centered Design Process

The chances that you already have heard about the human-centered design process are pretty high. The process essentially became known by IDEO, which actually standardized the steps that lead to a final design and solution. The process itself has a deep consideration of sustainability at its core when it comes to designing products or services. But, how can we add more emphasis on the cradle-to-cradle elements, while doing a creative process such as HCD? Well, let us start with a brief reminder of why this simple method can help us a lot and incrementally pollinate into different sections of a product’s life span.

Why does it matter for companies more than ever?

It happened more than what you think. A lot of companies should be adopting or as Luís Bragança et al. pointed out for sustainable architectural design process: “Instead of trying to “force-fit” sustainable principles into an existing and often unreceptive manufacturing system, it may be useful to approach the subject from the opposite direction, and consider how functional objects might be designed and manufactured to be compatible with principles of sustainable development”

This is obviously not news to us. We need to address issues such as sustainability at early stages and that calls for extra steps and tools for designers to arm themselves with. Just think of the material choice to ore complicated customer behavior that designers today tend to address. We know despite evident struggles governments and polities would be left with no option other than “acting”. This will of course, as you are probably ruminating on show itself primary in a set of gradual or at times quick regulations and policies. In that case, there will be no doubt that companies would expect a level of adaptation or suffering cumbersome challenges with governmental bodies. Data shows any sort of challenges like that will cost companies a decent amount of marketing, lobbying, etc. efforts to make their best of such policies let alone reverse it.

So back to square one: Why not trying to increase the quality of products and services from the R&D and early stages of design. As simple as it sounds we know how “simple” yet “effective” methods stemming from no other than the design field such as “Design Thinking” found their ways well into the financial sector, no less.

Why float cards?

One way to approach it is: introducing the sustainability-check float cards that can be applied upon the completion of each step. This means when for example a design research team is done doing interviewing the experts, they should pull the data and ask questions that examine how sustainability-driven the results are.

This can be handed down to other team members too. And relevant to their industry managers can help address the main sustainability issues that can be extracted from a pool of known issues to the company. Thanks to data analysis nowadays companies can claim the element of precision in measuring such issues that affect both them and their ecosystem pretty quickly.

This again can be made available for the designers to implement. While the design team checks upon the completion of each step of their approach that their findings or suggested solutions are by no means at odds with the obvious listed sustainability issues. This process also adds a bunch of

The check cards can carry the alternative solutions next to the ones that the team came up with

Ultimately, this process like many other processes is a mapping technique to determine the feasibility of ideas fast or locate them relative to other variants such as time or the progress of the design process. This method is a cheap early-stage tool that is already intuitive for the designers and can lead to a stronger sustainable design direction while we are assured that our approach proved sustainable from the get-go.

Is a creative designer and thinker