The Environmental Cost of Design

One of our team is currently on Holiday in Europe and, like most European countries, many resorts hold markets.
What she’s observed is the amount of irrelevant design being sold (colloquially we refer to it as ‘tat’). We have no issue about selling trinkets etc, but at what cost to the Environment?
Firstly there is the energy consumed to manufacture the products, then there is the energy consumed to transport the goods half way around the world; and ultimately most of the products will be then transported back to the country where people live, adding (some) weight to the mode of transport, consuming more energy.
Don’t get us wrong, we like good design for design sake (another word for Art Design) but we think good product design should consider the environmental and energy impact of the design.
On the flip side, where she is; most of the fruit and vegetables are locally produced…I guess you could consider this as ‘carbon offset’ (She says it tastes great too!)

Pulic Sector – Private Woe

A friend sent us this job application earlier today and we quote:
“xxxRecruitment – Recruitment brief. Date:Monday 17th August 2009
Introduction/background: The client is a government body that is now selling added value data services externally. The business development team of approx 40 was set up 4 years ago, staffed mostly by internal appointments. Progress and market penetration has been slow. The client now wishes to hire several experienced B2B sales managers to boost the order intake and also to mentor and coach the existing field sales team. The BD team has an established portfolio of roducts/services and modest penetration of established sectors. The aim is to win several £million of new orders in the next 6 months, focussing on existing products into existing sectors. Deals are in the range £20k to £200k per deal.
The BD staff have attended various sales training courses. What is needed now is in-field action , commercially aware, energetic and results-oriented sales experts, and mentoring/skills transfer.”

In essence this is a government body competing with private sector businesses using the taxes paid by private sector businesses; surely this isn’t right?
Our concern is that the private sector build businesses for a long term sustainable future, whereas many of the public bodies we compete with in Product Design, tend to receive specialist grants for a limited period which inevitably fade away once the funding disappears. The danger is, whilst government bodies have good intention, in trying to stimulate local economies, they are distorting market pricing which affects the very long term sustainability that the private sector creates (we are specifically concerned about Universities who replicate Product Design services).
As the old proverb says “Don’t kill the Goose that lays the golden Egg”. Government should be working with the Private sector and not competing against it.

The Futures Bright for UK PLC!

Last night 3 girls, about 13/14 years old knocked on the door of one of our Directors and asked if he wanted his car washing. He said no as he’d only just recently had it washed, but was so impressed he gave them some money anyway.

How refreshing that, rather than hanging on street corners, watching television, relying on parents for pocket money etc, they had took the opportunity to earn some cash in the summer holiday.

As a nation we need the next generation of young entrepreneurs to generate the wealth to pay taxes to support the greying generation.

If these young ladies are typical of their generation, then the long term outlook for UK PLC is bright indeed!

Technology Marginalising Creativity?

You have to admire the success of Guitar Hero and the technological marvel behind its popularity. However is this an example where technology will damage the long term future of real guitar playing? Will there be a generation of kids who will by guitars, thinking they are easy to play, and give up at the first hurdle?
This got us thinking about the tools available to product designers. Will there, in the future, be a product design wizard built into products, like SolidWorks, which will make the role of a designer redundant?
It’s a scary prospect; technologist do technology, Product Designers do Product Design. Do you really want your next car designed by someone who designs software…when all software designers accept as a matter of fact (and is part of their culture) that their products have bugs? We don’t mind software crashing every now and again…