Design Thinking – Designing for others

For my next assignment for Design Thinking, I needed to design a solution to a problem that was decided on by a group of people. Between three group members, we decided to go with the problem of recycling waste, and the confusion caused by sorting the items into their correct place.

This was the problem brief

This was the problem brief

My approach for this design was to tackle the root cause of the issue, rather than look at the “symptoms” of the problem. Stephen had stated a need for a quicker way for him to move from consumer to recycler. He said that he was always held up taking the time to check the materials before recycling to see where they needed to be disposed.

I looked at this from a few different angles and settled on this being a long-term need for educating consumers differently, and conveying the idea that the time taken to recycle is important, and to reduce this time through passive education. My design proposal for the problem is a mobile platform game aimed at engaging and educating people on the benefits of recycling. The game is called Reclyclr and is an android or iPhone game using touch screen technology following the popular Angry Birds-style game engine.

The aim of Recyclr is to construct machines or devices through recycling consumed goods. For example: the level one goal is to build a robot that will help the user reach the prize, iStore vouchers maybe. In order to construct the robot, the player needs to create the parts by recycling specific items in the correct order. As part of the game, the player can scan the barcodes real-life items to gain access to secret items, levels or skills. For example, scanning 10 fizzy drinks cans gains an extra life, and for each 2 cans scanned, the player gets information on how aluminium is recycled and where it goes after it has finished the process. The items, levels or skills can all relate to each specific item linking the learning process to the game.

The game would be promoted within schools and feature quiz sections that covered numeracy and literacy skills of kids, and also via facebook where a second version could be aimed at an older gamer. The game is intended as a long-term attitude changer, aimed at raising awareness of recycling benefits. However, I think that it would still be able to work on a short-term basis. The popularity of games like angry birds has seen it grow into a franchise with merchandise spin-offs. I have chosen this design as I believe that education is the best way to make large scale changes in people’s behaviour. I had previously looked at the Materials, Input, and Sort of the recycling process, but as time passes, materials and technology will change and processes needed to recycle will change along with it. In addition to this, collecting authorities in different areas have different collection methods and consumer-side sorting methods. Where I live, in the northeast, I get one big blue bin with an insert, while elsewhere each household might get three separate containers for things to be sorted into, so there is geo-social as well as massive financial limits to any design that features changes to an authorities recycling infrastructure. If people can learn, at an early stage in their lives, that recycling is key, and necessary, then the idea that an individual needs to be able to sort recycling more easily will be reduced as the need for better quality recycling grows.

recyclr 1




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