Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Designers have a responsibility to help create a better future. How can we encourage people, and companies, to change the way they think and behave in a way that respects and improves our daily lives and the environment we live in? No matter what brand or company, everyone needs to adapt swiftly to the changes going on around us. It involves thinking differently to blend responsibility with innovation. We’re on a theme of Respectful Innovation: designing respectful ideas that support a better future.
We’ve just checked out the New York International Auto Show, where we scanned through hundreds of highly polished vehicles. We were less concerned about getting from 0-60 in 3 seconds and more interested in the compromises that one has to make to create a more Respectful Innovation. What matters most to people?
The innovation hasn’t exactly broken any records yet. But some companies are making positive steps forward.BMW is releasing its BMW ActiveE: its first all-electric car launching as a field trial in fall 2011. This is the output of “Project i”, a think tank created to explore the future of mobility, and learnings from this will feed into the development of a BMW i sub-brand.
The BMW ActiveE, the first all-electric car from the company.
Smart car, as you would expect, has also created an all-electric car to continue their theme of supporting environmental efficiency. They were smart in anticipating the need for a change from gasoline to electric engines when they created their original design, which has enabled them to easily transition to an electric platform without having to compromise their unique design and features.
The Electric Drive from Smart Car reflects the brands environmental efficiency theme.
Another great example of anticipating the future was announced by Mayor Bloomberg this week, with news that a Nissan minivan will become New York City’s new taxi. It’s the winning design from a city competition, and it has been designed to be easily updated with an electric engine when the time comes, meaning that the proposed fleet of 13,000 taxis could ultimately be powered by electricity. It’s supposed to be evocative of suburbia, while the distinctive yellow still makes them New York icons.
Artist rendering of the Nissan Minivan which will become New York City’s new taxi.
There are many ongoing debates questioning the future of electric cars and whether the infrastructure (such as electric charge stations) can be created fast enough to support this technology, and whether people will make compromises (as they may not be quite as fast as other cars) and require some forward planning (to ensure you don’t run out of battery). The car companies are also concerned about the compromises that they have to make, including to the design of their cars, to accommodate the future of mobility. Will people still recognize and love their brands?
We believe brands should stay true to what they are, when it’s good, but also adapt and anticipate what’s next. Ideally, lead a change in behavior. Integrate Respectful Innovation into the growth of your business, whether you’re a car or a can of soup. You can make a difference. Design can create a better future for you, and everyone else.
For those wanting to get more electric cars on the road, you can check out Hello Electric, a grassroots movement that aims to end the worlds addiction to oil by accelerating a public demand for electric cars.
At Monday Collective we seek inspiration from diverse categories, discovering new insights, ideas and possibilities for design to create better connections with people and the world we live in. Get in touch with Monday Collective through email@example.com.
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