The betacup design challenge for a sustainable community
27 Mar 2010 - 4:53pm
3 years ago
It’s been said that design shapes behavior; and in user experience (UX) design, behavior informs design which shapes behavior. We can almost taste the tail of the snake in its own mouth.
We have often heard that design can change the world for the better; that to design a cleaner, more sustainable future is not just in our power, but a moral imperative – since often times, we designers are part of the problem. But sometimes, setting and exploring the problem space is the hardest part.
One problem space worthy of exploration is with disposable paper cups. 58 billion paper coffee cups are thrown away every year; most of them aren’t recyclable. There are some efforts at reducing this waste — travel mugs, compostable cups — but at the end of the day, Americans are drinking more and more coffee out of non-recyclable paper cups on the go.
Is it possible to solve the paper cup problem?
We think that this is just the kind of problem space that members of the interaction design community could get excited about and contribute to. By integrating our unusual talents across many fields, our understanding of real human needs and behaviors, our passion for craftsmanship, and a systemic approach to creative problem solving, we have a unique vantage point that we’re hoping to tap in solving this problem.
The betacup project was founded in May 2009 with the goal of reducing the number of non-recyclable cups that are thrown away every year — going beyond a simple reusable coffee mug that we know aren’t that convenient, widely used, or valued.
We decided that while we might have a few good ideas, lots of talented people drink coffee everyday and they have thought about this problem too. So we came up with the betacup challenge as a way to get a lot more of us working on the problem. We invite you to submit ideas but also to comment and rate others’ ideas, and engage in discussions with other betacup community members and contest jurors.
Join us and learn more about the betacup challenge, as well as the $20,000 in prize money that will be rewarded to the winning ideas.
PS: For some great background on the use of design thinking and bodystorming used at Overlap09, which was our initial exploration of the disposable cup problem space, check out this post with video of bodystorming service design.