Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

Strategies

Webcast replay: How TOTO Incorporates Eco-Design and LCA into Product Evolution

By Sustainable Minds on March 26, 2013

On March 19, the PDMA's Sustainable Innovation Webinar Series featured Bill Strang, President TOTO Americas and Sustainable Minds advocate, where he wowed attendees by showing how the world’s largest manufacturer of bath products, uses life cycle thinking to its advantage in the marketplace.

Engineers for a Sustainable World and Sustainable Minds Unveil Projects in the First LCA+U Challenge

By Sustainable Minds on March 26, 2013

On February 25th, Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) announced the selection of projects for the inaugural lifecycle assessment plus universities (LCA+U) challenge, a joint project between ESW and Sustainable Minds. The LCA+U challenge encourages student members of ESW to work with campus staff and sustainability lifecycle assessment software to identify solutions or improvements to campus operations that have quantifiably lower environmental impacts.

The six participating universities are Georgia Institute of Technology, Ohio State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of British Columbia and the University of Pittsburgh. “These projects give our students a chance to explore alternatives that will really make an impact on their universities. We are tackling problems ranging from take-out food containers to building energy use and transport of organic material to compost locations, and are excited to use our partnership with Sustainable Minds to show campus leaders how they can truly have a positive impact through their decisions,” said Rob Best, Projects Director for ESW.

Creating Knowledge Workers for the Greener Product Marketplace Part 4: Sustainable Engineering & Design Programs

By Sustainable Minds on January 15, 2013

On December 4th, we held the fourth in a series of webcasts that feature educators from leading colleges and universities demonstrating how Sustainable Minds is being used in education. From new sustainability degree programs to traditional engineering programs, educators from a broad range of disciplines are using Sustainable Minds to teach lifecycle thinking through hands-on experience.

This webcast showcases five educators and practitioners from bioengineering and product development as they share their success stories. Their stories demonstrate collaboration in both classroom and online learning programs for professional, graduate and undergraduate students. Educators are using sustainability to drive sophisticated product strategy creating breakthrough concepts and introducing sustainability as an alternative engineering design method focused on human experiences with the product. Following is a summary of the presentations.

Part 2 – Tufts Masters Practicum Project: Chieco (Chic + Eco) = A design philosophy that makes products sell like crazy!

By Sustainable Minds on October 2, 2012

Jon Keng, Mercyanne Andes, Millali Marcano, and Sunyoung Bang are students in the Tufts Gordon Institute Masters in Engineering Management program. As a part of the program, students are engaged in short-term consulting projects to allow them to experience real-world challenges. They chose Sustainable Minds as their sponsor company for their summer practicum project.

Vers founder, David Laituri, clearly knows what it means to create a more sustainable product. One of his philosophies is the concept of ‘Chi-eco’ (pronounced chee-co). A customer buys a Vers product because of design and performance first (chic), and environmental performance second (eco). This philosophy truly helped Vers’ recent Kickstarter campaign achieve a 1946% funding goal and raise almost $200,000. David certainly knows how use ‘greener’ to drive product innovation that leads to new revenues.

When the team first met David, we were impressed by his extensive experience with product manufacturing and deep interest in sustainability. Every Vers component and process was already developed with sustainability in mind. It was a challenge: how can we improve on an already lean, sustainable design? Working with the team at Sustainable Minds has expanded our applicability of sustainability in product design and development. The key is to look at all of the phases of a product’s life cycle.

Part 1 – Tufts Masters Practicum Project: Professional engineers get real world, hands-on product sustainability experience

By Sustainable Minds on October 2, 2012

Jon Keng, Mercyanne Andes, Millali Marcano, and Sunyoung Bang are students in the Tufts Gordon Institute Masters in Engineering Management program (shown here with Professor Sam Liggero). As a part of the program, students are engaged in short-term consulting projects to allow them to experience real-world challenges. With experience in technical companies such as Momenta, General Electric, and BD Biosciences, they chose Sustainable Minds as their sponsor company for their summer practicum project.

After finishing our first year in the Masters in Engineering Management program at Tufts Gordon Institute, we’d learned that design for the environment has become a key part of many companies’ business strategy. As professionals in the fields of Research and Development and Manufacturing, we can now visualize starting new product development or redesign projects using the full capabilities of Sustainable Minds. Sustainable Minds’ powerful software can be used to evaluate the environmental impacts in any stage of a product’s life cycle, and when applied to all can have tremendous impact.

Customer Success Story: Creating Knowledge Workers for the Greener Product Marketplace Part 3: Integrating Ecodesign & LCA

By Sustainable Minds on September 24, 2012

On August 28th, we held the third in a series of webcasts that feature educators from leading colleges and universities demonstrating how Sustainable Minds is being used in education. Sustainable Minds merges practice and science, ecodesign and LCA. This webcast showcases three educators and practitioners – teaching materials, industrial design and geography – demonstrating their success stories. Educators with different expertise can use Sustainable Minds to teach lifecycle thinking through hands-on experience.

The connection between greener product development education and industry demand for graduates possessing this type of preparation is strong and growing. Integrating sustainability and sustainable decision-making and assessment into curriculum is becoming a more important part of the product development education system. Sustainable Minds helps educators integrate environmental considerations, providing the opportunity for different disciplines and perspectives to come together and reach common agreement and for students to understand how their decisions make a difference.

People responsible for sustainability training in industry are also using Sustainable Minds to get everyone in the mindset of systems thinking and whole product lifecycle. There is the potential to create a powerful connection between academic and commercial partnerships when people from industry work with colleges and universities.

This webcast spotlights educators from a range of disciplines, with both professional and academic careers, are using Sustainable Minds to not only improve students’ understanding and practice of ecodesign and LCA but also to establish its significance for the greater community.

Following is a summary of the presentations.

Teaching Environmental Sustainability Using Sustainable Minds – Insights & Trends

By Sustainable Minds on July 31, 2012

Cindy Bayley is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Sustainable Design. She is an intern this summer with Sustainable Mind and is returning to UC Berkeley to pursue a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Sustainable Minds is being used to teach sustainability in a variety of disciplines, and in ways that were unexpected. The software is thought of as practical and tangible, and is inspiring a lot of new kinds of thinking. As we’ve learned how Sustainable Minds is being used, we've consistently found that both faculty and students have been excited, challenged, invigorated, and are thinking and collaborating in new ways. 

The Importance of Embedding Sustainability in Secondary Education Curriculums

By Sustainable Minds on July 24, 2012

Hunter Lovins' post on triplepundit: The Importance of Embedding Sustainability in Secondary Education Curriculums  

"The business community is demanding candidates with sustainability training. Accenture found that over 93 percent of CEO's see sustainability as crucial to business success, with 88 percent stating it needs to be fully embedded into their strategy and operations."
Read >

Customer Success Story: Creating Knowledge Workers for the Greener Product Marketplace – Part 2: Getting Started

By Sustainable Minds on June 12, 2012

On May 24, we held the second in a series of webcasts that feature educators from leading colleges and universities demonstrating how Sustainable Minds is being used in education. This webcast showcases the creativity of two engineering and manufacturing educators discussing how they got started integrating Sustainable Minds into current projects and courses, and how they developed new ones. They reported not only a very high level of student engagement and enthusiasm, but a clear impact on students’ improved job marketability.

Integrating environmental sustainability into product development education is still relatively new for just about all schools. Despite its newness, the link between greener product development education and industry demand for graduates possessing this type of preparation is strong and growing. This webcast series spotlights how educators from a range of disciplines, with both professional and academic careers, are themselves learning new things, building on what they know and getting started teaching in new ways.

Customer Success Story: Creating Knowledge Workers for the Greener Product Marketplace – Part 1

By Sustainable Minds on May 9, 2012

3 Schools / 3 Disciplines / 3 Educators
On April 24, we held the first in a series of webcasts on how Sustainable Minds is being used in education. Featuring three educators from three different disciplines at three leading institutions, each demonstrated and discussed the use of Sustainable Minds in their curriculum, expansion in their programs and the implications for the future. The range of disciplines represented by the presenters illustrates the interest and need for teaching life cycle thinking and action to all types of students – business, design and engineering – to prepare them for taking on the challenges and opportunities in the greener product economy.

These educators’ stories illustrate that schools will increasingly attract students in response to industry demand, and manufacturers creating greener competitive advantage will recruit students who can execute on that strategy. Each presenter took a unique approach to help students integrate environmental sustainability into a product development education.