— April 2008
“Global issues cannot be removed from the business world, as we only have one world in which to operate.” – Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo
A few weeks after unveiling remade in Barcelona, we are excited to share the context in which remade and Homegrown came into being.
Our goal with Homegrown, the umbrella project, was and still is to work towards the most sustainable, ethical, and desirable communication solutions for Nokia. We’re not interested in sentimental greenwash, but the cold hard facts. If the intangible human benefits of communicating through our devices are the rewards, it’s the physical things we produce and consume that are the costs. Why are we doing this? The numbers tell the story – it’s our responsibility, it is everyone’s responsibility. And how? Principles in action – we are simply placing sustainability at the top of our design list.
Homegrown nurtured four case-studies: Zero Waste Charger, remade, Wears in not out, and People First.
“At present, phone chargers waste 300mW of standby power when left unplugged.”
There’re roughly 3,000,000,000 phones on the planet which means there’re also 3,000,000,000 chargers. The average charger consumes 300mW on standby. You can do the math. The waste is tremendous. In addition, most mobile phones take only ~60 minutes to fully recharge these days. Yet most of us keep them plugged for hours… while resting at night.
Nokia chargers are energy-star rated and some consume less than 40 mW in standby… but this is still not zero. The design and engineering challenge is not to bring the consumption as close to zero as possible, it is to leapfrog to zero. And the only way to achieve this is to change our ways.
How can we be more energy intelligent? By contextualising and understanding energy usage of the appliances and devices we are using.
Already devices like Wattson are showing us the energy our home is using (visualised in graphs and charts) and help us figure out ways to save electricity. But eventually, appliances and devices will have to be energy smart by nature. The Zero Waste charger is a true power-down charger with a recognisable branded element – the push-button. When pressed, the push-button reassuringly starts glowing, the charger delivers a 1-hour charge cycle and then shuts off. Off as in 0mW. The push-button symbolises Nokia’s commitment to energy saving while reinforcing conscious consumption in the user’s mind.
Contrary to Bruce Mau’s Massive Change, this case study shows that Small actions x Big numbers have a Big impact.
“426,000 mobile phones are retired in the USA daily.”
In remade, recycled materials from metal cans, plastic bottles, and car tires are used beautifully; whilst helping reduce landfill and preserving natural resources. The concept also addresses cleaner engine technologies, and energy efficiency through power saving graphics. It is about turning waste into beauty.
“After 25 years, mobile telephony is considered an established commodity.”
How do we encourage people to keep their products longer? So much so – they might even pass it on…
Created with good design and noble materials, it becomes a phone you want to keep – one that sits comfortably alongside your most trusted possessions. With design decisions driven by sustainability first such as shrewd long term manufacturing investments, timeless design, and no colour variants – this truly is a phone that wears in not out. Inspired from Jan’s work on repair cultures, repairable and replaceable components reduce Nokia’s environmental dust-to-dust footprint and keep pace with your needs. Whether redefining a “voice classic” or supporting enduring features such as SMS, internet, and clock – these devices are grounded in mature technologies, open standards, and simple durable execution.
In this context, personal digital content portability and software designed for decades of consumption are an integral and key part of the offering. A suite of services and physical doors enable to safely manage one’s growing digital lifetime. I will return to this topic later since it deserves more than a few lines.
“50% of a phone’s energy demand is backlighting.”
How can we clearly prioritize people first? If we begin designing for those who face daily challenges with current technology, we soon find communication solutions that benefit us all.
With a focus on human universals, the “People-first” experience strips away the complexity of applications, folders, and unpredictable navigation with simpler universally understood organizing principles: time, lists and faces. Content comes first, navigation is shallow, and there are no metaphors or abstractions to confuse. New content is generated at the top of a singular vertical list settling over time into a personal history of events.
A dual layer display allows the user to balance energy efficiency with rich visuals. The user interface graphics are optimized for low-power and high-contrast B&W graphics. When an item is highlighted, a second full color display is partially activated in lieu of, or in combination with the first.
In an effort to increase local relevance, dynamic keymat graphics, based on a low-power bi-stable display, allow a greater number of language variants at little to no extra cost and on-screen actions are presented in textual and iconic form making the system accessible to a larger audience.
Out of the box, People First allows simply to connect synchronously (voice call or push-to-talk) or asynchronously (sms or email), capture a moment with the camera, schedule an appointment with the alarm clock, and manage money with the calculator. These are what we believe the mobile essentials – features that are relevant everywhere for everyone. These essentials are however sometimes insufficient. Instead of second-guessing additional features, we are encouraging personalization, hacking, and entrepreneurial ventures with widgets support, accessible native programming language (as simple as html) and freely available hardware and software specifications. Locally produced or crafted components and software provide relevance, while simultaneously reducing production efforts and the amount of atoms that need to be shipped around the globe.
Homegrown is primarily Andrew Gartrell, Rhys Newman, Duncan Burns, Pascal Wever, Raphael Grignani, Pawena Thimaporn, Tom Arbisi, and Simon James.
Write me for speaking and work inquiries or just to say hello.