Challenge: How might we reduce food waste in our community?
Research & Inspiration
IDEO + Acumen's Human-Centered Design course
Interviews, User Testing
The "Ugly Food" Movement
In 2016, I completed IDEO and Acumen's Design Kit: Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation course.
My team explored how might we reduce food waste in our community. For our project, we focused on produce waste. Our target demographic is millennials, because we found they have low knowledge and high standards for produce. Our solution is Edi, an app that helps youth or young adults make better decisions when it comes to throwing away fruits and vegetables. Users will be able to read relevant information about their food. The app gives tips and recipes on what to do with the food if it's past it's prime. It answers the common question of "is this still okay to eat?" Edi also has opportunity to expand beyond produce, and share knowledge about other types of food and beverages.
What I learned:
My "Aha" moment was during our interviews in the research phase. We realized that youth have high standards for their produce because they don't have the knowledge or appreciation for what goes into growing fruit and vegetables. Whereas their parents, who used to have to grow it themselves, are less likely to throw away food with minor imperfections. This was something I never gave much thought before.
Analogous experiences is one of my new favourite techniques. It involves exploring solutions from different industries that are tackling similar problems/challenges. For example, analyzing how a basketball team functions can help with project management.
Rapid prototyping is a great way to overcome being stuck in the Ideation phase. Put aside the pressure to come up with something perfect or innovative. Focus your energy on generating lots of ideas and making low-fidelity prototypes. You'll be surprised what comes out of it.