The life cycle of a product and it's cradle-to-cradle impact is becoming a critical issue in design. As a designer, considering the full cycle of a product from manufacturing, to production, to delivery, to retail along with all of the stakeholders involved is becoming the standard point of view. The challenge for the project was to redesign a product that had less overall impact than the original.
The product I chose to redesign was the Nike Max Air Backpack. Nike is a leader in sustainable innovation and their Better World initiatives are raising the bar across the industry of athletic brands. I was curious to find out the impact of the backpack and identify areas for sustainable innovation. Utilizing the Sustainable Minds software I found that the zinc zippers had the larges impact on the design. My first recommendation was to identify a replacement material.
By conducting both online and ethnographic research with athletes the second insight identified was that people end to collect multiple backpacks. The recommendation was to leverage the Reuse-a-Shoe program that takes worn out athletic shoes and grinds them down to create a new material called Nike Grind. The material is then turned into sports surfaces such as tracks and tennis courts. The concept was to include backpacks in the program along with hosting events to bring attention to the initiative.