I recently wrote a brief essay on the subject of "Der wird Millionar" for the Folio magazine of the Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung. I talked about the design of the Toyota Prius — I’ve been thinking a lot about the Prius lately — and, more broadly, on the topic of how green products need to become much more red. In essence, on what I believe is the critical importance of understanding what makes for unabashed gearhead gnarlyness and then building that sensibility in to green market offerings.
The essay is available here. I wrote in English, but I think it sounds cooler in German.
Be sure to check out all the other "Der wird Millionar" essays in the issue by this amazing group of thinkers and doers:
- Luca Turin
- Jan Chipchase
- Regine Debatty
- Saul Griffith
- Reto Wettach
- Warren Spector
- and last, but absolutely positively not least, my favorite blogging buddy Russell Davies
Hi Diego nice to “meet” you,
I really enjoyed your touch-point on emotional connections and green products.
I recall a Stanford Social Innovation Review article, The Other CSR, developing insight into consumer social responsibility and how consumers are willing to seek out products that meet functional needs, however, are not willing to compromise on functionality for features of social responsibility. I agree that consumers cannot be sold on CSR claims alone, and there is a heightened value proposition for business in connecting emotionally with people in a way that promotes behaviour change, while enhancing economic prosperity. Perhaps a great example of this would be serial sustainable entrepreneur Chef Jamie Kennedy [Canada] who takes a slow-food approach to food, advocating local food choices as part of his brand proposition. The chef is an interesting role as both designer and maker, definitely engaging in the design process on a daily basis. In a recent Toronto Life [July 2007] article Kennedy said “We can change the way people source their food – not by preaching, but by making it delicious.” That for example, focusing on consumers’ desirability and functionality of food is a route towards change through emotional and needs-based responses, rather than force-feeding CSR messages. A little taste beyond the tongue…
Diego – I’m possibly reading this far too literally but in my ‘eyes’ green = safety & mother earth and red = danger & the devil; well at least that’s with my own ‘colour theory’ hat on.
And as colour theory is very much emotionally based, so is our reaction to pretty much everything around us. Our initial emotional response unlocks our ultimately influential rational response. So I agree, we might indeed do well to make green more ‘sexy’, attractive and desirable if green issues, products and services are to be more broadly accepted.
And there’s the thing, mediating that delicate balance between functional sustainability and market desireability.
And on a personal note, I find the image of a Target Timbuk2 bag extremely ‘sexy’ and cool. How can I get hold of one?
There – desirability just kicked in.
(and hope you enjoy ‘interesting’ here in London)
Melissa — thanks for the nice way you tie this set of ideas back to CSR. I’m going to spend some looking up Jamie Kennedy. I love his quote.
Alex — I’m going to ask Brian whether the Target Timbuk2 bag is a “real” product or just a prototype. I’ll post an update here once I find out. Cheers.
You might find these Freitag bags, made from old truck tarpaulins, seat belts, etc. a target of interest.. (they do them in red). Read their story here http://www.freitag.ch/