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Sustainable design: focus on gadget longevity

We spoke at the Indie Tech Summit in July. There was a great deal of discussion about the broken business models for apps and online services, which are essentially based on corporate surveillance. The user gets a free product in exchange for selling his or her data. And very few users understand what they are selling and how. (On this, we recommend the opening sequence of the summit, viewable here.)

But there is another broken business model: trying to sell us shiny new devices every nine months.

We need ethical, secure devices. Absolutely. But we also need to figure in the environmental costs of a business model based on frequent sales of gadgets that require so much energy to manufacture.

Snowden’s revelations – and the increased interest in protection from corporate and state surveillance – afford us an opportunity for a complete systems rethink. And the same attention we dedicate to privacy, we need to dedicate to a more sustainable use of technology.

It is a REAL challenge to designers and visionary technology companies. But we’re sure some are up to it! Summit – Video 21 – Janet Gunter from on Vimeo.

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