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Waste is an enormous problem. But recycling is the wrong solution.

Part 2 of a FastCompany editorial on Recycling by Don Norman

I am proud to be one of the developers of what is today called human-centered design. That is design that always starts off understanding the needs, capabilities, and desires of people. It has four basic principles, all four of which are being violated by today’s recycling craze.

Recycling is broken. There’s little clarity about what can and can’t be recycled, and the rules change from one city to the next, and sometimes even within the same city. According to the World Bank, we produce 1.4 billion tons of waste a year worldwide, a figure that’s expected to increase to 2.4 billion tons by 2025. Waste is an enormous problem that needs to be addressed if we’re going to prevent the worst effects of climate change. But recycling is the wrong solution.
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I’m an expert on complex design systems. Even I can’t figure out recycling.

Part 1 of a FastCompany editorial on Recycling by Don Norman

Recycling: The concept is pretty simple. Throw away stuff that can be melted down, chopped up, and made back into useful stuff. The problem is, I don’t understand how to do it.

For one, it’s difficult to find out what can and cannot be recycled. There are so many different kinds of paper goods, plastics, and metals, and worst of all, so many things that are combinations of materials or exotic new inventions of material science, that no list could possibly include every possible case. Secondly, the rules vary from location to location, and even at one location they can change from year to year. (“Check frequently with your recycler to see what their current requirements are,” reads one of the websites that tries to be helpful.)
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Design Lab Gains Global Perspective with New Student Program

The Design Lab is launching the Global Scholars program this spring quarter, an exciting new initiative for graduate-student learning.

Known for creating human-centered design solutions that focus heavily on users’ needs and behaviors, the Design Lab, located within the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego, is home to an impressive team of interdisciplinary designers, engineers, technologists, scientists and business leaders who work on large-scale complex socio-technical challenges regionally and beyond.
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Civic Design – DSGN 160: Open Enrollment

This studio course explores how to design products, services, and policies for complex socio-technical systems. The class will follow a human-centered design process that includes user research, concept generation, prototyping, pitching, and alliance building. Students will work in teams to design solutions to civic challenges affecting people in the San Diego region. This will be a good course for intermediate to advanced design students who want to build up their portfolio and to practice their skills with sketching, storyboarding, prototyping, and evaluating services for real-world problems.

As part of this class, teams will enter the Design for San Diego 2020 challenge (D4SD.org) and interact with other innovators, experts, and mentors throughout the city to address problems related to Mobility, Health, Environment, and Housing. Top teams will have an opportunity to present their work and win prizes at events in downtown San Diego!
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CHI 2019 Conference In Glasgow, Scotland

Design Lab Weaves the Threads of CHI 2019

From May 4-9, 2019, the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems took place in Glasgow, Scotland. Called “CHI” for short, this annual and prominent event brings together thousands of the world’s leading researchers, designers, and scientists in human-computer interaction. 

Design Lab members walked away with a number of awards for their research. Post-doctoral Fellow Sarah Fox won a Best Paper Award for “Managerial Visions: Stories of upgrading and maintaining the public restroom with IoT”.
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