Tag

Circular Economy

Designing better things with Mark Shayler

Mark Shayler is an eco designer and writer of the DIY disruption book Do Disrupt. Mark gave an inspiring talk at this year’s TEDx Brighton. The theme of the day was ‘Losing Control’ – and that’s exactly what he wants us to do.

The message Mark Shayler left us with (which also happens to be his personal motto) is that we need to “design better things, not design things better”.  This didn’t make any sense to me at first, but I have since gotten my head around what he meant.  It feels like a very important message, one that I’d like to share with you today.

Mark’s main job involves consulting for companies, saving them money by eco-auditing to find weak spots in their production line, packaging, or manufacturing processes.  He then works with them to refine processes and make things simpler.  He claims to have saved his clients £10 million pounds by doing this, over the years.

But for Mark, this is not enough.  Taking something that is unsustainable and improving it, polishing it up nicely, this doesn’t chop his broccoli.  To truly innovate, we can’t just design things better, we have to completely start over – we have to design better things.

Mark has been doing this with some huge clients, including Nike and Coca-Cola – ‘Positively Disrupting’ business models to the point where they actually change the status quo.  On his website Mark quotes Sir Ian Cheshire, saying “if you don’t disrupt your business model then someone else will.”  Also, someone you might not associate with disruption, Jony Ive himself said that “complete intrigue with the physical world starts by destroying it.

This is clearly something we must take seriously, and as much as Mark presents it with cheeky humour, is an issue that needs to be addressed in order to not fall behind.  I will leave you with one of Mark’s powerful analogies: a sailing boat is safest where?  In a harbour.  What is it built to do?  Sail the seas.  So get out into the wind, he says, and take a risk to do something big.