Apple should aim to lead on achieving sustainability too

Lynda Relph-Knight

The iPhone looks set to break all records for the sheer creativity behind the design. The award of Best of Show in the Design Week Awards this week – and its category wins for both product and interaction design – undoubtedly heralds a stream of highly deserved prizes for Jonathan Ive and Apple’s in-house team (see News, page 3).

As Malcolm Garrett, chairman of the digital categories, says in his citation, the iPhone is not yet perfect. But the breakthrough in touch-screen technology and content coupled with an elegant design that feels great to hold is changing our expectations of communications devices.

One of its great strengths is that its design harmonises left and right brain thinking. It is beautiful, but highly functional and logical to use. According to eminent trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, this is a direction we look set to take over the next few years as we approach a ‘grey’ future, by which she doesn’t mean bland, but more the melding of ideas and opposites.

For Edlekoort, speaking at the Design Indaba conference in Cape Town last week, the future is about dialogue. For many of the other speakers at Indaba that dialogue centres not just on how creativity can help to change the world, but specifically on sustainability.

The subject came up in debate with South African fashion stars, with local architect Van der Merwe Miszewski, working on Cape Town’s first ‘Green’ building, and the UK’s Airside and Jason Bruges. Meanwhile, on the product front, Ideo founder Bill Moggridge urged delegates to ask of materials and suppliers, ‘Where does it all come from and where does it go?’

These were not lone voices in an assembly of creative giants from across the globe. Much is being said, but significantly things are now being done to tackle sustainability issues.

We again applaud Apple for its outstanding design, but we look to it now to take real leadership through creativity on achieving sustainability in all it does. Where it goes others will certainly follow.

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