E-waste recycling : a gift for the holidays!

Here’s a great article on E-waste in Wired-


For the holiday season, many people will be receiving new electronics and that means disposing of their old electronics.  But even recycling e-waste can be a difficult endeavor, particularly for those products with the nicest design. The writer claims that, “While no one we spoke with would say so outright, Apple products are among the most difficult to recycle. (Apple did not respond to repeated requests for a comment.) The very things that make them the most marketable—multiple colors, thin profile, big glass displays, seamless cases—also make them difficult to disassemble.”

So what is a consumer to do?  As part of the gift giving experience, include information on where to recycle electronics.  As my gift to you here are the most common places (sorry these only apply to the US):




However, if designers thought about how their designs impact the environment, this would be a gift to mankind.  I’ve addressed this issue in Chapter 12 of my book, Creating and Marketing New Products and Services.  And if I ever find some time, I’m writing a chapter about this topic for a new book being distributed by the PDMA (Product Development Management Association).

Hope you have a Green Christmas/Holiday Season!


Dark Side of the Sharing Economy

Just received a grant to study the dark side of the sharing economy.  The sharing economy, also called mindful consumption, are companies such as airbnb, lyft, relayrides, taskrabbit, dogvacay, where individuals are matched with other individuals to share ‘resources’.  The openess of this industry leads to abuse by some.  Many of you may know a guest booked through a popular rental site left $18,000 worth of damage to my home.  I’m looking for individuals who are the provider of services to the sharing economy who may have experience bad behavior by users.  Do you rent your house? Are you a uber driver? Do you run errands for others? Do you know of bad behavior that happened to someone?  Share your experiences here.  Also feel free to note good experiences.

Skeuomorphism : an online issue

Having just joined the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Innovation + Design Cluster at NC State in Raleigh, I’m new to the world of design. I didn’t know that there is a Skeuomorphic (rendering real world characteristics in onscreen elements)  vs. a Flat (with bold colors, unadorned icons, transparent overlays, and typography-based design) debate.

‘Skeuomorphism is out’ (http://www.mrgeek.me/insight/skeuomorphism-a-design-concept-on-its-way-out/) and ‘Flat is in’ or maybe it’s ‘Flat is out’ (http://www.fastcodesign.com/3028944/is-flat-design-already-passe) and ‘Skeuomorphism is in’.

Some say it’s a battle between an Apple design (skeuomorphic) or Google design (flat). Here is an example from http://openingdoors.co.uk/blog/opening-minds-ui-design-flat-vs-skeuomorphism/:

Where the left is skeuomorphic and the right is flat, the middle is Google’s flat.  I happen to fall into liking flat more than the reality of skeuomorphic. What team do you side with?

5 Damn Good Reasons to Startup in Raleigh, NC

After my ruminations of yesterday, this showed up in my mailbox this morning from my colleague, Christian Holljes, a member of the I+D cluster (more to come about the cluster): 5 Damn Good Reasons to Startup In Raleigh, NC

My only gripe to this commentary is that the author doesn’t consider NC State a world-class organization.  I must invite Camila Souza to campus to show her all the amazing things that NC State is doing!

A journey from the “Big Brother” to the “Little Sister”!

It’s hard to imagine that I have been at North Carolina State University for six weeks now.  I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ – “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore“, or in my case, we’re not in Boston anymore.

Besides the weather, it’s hard to pinpoint the difference in the atmosphere. Surprisingly, the traffic is bad in both areas and both have terrible, aggressive drivers.  Both the Triangle area and Boston are also huge innovation/entrepreneurship hubs.  Each have tremendous momentum around innovation across the local universities, incubators and start-ups.  The main difference seems that NC is the ‘younger sister‘ when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship, whereas Boston is the ‘big brassy older brother‘.  Boston has MIT Media Lab, Microsoft Research New England, the Mass Challenge, and numerous other world-known programs.  Yet, NC State has POWER, the advanced manufacturing institute for energy, Duke Innovation Co-lab and the Research Triangle Park with cutting-edge technology firms.  I also see a greater interest in sustainability and social entrepreneurship in NC.  The Triangle’s hubs of technology and innovation currently may not be recognized world-wide, but that won’t be the case for long. Raleigh-Durham is up and coming – and quickly.  The energy here is contagious.

That little sister may soon be a leader of the pack.  I hope to make a difference in developing programs for our students that help to make that happen!