Environmental pollution, labor rights, energy consumption, resource allocation and other issues make design more complicated than creating a pretty and useful best-selling product. However, the actions of design generate the renewals and replacements of products which are criticized as wasting resources. The fundamental purposes of design have been twisted, misunderstood and forgotten while design is needed more than ever to be the solutions of these issues.
Developing new products is not just a strategy for suppliers to sell their products or gaining profits but a vital process for technology to evolve. An invention, a product or a technology will go through a long journey of modification and development to become more and more mature, like models and prototypes designers made for the ultimate product. They will face countless failures before it succeed. Those failures cost so many time, energy, money and, of course, consume and pollute the environment.
It is a dilemma but it is necessary. Only by these experiments and failure can lead to innovation and advancement. We cannot ask inventors, designers and R&D departments to stop improving their products.
Putting forth new versions and replacing are necessary passages for the evolution of technology. Automobiles have been developing since 17th century, from a car that ran slower than a horse to one that can accelerate to 100 kilometers per hours in a few seconds, the engine has grown. Indeed, automobiles cause massive pollution but without the development of this industry, the progress of engines will be slow and stagnate.
It will impact on not just car but also planes, ships or even spaceships. It will also extend to economic and political domain, for transportation dramatically changed modern life. If we were satisfied with the status quo, human would have never reached any planets because the technology used for building a spaceship is costly and "useless" to daily life of civilians. Shall these consumptions be regarded as a "waste" to human civilization?
The most important thing is to always remember the consequences while making progress. Bottom lines that must not be crossed and regulations that must be followed are always there. Innovation and improvement are exchanged by our precious environment. Researchers, scientists, engineers, inventors and designers should do their best to sacrifice as few as possible while making our world a better place. The question is how to steer back the over-consumption current and strike the balance between consuming and progression? This is the question that cannot be dismissed by industrial design and product designers.
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