Zach Day CINQ 396 Blog 2/15

1: Give three examples of how you can use nature as a model/mentor/measure for your own designs (and life).

One of the main messages that I took away from the video on the termite nests is that you are still able to create something strong and durable while also making it very simplistic. In the video, they showed how the termites were capable of creating these huge structures that were very tough and strong, but were hollow on the inside and required very little materials. I think it just proves the point that you do not have to follow the idea that adding more makes something better, which is a mindset I feel many people believe in.

Another lesson I feel like myself and other people could learn from nature came from the Biomimicry Ted Talk when Janine Benyu mentioned that organisms have figured out a way to do the things they do while taking care of the environment. Although I feel like many companies and individuals are moving in the right direction in terms of preserving the environment, I feel like further observing how ecosystems and nature keeps their environment clean could benefit humans and allow them to create new ways to be eco friendly.

I felt like the termite video could also teach a lesson about being resourceful, as it highlighted how the insects made use out of basically everything around them, and were able to use every resource as much as they possibly could. People in general tend to be very wasteful, both in daily life and in business and production, so I feel like analyzing animals and how they operate with very little waste could teach humans to do the same.


2: Pick one of Life’s Principles. Explain how you might apply it to your work and life (Could be unrelated to GSIF Projects).

When reading the paper on Life’s Principles, the idea of “Optimizing rather than Maximizing” stood out to me and seemed like an important concept for many facets of life. Although the idea of being multifunctional appeared as the most important aspect of this principle in my mind, I see the idea of optimizing rather than maximizing as a whole being a good principle that can help make life, work, and my teams GSIF project more efficient and more effective.

For professional and school purposes, the idea of being multifunctional and fitting to form of the function can be very efficient. In creating single systems that are able to serve different purposes cuts out the need for multiple processes that would create more costs, more time wasted, etc. The idea of fitting to form also can create more efficient work. With the example in the paper of Mashavu and their stethoscopes, it is demonstrated that one does not necessarily have to spend a lot of time and resources searching for marginally better materials, but can use what is readily and easily available to them and can make just as good of a product if they put some creativity and deeper thinking to it.

I have seen this principle already begin to be applied to my teams test strips project. With the talk of the marketing for the strips collaborating with the communications of the strip through radio shows and other forms of media, I see the idea of creating multifunctional strategies coming into play.


3: How do you envision integrating the cradle to cradle design concept into your project (and life)? Give one compelling example.

I think that the idea of cradle to cradle could be integrated into our project by focusing on a way for our products and process of distribution to be either waste or pollution free, or for those aspects of the project to create as little waste as possible. If the test strips and its packaging had the ability to be broken down and had the ability to re-enter the environment as opposed to being disposed and remaining as waste, they would be a good example of the cradle to cradle focused product. I am not sure how feasible that would be, as creating packaging and products that are able to decompose like that would be more expensive, but I think that would be the most easily applicable example of how to integrate the idea of cradle to cradle into our product.


4: Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a complete alien concept to you.

One concept that I had discussed with a friend was the idea of just how much technology has changed human interaction, and it kind of opened my eyes to how trust probably has changed. There must have been a lot more trust prior to electronic communication, as people would just have to rely on someone and trust they would show up somewhere to pick them up, etc without communication, whereas we check in constantly to make sure people are doing what they have to do.

The concept of taking an obstacle and twisting it to make it an advantage is something I had also discussed with a friend. They told me about a book they read where a boxer was falsely found guilty of murder and given life in jail, but instead of giving up after being dealt a horrible situation, they used the time to gain knowledge on the law and the judicial system, and ended up using that to get himself freed. It just made me more aware to the fact that no matter how bad the situation you find yourself in, you could find a positive within it.

Another important concept that I hadn’t really thought too much of before was the idea of creating versus reacting. Many people, including myself, tend to just react to what happens in life. I was told that although this can get you by just fine, excelling in life requires people to create their own situation and take action. That made me realize just how much I went with the flow rather than creating opportunities for myself, and made me realize that I needed to be a creator if I wanted to become very successful.


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