Msc Sustainable Engineering
The course consisted of modules from Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management, as well as Sustainable Development and Computer Science:
- Design Management
- Systems Integration
- Product Modelling and Visualization
- Information Management
- Environmental Impact and Sustainability
The engineering modules further enhanced my knowledge in design, manufacturing and innovation, and the managemenet modules taught me how to organize a project and foster creativity. However, the environmental impact course highlighted some of the problems with product design and how rapid manufacturing speeds up and enables unsustainable consumption patterns, leading to my thesis.
Thesis: Digital Media for Sustainable Consumption Patterns
How can we ensure our production and consumption doesn't deplore our resources and destroy the ecosystems we are dependent on to live in prosperity? Although living standards are rising, we are causing irreversible damage to the environment, and with population growth offsetting any gains in efficiency in energy consumption, what can be done to make our ways of life sustainable?
Engineering alone is constantly trying to make production of energy, goods and services more efficient, but the population growth and increased personal consumption makes the efforts futile. Using digital technologies, can we somehow design a system that makes cutting our personal consumption more attractive?
I reviewed the current literature on product service systems and found that there was a lack of incentives for systems such as car sharing and a market loaded with advertising for owning and rapid exchange of products. Can new digital media, such as games, social media and apps unlock the potential of product service systems?
I used a video prototype and a survey to map some of the key obstacles and see if I could find ways to dissolve or circumvent them with technology. Game mechanics and nudging are some of the tools that can be used, not to gain social status through badges and accolades, but when targeting the inquisitive mind of the user through storytelling and exploration.