July 2007

Sometimes industrial design helps to innovate a business

In 2007 Asus focused on becoming green, reducing waste, and trying to cut down on energy consumption. The company’s leadership wanted design help on their “Green Asus” initiative and thought mainly about making Asus’s products greener to manufacture with the tools that design can offer. My team devised a series of design measures that were starting to being applied on a wide range of products, like for example the Asus VW Monitor Series.
At the same time, the project’s research phase unearthed some interesting facts that sparked a small side project with my Asus Design Lab that should turn out to have a big impact.

Research inspires an extracurricular project

Trying to identify where design could help Asus to become greener, my team visited several warehouses filled with brand new overstock components, that were stored with the purpose of potentially being used for repairs, replacements or product recalls. In many cases, these overstock parts like main boards, keyboards, and computer cables, would never be taken off the shelves and at some point be discarded.

Product design with a mission

Trying to influence Asus’s decision makers to reduce the amount of overstock components, Chia-En Lu, James Ball and I decided to take the opportunity and turn these components into products that would support the cause for a “Green Asus”: Four mainboards became a chess set, a few keyboards and cardboard packaging were turned into a scrabble game, and ribbon cables were repurposed to become bags and lamps.

Designing a product was not enough to make an impact

The final results were exhibited at the Asus headquarter lobby and did not only demonstrate the possibilities that can be, but also called attention to “Green Asus” and made the management look into reducing the excess inventory that the company was keeping.