Okay… I am writing this anonymously, as I don’t want to be labeled as a poor sport. However, for the record I am a semi-finalist… but I’m losing horribly to completely terrible entries.
I do not understand this part of the contest. You post the top 50 entries online, forcing people to send the link to their friends and family, to vote for their entry. This immediately becomes not a design contest, but a popularity contest. This forces anybody who wants to compete to whore themselves out, post the link on messageboards, forums, blogs, and everywhere they can think of to try to get more votes.
Currently, the ‘most popular’ entries are a complete insult to what industrial design is supposed to be. They completely ignore user research, materials, production, shipping, and the end of product life-cycle, all issues paramount to truly “green” design. They instead settle for a pretty rendering with a very vague description of how something actually works. This is a complete joke.
Many of them, like the rocking chair that generates power, just point out the ignorance of the designer and their failure to understand how much energy will be generated by their device, and how much energy is required to do what they want to do. They completely ignore electrical theories and the laws of physics. They just seem to think, “I know, I’ll use a solar panel on this, and that will create the power for it!” Nevermind the fact that size of the solar panel is much too small, or the fact that solar panels produce DC power, and your product requires AC.
Some of them don’t even make any sense, for instance, the BeWare Water Meter. What a terrible design! It’s a big green thing you supposedly screw onto every faucet in your home, thread it onto every water hose on your toilet, and install it on every shower head. You’d need over 5 of them for the average dwelling, more for larger houses, and on top of being a very complex (read LOTS OF ENERGY TO PRODUCE) design using an impellor, generator, LCD, electronics), all the thing does is INFORM the user. It does not reduce usage, it does not make anything more efficient, the entire complicated, wouldn’t-work-in-real-life system does it just show how much is being used! Oh, and let’s just show a generic fitting that magically fits flexible pipes, threaded metal faucets, and shower hosers. This generic fitting is able to adapt to anything, without leaking! Oh, and let’s completely ignore how much of a PITA it would be to install properly without leaking. Also, can we just totally ignore how much power would be produced by the teeny tiny impellor? I mean, I only spent a few minutes on google and found out that kid’s experimental water wheels don’t even make enough power to light ONE L.E.D., but hey, this one has a magical impellor! This is incredibly retarded!!!
No user research. No mention of materials. No mention of environmental impact. Just a complete and total failure. And why is it number one?
Well, one explanation may be that the COUNTRY is listed under each entry. Thus, anyone who feels proud of their nation’s heritage may immediately vote for an entry purely based on it’s country of origin, and ignore any merit of the actual idea. Why is this listed? How is this supposed to be an unbiased voting system, when such information may sway voters? If it were a fair competition, such as the Housewares competition, the judges only see the entry, and a number. They do not know the name, location, or any personal information of the designer, forcing them to consider the idea itself.
I am all for a good competition, but so far this is turning into a gigantic insult to the industrial design community. The point of the contest was to design products that lower our impact, use sustainable materials, and offer consumers alternatives to make them more efficient and less wasteful. Half the ideas don’t save anything, they inform the user of usage (be that of power or water, whatever), some of them are just plain awful (the stoplight that shows CO2 levels is currently in 2nd place?! WTF!), and as cool as the fastronauts entry may look, a vinyl toy with a freakin light on it is not going to change ANYTHING in today’s world!
Lastly… the voting system is extremely flawed. I am not going to explain how, but one person can vote for their entry an infinite number of times. There is no registration system to prevent this, and I have a feeling that many of the top entries are abusing this. So now the question is… does one fall in line with the cheaters, and vote for themselves a few hundred times to remain competitive? Or do you just let the cheating entries make the top 10, and remain a loser, allowing horribly designed products to represent “Green Design” to the world, having no chance at actual production since they SUCK so much?
PS: There are good entries. They just aren’t winning. To those of you who actually submitted something with user research, a thought to production, environmental impact, materials, and the NEED to solve an actual problem, congrats. You are the true winners in my book, despite what this incredibly stupid contest is saying.