The Paradigm Shift Needed in Technology: Sustainable Digital Design.

Apply Staff
Jan 17, 2020 · 4 min read

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, it’s only natural to wonder how the digital technology industry can contribute to sustainability.

Many digital technology companies help facilitate the shift towards sustainability by providing smart solutions to typically technology-deficit industries. For example, at Apply Digital we recently helped digitize the processes of a multinational agriculture solutions company. Now, their customers (namely farmers) have access to data that helps them make smarter and potentially more environmentally-conscious decisions and be more efficient.

Another important way digital technology companies can contribute to environmental conservation is to embrace sustainable thinking within our own industry. For this to truly have an impact, we need a paradigm shift.

Facilitating a paradigm shift in tech.

In order to facilitate a shift toward sustainability, we must embed sustainable thinking into our processes, our decision making, our problem-solving. A few ways we can do this are to:

  • Discuss: During scrums and internal reviews, incorporate sustainability into our language and ideas. E.g. How can a third-party resource not only improve efficiency but also conserve energy?
  • Choose: When choosing one provider, platform, or design over another, we often weigh the options against cost, experience, or ease of use. Add sustainability as a deciding factor, too.
  • Encourage: Create a setting that invites a shift toward new ideas. Be mindful of how we and others currently perceive the world or a situation, then build a sense of trust and openness to inspire changes that will lead to a paradigm shift.
  • Co-operate: Understand where others are coming from within your group, their varied backgrounds, their current realities. Look for commonalities and similarities. Identify a common starting point from which to form new ideas. Be open to changing our views and seeing things differently.

We can design more sustainable products.

Integrate sustainability into your design thinking.

  • On eCommerce sites and apps, allow users to rate products by longevity and reusability.
  • Use personalization to enable repeat users to quickly find the information they need or the tasks they want to accomplish.
  • Encourage customers to auto-update their apps since new versions are often faster and more efficient.

Develop for sustainability.

  • Ensure code is clean for fast page loading.
  • Compress media files.
  • Choose a sustainability-minded hosting provider, e.g. find one through Green Web Foundation.
  • Track your footprint before and after development using a tool like www.websitecarbon.com.
  • Use resources like Greenpeace Report to see third-party applications rated by sustainability. E.g. Hosting a video on Youtube is more sustainable than hosting on Vimeo

Sell sustainable solutions to stakeholders.

Small changes, large impact.

Natascha Mehrabi

About the author:

Apply Digital

We make and market smart digital products.

Apply Digital

Apply is a digital product studio with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, and New York City. Informed by human insights and empirical data, Apply makes and markets apps, platforms, and brand experiences that are smart by nature and intuitive by design.

Apply Staff

Written by

Apply Digital

Apply is a digital product studio with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, and New York City. Informed by human insights and empirical data, Apply makes and markets apps, platforms, and brand experiences that are smart by nature and intuitive by design.

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